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Review

Rage Review

  • Game release: October 3, 2011
  • Reviewed: October 4, 2011
  • X360

Rage creates an engrossing world full of dazzling detail and entertaining shooter action.

by

The postapocalyptic future looks better than ever. From the moment you step out under the brilliant, cloud-studded sky of a ruined world, Rage proclaims its technical and artistic mastery. As you drive along dirt roads through narrow canyons among the hardscrabble outposts of civilization, every environmental element pops with an amazing level of detail. As you converse with the people you meet, their expressive faces and believable dialogue have you eager to hear what they'll say next. And as you blast your way through your snarling enemies, their battlefield behavior and gory deaths make you feel like a powerful fighter. This is a gorgeous world that makes you excited to go exploring, but there is disappointingly little to find off the beaten path. The richness of Rage makes you wish it were even richer, and you may also find yourself wishing for a better story, a more accommodating save system, and more robust ways to enjoy this world with friends. But your lengthy adventure is exciting and rewarding all the same, and the stunning landscape alone is practically worth the price of admission.

Having slept snugly through an extinction-level event in a sealed government refuge, you awaken to find that your fellow sleepers were not so lucky. Alone and unsure, you step out into the world, encounter some savage locals, and end up indebted to a local sharpshooter. He explains that survivors like you haven't been seen in a long time, and proceeds to ask you for a favor. Thus begins your journey of helping out the friendly folks of the Wasteland with your natural affinity for driving, collecting, and killing. Each new person you meet is a delight, thanks to stylish character design, expressive animation, and great voice acting. It's a pleasure to visit the local bar where the freckled proprietor pays you a regular bounty and the garish dealer entices you to play another round of a collectible card game. This is a world where a sweet young lady teaches you about a flying implement of decapitation, and the puffed-up mayor sends you on a delivery run to a hand-wringing doctor and his possibly sentient mechanical familiar. Rage's characters are so charismatic that you'll likely be disappointed when your conversations end and will be eagerly anticipating the next interaction.

The towns and settlements where you find these folks are richly detailed and beg to be explored. Observant players are rewarded with a raft of thoughtful artistic touches, including some cute references to certain iconic video games. As you travel outside these havens and around the spacious environs, you encounter the skeletal remains of freeways and industrial complexes. Some have been appropriated by the locals, while others are left to molder, but all are vividly detailed. These man-made elements are surrounded by striking sandstone cliffs and scrubby vegetation, and they all come together to create a cohesive and absorbing landscape. Rage makes you want to regularly stop and gawk at the world around you, and the mercenary path you take gives you plenty of opportunities to do so. Your core missions eventually take a more purposeful path, but Rage does a poor job of drawing you into this crusade, so your quest to ensure a better future for humankind never feels more urgent than your task to bring a boozehound his missing moonshine. It's a shame that the game doesn't leverage its enticing world to create a stronger, more compelling adventure, but it's still a joy to explore and inhabit the Wasteland.

Throwing a wingstick is a great way to cut down a charging mutant.

Not all Wasteland inhabitants are friendly, however. Packs of bandits have taken up residence in their own little communities, and each group has its own look, combat tactics, and interior decorations. Keeping an eye out in these dens not only gives you a sense of how your enemies live, but can also yield ammunition, guns, collectible cards, and a wealth of detritus that can be sold or used to build helpful items from schematics you acquire. A timely bandage or health boost can toughen you up for a challenging fight, while a bladed wingstick or spidery robotic ally can add crucial firepower to your cause. Your bandit enemies shoot accurately and use cover, while your mutant enemies just run headlong toward you, albeit with some surprising evasive maneuvers. Despite the health items, replenishing health, and rechargeable defibrillation power at your disposal, you can die if you aren't careful. When you do, pray that you have manually saved your game recently, because Rage rarely autosaves, and you can lose significant progress if you aren't diligent. Unfortunately, this makes pausing to save your game as important to your progression as any in-game survival tactics, which feels like nothing so much as an annoyance from gaming's past intruding on the fun.

