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Rage 2 Review - Wasted Land

  • First Released May 13, 2019
  • Reviewed May 13, 2019
  • PC

Seize the means of destruction.

At a certain point in Rage 2, you become an unstoppable force, a lone wolf that can take down bandit camps, monsters 10 times your size, and crowds of deformed humanoids with your gratifying, destructive abilities and weapons. Not only does your suite of superpowers make combat a blast, it's the key to developing a satisfying momentum. It's too bad that, more often than not, the game doesn't do enough to keep that momentum going.

Rage 2 doesn't waste a lot of time trying to explain to you why things are the way they are. It instead thrusts you into an open world with its fair share of places to go and things to do. In addition to bandits, mutants, and monsters, there's the villainous organization, The Authority, who wiped out your hometown. As the last ranger--elite soldiers with superpowered suits--it's up to you to corral three key leaders by carrying out their missions and finishing Project Dagger, a biological weapon to kill the Authority's seemingly immortal tyrant General Cross. It doesn't really matter who's who, just that you need to destroy those who are hostile. You're only marginally "super" at the start, but the gradual ascent to hero status is rewarding in that you accumulate a roster of devastatingly fun toys.

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Arks spread across the map unlock powers called nanotrites as well as multi-purpose weapons, and these tools pave the way for dynamic approaches to some intense combat scenarios. Nanotrites can be used in isolation or in sequence, creating a diverse yet easy-to-understand set of abilities that allow you to efficiently rip through enemies. For example, Slam is a strong ground-pound that does area-of-effect damage, and Shatter tears through armor and forcefully sends foes flying backward. Their strong impact is matched by their effectiveness, and when combined with a beefy shotgun or rocket launcher, you create a distinct, destructive flow in combat. It's not unlike nailing down an attack rotation in an RPG and seamlessly swapping firearms for the right situation in an arena shooter.

Once you start stringing kills in succession, you can go into overdrive for a temporary boost where you essentially become invulnerable and weapons fire in an even more powerful mode. With all these capabilities in mind, you never have to resort to one individual tactic in fights because you're consistently cycling through all of your extraordinary tools. It's easy to see and feel the parallels with the modern Doom and Wolfenstein games, but Rage 2 distinguishes itself with how much you have at your disposal and how it's all intuitive to use.

You constantly evolve your arsenal via extensive upgrade trees. It's not just about enhancing weapon damage or increasing overall health; nanotrites can be made more useful with shorter cooldown timers, bigger target areas, and additional effects. Weapons also have branching perks, and special unlocks called Projects stack even more buffs on top of all your other capabilities. Upgrading all these facets can fundamentally change how you operate during the moment to moment action and open up new, devastating approaches in combat.

Rage 2's biggest issue is that it's structurally bare; most of its wasteland is made up of short, fragmented activities that hardly ask much from you and don't lead to anything worthwhile.

What Rage 2 is short on, however, are opportunities to put all those abilities to good use. The main campaign structure makes itself clear early on; do a mission for each of three different leaders, fill a trust meter by finishing corresponding side activities, then complete one more mission for each of them before the finale. It doesn't sound like much, because it isn't. Some of these missions make for the game's better moments, but combat sequences wrap up just as you get into a rhythm. And the main questline as a whole comes to an underwhelming head rather quickly.

Take a late-game mission, for example. You bust into a base with a massive tank, then blast through rooms of enemies before fighting a beast that takes more than a few shots to kill. But the tank sequence is essentially a thin on-rails drive-by, the rooms of enemies are recycled, and that beast is the same as ones you've fought before. There isn't much surprise or imagination for a campaign mission that's supposed to build toward a conclusion. Only once did the campaign put me in a position to get creative or extensively use my powers, and that was at the final boss.

Main missions rarely make use of the vast open world the game has to offer, too. There's a sprawling jungle to the north and wide desert plains in the southwest, and only one main quest takes you to each of those locations. At no stage are you introduced to their central towns, so they really exist for faceless NPCs to tell you about side quest locations, which you can very well find on your own by chasing down question marks that populate your map.

