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Updated impressions of Rage

While in town you can buy some new rags and get rid of the Ark suit that’s got The Authority so interested in you, deliver bottles of water you’ve found in the wasteland for a cash reward, sell scavenged items, or meet up with race officials beneath a giant inflatable purple gorilla and take your buggy out for a competitive spin. It’s an impressively realized area and – especially when compared to the traversal nightmare that was Fallout 3’s Megaton – a cogent and appealing place to come back to between missions.

Deep below Wellspring, however, trouble’s afoot. The Ghost bandit clan is poisoning the town’s water supply – and as a stranger from the plains it’s down to you to deal with them. As soon as you enter the pumping station environs Rage becomes recognizable as, to borrow a phrase from Mark Kermode “un game de id”. There’s just something in the shape of the guns, the weight you see in enemies, the ripples of their flesh and the design of the levels that just rings true.

This doesn’t mean that things haven’t moved on from Doom 3. The Ghosts vault, somersault and careen over the scenery like muscled dervishes – they’re utterly beautiful to watch, yet fatal if you continue to do so. Flames and explosions are genuinely jaw-dropping in the way they light up the screen. And every bandit clan has its own behavior patterns, graffiti and identity – where Ghosts are melee-focused and remarkably nimble in their ceiling-slides and leaps from pole to pole, The Wasted (think Skinheads) is more into traditional run-and-gun firepower – and lots of it.

Your arsenal also goes far beyond the traditional one-note boomstick. The Ghosts may move around the scenery in the manner of Splicers, but they can be dispatched in a BioShock manner as well. Among the various different types of ammo your silent crossbow can be armed with are electro-bolts which can fry groups of badness foolishly standing in water. The pistol, too, has explosive rounds that are entirely pleasant to connect with a bandit ruffian’s head. On top of these you’ll have your trusty wingstick – a multi-bladed boomerang that can be hurled with your free hand and take off a grunt’s head before he’s seen the whites of your eyes.

None of this is fresh and original, but in terms of constituent parts coming together to provide a solid gameplay experience id appears to be onto a winner. Indeed, what with the huge range of engineered concoctions that you can scavenge and take into battle as well it’s clear that those put off by Doom 3’s basic combat from all those years ago are being aggressively wooed back into the fold.

In fact, when viewed in contrast to id’s much bemoaned Mars Hell-leak, Rage is fascinating as the polar opposite of id’s previous wares. Where Doom 3 was tight and confined, Rage is open and sprawling. Where Doom 3 was dark, Rage is bright and primary-colored. Where once Doom-guy was po-faced and serious, the world of Rage-bloke is very silly indeed. In all likelihood, Rage will fare well in the stormy waters of modern gaming.

While it won’t redefine the FPS genre as id games once did, it appears to be engaging and enjoyable new terrain for a more refined brand of frags, head-slices and gibbing. Unless, of course, we’re all fed up with apocalyptic wastelands by next year. Which, frankly, is unlikely.

Jul 14, 2010

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23 comments

  • CAPST3R - August 14, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    I would get this, but it just seems like Fallout:New Vegas will do everything better, and anything that doesn't do, Dead Rising probably will. Plus; an ark? I seem to remember Brink containing a place with exactly the same name. This just looks like it'll have parts (and not necessarily the best parts) of other games jumbled into one, which means it won't flow. Sorry, but it's not looking good.
  • metalgatesolid - July 15, 2010 6:21 p.m.

    Why keep doing a Fallout? The setting? A vault? How about they totally change everything...Coming home on a spaceship you emerge from hyperspace with seconds to spare as your ship chrashes on your homeworld that has been 1) infected with a virus 2) wiped out by war 3) inhabitants dissapeared. The setting a lush vibrant world where you must travel under sea, into woods, scout cities, visit flying cities all sandboxed for our playing pleasure. These ideas are TM under gatesindustries...
  • GaryTheGuidoHunter - July 15, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    Rage looks to be the offspring of Borlands and Fallout3 and the vehicles really remind me of Mad Max.The post-apocalyptic genre is a very interesting one and I hope this game will be very intersting and fun to play.
  • Mcan50 - July 15, 2010 5:14 p.m.

    I cannot wait for this game, and I'm not a big FPS fan. I do wish that while driving the game stayed in first person view and not third person though.
  • CARDYKEV - July 15, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    Lol Mutants sporting Union Jack body paint?! Looks like Nationalism survives the apocolypse
  • Metroidhunter32 - July 15, 2010 2:08 p.m.

    That car came straight out of Jak 3.
  • HonestGuy - July 15, 2010 1:32 p.m.

    "what matters in an id game is that when you shoot someone in the face with a shotgun it is excellent..." i think that's probably the most accurate description of id, and that's a VERY GOOD thing! :) fan-rage for RAGE! i'm getting this, an unswayed id fan since 1992. :)
  • FreekinIdiot - July 15, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    Soooo, if the nanotrites can 'defibrillate' you back to life then how come he's the only survivor from the ark??? Seems to me these nanotrites are a wee bit flawed...
  • SwampRock - July 15, 2010 9:14 a.m.

    the game looks good, but only thing I'm worried about: If the buggy is going to be a big part of the game there probably will be a lot of detail missing in the environment as say compared to fallout.
  • Felixthecat - July 15, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    It looks absolutely phenomenal, from everything from the small graphical detail to the incredible looking enemy AI. It look great.
  • Samael - July 15, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    Is this an original looking game? Hell no. Is it an awesome looking game? Hell yes. That's basically all I have to say about RAGE. I'm sure I'll be playing it when it comes out.
  • JayBeat - July 15, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    Cannot wait to check this out
  • Evil_AppleJuice - July 15, 2010 5:01 a.m.

    loved Fallout 3 and own but havent played Borderlands yet. Seriously tho, they've done more "original" apocalypse games than Mario games.
  • Didijustshard - July 15, 2010 4:52 a.m.

    I cannot wait for this!
  • Smeggs - July 15, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    It may not be too origional anyore, but none of the games mentioned had graphics this good looking. And Doom 3, although basic, I still enjoyed the 'feel' of firing the guns in that game. Borderlands' Driving sucked, along with its nearly invisible story. Fallout 3, although one of my favorite games EVER, was kind of clunky at times, and the lack of even the most basic transportation (Come on, there were bicycles and motorcycles everywhere, throw me a freaking bone Bethesda) and only being able to either walk or fast-travel was annoying at times, although it did help to find new stuff, not to mention certain bugs (Indestructible twitching ghouls!) and the shorter than hell story-mode. Bioshock 2 was good, other than a few things I cannot yet say for I don't know how Rage's story plays out. And so on and so forth.
  • Im2awesome - July 15, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    There were a few things that I didn't like about Fallout3, and this game looks like it fixed everything and added more. Oh man. another $65 down the tube. Shooooooooot.
  • killerrpgfan - July 15, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    i can't wait for this game!!
  • liekmudkiepz8 - July 15, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    I hope this game has good driving combat. In borderlands it wasnt very good (most guns were more powerful than the weapons on the vehicle)
  • Gameguy94 - July 15, 2010 1:59 a.m.

    Rage looks like it will have everything fallout 3 didn't have.
  • oufour - July 15, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    sweet. loved borderlands, definitely gonna get this.

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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