Posted by John on October 7, 2011

Rage [PC, PS3, Xbox 360]

ragecover300.jpg

In 1993, John Carmack of id Software said “Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.“ id Software is the development house behind revolutionary titles Doom and Quake, which Rage wears on the box like a badge of honor. When was the last time anyone played Doom or Quake? To be honest, when was the last time someone mentioned Doom or Quake in comparison to a new game? Quake’s engine spawned multiple excellent games such as Half-Life until Unreal took the ropes and built a faster engine - in 1998.

I hate to say this about a top-tier game, but Rage feels like a prototype for the new engine more than a new individual game. The graphics are spectacular, the physics are fluid and voice movement is precise and (finally!) believable up to the level of L.A. Noire. But there’s no life.

For me as a gamer, I want to be able to lose myself in the game. To immerse my conscious into another world and leave this dirty rock behind, even if the new world is nothing more than another dirty rock. The storyline of the game itself is part of the immersion process. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that id Software created Rage to mimic other popular games. The comparisons between Fallout, Borderlands and Motorstorm are impossible to mistake for anything other than the nods Rage gives to the ones who laid down the path beforehand. There are even small trinkets you gather along the way which pay homage to some of the games which have inspired Rage.

Rage starts as many other games using the apocalypse or “Deep Impact”-style stories tend to begin: you come out of some safe shelter while the rest of the world tries to put itself back together and your job is to fight off the rebels, mutants, thieves and other bad people so you can fit in. Sounds like High School.

The graphics and physics are what will sell Rage to anyone who enjoys first person shooters. The enemies jump and twist out of the way as they shoot at you looking stupid. There are eight different gangs, all with different unique characteristics who don’t like you. Because you came from “before the disaster,” you’re already tagged with a scarlet letter. Other than the constant threat of the gang violence against you, there’s also “The Authority,” which is a police force governed by a big corporation who are trying to keep things under control, but you realize soon after playing they do little more than mall cops with guns.

Weaponry is the unique change of pace in Rage. Instead of getting, finding, building or leveling your weapons, the ammo is what makes the difference. Your crossbow may start off with simple and standard bolts, but you can eventually make/buy lightning bolts which send a satisfying electrical storm through the target enemy’s armor. The ability to upgrade your ammo moves the game in a different direction since different ammo can only be created using the in-game crafting system, something else new for a first person shooter.

The other points of Rage I feel I should mention, since there was a big discussion a few days ago with a heated debate is whether Rage is a FPS or an RPG game, and I feel it is a half-assed mix of every game genre; with a little bit of Dirt Racing thrown in between games of Rage Cards (like Magic the Gathering) at the tavern. I couldn’t make it up if I tried.

Because Rage contains so many different styles of games tied together around another Mad Max-type storyline, Rage feels disconnected and unfocused. I played Rage because I had to write this article, not because I wanted to play the game and get through the story. The main linear story in Rage can be finished in 10-12 hours, however due to the extra amount of strange crap thrown in; you could spend another day racing and gaining money. Or master the card game in the tavern, or maybe become a master craftsman by collecting junk and making new stuff for others to buy. What I’m saying is this: you get out of Rage what you want to. If you enjoy the freedom of not having to do anything in a game, Rage is for you.

Bottom Line: Rage is a piece of art. It’s pretty to look at, but useless in a post-apocalyptic world with no storyline.

Rating System: (0-10 ranking)
Graphics:
The graphics are phenomenal. Unquestioned reality with physics and motion integrated into a beautiful package.
10
Storyline:
There is a storyline; however Rage was developed to be more open world with the player able to do quests (like Borderlands) and have the story revolve around the player.
7
Controls:
Straightforward racing controls, the rest are standard FPS controls.
9
Replayability:
With the variety of different modes, online and offline, racing, cards, crafting, and everything else, I could see someone playing Rage for quite some time. It’s just not for me.
8
Value:
It’s the beginning of a new era for the engine Rage runs. I expect some amazing games coming from this architecture, but Rage fails to impress me with anything deeper than a pretty picture.
6
Total:
35 out of 40

- Chris Tallant

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