Dangerous new world
A post-apocalyptic first person shooter with role playing elements, Rage (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) is the new game from id Software, creators of the classic Doom and Quake franchises. It sees your character awake from an underground cryogenic sleep to find the Earth transformed by a massive asteroid impact, presenting you with Mad Max style desert wastelands filled with tribal factions fighting each other to become the dominant force.
Youe going to need to make friends and cash to survive in this hostile environment, so the game revolves around a quest mission structure which sees you running errands that generally conclude in high-quality shootouts with bandits or over-the-top boss battles. Money and collectibles acquired on your travels can be spent on guns, or combined using a crafting system to produce increasingly useful constructions, from bandages to more hi-tech weaponry.
Post apocalyptic worlds are no stranger to the shooter and role playing genres, but Rage manages to stand out in a number of ways. Featuring subterranean mutant dens and vast, sun-kissed canyons with amazingly detailed settlements, it arguably the most believable and beautifully portrayed yet, with every location and colourful character you encounter oozing personality.
As expected given the developer heritage, Rage finely tuned gunplay is one of the game star attractions. There a nice array of weapons, enabling stealthy to all out assault approaches, from throwable bladed tools to crossbows, pistols and shotguns that pack a mighty punch capable of turning foes to minced meat. Youl also get friendly with robotic gun turrets, remote controlled bomb cars and mobile spider bots.
Bandits and mutants are your regular targets for most of the game, but in later sections youl come up against the more technologically savvy Authority, an organised military force that exerts the most control over the wastelands. There a pleasing amount of variety to combat scenarios, with some enemy types charging blade-first towards you, others free-running across walls quickly and unpredictably, and some happy to bide their time, retreating and taking cover in a bid to gain a tactical advantage.
Rage world is a large one and youe a busy character, so you use vehicles to get from point to point. Like the gunplay, the vehicle sections are satisfying and over the top, with buggies and other motors offering arcade-style driving with plenty of opportunities for flips and big air. You earn tokens to upgrade vehicles by participating in race events or destroying bandit cars, and can deploy the likes of shields, mines and auto-turrets to defend your transport from attack.
Vehicle-based gameplay also forms one half of the Rage multiplayer component. Combat Rally sees you take race challenges online to compete against friends, while Legends of the Wasteland is series of two-player co-op missions based on the stories you overhear on your journey through the single-player adventure. The multiplayer offerings are a fun distraction, but you can help feeling they could have been a little more comprehensive. With the game gunplay so fun, for example, the lack of online deathmatches is a bit of a strange omission.
Overall though, Rage is a generous package, even if the conclusion of its strongest element, the single player campaign, feels a little abrupt. Boasting a gorgeous world to explore, populated by a host of colourful enemies to overcome with a great arsenal, Rage varied and engaging gameplay left us safe in the knowledge that a post apocalyptic future would be far from an end of the world scenario.
+ Great weapons, satisfying combat.
+ Racing is great fun.
+ World is full of personality.
- The ending could be better.
- No online deathmatches.
- Some locations re-used a little too often.
Review by Tom 'King of the Wastelands' Ivan
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Review Published: 07.10.11