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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Rik's Reaction to RAGE (PC)

So id software..  pronounced ID..  not I.D..   clear?  No.  Well anyway masters of the FPS way back in the early 90's they've taken their first stab at a new game in 7 years and it feels like they have kinda jumped on several band wagons for this one..  

We all remember being terrified by unconvincing pink pixel monsters in DOOM.. 


And then being ASSAULTED by a "varied" palette of browns in Quake..

It is just so BROWN

And most recently encountering slightly more convincing pink monsters in 2004's DOOM 3... in the dark...


For me those are mostly fond memories and RAGE kinda threatens that deep-rooted nostalgia initially, and fails to make a good first impression...  mainly through a lack of originality...

The game has been in production since 2007 and over that time the men at id appear to have been enjoying 3 specific games..  and their influences are clear to see...
  • Open world?   CHECK   (See Fallout 3)
  • Mad Max style end of the world apocalypse badlands?  CHECK  (See Borderlands)
  • Moody guitars mourning better times?  CHECK  (See STALKER)
  • Mutants, zombies and mutants? CHECK ( See ALL THREE 1, 2, 3)
And RAGE has these in abundance.. 

Open World & Badlands, Guitars, MUTANTS!

"I'VE PLAYED THIS ALL BEFORE" you might scream as you begin your first mission to murder a den of mutants for paper thin reasons, however in truth...  I don't think you'll actually care.

id have a long and proud history of making guns sticking out of screens feel chunky, heavy and dangerous and RAGE is no exception. Every pull of the trigger with every weapon feels like a ballistic face punch and it's satisfying when you nail a shot with such kinetic force that your target cartwheels through the air to land behind the wall he just vaulted to get at you. 

It makes you feel like a bad-ass, like the cowboy in the white hat who has arrived in town and things are gonna change. That is exactly what RAGE is all about and really what your ticket price is paying for.

Although the game may have taken some pointers around what theme and features make a game sell these days, it is still firmly an old school shooter which see's you essentially moving from one shooting gallery to the next. 

The combat is a relatively straight forward affair, with simple retro mechanics. You won't find a "take cover" button ala Deus Ex, with the camera zooming out to a third person perspective and your character expertly hugging your choice of refuge. There isn't even a lean button to allow a little peek around corners, it's all about crouching with your face seemingly pressed against a wall, popping up and blasting away.

The AI are about what you'd expect from a modern game, most of the time they do a good job of staying in cover, moving up and around to flank you. The don't always hit and they don't have eyes in the back of their head. You never feel like the game is cheating or they have an unfair advantage.

They also have a few surprises up their sleeves from time to time..  believe me the first time a screaming maniac charges at you, serrated axe held high, you'll line up the head shot, confident in your prowess (maybe you'll invite your girlfriend over to watch?  [don't by the way]) and as you pull the trigger said maniac DUCKS and your shot explodes in the wall behind... you'll raise an eyebrow I'm sure. 

If you duck I'll KILL YOU

They are fun targets which provide an entertaining fire fight across the board.

One thing that certainly isn't old skool about RAGE is the graphics...  and my word are they pretty. If you have a good enough PC this game really looks wonderful, the weapons in particular are actually jaw dropping in places. Look at this screenshot from the PC version of the game... then imagine it moving towards you at speed. Eep.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT! Sir! .... you dropped your wallet!" 
The PC version did suffer universal reports of terrible texture pop in at release, however I can report I haven't had any of those issues and as always recommend the game is patched and up to date before playing. Both the Xbox and PS3 versions have also received many plaudits for its graphical muscle and to be honest, do we expect anything less from id and John Carmack

The citizens of city hubs like this one will provide you with jobs and missions to complete

There isn't much else to say about RAGE, sure you get a vehicle which you can upgrade with weapons, turbos and armour however it just serves as a mode of transport to get from point A to B and your next corridor full of evil doers.. oh and something to race in from time to time.

You can visit merchants to upgrade your weapons and you can buy materials to build things to help you, such as cute little spider robots that follow you around and help out when the shooting starts.

There is a story of sorts...  however much like you as the protagonist, it's best not to ask questions.

Go play, shoot some bad guys and have fun.. and in the end, what else do you want from a id FPS? 

For me...  not much.

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