When id Software make a game, I take notice. But then for those of us who love First Person Shooters, who wouldn’t? Having created and led the FPS genre with games like Doom and Quake, a new IP blending FPS, RPG and driving has awesome oozing from every fresh wound, right? Well, having it’s rrp slashed by 50-75% after it’s first few weeks of release would suggest not, but to be fair, I don’t think this is the fault of it’s quality, but of it’s content.
The idea behind Rage’s gameplay is essentially Borderlands meets Fallout 3, you wake up in a post apocalyptic world and end up having to drive around completing missions for money , scavenging equipment and resources to upgrade your weapons and to craft new and more inventive ones…blah blah blah.
To be fair, to criticize an FPS for having a generic plot is like criticizing a platformer for having jumping and collecting as it’s central game mechanics, an FPS only really needs to give us an excuse to start shooting people, and a post-apocalypse wasteland makes a pleasant change from Afghanistan or World War 2, so I’ll let Rage have that one!
You begin by emerging from suspended animation and then exit into the world, and my goodness, what a world it is! The first impressions Rage gives are outstanding, the graphics are amazing and the environments throughout are richly detailed, well lit and atmospheric. In fact, the graphics and animation on everything from the landscape to the people and vehicles maintain a superb quality from start to finish and are probably some of the best I’ve seen in an FPS for the 360 (which is the version reviewed).
The gameplay itself is everything you’d expect from an id shooter, the enemies are intelligent and appear to adapt to your style, whether charging in with your biggest gun or playing it smart by softening them up from a distance, and your selection of weapons range from pistol to rocket launchers. Ammo types can be swapped out in most guns from standard rounds to armour piercing or even EMP and explosive ammo for your versatile, but rather dull to use, crossbow and if you salvage (or buy) enough parts you can build sentry robots, remote controlled explosive cars and what I think id hoped would be Rage’s piece de resistance, the throwing blades. These are basically machetes tied together in a star shape and thrown like a knife but also return like a boomerang so if you catch it on it’s way back you don’t lose the blades used to craft it from your inventory. The problem I found with the throwing blades is that they’re just not as cool as the sniper rifle or top end machine gun so I never bothered to use them.
This is where Rage’s problem starts, id have developed a series of gadgets that sound pretty cool and they obviously want you to be scavenging around for parts in order to build all these lovely toys, but none of them are any cooler, more fun or more satisfying than blasting some scabby mutants right in the face with a big ass shotgun.
– because that, id, is what we want from our FPS games thankyou!
It seems that despite the popularity of their previous games, id think that to improve on them they should slow down the pace by dropping us into a small town, have us pick up a mission from one of it’s inhabitants, drive to the mission location, add searching around for tin cans to the shooty bits, return to the instigator in order to complete the mission and then sell our cans for enough money to buy parts for gadgets we’ll never use. Haven’t these guys ever played Doom? Ah, yes….never mind.
The second misstep id have made with Rage in my opinion is the inclusion of driving, although competently implemented it’s just another obstacle between mutants and the business end of my sniper rifle. I actually enjoyed the driving initially but it soon gets repetitive and tiresome, your cars can be upgraded but only by spending vouchers earned in races, which after the first few, after the novelty wears off, aren’t particularly challenging or fun, and eventually you’ll come to loathe having to drive anywhere at all.
It’s actually the driving that id have focussed on for the multiplayer side of things, which from the developers of Quake is both surprising and disappointing, and to be honest, because I didn’t even enjoy the driving much anyway, I didn’t bother trying it at all so can’t comment on it’s quality.
So there you go, exceptional graphics, awesome enemy AI, fun weapons, competent driving and racing sections, and plenty of missions, side quests, scavenging and crafting to get your teeth into. Sounds brilliant, but somehow it’s only actually the FPS sections that I would describe as excellent, as a complete package it can get a little boring but seeing as it can be found for around a tenner these days it’s still well worth a go if you like this sort of thing.
But the less said about the disappointingly sudden ending the bett