I found myself looking into a lot of smaller games at PAX East, but there were plenty of huge AAA titles on display and id Software's Rage was one of them. In development for many years, this is the newest id game and is based on a new IP and a whole new engine dubbed "idTech 5." Up until this point I kept looking at Rage and thinking it is simply a prettier Borderlands, I could not be more wrong.
Rage is set in a post apocalyptic world and has you in the role of a member of a group that took refuge in facilities called Arks during the world ending event (an asteroid hits the planet after careening off the moon). Like the Fallout series, the goal for these survivors is to exit the Ark and rebuild, when you exit you discover that the world is full of mutants and pockets of civilization and you need to find your way.
The hands-off demo I was part of didn’t really dig into the story, instead they were trying to focus on the combat mechanics, the driving, the mission structure, and the inventory/economy system. Unlike most (all?) id games there are many characters you can interact with as you progress through the game. Some talk to you, some threaten, some beg, others offer missions or warnings. The characters are well presented and have a very distinctive look, not uncanny valley, but not cartooney either, somewhere in between which is a good compromise.
As the demo progressed we were introduced to the various hooks of the world and right off the bat the graphics stood out. Id has always been known for being ahead of the curve graphically, but this is their first console/PC simultaneous launch and they have adapted to this challenge brilliantly. Played on an Xbox 360, the game looked absolutely stunning. Sent in an outdoor area filled with toppled bridges, dessert landscapes and rugged ridges everything popped and has amazing detail. Little touches like swirling dust, ambient skies, and detailed structures stood out as did the wide open vista (something id has never been known for). The world is also fully traversable, meaning if you see a bridge, you can get to it.