Side quests litter Rage 2's expansive wasteland, though it's made up of standard open-world fare, like clearing out a bandit den or pumping a huge mutant full of lead. Although fairly one-note, Convoys add some variety by incorporating car combat. Perhaps the best of the bunch is in taking over recharge stations where you have to fend off waves of increasingly stronger enemies with deadly efficiency--it's the most challenging type of mission as you have to pull out every stop and get creative with your powers and weapons, especially at higher difficulties.

Rage 2 also lacks an identifiable charisma, which is disappointing for a post-apocalyptic world. While it makes a good first impression by kicking off with an unhinged, in-your-face attitude, it unfortunately never builds upon it.

However, it gets to a point where you wonder why you're taking on all these brief missions. Sure, you get currency and materials for upgrades, but you're just getting them for the sake of it. Rage 2's biggest issue is that it's structurally bare; most of its wasteland is made up of short, fragmented activities that hardly ask much from you and don't lead to anything worthwhile.

Rage 2 also lacks an identifiable charisma, which is disappointing for a post-apocalyptic world. While it makes a good first impression by kicking off with an unhinged, in-your-face attitude, it unfortunately never builds upon it. In fact, the narrative devolves into a series of interactions with bland characters that make the storytelling come off as hamfisted. It makes a few attempts at humor which don't land, and the setting's deranged archetypes fall flat. It doesn't let the subpar narrative get in the way for the most part, though stilted dialogue sequences try to bridge the gap between missions.

It's as if the game is trying to strike a balance between the nonchalant badassery of Doom and the larger-than-life characterizations of Wolfenstein, and missing the mark on both ends of the spectrum leaves it directionless. As a result, it's hard to care about what you're doing in the world without much intrigue or a sensible thread to weave all your standard open-world activities together.

Other minor issues may frustrate you as well, like the constant game-pausing notifications for rewards and progress that interrupt the pacing. For a game all about fast-paced combat, it's truly an odd choice to stop everything to say you completed a mission even as conversations are playing out. Also, dialogue may just cut out completely mid-conversation.

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I spent some time after finishing the campaign flying the Icarus gyrocopter from side quest to side quest while overlooking the vastness of Rage 2's open world. It's a gruesome wasteland with the potential to be a wide playground of opportunities to flex your robust set of abilities and weapons. And at times, it gave me just that. Yet I couldn't stop thinking about how that potential was left untapped. Open world games sometimes overstay their welcome, and it's odd to see Rage 2 have the exact opposite problem.

Rage 2 is at its best when you're given the chance to keep up a gratifying momentum in combat, but struggles to setup the scenarios its combat deserves. It's satisfying in the way clearing out an open-world checklist is, especially because powers are such a joy to use. The disappointment comes from the fact that those activities are rudimentary in nature and the decent ones end well before you get your fill.

Back To Top
The Good
Variety of clever, destructive abilities make combat a blast
Upgrade tree leads to some meaningful improvements to powers
The Bad
Main mission ends too soon and doesn't incorporate most of the world
Underwhelming narrative and bland characters
Too few opportunities to flex your superpowers with short combat sequences
Side activities have little consequence
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Michael finished Rage 2's main story and fit a bunch of side missions in around 12 hours. He continued to clear out camps and convoys, eliminate mutants, and upgrade his arsenal after credits rolled for a total of 18 hours on the PC version. Slam is the best nanotrite in the game, period. Review code was provided by Bethesda.
260 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for gamepursuit

While Rage is a disappointment, you could play a few games that still fun even though they are turning 10 year old this year, please check out my video

Avatar image for listerofsmeg

I honestly think people are pissed because Bethesda are publishing it. This is yet another way of them venting their "rage" against the whole fallout 76 debacle.

