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This is running in real-time? On a 360? Right now? What? That’s not typical over-eager preview hyperbole – those were my actual thoughts while id’s Tim Willits and Matt Hooper walked me and a gaggle of press through some early moments in Rage.
I knew it was going to look spectacular. It’s id. It’s the developer that, as they put it, “invented first-person shooters,” and Rage is their Next Big Thing. It is very big - id Tech 5 renders environments and animations like you’ve never seen in a game, with unparalleled fluidity and expressiveness.
Above: The environmental details are beautiful, and the characters even more so
Our US press demo was much the same as the one recounted in the last UK preview we posted, so I’ll mostly focus on my personal reactions to the game.
The first encounter we witnessed was with Crazy Joe, a friendly, but… crazy NPC whose wide-eyes, gesticulating arms, and captivatingly-detailed shack charmed my brains out. This guy was a part of the world, believable and solid and worth interacting with just to experience. Things only got better, because when id walked us out of the shack, a couple of equally-believably-but-not-nearly-as-friendly mutants were checking out our dune buggy, and not because they wanted to place a reasonable monetary offer on it.
Above: Kill it with fire!
The mutants were dispatched in a manner fitting of both id and scary-ass mutants – bullets, aimed and fired from pistols and sub-machine guns, and a very unfriendly spinning blade which sliced through necks like they were air. While id is going in a new direction and “changing the expectations of what an id game can be,” they’re still id, and Rage is still about the same kind of heart-hammering close-quarters combat as Doom.
When they hopped into the dune buggy and opened up on the desert terrain, my immediate reaction was, “Oh hi, Borderlands” (in a Tommy Wiseau voice, of course). There’ll be a lot of comparisons to Borderlands, but despite the similar (but much better-looking) environment, Rage is not Borderlands. It’s an “action movie” and isn’t “procedural” like Borderlands, says id, and they didn’t have much trouble convincing me of that.
Above: Who doesn’t like armed dune buggies?