Fortunately, you have plenty of firepower available to help you avoid death and possible loss of progress. The shooting mechanics are solid, and though the guns in Rage's arsenal are fairly conventional, each one fires with a nice sense of weight. Things get interesting when you incorporate the many weapon-specific ammunition types, such as one that can turn your humble pistol into a powerful hand cannon. Some types merely deal more damage, while others add an extra explosive or electrical kick. The latter are helpful for taking down mechanical enemies, while the time delay on the former lets you take sinister delight in watching your enemies realize they are about to explode. Enemies in Rage die with style; some crawl on the ground, mortally wounded but still trying to kill you, while others lose limbs, heads, or complete corporeal integrity. Though it can be odd to fill an enemy with bullets and have him react only to the last one, Rage's visual prowess still adds an extra kick to these brutal kills.

When you're not engaged in firefights or friendly conversation, you spend a lot of time driving around the Wasteland. The various four-wheeled vehicles you come to own are fun to whip around in, and the stunning scenery is a constant source of enjoyment. As you drive from one area to the next, the quality of light changes based on the scenery, creating a nice sense of travel. Bandits frequently come after you, and with the application of firepower, expendable items, and some judicious ramming, you assert your vehicular dominance. There are items for field repairs if you take too much damage, and if you find yourself about to explode (or hung up on a rock or guardrail), you can call for a tow and instantly travel back to the nearest town for a reasonable price. You can upgrade your ride or earn a new set of keys by racing on the Wasteland circuit, but your opponents rarely put up enough of a fight to force a photo finish. The car improvements are worth your time, but if you want a tough race, the competitive online multiplayer is the place to go.

In Road Rage, up to four racers can compete in a few different modes that reward good driving and skilled shooting. Some are straight-up demolition derbies, while others require you to grab fallen meteors or race through checkpoints while avoiding your opponents' onslaughts. Road Rage is a fairly shallow experience, despite the variety of cars and weapons that you unlock as you level up, but it's a worthwhile diversion if you crave competition. You can also team up online in two-player cooperative missions that are very similar to some of the solo missions you embark on in the campaign. These so-called Legends of the Wasteland are nicely bookended by voice-overs that make you feel like your exploits will be talked about for years to come. In these stand-alone sorties, you must make do with a preset loadout and whatever you can find in the environment, killing enemies while trying to avoid damage in order to preserve your score multiplier. These are solid challenges to overcome, but with only nine missions, they're more of a nice bonus than a compelling reason to play.

Sally needs the road clear for her customers, and you're just the fella to do it.

That honor belongs to the lengthy campaign, which can last upward of 20 hours for avid racers and diligent questers. Though the story gets a bit too cliched, there is a robust amount of adventuring to be done in a world that rewards you for your attentions. Rage is a beautiful game that looks equally stunning with or without the hefty installation (which reduces the load times and is optional on the 360 but required on the PS3), so regardless of which platform you play on, you'll find a rich and rewarding adventure that sets a new visual standard for the postapocalyptic wasteland.

The Good
Remarkable visual design
A host of charismatic characters
Enjoyable array of weapons and items
Speedy and gratifying vehicular action
The Bad
Story isn't strong enough to make you care about the primary conflict
You must remember to save manually or risk losing significant progress
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Rage (2011)

About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

18 comments
NTM23
NTM23

I think there is some really great stuff in the game, but if they had just gone a little further with certain aspects, like the story; more emphasis on atmosphere, and even made the side missions feel more important instead of "Hey, I'm this guy; go get me this thing, and then bring it back to me." 

That also contributes to the somewhat dull characters. I felt they looked unique and were also voiced well, but if all they're there to do is give you a mission, it doesn't really do much for them. It could have been one of my favorite shooters in a long time, but as it stands, it's just great. I do hope for a sequel though.

dkerns06
dkerns06

Manual saving is not a draw back. Check point auto saving is!

rtb61
rtb61

Pretty game but with poor level design and horrible enemy spawning right out of the nineties.

Oh no, not trapped and the boss spawn, talk about lame and done to death.

It feels like the resurrected zombie game designers from out of the eighties and set them to designing a game with relatively good graphics, fortunately it over pretty fast so it doesn't become too tedious.

The enemy spawn really does ruin the whole feel of the environment, that combined with the overly linear levels with little or no choice or route and tiny obstacles that can't be jumped over and armoured doors that can't be opened.

