One of the oddest things about Rage's general reception is the general lack of perspective people have had. No, Rage isn't like Fallout. No, Rage isn't like Borderlands. Outside of its atmosphere, there's no reason to think that this would ever be the case. Rage is an Id game. And it's a good one.
Rage tells the story of a guy waking up inside of a vault (okay, not doing any favors here) who's immediately saved and put to work by a variety of NPCs, all of whom have one motive: to survive. Along the way, the player will play minigames, race customized cars, take on side missions, and a whole lot of other things that are Borderlandsesque while not being at all like the aforementioned game. Rage is in most cases a strict first person shooter and it's better for it. The best game Id's released since Quake 2, Rage overcomes a host of false promises and a shallow story to become one of the better shooters released this year.
Weapons have a kick. Character animations are clever and inventive. Mutants move and die in lively manners. Cars blow up other cars. All of this is done in a way that's polished and relentlessly entertaining. A lack of weapon diversity is made up for with a surplus of ammo diversity. You may not have ten types of handguns, but you've got one that can fire multiple bullets at once, or pierce through armor, or blast the legs off encroaching bandits. A limited weapon upgrade system also helps develop the player's ability to murder. If you're looking for a good time, if you're looking to kill the fuck out of guys who deserve to get their fuck killed out, you could do much, much worse. The shotgun fires like Satan's van exploding, and it does a number. Machine guns rip through bandits and mutants. Pistols, the gun typically reserved for enthusiasts only, can destroy your enemy in so many different ways it's often surprising and a little bit unbelievable. And car combat's good. It's Twisted Metal good. In Rage, things blow up real nice.
That being said, there's really nothing else to this game. The sidequests, minigames, and races are all fun but they won't keep you coming back. The "epic" battle between the Authority (really?) and the Resistance (REALLY?!?!?) is nothing out of the ordinary. The characters who seem like they'd be the most interesting do absolutely nothing. This is your fight. You are the Resistance. So why are these characters here? To show off the character animations? The fact is, you'll forget this game the minute you finish it, and without an interesting multiplayer or even a strong arcade mode (a la Bulletstorm), you're probably not going to come back.
Over all, the game's good, but it never hits great. It's a better first person shooter than a lot of the games coming out on PC, after all it IS Id, but it's not a game that you'll keep coming back to. It's more fun than shooting a barrel of monkeys, but once you shoot all the monkeys all you've got is a barrel.