John Carmac and id software’s latest release is entitled Rage and that is certainly what ATI graphics card users felt when their $60 pre-order game failed to work on their machines no matter how high end they were. Other graphics cards still had some issues, but nowhere near as badly.
As with many such releases quite a few pre-release reviews touted the game as something uber-special, while the truth is something slightly less.
If you can get the game to run on your set-up then you are in for a visual treat. Even though I have a graphics card that is not meant to meet the requirements for the game, it has run beautifully and looks gorgeous. (I realized I had mis-read a number in the requirements for my graphic cards.)
It felt rather odd to be playing the game on a “unsupported” graphics card while those who had cards that were well with the requirements found the game unplayable.
As you might expect from an id game, this is a tech demonstration for their new graphics engine. However, their keeness to show off their new engine probably led to the daft decision to prevent players from messing with anything but the most basic video settings. The game itself decides what is best and tough luck if you don’t like it.
That said, the outdoor environments are impressive to behold; id has certainly done post-apocalyptic earth right graphically.
Then we come to the game-play. Rage is not a bad game by any standard but it’s just nothing special. Borderlands did the same thing better, with less hassle and more panache.
The driving in Rage is worse than Borderlands for sure. Quite why id thought that it would be a good idea to make the driving third person while the rest of the game is first-person view is beyond me. How about an option to have either a roof view or better yet an inside one?
Third-person driving is clunky and unresponsive. Then again, the driving is clunky and unresponsive full stop. It’s an onerous task that never really gets any better whether it is when you are exploring, in a solo game race or online. It seems tacked-on, ill-planned and just not very good.
The FPS elements of the game are pretty decent, as are most id games. Then again there is nothing really new here gun-play wise to the latest Doom or Quake.
Id has a style of first-person shooter and they stick to it. The crafting element to the game is an interesting touch though. Making your own exploding arrows for the cross-bow is quite fun.The straight out of Mad Max boomerang-like throwing stick is, however, just a gimmick and not really that useful.
You have the standard aray of weapons and some interesting ammo. Though I am not sure of the point of the “mind-control” bolts you get later on as the “control” doesn’t really work that well.
And how lame is a remote-controlled car-bomb? It wasn’t fun in DNF and it’s lame in this game too. It is more useful to craft them to sell them to buy actual useful things.
Allowing the player to craft their own individual armor would have been nice and the choices (expensive too) of paint schemes for the car seemed a bit weak.
As far as the open-world element to the game goes, it is a load of hooey. Yes you can drive around in the various areas killing bandit vehicles for rewards from the bar-tender in each settlement, but that gets a tad dull. The side missions are fairly samey and the rewards are limited. The game is basically very linear, with a lame predictable plot and an ending that makes DX:HR’s seem clever and witty.
I tried the multiplayer and it was laggy. The driving part of it suffers from the same problems as the solo game, with lame modes and tracks that assume you are on an uber-fast line one town over from the host. I tried to find someone to co-op but no one was around. Considering the problems people are having with co-op I am not surprised.
It also seems rather daft and unfair to pit level 1 players versus level 20 players in multiplayer. Needless to say I was slaughtered handily. So much for matchmaking.
Oh and one more thing: id how about letting the player go back to mess around after they have finished the short story-line game-play? The game is meant to be open-world, so let people explore as they please.
To be honest the game seems a bit half-done and rushed. It looks great, but once you get past that in any new location it’s just the same old shooting stuff. Now I love some good FPSing but this game was sold as being something different and it just isn’t. It’s another id game to show off their engine to potential licences.
The fact the general gamer got a look in and a play seems an after-thought. Rage is not DNF bad by any means, but it’s certainly not worth the full price and the hassle. Wait until there is a Steam sale after a bunch more patches, then consider it.
GameXYZ is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: PS3, Xbox 360