Buy it on discount in a pack but don't buy it on it's own as for Gamespots review score of 8 'er' 'yeah' OK.

HAMMERCLAW
HAMMERCLAW

It's an OK game, that has a been there, done that feel that is hard to shake. Graphics are pretty, except for the static sky, and the--on my aging Sharp HD--eye-tiring motion-blur. Enemies are just a little too clever in their avoidance maneuvers, requiring a lot of spraying and praying. If you've played the Fallout and Borderlands games, you may find yourself longing for VATS or vehicles that are a bit more versatile. I recommend the game with the caveat that there is nothing ground-breaking or particularly innovative about it. You have the option to save anywhere, anytime, which is a plus, and  something  all games should already have, by now.

Rivboets7
Rivboets7

Great game not much mention in the world but definitely worth the buy!

net_demon_demon
net_demon_demon

I my self have not played this game just yet. I read this review and seen a few videos and pictures and the manual save ordeal is fine. The issue that I have with this game is that in away it could be much like other games that I have played. Like fall out. I will check this game out because it looks pleasing but if the game is some what the same as other games then that is where the real issue lies at. I would say that game programmers writers even should consider creating a game that has a style and story line that is unlike any other game out. Be original and not use anything that has already been done before.

rhombiii
rhombiii

I love this game SO MUCH! I got the Campaign Edition yesterday from the Mac App Store; so much fun! I'm on the first boss battle; wish me luck!

 

:).

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

I'm on 27% game completion or something like that and I FREAKIN' LOVE THIS GAME! Due to living with my fiance, game time isn't as frequent or lasting as it was in the past, I also don't play games for the sake of finishing them either, soo my progress has been slow but steady.

 

Personally, I love that the game DOESN'T press you along the main campaign all the time so I feel less guilty (rewarded even) for goofing around and exploring...

 

I got caught by the manual save once, and it was enough to not let it happen again... How lazy are some people?

xboxgameman
xboxgameman

A solid 9.0 in my book, this game is epic!

pai-may
pai-may

I can't believe that the reviewer, who is actually an editor here, marked it down because you have to manually save your progress. Pussy. Seriously learn to play before you review games in future.

famekiller
famekiller

i'm not sure what everyone problem is. maybe i am easy to please but i thought rage was cool. It had a great mix of FPS and racing. I guess some people have really high expectations from games these days.  You can't please everyone. Good game id ! Can't wait for Rage 2

SylviaFowler
SylviaFowler

Hate, hate, hate that you have to race cars in order to further the story. Such a waste of energy. It ruined what would have been an entertaining game otherwise. But if you like racing games, this one could be for you.

rfootix
rfootix

Anyone else feel this game has come out several years too late? The post-apocalyptic thing has been done to death - there doesn't seem to be anything new here. Borderlands had a throwaway appeal and good multiplayer that made it a success, Fallout 3 was full of depth and the Stalker games made me poo my pants. Rage seems to be a watered-down version of these three games, with no strong appeal in any particular area. I think Watters is wrong; for me Rage so far has been ok, but certainly not great.

your-exhellency
your-exhellency

i was disappointed with borderlands, but this game was worse again. just as i thought it was about to get going, it ended. if anybody wants the real deal get fallout 3 goty edition. it will keep you 'involved' for along time, and unlike rage is very good value for the money you fork out.

rangeraa
rangeraa

@argyle1988 difference being that Borderlands was amazing and this was merely meh.

punisherkatz
punisherkatz

I don't know about anyone else but i felt the campaign was too short.

argyle1988
argyle1988

Would've thought there'd be a mention of how it is almost IDENTICAL to Borderlands.

Shoinko
Shoinko

The visuals are impressive in their bright, crisp, visceral look but there is a considerable amount of low detail textures. Its a good looking game but not amazing. I actaully prefer the look of Skyrim, the visuals arent as sharp or well lit but they are more consistent across the board.

Rage (2011) More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Rage is a first-person shooter from Bethesda set in the not-too-distant future where an asteroid impacts Earth, leaving a ravaged world behind.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 4410 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Rage (2011)
    Developed by:
    id Software
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks, Mastertronic
    Genres:
    First-Person, Action, Shooter, 3D, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language