Rage review

  • One of the most beautiful games ever
  • Awesome FPS gameplay
  • Nifty driving as well
  • Racing minigames are superfluous
  • Some noticeable pop-in of textures
  • Disappointing last section

After spending just a few hours in Rage’s world, we were overcome with a feeling not just rare in videogames but in any work of fiction: We actually wanted to live there. It’s a more comfortable version of Mad Max, with all of the cobbled-together and lawless excitement but without the horrific desperation. Sure, the people have it rough – it’s the apocalypse, after all – but the towns we visited are downright cozy with their rustic charm and endearingly crusty characters. If we didn’t have to worry about raving mutants or the oppressive Authority, we’d totally rent out a little shack in Wellspring, hang out at the bar, and play some cards or participate in the races.

Note: The PC version of Rage has encountered some serious issues with graphics cards. See the end of the review for specifics.

It’s not just the sheer amount of detail that makes Rage’s world feel real; it’s also the imagination used to make it a place we want to just hang out in, like the aesthetic touches that make the towns feel both futuristic and retro-western, with a sprinkling of steampunk for good measure.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Rage is id’s attempt to create a hybrid game, both in its genre and in its multiplatform approach, which is quite the departure for a traditionally FPS focused, PC-centric company. Rage is still an id FPS at its core, but it’s also an RPG complete with chatty townsfolk and plenty of items to purchase and craft. Oh, and it’s a racing and car-combat game as well.

It’s a rather different turn for an id game. We whiled away the hours with RPG-ish distractions aimed at increasing our money and options. There’s no experience to earn, but we increased our power all the same through savvy purchases. Side missions provide money and items as rewards (or engineering recipes, which really boosted our power with high-end items). There’s also a special currency earned by winning races, and this currency is the only way to upgrade a vehicle, so players who want a totally intimidating Mad Max set of wheels must compete in races.

Above: The buggy is the main vehicle during the game, but there are a couple other sets of wheels available

The racing – which includes time trials, conventional races, and Mario Kart-style combat races – is fun and well-designed to the point of not feeling tacked-on, but we wish it had been a required part of our progression. Since the only way to buy vehicle upgrades is through race winnings, races were obviously meant to be an integral part of the game, but they turn out to be totally unnecessary, at least on Normal difficulty, because all the vehicle upgrades aren’t needed to survive out in the wasteland – we could easily just race past enemy vehicles on our way to the next on-foot FPS section, ignoring the car combat completely.

This would be a mistake, though, because the car combat in Rage is great. Once we equipped our vehicle with machine guns, rockets, pulse cannons, mines, spiked wheels, shields, mini-drones, and other goodies, the combat is sublimely satisfying in its explodiness: enemy cars burst apart with gorgeous burning wreckage, making destroying them addictive.

This solid foundation transitions into the multiplayer, which tosses aside the expected deathmatch and anything else resembling a shooter. The multiplayer is purely car combat, with several modes designed to take advantage of the speed vehicles permit. Our favorites are Triad Rally, where we had to drive through three consecutive beams of light to score, and Meteor Rally, where fallen ore must be collected and then returned to a randomly spawning capture zone. Mastering usage of different weapons and items becomes increasingly fun due to unlockables, and the well-designed maps engender exciting close-calls with swooping turns and huge jumps (with one jump leading to id’s iconic quad damage bonus). There’s nothing quite so heroic as flying off a huge jump to soar over half the map and then rain a cannon shot into a group of enemies while still in mid-air. We doubt the multiplayer will have long-lasting appeal, but it’s a fantastic change of pace from typical multiplayer – at least for a few hours.

Above: Surviving an encounter with two players giving chase isn't easy, but man is it exciting

There’s also a mini co-op campaign, but there’s not much to say about it. It’s a separate series of two-player levels that take place in environments we had already seen in the single-player campaign, with minor adjustments. Those who need to squeeze everything they can out of a game will be glad these missions are here, but for us they were only fitfully entertaining.

More Info

Release date: Oct 04 2011 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC (US)
Oct 07 2011 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Bethesda
Developed by: id Software
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language


  • jscriber100 - January 28, 2012 8:02 p.m.

    good game but didnt live up to the hype.great graphics,great shooter,great action but its all short lived.shortest campaign for a shooter ive ever played and its mostly side missions and mini games.the best part is the enemy AI but the worst is no doubt the broken story
  • StonedMagician99 - December 17, 2011 10:14 p.m.

    Having completed the SP and played the MP of this, Battlefield 3, MW3, Bulletstorm, and Gears 3, I can comfortably say that this was my favorite shooter of the year. I played it on PC, and experienced no problems whatsoever. The single-player was amazing. Great graphics, competent story, and excellent gaeplay seal the deal for me. Disappointed but not surprised that it wasn't mentioned in the Platinum Chalice Awards. Oh well. Welcome back, id.
  • codystovall - November 21, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    This was just a better looking Borderlands and I prefer Borderlands. Looking forward to Borderlands 2 and I dont mean this...
  • majamaki - October 20, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    Rage is a fantastic game when you focus on the heart of the game which is the first person shooting. To me the racing part could have been dropped, and just add more quests to kill mutants and bad guys. The gun play is tight, fast, and frantic with a good amount of variety in enemies to keep you on your toes.
  • Bossco - October 10, 2011 6:11 a.m.

