Developer ID Software
Platform PC, PS3, Xbox360
Release Date Out Now.
ID software the spiritual creators of the FPS genre have been out in the wilderness in recent years, but they have been keeping busy. They have spent the last 6 years working on a new game engine and of course Rage, a risky move in this business as the industry does move so fast that a long development time can often leave a game out dated by the time it hits the shelves. With Rage ID have proven that not only are they still relevant in the industry but they are light years ahead of the competition.
Rage was never billed as an RPG despite its obvious similarities to Fallout and Borderlands in terms of story and setting. Rage is very much a FPS but at the same time it’s far more than what we have come to expect from a modern FPS.
Rage opens up with a beautiful opening scene that quickly sums up what is happening, a meteor is heading for earth with catastrophic consequences. You are chosen to be placed into an “ARK” along with a number of other important people so once the dust has settled you can emerge from stasis and start to rebuild the world ensuring the human race lives on.
When you awake it is clear not everything has gone to plan, all the other ARK members in your pod have perished in their stasis container and a brief recorded message from the president sets you up for the grim discovery that the planet is screwed.
Emerging from the ARK into the desolate yet beautiful post-apocalyptic landscape you barely have time to marvel at its beauty when are attacked by two horribly deformed mutant bandits. Just as they are about to smash your skull in, a hero emerges to save you. His quick thinking saves you and although you surely have questions there is no time to waste, so you join him in his buggy and head towards the safety of his small secure dwelling, once there he explains that his actions in saving you will have grave consequences for both you and him unless you take a weapon and kill the remaining Bandits before they come looking for you. This acts as a tutorial and also starts your journey through the Wastelands of Rage.
As you would expect from an ID game the gameplay is very solid, the weapons are brilliantly balanced and the enemies are intelligent and varied. ID have been very clever in how they approached the gameplay. They wanted to create a game that is a hybrid of a FPS and an RPG, so you have a large open world with towns you can wander around and lots of different characters to interact with while all the same time not losing the solid shooter feel we have come to expect from ID. Large open worlds are notoriously hard to develop for as they have so many variables so ID have purposely kept the shooting sections nicely contained in enclosed areas. Now that’s not to say the areas are narrow or small (as seen once you enter Dead City, it is just that a city), but the progression through these sections is pretty linear, but that’s not a bad thing as the quality of the gameplay is second to none.
The open world is traveled around quite quickly in your off road buggy, this can give the impression that you just pass quickly from one section to the other and to be honest there is little exploring to be done in the Wasteland anyway.
In the build up to its release much of the focus of Rage has been the about the graphics and with every reason. Rage is simply the best looking game I’ve ever seen on console. Everything is rendered to such a high standard that I’ve often found myself just wandering around looking at rocks going “oh my god that’s stunning” !! But it is much more that just pretty graphics, it’s the tiny details that make Rage so impressive, when a character talks to you not only does it look like his lips are actually saying the words but his tongue actually moves too.
Other things I noticed such as when you pick up a new weapon your character will do things like inspect the gun and even wipe the dust off the scope lens. When you walk around, the environment behind you is reflected in the scope glass. It’s these tiny little details that many would not notice but that is what I loved about the game, it’s the attention to detail, it’s a labour of love and it is appreciated.
One of the missions midway through the game requires you to duck underground to stop the water supply being tampered with, as you run around the underground tunnels with the water dripping from the ceiling landing on your head and running across your face, bandits swinging from the railings above and below you and attacking you from all angles and from any direction in just one of the many epic battles it struck me that this is simple one of the best gaming experiences I have ever had, I had to stop and just marvel in the game ID had created, it’s as close to the perfect shooter as you can get.
It is very clear to see the love and attention to detail that has gone into Rage, simply writing it off as another FPS or a Fallout “lite” does it a massive injustice. The effort that has gone in to convert it to a console version took a massive amount of time, dedication and effort, something many other developers would simply not bother doing which in itself speaks volumes for the team at ID.
Rage has it all, stunning graphics, perfect gameplay, a very good story, the perfect package, although the ending does kind of creep up on you and leaves you wanting more, let’s just hope Rage 2 doesn’t take another 6 years to make.
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