They did the first one with quite a narrow, almost semi open world....critics didnt like it. So they go to the other end of the spectrum and people STILL dont like it. Im beginning to think the problem with some of these reviews is not the game but these millenial idiots who are allowed to review them. I honestly do not think gaming journalism much like most journalists are capable of writing an honest account these days. I dont listen to a word gamespot says these days they are usually wrong.

EDIT: i just looked up Dragon Age Inquisition. Its a 9. Do I honestly need to say anymore?

Avatar image for aross2004

@listerofsmeg: Is it safe to assume that you love the game?

That would explain why you are attacking the reviewers that didn't.

And if you don't listen to a word that Gamespot says, like you claim, then why would you be here at all?

Avatar image for listerofsmeg

@aross2004: So I have to have played a game to know a score is bullshit? **** off you toolbox!

Avatar image for aross2004

@listerofsmeg: LMFAO! Talking all that shit, and you didn't even play the game???

You just faced yourself so hard, LOL!

Avatar image for listerofsmeg

@aross2004: Again... THEY GAVE DRAGON AGE INQUISITION A 9.......

Avatar image for aross2004


Avatar image for mdinger

I'm playing through this right now, and I prefer it over the recent Far Cry games. It's plot is not great, the driving mechanics are awful, the NPCs are boring to listen to... but holy shit the gun play is crazy fun.

Avatar image for rancid36

Hi all....I'm 52 yrs. old and I loved video games when I was 12 yrs. old until I was 20.....I've moved on to better and bigger things like raising a family and making tons of money. I do enjoy watching my 17 yr old playing and enjoying video games...time for some to move on to better and bigger things. For a 17yr old Rage 2 is fantastic!!

Avatar image for aross2004

@rancid36: So you're a 52 year old on a video game website telling other people to move on to bigger and better things?

The irony is just staggering.

Avatar image for ahmetxca

Altough I agree that the world needs to be filled more, I really enjoyed the mechanics of the game.

I really would like to see this game converted into a looter shooter, playable with friends!

Avatar image for off3nc3

Who asked for Rage 2 ? Wasn't the first one a big enough flop ? 5/10.

Avatar image for maek123

Considering that Gamespot also gave Mad Max a 6 out of 10, I'm pretty sure that this game is a lot better than they think...they just seem to dislike post-apocalyptic games like Mad Max and Rage 2. After reading both of those reviews again, I'm not on the fence anymore - Rage 2 here I come.

Avatar image for naomha1

At the end of the day I could care less about reviews on any site I follow from time to time. However, if a bunch of the sites I follow all say a game is an utter waste of my time I'll dig into Youtube to catch a Let's Play or even use Metacritic. With Rage 2, it's all over the place. From 8s and 9s to 4s and 6s. Nobody can seem to agree on how good Rage 2 actually is. So, I'll add my 2 cents.

It's awesome for me. Period. Everything, and I mean every. damn. thing. is upgradeable. From weapons and abilities to your vehicles. It's probably the nicest upgrade path I've ever seen in my 40 years of gaming. Easily. For a FPS it's absolutely unheard of to have this many tools to upgrade your character. Oh, gunplay. OMG. On point, fast and furious, DOOM style. It's so much fun it should be against the law. The insane amounts of places to discover and explore, the bits of backstory to certain areas and caches, the audio diaries that give clues, the very short cinematics that shine little details on the human condition, the hilarious references that no gamers these days will miss out on, the absurd names of some of the characters (seriously, YOU, the player are Walker, ranger. Wink, wink) and the sheer volume of things that exist to do however you want, just wow. Do I think the game is a 10? No. I'm not an idiot nor a fanboy, but the game easily deserves an 8+. There are very, very few problems I've seen. Minor clipping details, some weird texture glitches and the odd sound file not playing properly. Other than that, it's awesome. For me.

Because at the end of the day, it is fun and if I enjoy it it doesn't matter what any site gave it for a review. Worst comes to worse, if I think it is a dud, Steam gives me 2 hours to change my mind. For this game though, it's a keeper. For sure.