    I bought this game yesterday, I'm a few hours in and, so far, I'm loving it. As for the whole "real gamers only ever play on hard" comments, I consider myself a real gamer. I've been gaming since the late eighties, I own, or have owned pretty much every major console thats been on the market since then, I read Gamesradar everyday, but I only ever play games on the easiest setting. The reason, I have a full time job, 2 kids, a girlfriend, other hobbies and an active social life (I like a drink.) I simply dont have time to spend hours and hours mastering a game on the hardest setting. I just want to play through, enjoy the story and feel like a total badass. Most of my mates are exactly the same as me. there is no shame on playinth through on easy...
  • KainCC - October 8, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    Force vsync in your gfx control panel to get rid of the screen tearing but good luck with the texture popping.
  • GhostbustTyler - October 7, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Just beat it and honestly, I'd give this a 6. I'm beyond disappointing in how underwhelming, boring, and repetitive this game becomes. I had fun for the first few hours then everything turned into a giant fetch quest with some shooting parts in between. The Vehicle combat is clunky and annoying, especially when you just want to get from point A to B without wasting rockets at point C. Some shooting sections are fun, but the Dead City levels are so drawn out and get so annoying (especially if you run out of buckshot for your shotgun) and doing the entire level over again backwards is just a kick in the balls. I was never brought into the story, the beginning literally felt like it was throwing too much at you and hoping that only the half that matter stuck, I never felt emotionally attached to anyone, and the last part is horrible. I don't get why this needed three disks on 360. The second disk contains only about 5 or 6 missions and barely 1/4th of the Wasteland. Speaking of the Wasteland, as much as it says to explore it, there isn't much to explore for except maybe some rare plants, but later on you can buy them from stores so that kills the point of it. The ending? God awful I was seriously expecting something huge, but all there was, was a half hour shooting area and the final part is just killing 30-40 of an enemy type that only appears in that section of the game. Also, for a game that boasts about having such beautiful graphics, there is waaaay too much texture pop in and having great graphics does not excuse all the other flaws of this game. Dispite having a few funs parts and fun mechanics, this game was a majorly over-hyped disappointment and I feel ripped off. Serirously, everyone save your $60 for Arkham City in a few weeks and just pick up this 6-10 hour game (if you want to finish all the quests like me). Way to break my heart id.
  • UnseenminorityK20 - October 6, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    I just installed this last night and I have to say that I am really amazed at the graphics. Since I am playing it on the pc I have experienced the screen tearing, pop in and such. I just wanted to share if anyone is playing it on pc there are a few workarounds to the texture pop in and the lack of advanced graphics settings available. I did a quick google search: " rage advanced graphics settings" and found many options to improve the gameplay. After applying the new settings I had almost no pop in and greatly improved graphics crispness. I just wanted to share because it helped me enjoy the game that much more and still kept the 60 FPS.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - October 6, 2011 2 p.m.

    Did you find a solution to the screen tearing?
  • UnseenminorityK20 - October 6, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    No not yet but I will definitely post if I find one that works.
  • Rikoshi - October 5, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    So incredibly dissapointed in this game. I felt like i was just getting into the game, with the cool weapons and the rides. All of a sudden its like, ok u win. game was way to short and even on Hard difficulty it was incredibly easy. should have put on very hard.
  • Doctalen - October 5, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    I would have bought it if the game was longer. 25gb install for an eight hour game? No thank you.
  • RedOutlive10 - October 5, 2011 7:19 a.m.

    If it's not better than Doom 3 it's almost bashing the game to me. Doom 3 was way too repetitive and predictable, see weapon/goodies, enemies appear. Open door, enemy appear, just killed the mood of the game, it felt like a startling experiment that started to fail after you figured out they were doing the same thing over and over and over.
  • psycho ninja 4 - October 4, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    So the game lives up to the hype. I might look into it.
  • jennyleezy - October 4, 2011 10:55 p.m.

    I can tell that the author's totally gushing about the game... but defending regenerating health? Seriously? That's pretty low, considering how much you guys used to bash it..
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - October 5, 2011 12:11 p.m.

    I don't know how it got interpreted that I was defending regenerating health. I merely described the mechanic without saying whether it was good or bad. If anything, it was a criticism because I said it makes the game a bit too easy. I also recently reviewed Resistance 3 where I specifically said I liked that it didn't have regen.
  • GhostbustTyler - October 4, 2011 8:43 p.m.

    Been playing this for a few hours and I'm having fun with it. Even if it is only eight hours and I get done with it soon, I'll be happy with the experience I had. I disliked the beginning though, it does not pull you in like Fallout 3 does. It just throws a bunch of things at you and hopes that half of it sticks as it quickly throws you into the first mission. When I'm done with this I'll just trade it in for Spider-Man Edge of Time. Might get a lot of hate for it, but I'm not really interested in all in Dark Souls. I don't have the patience to time attacks haha.
  • W1LDxSH0T - October 4, 2011 8:18 p.m.

    this game disappointed me :( when i first heard about it i was super hyped for it, but as time went on and i saw more and more about it the game just seemed to get less interesting. besides from looking amazing nothing else was really going for it
  • Fiirestorm21 - October 4, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    Welcome back, id.
  • Jacko415 - October 4, 2011 4:01 p.m.

    Called it. Rage looks pretty, but other than that its just more of the same stuff.

Showing 1-20 of 58 comments

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