Something Wicked this way comes
First off 90% of the graphical issues are due to drivers. They will be fixed** so don't worry about that. I'm playing on a laptop which I hook up to my TV via HDMI. I run the game at 1080p with vsync on and 16x anti aliasing. It runs so smooth and overall looks really good. Towns and zones look a lot better than the wasteland overworld. Character models are incredible and so is the animation. They have some of the best skin textures I have ever seen in a game and their clothing is impressive as well. You also wont see very many (if any at all) models that share the same face as you would in other games. id went to great lengths to make sure characters were unique and look really good.
There have been lots of complaints about low res textures in the game. It must be understood what megatexture is and how it works. The Game world is created as one giant texture. Details are in effects stamped into the world. This means everything is unique. You wont see a repeated texture anywhere. Most games use repeating high res textures. Rage does not. The trade off here is alot of the textures are a lower resolution that we are used to in this day and age. The reason id had to use lower resolution stamped textures was installation size. Had they used the original high resolution assets the game would be over 1 terabyte in size. As I said before most games repeat the same high resolution textures over and over and doing that saves a lot of space but gives less variety. Rage has infinite variety at the cost of finite detail. Its possible that in the future id could release a game modification or **upgrade that could replace a lot of the lower resolution textures with higher resolution assets. The main issue will be file size. As I said uncompressed the game would be 1 terabyte in size. Even at a high level of compression Rage is over 25 gigs. A middle ground could be reached and they could double the texture resolution the game currently uses and put it up for download. Even then the game would probably need another 40 to 60 gigs of hard drive space. The only way to distribute a file that large would be bittorrent.
The gameplay is really good. The shooting feels so smooth and perfect. id knows gunplay and rage does shooting better than just about any other game. The enemy AI is really good and can present a good challenge without being cheap. They will take cover, attempt to flank and sometimes run an hide. They feel very dynamic and no scenario feels like the one before. The path finding is excellent. I have never seen an AI get stuck on geometry or have a hard time navigating the area. All different types of enemies have different combat styles as well so it never gets old.
The crafting system is easy to use and pretty cool. You can make some good stuff. I focus on making different types of ammo for a variety of weapons. The driving parts of the game are solid. It controls pretty well and vehicles can be upgraded quite a bit with weapons, armor, engines, suspension, skins etc. Racing is pretty good too
The sound and voice acting is top notch as well. Rage has more story than most id games and its delivered via some quirky and interesting characters. The main issue is you just barely scratch the surface of who these people are which is a shame. Your character never speaks either and some details are left untold leaving you wondering why things are the way they are. id could have done a better job explaining the world these people live in and it was definitely a missed opportunity. The hope for the future lies in Bethesda. Bethesda bought out id not too long ago and hopefully their expertise in writing quality game stories will benefit future id games. I think the partnership happening too late into the development of Rage for it to have any effect on this game but Rage 2 is a whole new ballgame that I hope we get to see.
Honestly when you get right down to it Rage is alot of fun. There are alot of people complaining (mostly about technical details) but I think its being blown waaaay out of proportion. Get the game you really won't regret it. Its a solid shooter thats more throwback than future but as long as you know what to expect you wont be let down.
Assuming you are playing on PC do yourself a favor and configure the game via your graphics card control panel. Set Anisotropic Filtering to "Application Controlled" as Rage does not like Forced AF, it creates seams in the geometry. Also be sure to set your other filtering options to High Quality not High Performance. Oddly Rage not only looks better when set this way but it also runs better. Enjoy!
**As of December 2011 all the PC performance issues have been fixed. As was suspected they were due to driver issues from both nvidia and ati. The ati drivers still arent the greatest but they seem to improve with every release. Sadly no higher resolution texture pack seems to be coming as was rumored at the time this review was written.