Written by Michael Rohde Sunday, 01 July 2012 10:40
Rage, developed by id Software and in association with Bethesda Softworks, is one of those games that got me hooked on it when I read and watched the preview articles and trailers before the game was released. But for whatever reason, when it was released, I had forgotten all about it and never picked it up. Rage came out at the start of the 2011 Holiday season, so perhaps if you are like me, you opted for some other hot release and skipped over Rage. If that’s the case, then I can recommend that you pick it up now on Amazon for as low as $9 used or brand new for less than $20. Here are my thoughts on Rage.
To get started, I have to admit I have not been having good luck playing Rage, and I don’t think that’s entirely the game’s fault. You see, it’s been getting hot where I live and I like to wait until it hits 80 degrees inside before I turn on the air conditioning. Unfortunately, when it gets hot, my old, white Xbox 360 craps out and displays a couple of red lights and then the console shuts off. This proved highly annoying as I was trying to play Rage. I had to restart the game several times over a few different nights. Even with that frustration, I knew I was enjoying playing the game. It’s kind of like an arcade version of Fallout. And I am a big Fallout fan.
If you have played Fallout, or any other game from Bethesda, you’ll immediately notice similarities when you start to play Rage. Without giving away the plot, you play as a soldier that was frozen in space while the world below you goes to hell. You are then sent back to Earth. You awaken from your deep sleep and the game begins. The world as you know it is now basically a wasteland and you must combat mutants and bandits and so on. After you awaken and you leave your ark, you are immediately provided a guide who gets you started talking to people; you eventually get a main quest line, you can perform side jobs and there are lots of folks you can speak to to learn information and so on. You can collect and build items and you must find or acquire schematics to build different items. There are plenty of weapon types and each weapon can use different types of ammo.
Where the similarities between Rage and Fallout end is the introduction to buggy racing and combat. The buggies are really all-terrain vehicles for traversing the dirt roads in the wasteland. You can upgrade your buggies and also add homing rockets and miniguns. These come in very useful for fighting enemy buggies that attack you. If you defeat them, then you get cash. You can also make money for destroying enemy buggies by talking to the bartender in Wellspring. Also in Wellspring, you can go to the racing track and participate in different racing events to earn certificates that you can then use to upgrade your buggy. If you want to defeat all the different levels of enemy buggies, then I highly encourage you to upgrade your buggy early and often.
The graphics in Rage are rather good, not the super best, but they are good. Rage is painted in shades of brown with a soft look to it. Where the UI in Fallout looks spartan with plain type (I’m referring to the Pip-Boy), the menus and overall feel of Rage is formatted decoratively with a Western kind-of cowboy theme. This provides the game a lighter feel to it and you know not to take this game as seriously as Fallout.
The missions are fun and combat feels good. The bad guys move fast so you must have good aim. For the baddies that charge directly at you, I highly suggest the shotgun. In fact, I think the shotgun is my favorite gun in Rage. Especially after I got the Pop Rockets shells. Now those bad boys can do some damage. The AI does leave me feeling confused between if it is good or bad. On the one hand, the AI does take cover, they will run away if they are the last one standing; on the other hand, they will always telegraph their grenades by telling you they are now throwing a grenade at you, and there have been several times when the AI did some weird things like running up to me but then turning to run behind cover. Meanwhile, I just shot them as they ran.
In addition to some odd AI behavior, I have encountered a few bugs in this game. This includes the sound cutting out in mid-boss battle. I had to load a previous save to get the sound to come back. Another bug was that I got stuck in a door once and couldn’t get out. Once again, I had to load a previous save to start playing again. And don’t get me started on the red lights. I wrote before that I thought it was the heat that was causing my Xbox to get the two left red lights to turn on when I was playing Rage. However, after Rage gets the red lights, and I reboot, I can then play hours of Minecraft with no problem. So, either Rage causes my Xbox to heat up more than playing Minecraft does, or Rage might (might not) be causing the red lights. I don’t know for sure, but the red lights appear only while playing Rage. Because of this, I might not finish playing the game.
Some gamers might get upset with Rage because it does reuse the same areas more than once. During the main quest line, you will have to go to different areas, fight through the enemy and then return with an object. Then, later when you do a side job, you might have to go back to that same area a second time, fight through the same enemies a second time, just to get a different object and return with it. Some people might call foul on this type of game design, but it didn’t really bother me because it is fun to play, even if you’re doing it a second time.
Overall, I like Rage. I like the way it plays, I like the way it looks and I like that it’s a very simple first-person shooter action game that will feel like an RPG, even though you don't level up your character; you can pretty much pick up and play Rage without much of a learning curve. If you’re an experienced gamer, you’ll fall into playing this game very quickly. If you’re new to games, then Rage is a great introductory game to play before you try the Fallout franchise. I might not be feeling this good about the game if I had plunked down $60 for it and was expecting a Game of the Year. It is by no stretch GOTY material, but I got it in a Goozex trade, so I’m not feeling the sting that it’s not the best game out there. Rather, it’s one of the better games out there. It’s a game that you can kind of turn off the thinking cap and just play the game. If you can’t get it on Goozex, then Amazon has some great prices on Rage right now and you can buy it brand new for less than $20.
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