Avatar image for fuse_nations

ohhh great review, here goes my review.

Avatar image for aross2004

Game just feels like a total slog.

The shooting is good, but all of the "open world" crap was just shoehorned in, and completely drags the game down outside of combat, (there's just so much nothingness, although the map is fairly large). The game would have been SO much better as a linear shooter without the extra mind-numbing crap.

The vehicles feel really sluggish, (which is nuts considering how great it was in Mad Max).

Framerates get sketchy on the OneX, (decided not to play on Pro, so unsure on how it runs on that platform), and sometimes textures take a while to load in, or don't load in at all on some occasions.

Add to that some various other bugs, (nothing game breaking for me), and you have a game that is the epitome of average.

A shame, because I was one of the folks who really enjoyed the original.

GS was right on with this score.

Avatar image for naomha1

@aross2004: "the "open world" crap was just shoehorned in..."

What? Have you explored the map? At all? Everything I've found so far, discovered, spelunked through, etc. has had some meaning, usually beneficial to me, to have found. Either dealing with story details, missions, jobs or raising my income. Would being linear have done the game better? No. If you enjoyed the first game you would know that linearity would never work in a game like this. Not really.

Avatar image for aross2004

@naomha1: Ticking off boxes on a map is not compelling or enjoyable to me. I got over that mentality years ago.

But like I said, the shooting is real good so focusing on that in more linear-ish environments, (I'm thinking something like the latest Wolfenstein game, where some areas were kind of open), would have been the better way to go.

Devs need to focus on the great parts of their games, and not add a bunch of unnecessary shit for bullet points on the back of the game case.

Avatar image for stealthy1

@aross2004: yea i 100% agree. The games kinda boring to...

Avatar image for BabeNewelll

Great game , can't wait to play more.

Avatar image for naomha1

@BabeNewelll: Totally agree. For me, personally, it's a blast.

Avatar image for blkgsr

Im having a lot of fun with it, i would rate it a solid 8. Im playing maxed out 3440x1440 with an 8700k and 2080ti. The combat is fun and thats good enough for me to play

Avatar image for naomha1

@blkgsr: Running the same specs but with a water cooled 1080. Game runs flawlessly.

Avatar image for thebadjesus

Can you look down the sites of your weapons in Rage 2? For whatever reason that’s a big decision maker for me with FPS. Shooters where you can site your weapons just feel/look/play better to me. For exam, I love the Wolfenstein games so though I’d try the newest Doom, but I could never get into it because I didn’t find the gunplay enjoyable.

If someone who’s played would let me know that’d be awesome.


Avatar image for tellurye

@thebadjesus: Yes, you can look down sites of the guns. I dont know about all of them, as Im only a couple hours in, but every gun Ive picked up, I can shoot from the hip, or aim down sights.

Avatar image for illegal_peanut

I leave for about a month. And now video reviews don't have any audio dialog to it anymore?!

Avatar image for stony4cloud

@illegal_peanut: I was thinking the same thing

Avatar image for vd853

I played Rage 1 without ever looking at the score, and thought it was pretty good. My only complaint was the lack of waypoint in town that almost made me quit.

Avatar image for mdinger

Meteacritic critic/user reviews coming in thick and fast. Guess what? Out of 10: PS4: 7 critic, 4.7 User PC: 7 critic, 5.0 User XBox: no critic score, 3.9 User

So much for the notion that Gamespot gave this turkey an "unfair" score.

Avatar image for santinegrete

@mdinger: that's an usual source. Not to question it's reliability, I just see Steam reviews (when they're not bombing!) and they are 61% positive. I trust those more because you have to own and have hours played of the product to actually post the giberish :D

Avatar image for jsprunk

@mdinger: The game came out yesterday. 99% of the people who bought it aren't able to give a reliable review yet.

