Rage – Don’t Look Back In Anger…

_-rage-xbox-360-_1Rage is one of those games that didn’t seem to get much justice when it came to advertisement, but that doesn’t mean it disappoints. Developed by the guys at Id Software (Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein), and produced by Bethesda Softworks (Fallout, Elder Scrolls), this game boasts one of the most famous teams in the games industry, and you can tell that there was a lot of loving attention paid to every aspect of this game.

Now, before I get started, I would recommend anyone playing this game to install it to the hard drive of their console. Standing in at 22GB on 3 disks for the Xbox 360 version (or 8GB per disk on the PS3), it is a huge game, with the graphics making up for most of the size, and you will see why.

The Rage intro does a great job of showing the story so far; an asteroid is on a collision course with earth, and everyone is put into stasis chambers called Arks (Fallout’s vaults anyone?). Straight from the get go you can see how visually beautiful this game is, and my other half thought she was watching the start of some mega-bucks blockbuster. Everything from packs of sweets to mutated bosses has had each detail considered, examined and rendered to perfection. In short, Rage has definitely set a new bar for the standards of video gaming graphics.

There is, as with 99% of games, a little tutorial on the controls (look up, look down, run around in circles, blah blah blah) followed by a little mission to introduce you to the game’s mechanics. The controls are about as straightforward as they come; anyone accustomed to playing FPS games will feel right at home. However, even though there are plenty of areas you will be running and gunning (Rage isn’t another run-of-the-mill cover shooter), this isn’t where Rage truly shines, although this aspect remains great fun. Being a sandbox game, inevitably some areas are limited at first until you do a mission to blow/open up whatever is in your way. As a result, vehicles are a must, and the controls for driving are as responsive as ever, making it easy and entertaining to drive.

Throughout the course of playing the game you will find a lot of influences from the projects that both companies have under their belt, most notably of which are Bethesda’s open-world RPGs. There aren’t any RPG elements within Rage but there is still the option for side quests as well as the main story missions. This means that you can make that little bit more money, enabling you to be more prepared when engaging the main missions. This also means that you won’t be getting bored anytime soon, and will probably be spending a lot of time doing the side quests just to upgrade your guns/armour/vehicles.

Speaking of weapons, you will find quite the arsenal which can come across as a typical FPS selection, but there’s a little bit extra to them. Firstly, as I mentioned previously, there are the options to buy upgrades, from a magazine for your shotgun to a binocular scope for your pistol. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses, obvious to any FPS veterans, but they all feel incredibly powerful. From the Settler Pistol you begin with, to the old favourite Rocket Launcher, each weapon is a joy to behold, and more so to shoot. Plus, the enemies’ reactions to being shot are delightfully satisfying. On top of the weapons, you have the ability to ‘engineer’ other tools of destruction, from sentry guns and sentry bots, to bandages and even RC car bombs; all of which pale in comparison to Rage’s signature “Wingstick”. Think of a boomerang with blades, ouch!

Concluding with the multiplayer, out of the 3 disks the third one is exclusively for the multiplayer options. There is a local option as well as online multiplayer; the local options are called ‘Legends of the Wasteland’, and offer a series of challenges/missions made especially for 2 people to play through together, on the same console or online, to achieve certain objectives (similar to Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops missions). The real fun, however, comes in the style of the online multiplayer, which is entirely vehicle-based, and sees you put into the ‘Rage Combat Rally’. This ominously titled extravaganza of mass death on wheels is a collection of Destruction Derby style races where points are the biggest concern, with score multipliers lying around the tracks, and you need to kill everyone, as standard. The scoreboards can be easily turned, so it’s not normally a one horse race, unlike other competitive multiplayer games.

So after all Rage is definitely a must-have game, and even with the missing RPG elements, it is a very worthwhile addition to anyone’s collection. This beast will provide endless hours of entertainment, and provides yet another victory notch on the beating club wielded so callously by the creators of Doom and Fallout.

So release all your anger with Rage, you won’t be disappointed.

DVD Rental Rating 9/10

Written by Martin Whatmough

Leave a Reply