In the Video game industry, the post-apocalyptic world has become a popular aspect in storytelling. Games like Fallout and Gears of War portray a world devastated by man or nature, and one’s survival in this new setting. For id software’s newest title, Rage, players are put into an unknown world with no reason stated, leaving the player with a focused goal on discovering the truth. While it may not be the most original plot, Rage was solid gameplay and immaculate graphics to front run a possible Game of the Year title.
Rage sets out looking to wow its players from the get go, and does so accordingly with one of the best looking cut-scenes done on the Xbox 360 to date. The protagonist is placed in a cryogenic chamber called an "Ark", while the Apophis meteor barrels toward Earth at a destructive speed, wiping out all civilization in the process. These arks are built so that when the meteor destroys civilization, the remaining humans can rebuild civilization and continue life on Earth. Fast forward 106 years, and the protagonist finds himself the only man alive in his Ark. After calibration tests from release of his chamber, the main character ventures out into the new world: a broken, decrepit wasteland beckoning as many questions as the eye can see. When your character embarks on his journey through the wasteland, it gives the protagonist and the player at hand very little to work with in terms of a starting plan. This feeling gives the player a feeling of being in the main character’s shoes, motioning both the player and the character to venture into the new world and discover the mysteries behind the wasteland and the Ark.
When your character roams into the wasteland for the first time, the first set piece after leaving the Ark is bound to make jaws drop. Id Software’s new graphics engine, id Tech 5, baffles at how structurally detailed each piece of land is, making every canyon, cliff, and cave a sight to be seen. Each weapon the main character interacts with is superiorly detailed, and every character in the wasteland’s struggling towns is amazingly life-like and entirely satisfying to encounter. Rage engrosses players in easily the best looking graphics of the year, imagining a truly outstanding wasteland for players to enjoy.
Even though the wasteland is very empty and vast, it is also dangerous, and the protagonist has to defend himself properly with a collection of weapons. These weapons are provided by helping out the civilians of the wasteland. These civilians introduce missions that further the story, mostly by asking the main character to either rid bandits from a certain territory, or gathering a specific item in a certain area. Though the wasteland is rather big, Rage feels very linear in its missions. The main missions tend to boil down to driving to a destination and accessing a new area to further the mission. These areas are often used multiple times, which really sinks the feeling of being in a big wasteland when the player is continuing his path in the story, yet re-tracing their steps. Outside of the main missions, the character can participate in a few mini-games, such as Five Finger Filet or Strum. These games feel a bit too gimmicky in terms of the plot of the game and don’t feel like they belong.
Rage also includes racing side-missions, which fast driving and first place finishes net racing certificates. These certificates can be used to upgrade the vehicles with better engines, miniguns, and spiked tires for better performance and offensive power. Rage provides a job board where one can take up side-missions around the wasteland. These situations dissolve down to simply shooting more bandits or mutants with none of the said missions affecting the main plot in any state.
While the Job Board may not affect the plot, the combat is incredibly fun. Given id Software’s background of past games, the gun combat is top-notch. Rage sets the player up with an assortment of weapons that would make the Terminator second guess messing with them. Weapons range from assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles, to more outlandish items like the silent crossbow and the wingstick, which is a trusty bladed boomerang for any long-range justice. Each gun provides multiple types of ammo for different situations, giving strategic elements for every battle. Each weapon feels like it has a specific purpose for every battle, rewarding the player with trying out different styles of combating enemies. Taking on a mob of angry mutants with a shotgun that can shoot out grenades is one of the more exciting and quite hilarious moments one can find in Rage.
When one's time in Rage's wasteland comes to a conclusion, the multiplayer aspect is sure to hold their time for just a little while longer. Rage includes two multiplayer modes: Road Rage and Legends of the Wasteland. Road Rage combines the racing of Rage and pits one against multiple players online. Players attempt to collect points by hitting rally points, while trying to destroy other cars to steal their points. Legends of the Wasteland pits two players in co-op missions where they re-enact stories heard around the Rage universe. These add-ons to Rage are a welcome inclusion and will keep players interested in coming back to Rage once the main story has concluded.
Rage sets out to dominate the first person shooter genre by adding an open-world and a massive setting to its character. Though Rage doesn’t do much with its beautiful landscape, Rage still commends at being one of the most entertaining games of 2011. Id does not disappoint in its signature gunplay and frantic shoot-outs, but could have done so much more in its open-world aspects to combat multiple genres at once, and come out on top decisively.