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Rage is the complete package that fans of shooters, RPGs, and buggy racers have been waiting for. Combined with its jaw-dropping visual presentation, Rage easily one of the best games of the year.
- Intense, action-packed gun battles
- Stunning presentation
- Sophisticated A.I.
- The lacklustre plot
- Questionable ending
- Multiplayer lacks competitive FPS element
Rage is one of the best games of 2011 so far, yet it doesn’t bring any massive changes to an extremely crowded market. But there is no question that id Software’s masterpiece will make the short list for that coveted title of games you must own in 2011, especially if you like first-person shooters, RPGs, and cart-shooter. While it blends all of those genres seamlessly, it’s not quite what many have come to expect from other Bethesda games that straddle similar lines. That’s not to say Rage is perfect, as there is no such thing a flawless game. However, Rage gets all the big things right. It’s a top-notch shooter with tight gameplay. It’s a fun, fast-paced buggy/vehicle-shooter racer with plenty of mini-games inside of an otherwise sprawling campaign set in an absolutely stunning post-apocalyptic backdrop.
It has some multiplayer components, co-op, even split screen. It features some of the best voice acting in recent gaming, and the characters are both relatable in their day-to-day struggles, and alien in what they must overcome. All of these statements are plain facts, and none of these elements are even slightly broken. But those core elements aren’t responsible for Rage’s addictive, obsessive, and genuine qualities. What makes Rage so breathtaking is that after a few hours, you realize that the studio that brought you Doom made a game with so much polish, so many jaw-dropping moments that it’s hard to understand why other developers can’t capture this intensity in a single-player campaign.
Corporations and the government are bad, and somehow, even after the mass extinction of humankind, civilization will find a way to continue. That’s the general message behind Rage’s narrative. As Earth is on the brink of devastation from an asteroid, you are one of the last to escape in cryo-stasis on an Ark. The hope is that one day you and the other escapees will help repopulate humankind. Fast forward many years, and you awake to find yourself on the planet turned to a wasteland. From the opening sequence you will quickly discover that the world is not just unfriendly, it’s also deadly and unforgiving. But beyond the bleak landscape and hellish enemies that inhabit the wasteland are pockets of survivors, encompassing what’s become a desperate, greedy, and ultimately crafty civilization. It’s a world we’ve seen in countless post-apocalyptic games, and while it doesn’t really break the mold, it does portray this vision to near perfection.
Just about everyone across this wasted landscape needs your help. While your abilities as an Ark survivor allow the scavengers of the new civilization to call upon you on a whim, your tenacity and strong blood give you that unique edge to help push the narrative forward through countless quests. In many ways, you are the bitch of the new civilization, fetching items, killing bandits, mowing-down hordes of mutants, or even taking part it a morbid reality show. These quests make up the bulk of the single-player campaign, but there is enough to do in the multiple mini-games to keep Rage in your PlayStation 3 for a long time. There is more to the plot here involving a group of resistance fighters striving for freedom, but it’s best to experience that on your own. The only thing you need to know is that the actual plot takes a while to kick in, and there isn’t that much to it. Unfortunately this is something the game lacks, but that‘s not to say the plot is terrible, it’s just forgettable.
Mini-games are only a piece of what Rage borrows from the RPG genre. You’ll craft useful equipment, loot fallen enemies and stockpiles of weapons, ammo, and sometimes sort through mounds of junk. You’ll sell this junk, including collectibles from previous Bethesda titles, to friendly shop owners. The very next moment you’ll drive your buggy around the wasteland, firing off rockets at opposing baddies, or racing your dust-sprawlers to net improvements to your ride. There is plenty to keep you busy through beyond the main narrative, but the story is barely interesting enough to push that what-happens-next feeling.
Once I picked my jaw up from the ground after the amazing opening segment, I was absolutely stunned at how much fun it was to drive through the dusty land. Rage is filled with these little, shall we say, wow moments. ... (continued on next page)