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RAGE multiplayer shocker – forget typical deathmatch; it’s all about cars and cooperation

Ever since we first laid eyes on developer id’s upcoming post-apocalyptic driver/shooter RAGE, we’ve just assumed there would be multiplayer modes. After all, even though we've just posted a hands-on with the single player questline, this is the developer who invented Quake – how could there not be multiplayer?  And we were right about that. What we were wrong about was to further assume what those multiplayer modes would be. Think of any multiplayer mode in any variant of Quake, be it original series, mod or spin-off. Got one? Yeah, that’s not in here.

What is here are two brand new (for id, at least) online multiplayer modes, which are most simply described as “two-player co-op on foot mode” and “six-player vehicular racing/destruction mode”. We’ll get into specifics below on both modes, which do actually look pretty fun, below. We just wanted to warn you right up front not to expect typical stuff like deathmatch, team dm, domination, and capture the flag. Id’s done that already, and the company is clearly focused on trying new things.

We’ll start off with the vehicular mode, called Rage Combat Rally. As you might guess, this pretty much involves six cars (possibly four, if six proves to chaotic) zooming around an arena, splitting their efforts between hitting checkpoints and blowing one another into tiny pieces. There’s some nuance to it too, if you care to dig into it. You get points for blowing up other racers and also for hitting checkpoints, but you’ll get more for chaining together several checkpoints in a row, and the new checkpoints always spawn more or less in front of whomever hit the last one. So if you find yourself with a better angle on the flag than the leader has, you can hit your hand brake and slide into it backwards, ensuring that only you are pointed in the right direction to hit the next checkpoint that spawns.

Or you can concentrate on exploding the leader. That gets you mad points as well.

Rage Combat Rally has a few sub-modes in addition to what we just described; one is chain rally, in which you have to hit at least three checkpoints in sequence before the points begin to tally. But those who prefer mayhem to math will be able to fill their tanks with vehicular deathmatch and team deathmatch as well. Also, you’ll be able to unlock better cars, weapons, and add-on gear as you progress.


Above: We didn't get screens of Legends of the Wasteland, but imagine this with a partner, and you'll get the idea.

The second multiplayer mode is called “Legends of the Wasteland”, and casts players as new characters – hired guns working for the sheriff of Wellspring, one of the game’s main towns. There will at least eight missions in this mode, each built for two players to shoot through cooperatively (online – split screen hasn’t been shown thus far, if it even exists).

In the Legends mission we saw, a gang of thugs had taken over a particular neighborhood in Wellspring and were placing bombs in various places, ready to send the whole thing skyward. The players’ job was to defuse the bombs and execute any gang members encountered along the way. Different missions will have slightly different objectives – for example, there’s another level in which you’re “beta testing” the gladiator-like game show, Mutant Bash TV. But we reckon they’ll all retain certain standard co-op elements we saw – the ability to revive one another “Gears of War-style”, the chance for one player to take the high ground and snipe in support of the other, etc.

Neither of the multiplayer modes shown so far looked incredibly groundbreaking, we’ll admit. But they did both look plenty fun to actually play, and solid gameplay combined with these graphics definitely sounds like time well spent. Still, one question during the Q&A session of the demo lingers in our minds. “So, there’s no mode in which I can put a wingstick (the game’s glaive-like boomerang-meets-shuriken weapon) through the skull of another human player?”

And when one puts it that way, it really does seem like a missed opportunity, doesn’t it?


Apr 18, 2011

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11 comments

  • Impulse12 - July 21, 2011 10:14 p.m.

    Co-op is hardly a new thing for ID, Doom 1&2 Quake 1&2 supported co-op play out of the box
  • EricBratcher - April 19, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    It's going to be far larger than 10-12 hours, I think. If I were guessing (which I totally am) I'd expect perhaps twice that much game. Which isn't long for an RPG, but for a shooter, that's massive huge.
  • Kilburn474 - April 19, 2011 1:45 a.m.

    @JayQ Judging from the fact that it's an open world shooter and how big the game is, a length of 10-12 hours seems incredibly unlikely unless you just play through strictly the main story and ignore everything else. Maybe it's just the fact that i have always been a primarily SP gamer, but i will never purchase a game solely for competitive MP only unless it's something like TF2. Even then, the point is kinda moot because TF2 is only $20. I'd much rather play a deep SP game or a game with some great couch co-op (which is increacingly rare to find) than a game with a 4 hour campaign and a focus entirely on MP that's full of exploits, bugs and a terrible community. Like people complaining about the lack of competitive MP in Saints Row 3... I never touched the MP in 2 or 1 and both sucked MANY hours away from me and I had a blast.
  • Yeager1122 - April 19, 2011 1 a.m.

    Multiplayer doesnt sound that intresting but singlpalyer still sounds great.
  • kenreahr - April 18, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    I am with Killburn on this. though, IIRC, they will be including a game editor in the PC version, so I am pretty sure that PC gamers will have their multiplayer.
  • JayQ - April 18, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    In my opinion, 10-12 hours of single player entertainment does not justify a $60 purchase. So yes, now a days if it doesnt have multiplayer that will give me my money's worth, it only gets rented.
  • Kilburn474 - April 18, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    Since when does a game REQUIRE competitive MP? Nevermind the fact that this is a new id game, an open world shooter, or the fact that the game is ONE TERABYTE in size when uncompress. No... Today, all games need to warrant a purchase is a team deathmatch mode hastily tacked on. /sarcasm
  • huntreilly25 - April 18, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    I honestly could care less for multiplayer for this game. The single player sounds awesome and that's what i'll be getting it for. I'll probably only spend at most an hour on the multiplayer stuff.
  • JayQ - April 18, 2011 7:14 p.m.

    multiplayer fail, nobody wants to race each other in a FPS, they wanna shoot their friends heads off. This game just became a renter.
  • shadowreaper72 - April 18, 2011 6:41 p.m.

    I am kinda disapointed in this. The coop mode I like the sound of but the race mode I think is going to be stupid. Whats even more stupid is the lack of TDM. Really ID? Not even your basic TDM game mode? How disapointing.
  • XLGirthMan - April 18, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    Seriously? This game seemed to me like a Fallout/Borderlands crossbreed, which translates to kickass. I'm not liking this as multiplayer but I'm still in if the story mode is good.

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