The Good: Solid shooting, great weapons design, different ammo types is a blast to use, strong atmosphere and enemy design, car combat works well
The Bad: False sense of freedom, buggy and glitchy technical nightmare, ending is really lame, enemy variety is low, overall feeling of repetitiveness
I have to come right out of the gate and say Rage is probably one of the most disappointing games I have played all year. With all the hype about the amazing and revolutionary graphics engine and weapon system that id Software (the inventors of first person shooters) has made, you would think they would fall through. The game completely is a 180 of what id said the game would be like. The first thing you will notice are the enormous amount of bugs and game breaking glitches especially for ATI card users. The graphics will literally be completely distorted, or the entire game will be blue. How do you fix this? Extract a file from the graphics driver update and put it in the Rage folder. Or you can fiddle around with Catalyst Control Center, or how about the game not even running right unless you have it open? This is completely absurd and should not be like this upon release. I spend a total of four hours fixing this damn game so I could just play it. So you're probably asking is it worth it?
Well the shooting is solid and that's a fact. id knows what they are doing and the guns are great and super fun to use. You can upgrade them at stores in towns, and use various ammo types because the enemies do need different approaches. This is by no means a straight up stand in one area and shoot everything. You will die quickly so use what you have available to your advantage. Guns like the assault rifle use regular steel rounds and feltrite rounds which are more expensive but more powerful. The shotgun can use buckshot, but also pulse rounds and pop rockets which act like explosive shells. You get a rocket launcher, sniper rifle, and a pistol that shoots four different types of ammo. There's a decent amount of guns in the game and you slowly unlock them as the game goes on.
Shooting enemies is fun because each weapon packs a punch and feels good to shoot. Enemies have great animations and fight worth a damn so the game isn't too easy. There are even some pretty fun boss fights as well. The enemy variety is pretty low, however, you get maybe five different kinds through the whole game with some just swapping out outfits such as different bandit groups. The whole point of Rage is to run around in the world and explore dungeons to complete various mission types. The dungeons are varied and have a lot of loot in them to engineer items such as bandages, wingstick (boomerangs that are instant kills!), sentry bots, RC cars that explode, ammo, grenades, and a whole slew of things you can build in your menu while your on the field. This can be really fun and encourage exploring every corner for junk to sell or use.
Now you're probably wondering how the game is like an open world? While the game has a great art style and feels a lot like Fallout that it is trying to copy it isn't in any way. The game has a nice post-apocalyptic art style and has some great designs and pulls of atmosphere, but it falls short because the game has a false sense of freedom. The outdoor areas must be driven (more on car combat later) and can not be traversed by foot because for one it will take forever, and two the other cars will kill you instantly almost. The world has a lot of "hallways" that you can drive in that lead to each dungeon, but by no means is it a free open world like Fallout at all.
This tends to be very depressing because you can see all this great open land, but it's barren and closed off by cliffs and walls around you. I mean there are only three towns in the whole game, and they are spread out in two different areas that you have to load between. There is a nice amount of side missions as well as races which involves the over hyped car combat. You drive around your car, which controls very well, and do various races to earn certificates to upgrade your vehicle so you can survive out in the "wasteland". The combat is fine and all, but mainly serves as just a way to get to your missions in the "open world" because car combat out here is far and few between.
I also had a problem connecting to characters because you don't talk to them much and they really just give you missions. I also had a problem connecting to the story because while it has potential, it falls short with a terrible and lame ending, plus it just ends abruptly with a poor final mission with no boss fight. Some of the side missions are probably more interesting than the main missions. Overall you're looking at a 15 hour campaign even if you complete every side mission. I also have to mention that the graphics look good, but there are better looking games out there thanks to Rage's weird low resolution texture problem, but there are some really nice lighting effects throughout.
Overall Rage is a buggy, broken technical mess that most people will just give up on. However, the game has solid shooting, excellent weapon design, and engineering stuff is really fun. The false sense of freedom and so-so car combat really bring the game down to just a mediocre experience that will not leave an imprint like Doom
did all those years ago. Sorry id but try, try again.