With the release of Rage 2 this month, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane for a moment and look back on the original game; RAGE. I remember picking the game up in 2011, and by the middle of 2012 I had completed the single player story 3 times (I had no life (I still have no life)). Something drew me too the game, it's not the best game ever made or that I’ve played, but it is one of my favourites, nonetheless.
Rage is a first-person shooter and racing game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks released in 2011 for PC, PS3, 360 and later released on Mac as Rage: Campaign Edition. The game also has some RPG elements which include an inventory system, the ability to customise weapons, the choice of different ammo types for each weapon and of course a main story quest as well as multiple side missions. The game uses the id Tech 5 game engine, which I am very fond of, and a bit disappointed that Rage 2 isn’t using the game engine. But I get why it isn’t, id Tech isn’t made for open world games, and the developers of Rage 2; Avalanche Studios, wanted to make the world of Rage 2 bigger and with a true open world experience that Rage fell short of offering.
Rage is set in a post-apocalyptic world created by an asteroid wiping out most of the population. A crystal call Feltrite that came from the asteroid has fiddled with the DNA of some people turning them into mutated monsters. Multiple cryogenic pods were made before the asteroid impact called Arks. Your character has been woken up, everyone else inside your Ark is dead. You emerge to the outside to see what the world has become around you. You are the Ark Survivor.
As you start the game, a character called Dan Hagar finds you and takes you to his small town in the wasteland. He gives you your first quest as well as your first gun (the settlers pistol). Your objective is to go the bandits hideout and take them all out. Once you arrive at the hideout, the game loads a separate level that you now must make your way through and eliminate every bandit. The somewhat open world section of the game is usually for travelling to different levels which you just used to get to the Hideout. Rage has a somewhat more linear approach than say the game Borderlands where you can complete multiple quests in one area. You usually go on one quest at a time in Rage, and there aren’t many times that you complete two quests at once when in the same level.
Rage being a somewhat linear experience, makes the player not continually stop gameplay and go into his/her quest menu and map to see what objectives can be completed in the one area. I ended up usually going into the log (which is used for selecting quests, seeing stats, crafting items, changing weapons) to craft items, so it wasn’t a regular occurrence.
In Rage you; get a quest - go to objective - complete objective (maybe find rewards in level) - go back to quest giver - earn reward/get another quest/continue story. It may seem simple, but the game makes every quest mean something to the player as well as the quest giver. It doesn’t feel like you're doing chores for the NPC characters, because you are always going into new areas (or even old ones but in reverse) and finding new items and weapons. But most importantly it doesn’t make the player question why the NPC Character isn’t doing the quest on his/her own. The wasteland is a dangerous place and some people don’t want to go out there alone or ever, and you, the Ark Survivor seem like you enjoy the thrill of danger and you look well equipped to do so.
There are vehicles that are used to get around the wasteland and to compete in town races too. The races have the same gameplay loop as the main missions. Choose race, finish in top 3, get race credits to spend on improving your vehicles armour, speed, and/or appearance.
I enjoy the post-apocalyptic setting in games when done right, and a big factor for me is that you feel alone. I know this isn't the only way to do the setting right, but it makes a game setting more of a spectacle when you first wander into a new area. I'm alone, no one to help me and the only way to progress is to move forward into danger. It's a great feeling and even greater one when you complete the task at hand, it makes you want to go on more adventures.
One down side to the game according to everyone it seems, but one that I didn't mind was (spoilers!) having no end game boss fight. The last area you're in, you have to turn on a couple of consoles, and after turning each one on, a horde of enemies start spawning and you have to take them all out. When everyone is dead, you then interact with the final console, and the game ends. It didn't bother me as much as others.
We've all seen boss fights at the end of games. Yeah you will probably get a big sense of achievement when taking down a massive mutant monster, but all you will be doing is learning the boss' movements and shooting bullets at it till the health bar goes down. There's nothing wrong with that, but I like that id Software tried something different. Either that or they just ran out of development time, but either way I commend them taking a chance and not doing the norm.
Rage is a game that I could come back to anytime just to have fun and waste(land) a little time shooting mutated monsters, and I'm hoping that Rage 2 does that exact thing as the original. Avalanche Studios seems to have ramped up the 'RAGE' (and colour!) for Rage 2, but I also hope that it still is fan service for the fans of the original Rage game (so much use of the word 'fan' in that sentence).
ultraplayer 2013, One of the most detailed worlds in video game, reddit, viewed 8 May 2019, <https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/10tt8u/one_of_the_most_detailed_worlds_in_video_game/>.
Rage 2011, Ghost Hideout, Rage Wiki, viewed 8 May 2019, <https://rage.fandom.com/wiki/Ghost_Hideout>.
Gurwin, G 2018, Why is Bethesda making 'Rage 2?' We dove back into 'Rage' to find out, Digital Trends, viewed 8 May 2019, <https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/why-is-bethesda-making-rage-2-we-dove-back-into-rage-to-find-out/>.
A shrivelled up gherkin