Playstation 3 & XBox
ID Software’s first-person shooter Rage’s biggest downfall is undoubtedly what could have been; during its infrequent best moments everything clicks together and it blows you away, yet the rest of the time Rage is nothing more than the sum of its parts.
Located in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Rage is stylistically quirky and unique, creating an authentic world that sets it apart from any other game that has tried to present a similar stage. From the rusted town of Wellspring to the futuristic Subway Town, to even the most desolate broken buildings, Rage’s world looks glorious in every gritty detail. Put simply, Rage boasts some of the best graphics in gaming history.
Once you finally manage to stop yourself from admiring the detailed planet you find yourself in, Rage’s impressive pedigree shines brightly. For a developer that has revolutionary FPS games Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake in its back catalogue, Rage is unsurprisingly at its absolute best when you’re shooting suicidal bandits, demented mutants and the fascist legion known as the Authority. Although there isn’t a massive variety in what you can have in your arsenal, each weapon feels different to the last. Whether you’re using the deathly boomerang-like ‘wingsticks’ or the customizable shotgun ‘buckshot’, it never gets dull blowing away whatever freak stands between you and the next door. If games can only be as fun as what you’re shooting at though, Rage never stops being entertaining. For example, it never stops being amusing hearing the last remaining bandit quake, “he’s slaughtering us here” as all his buddies lie in front of him.
Unfortunately though, this is pretty much as far as Rage goes when it comes to characters you can have any sort of attachment with. Most characters tend to be more memorable for their accessories – the head tattoo of Subway Town’s leader, the glittering glasses of the first NPC you meet, the belly shirt of the girl who teaches you how to use wingsticks – than anything they say or do. The story is propelled by a series of short-term goals that gradually reveal bits of the overall tale and it’s difficult to get invested in a world populated by characters that, for all the lifelike animations, feel more like court jesters than endearing characters. In its final moments Rage falters significantly, failing to deliver any kind of satisfying conclusion or encounter. You fight a lot of things in Rage, but it never feels like you’re fighting for any reason other than your personal entertainment.
Despite the lack of genuinely exciting context, all the content packed into Rage is still a blast to play, including the surprisingly entertaining car combat mode and co-operative challenges. Rage isn’t revolutionary, but is an expertly crafted, beautiful shooter.