Avatar image for RicanV

@mdinger: There are only 8 critic reviews. Not saying that the number will go substantially higher or lower but your sample size is very small.

Also user reviews should largely be ommitted from any score comparisons. You have individuals rating it at 0 unfairly with no substantial reasoning and individuals who rate it at 10 just to counterattack the 0 reviews. It's a mess.

Avatar image for mdinger

@RicanV: Ha ha ha. Yes, Metacritic should just have a binary score system of 0 and 10, since those are the only two scores most people use anyway. That said, the average score still somehow represents something reasonable most of the time. Like Game of Thrones Season 8 ;-), Rage 2 is simply not the great thing people were expecting. Beyond this point if you're still thinking the game was hard done by in the Gamespot review, you're simply in denial.

Avatar image for justthetip

Rage 1 sucked and didn’t warrant a sequel. No surprise that this one sucks, too. It didn’t look like it was going to be good.

Avatar image for PCsama

Hahahhahahahaha, Beathsda , hahahahaha

Avatar image for Nightmare350

lol I don't get all the bad reveiws/opinions. The gunplay and graphics are fantastic. Enjoying it a lot so far, only a few hours in though, maybe my opinion will change. So far it's at least an 8 for me.

Avatar image for Terrorantula

Didn't even realise this was a thing lol, I thought Rage came out, it sucked and that was that.

Avatar image for mattcake

Mad Max got a 6 from Gamespot too, as did Just Cause 4 and they were both good fun so I'm sure Rage 2 is of a similar style.

I feel like the 6s are more an indication of disappointment from wanting/expecting more, which is fair enough. There's plenty of wasted potential and dumbing down in their games, I think we all hoped the "id" influence would fix that. Sadly not it would seem. And I'm sure the Bethesda influence will nail it's coffin shut with crummy DLC too.

Avatar image for xxdavidxcx87

So glad I wait for reviews till I buy now, missed plenty of stinkers like this.

Avatar image for ZoN1c

@xxdavidxcx87: a 6 is not a fair score. just finished the game, and it was a bit booring at first but when i got into it it was alot of fun! short, but fun. The world lack charisma but its the action you come for! at least a 7/10.

Avatar image for santinegrete

@xxdavidxcx87: the user conclusion of watching video gameplay is usually more reliable. I purchased 3 games thanks to GS reviews that are honestly below 6 when they score 9

Avatar image for peterroberts123456

It’s predecessor is better imo. Graphics are ok. Draw distance isn’t great. I’m only an hour in but metro is a far superior game it appears.

Avatar image for ZoN1c

@peterroberts123456: Metro is 50% talking and slow action. Cant really compare those two games.. Rage 2 is a Doom-action style game ffs.

Avatar image for peterroberts123456

@ZoN1c: both open world shooters. Both apocalyptic. How can you not compare. Jesus. One is a realism type game with story. You prefer the alternative. You obviously prefer the less thinking type games which is fine. Regardless of preference metro is far superior in every aspect except speed.

Avatar image for ZoN1c

@peterroberts123456: Metro is not open world :P or how do you define ”open world”? Metro is way more linear and stronger storydriven, so when you say superior, that is just your opinion not a fact^^

Avatar image for peterroberts123456

@ZoN1c: gamespot - “open sandbox environments” with solid 8 by the reviewer and readers. Rage 2 a 6.


Avatar image for ZoN1c


As i said. Cant really compare, rage 2 is an open world game. Which i prefere.

And reviews arent fact. They are opinions! And opinions are like A-holes = everybody got one! ;)

Avatar image for aross2004

@peterroberts123456: Metro is far superior to most shooters.

Avatar image for santinegrete

@peterroberts123456: METRO GOTY!

Rage 2 More Info

  • First Released May 13, 2019
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Introducing RAGE 2, a new first-person shooterverse!
    Average Rating30 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Rage 2
    Developed by:
    id Software, Avalanche Studios
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks
    First-Person, Shooter, 3D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes