id Software’s latest entry to the FPS genre that they helped create is a post apocalytpic, open world shooter. Rage is also the flagship title for idTech 5, the newest version in their long line of industry leading game engines. So will it be a great game, or a technical masterpiece? Well history says ‘both’, but here’s how it looks right now.
As you start the game, it tells the story so far; a giant asteroid is about to hit the Earth, and to prevent the extinction of mankind, several top men and women are put into cryo-stasis aboard Arks, so that one day they may repopulate the planet and carry on the cultures and traditions of their time. Your character is locked in stasis as the asteroid slams into the planet, causing indescribable damage. 100 years later, you wake up.
The Ark in which the you are aboard has been heavily damaged, and you are the only survivor out of twelve. Without memory of who you are, you make your way out of the capsule, at which point you are greeted with the sight of what looks like a scrapyard in the desert, with cranes and building equipment littered around as if they were being used to build something. After finding a handy walkway, you make your way to the ground, making the realisation that they are not building anything. They were extracting the Ark.
Before you can process what this could possibly mean, you’re attacked by mutant creatures, and saved by a character who is voiced the legendary John Goodman. Now this man could have clearly phoned it in like a lot of actors, however he’s gone whole hog and delivered a fantastic performance. As Dan Hagar, he tells you that the price for saving you is killing all the mutants in the camp. While you pick up the gun and bandages left for you, he explains that as an Ark survivor this absurd sounding task should be a piece of cake.
Jumping on an ATV, you race back to the mutant camp to help your new friend. The gunplay is solid, as expected, and firing from the hip seems to be far more useful than aiming down the sights, at least with the pistol. Taking out strong enemies who climb on the walls and come in for a melee attack and weaker enemies who shoot at you from afar feels a little like the PC shooters of old, with less tactics and more shooting.
So basically at some point during the level, you’re captured and killed. Never fear though, as one of the things that make you special is the nanotrites in your body. This experimental and untested technology is what allowed the survivor to stay in stasis for so long without perishing, and now you can use them in a mini-game to shock your heart and bring you back to life.
This feature doesn’t make death meaningless though. You can only bring yourself back to life so much before you outright die, making the use of bandages and other healing items necessary to keep yourself alive normally.
Rage is due out later this month, so you’ll be able to judge for yourselves if this new title is Doomed to flop, or make you Quake with joy.