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It has been years since the announcement of RAGE and now finally it is here. There was mixed feelings about the game, as many expected it to be less linear and more open world, especially since Bethesda’s involvement after parent company ZeniMax acquired id software, but no, it is a first person shooter with a few RPG elements and honestly, what a game it is.
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The opening cut scene sets the mood, showing some of the human races greatest entering ‘Ark’s’ , devices supposed to shelter the inhabitants from annihilation after an impending meteor strike which is what turns the world into the baron wasteland which is the main setting of the game. These scenes show some of the best and most detailed CGI I have seen for a long time. Once the game starts rolling, the quality of the graphics doesn’t match these opening scenes, but it will be a while before something can. The visual quality is still incredible, I’ll use Fallout as an example, a similar setting, desert with crude structures built by the few pockets of survivors as sanctuaries from the hostile bandits and mutants who roam the wasteland, graphically RAGE’s new engine takes the ball and runs with it, rocks, plants everything seems just to have had so much time invested to make it beautiful. I’m not saying it’s perfect, there will still be occasions where certain objects don’t render instantly, but for the size of the environment and compared to other games, the visuals are very impressive.
As with all of the great games, RAGE has boss fights, while this tends to add a new level to a lot of games, with RAGE it just doesn’t feel as good as it could have been. While they have always been integral to the majority of decent first person shooters and leave you with a sense of accomplishment, in RAGE they just don’t, perhaps if the mechanics had been mixed up a bit it would have made for a better experience and don’t get me wrong, they look great, it’s just the way they play seems to be lacking something.
While many where disappointed at the linearity of the game and lack of more RPG elements, I was excited to have something a bit different, a new first person shooter from the people who devised some of the greats. While playing you notice that everything is just so smooth, nothing seems to glitch or jump, it is the game equivalent to silk. Movement seems perfect fluid, vehicles glide across the hot sands and NPC’s look brilliantly designed as they run, walk and do whatever throughout the world. While the game is an FPS at heart, it does have RPG elements but these aren’t too prominent or over bearing, rather than making you think what you are missing by not having such an open environment, they just help to add to the experience. The engineering feature is a great example, while there are few occasions where you have to use it, when you do it is relatively simple and the stuff you can construct is genuinely beneficial to a shooter, whether it be a turret, robot or lock breaking device, they are all things that you can use on a regular basis.
Many have also made comparisons between RAGE and Borderlands, this is totally unfounded, nothing about RAGE suggests anything to do with the open world game other than the fact that vehicles feature, but this isn’t an open world game and the vehicle combat and use is more reminiscent of the Mad Max movie series than any game. The vehicles add yet another layer to a game already over flowing with quality, each vehicle can be upgraded but has it’s own currency system which requires you to win races in order to purchase upgrades, ammo is still purchased within the regular currency system. The currency for upgrades is one of the few reasons there is to race in the game as it is very rare that the story will require you to race, but even if you don’t like the racing system, it is worth getting through a handful so that you can be better protected from bandits out in the wasteland.
Co-op is also included, but with the way the story works and he RPG element, campaign co-op is not featured, instead there are several new missions allowing for online play, these are called Legends of the Wasteland and as you progress through the single player game you will hear tales told, these tales are the co-op missions. The gameplay is similar to the single player but more in the vein of co-op missions found in games like Red Dead Redemption, where campaign co-op was again just not compatible. There is also vehicular online multiplayer too, but this grows stale after a short period of time especially after yo have played for a few games, it’s much better to focus your time on the single player than multiplayer, unless you really enjoy the driving systems.
Depending on how you look at RAGE will really dictate what kind of experience you have with it, go into the game expecting something along the lines of Fallout or Borderlands an you will come away feeling very disappointed, but look at it as the people responsible for some of the best first person shooters that you have ever played, evolving and trying new things with the genre and you will see RAGE for what it is, a brilliant shooter that sets the bar a lot higher for many years to come, maybe Doom 5 will push these new boundaries even further.
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- Mixes up the first person shooter genre rather than just the point and shoot series we’ve come to expect
- Looks incredible
- RPG and vehicle elements make the game far more interesting
- Boss fights feel lacking
- Multiplayer isn’t great, becomes a little stale
- Story isn’t fantastic