Rage is a semi-open world, role-playing, first person shooter in the same vein as Fallout and Borderlands. The basic plot takes place in the year 2135. An asteroid 99942 Apophis has struck the Earth and the survival of humanity rests in the hands of the would-be survivors of Project Eden's Ark. Players assume control of a nameless, silent protagonist who is only referred to as the Ark Survivor. The Ark Survivor emerges from 106 years of stasis in the Ark only to find that the other ''survivors" are all dead and he is being hunted by a hostile faction known as The Authority. Players then set out to complete numerous side missions and main quests in order to find the other remaining Ark Survivors.
Unlike games such as Fallout, the story to this game is very shallow and paper thin. The characters are very under-developed and these issues make it very difficult to get in touch with what is going on. The story winds up droning itself out in the long run and in games of this genre that's important. Players want to feel emerged into these kinds of games and feel the impacts of their decisions as well as the outcomes of completing given missions. 5/10
I'm now going to comment on the positives of this game. The graphics and sound are amazing. The animations in both character movements an facial animations are very top-notch. Everything in the game moves and operates very fluidly with no glitches and slow downs whatsoever. The voice acting is also top-notch. Every one of the voice actors get into their roles very nicely and every one of the characters movements synch perfectly with every spoken word.
The AI is also very well done. Enemies don't just run out into the open nor stand in one spot, they run and jump from place to place trying to avoid getting hit by incoming fire. They will also crotch down, or take cover depending on their environmental circumstances and area(s) they operate within the world. The environments are very well rendered and are a lot of fun to see and appreciate. One complaint I have is that while everything looks great and runs smoothy, it becomes obvious that this is most of what the game encompasses.
Rage seems to be so caught up in its technical aspects to the point to where everything else becomes completely overshadowed. As I hinted at in the story section, this becomes one of the reasons why it drones out. Not just by the writing aspects, but by showing all too well what the game is all about. Despite this fact, the technical aspects are the biggest achievement on this game's part. 9.5/10
The gameplay of Rage plays like a cross between Fallout and Borderlands. It plays like Fallout in the sense of atmosphere and story presentation, but Borderlands in design and execution. There are many different elements in Rage. There's not just shooting and exploring, but there is also driving, vehicular combat, and racing. All of which mirror Borderlands. By wining races, the player is awarded racing certificates that can be used to unlock new arenas and purchase vehicle upgrades for the tracks and wasteland vehicular combat. Combat in both vehicular and on foot scenarios can be very engaging, considering how good the AI is.
There are a lot of side missions to take on throughout the course of the game. Some are mandatory to unlocking new areas and progressing, while others serve to give the player extra schematics and unlocking secrets. The side missions never get repetitive and do help to give a sense that something was accomplished.
Unlike Fallout and Borderlands, Rage is much more linear in structure. While the environments are good, they are small in comparison to the free roaming aspects of the previously mentioned games. Most are closed off and only become open once the player completes one of the mandatory quests in order to continue. There are also times were certain areas get blocked off at convenient times after completing certain missions. While Borderlands did have its share of linearity, it was mostly droned out due to the game's maps being big and allowing the player to complete any given mission in any order. Since the maps are small in this game, it makes the game show its linear nature.
The RPG elements of Rage are mostly simplified to choosing a certain class for the character, crafting technology, and upgrading equipment. There is no experience and level board like in the two games mentioned in this review. While most of the additional gameplay aspects in the single player are fun, they feel more linear in due comparison. This mostly makes Rage feel more like a standard shooter. I don't know whether to consider this a negative, but this fact is noteworthy.
The main negative about the gameplay is that the single player campaign is very short. Depending on the time spent upgrading and completing quests, the overall course of the game can be beaten in the span of 13 hours. In games of this genre, a lengthy campaign feels mandatory, but aside of that there are enough interesting aspects to keep one coming back. 8/10
Overall, Rage is a game that is fun to play and a technological powerhouse, but its positives do get in the way of what this game was apparently trying to be. While the graphics are amazing, the game feels more caught up in its technical aspects to the point to where the story and characters feel very underwritten. Rage is worth checking out for its visuals, but the campaign is too short and the story isn't very engaging. Since Rage is being considered one of id Software's franchise games, I think it's safe to assume that there will be a sequel. My note to id Software is to improve the story, and make the campaign much longer next time.