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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
(continued from previous page) ...say, wow moments. Whether it’s the incredible graphics, enthralling soundtrack, or massive (few as they may be) boss battles, Rage’s eye-popping moments are plentiful. Id got car combat right, and it’s truly a blast to not only race, but to also fight off mobilized baddies for some extra cash. The steering is extremely responsive, and I never got stuck, even after I flipped my buggy or ATV. Getting big air is not only thrilling, it also nets you some rewards.
Rage features some of the best and most advanced A.I. in any FPS. Some enemies charge you like crazed zombies, while others rotate behind different cover points like well-trained marines. We’ve seen this before, but id approaches this a bit differently. For example, those charging zombie-like enemies, which are really mutants or bandits, will almost never make a straight shot at you. Instead, they’ll crawl over the ceiling, jump from wall to wall, and try their best to get behind you to land a deadly attack. Those heavily-armored gunslingers hiding behind cover don’t just pop their head out once in a while like typical shooters, either. Instead, they’ll flank you, making their best attempt to find cover just to your side while their allies provide cover fire. This provides some of the most intense action in any recent FPS. In fact, it’s reminiscent of the good old days of PC gaming.
The quests are almost always lengthy and filled with epic battles. Luckily your character is equipped with an impressive arsenal, including standard weapons like a pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher, and machinegun, and crafted items like an RC car bomb or EMP grenade. Id created quests early in the game to help introduce you to the different weapons, and even the different ways to approach each battle. While a pistol works against just about any enemy, especially with the right ammo, you will likely want to reserve your shotgun for the mutants and your machinegun for the armored baddies. That special blood boiling in your veins also gives you an internal defibrillator to keep the action going after you finally bite the big one, and you will likely die more than a few times.
Each level is extremely well crafted. The level of detail placed in each area is simply awe inspiring. Not every level has a boss battle, and even when you do face a big baddie, they aren’t particularly difficult or rewarding. That doesn’t take much away from the otherwise deftly constructed levels. At one moment you’ll slug through the sewers, the next you’ll dive into an infested subway and in another you’ll go on a recon mission to save a Resistant leader. They are paced extremely well, meaning some levels feature truly lengthy enemy encounters, while others allow you to snoop around, using your crafted items to eliminate the handful of baddies waiting inside. At times I wish there was a bit more to the levels (like puzzles for example), but the game is much more focused on the action, and luckily it’s delivered extremely well.
For all the debate about the quality of next-gen graphics, it’s clear that Rage capitalized on the sheer power inside current consoles. It’s beautiful, simply put. There are some very minor issues with lip synching, but nothing that’s too much of an eye storm. Character models are sharp, and the draw distance on the landscape is incredible. I experienced no major glitches or problems in the graphics department and despite some audio delay during intense gun battles, the music, voice acting, and sound effects are wonderful.
Step into the multiplayer and the game is extended through co-op missions, essentially telling some back story, and even a fun competitive racing mode that is quite addicting. There is one glaring omission from the package, and that rests in competitive FPS multiplayer. It’s hard to understand why id left it out of the equation, since the game screams blow-up-your-friends after you topple the campaign. Does it mean you shouldn’t pick up the game? Of course not.
Rage may not be perfect, but its core gameplay is outstanding and addicting. Of course it’s hard to tell how this will stand up to the rest of the year’s line-up, but it’s hands-down one of the best shooters of 2011 so far. Yes, Rage is something we have seen before, but ... (continued on next page)