Rage, the title means nothing.
First and foremost, Rage is a beautiful game. It does not go for detailed real-world graphics but it is at the very least good eye-candy. And that is no surprise coming from ID entertainment the producers and developers of the unreal engine and having John Cormack at least dipping his toe in this game. Rage takes on the very classic approach, in that it focuses on the gameplay, the art, the sounds and the graphical prowess than it does with the story.
Focusing on some of the positives, the gunplay was amazing and coupled with the fast moving, spelunking and parkouring enemies made it fun to shoot things for the 20+ hours I put into it. That is to say that I deliberately tried to change weapons to make the gameplay varied (IE using RC car bombs and electronic boomerangs). I had to approach the game with that mentality for the gunplay to be fun since the game makes little attempt to force any of these guns or weapons (and rightfully so). So, with benefit of the doubt, I tried to make it fun for myself and it paid off well.
Although the enemies did not vary much throughout the game, (there were basically two factions of enemies; mutants and authority officers) the gun mechanics were enough to sustain the evocative and satisfying feeling of power and destruction. The animations of mutants hurdling towards you and leaping off the side walls made you constantly concentrate on the positions and that was fun. But it seemed to contrast badly when most of the AI would hide behind cover and all the player would do is stare at an enemy behind cover and wait for him to pop his/her/it's head out. If you pick up this game be prepared for this to happen very frequently but it was also indicative of how I play first person shooters which is hide behind covers and shoot their brains out. As mentioned before, I tried to make it fun for myself so I would bring out the shotgun once in a while or an SMG, throw some wing sticks and various over interesting weapons (don't want to spoil it for you).
The story. What story? For the first half of the game you're really a person who is used and tossed around from town to town. You don't have any motivation or overarching objective; you just become useful to someone and do their dirty dirty deeds. For those uninformed the story goes like this:
- Meteor imminent. Wipe all life on earth
- Government builds 'Arks' housing humans that will rebuild humanity after holocaust
- You awaken to find the world not as expected
- Man helps you, you follow man and he gives you objectives
And the objectives were incidental, wipe out these mutants here, turn on this dish, go to the mine and help them. In hindsight, I was more in awe of the look and feel of the game and did not realize how bland the story was. You were a person of no character, you did not decide on outcomes, there were no dialogue trees for more interactivity. And one could argue that it is a good thing, if all you really want to do was shoot things and play with weapons and drive dune buggies. If that is the mood and mentality you're in, then I would definitely recommend this game. But for me personally, maybe a little more effort could have gone into writing something interesting and making characters more memorable. Because at the end of the game i could not name a single person and their characteristics. You were tossed around so much that knowing the NPCs were meaningless because in the space of 2 hours you would never see them again and even if you did they wouldn't have anything to say. The only constant person was you and your thoughts and even that wasn't clear, I felt not motivation to do the things the NPCs wanted me to do. But I did them anyways because that's how you play the game. So if you're looking for some fantastical lore or some flashed out story you will not find it here. And frankly there shouldn't be people who think there was.
The ending. Although it would be stupid of me to go into detail about the ending of this game since it would defeat the purpose of this review, I’m still going to do it. At the very least for me to understand months/years later why the ending of rage was bad and there really isn’t much to say except; it was out of nowhere, there wasn’t any climax and it was understandable since it was going for the ‘classic’ style but it had no boss but the 3 waves of the same enemies you fought throughout the game.
So, the story was bad, and again does it matter? The gun-play and the enemies were entertaining enough for just a fun fool around the 20 hours. I suppose I should say, don’t expect some cinematic type of game, don’t expect an open world game brimming with life, don’t expect well anything. It’s a lack-luster experience and I hope you get it for cheaps because it was just mildly entertaining.