When we heard that games developer iD (who made the pioneering shooters Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake) were linking up with Bethesda (home of the Fallout and Elder Scrolls series) to produce a ‘groundbreaking’ first-person shooter, we naturally got very excited indeed about the promised offspring. After a lengthy gestation, RAGE was the result.
Earth has been ravaged by a giant asteroid impact and you play a rare, genetically modified survivor who now finds himself inhabiting a world populated by bandits and mutants who together with the dominating Authority would pay a high price to capture him. Your only hope is to ally yourself with the Resistance and ultimately take the fight to the Authority themselves.
We downloaded our copy from Steam and apart from occasional flash frames have not had any problems running the game, but several PC owners have complained about the need for considerable tweaking and driver updates before they can start – hopefully these issues will have been swiftly resolved by Bethesda.
What you have in RAGE is an all-action merger of Mad Max and Fallout New Vegas, set in rocky wastelands, overgrown sewage systems and pulverised cities. The gameplay pattern is to arrive at a friendly hub, pick up another quest, hop into your preferably upgraded roadster, fight off vehicle marauders, complete the quest and then retrace your steps.
While there’s plenty of varied weaponry on hand – from standard shotguns and assault rifles to exploding remote cars and decapitating wingsticks – the world you explore is much smaller than in Fallout New Vegas. The vehicle combat is the weakest strand, although you can enter ‘friendly’ races to earn improved motor defences. Some mini-games such as cards, Five Finger Fillet and courier runs are thrown into the mix, but they’re generally little more than distractions from the main combat as the AI is pretty intelligent and will usually avoid a full-on confrontation.
You can indulge in multiplayer, but it also lacks a true deathmatch option – just two-player co-op and vehicle mash-ups. The feeling that the developers were pulling their punches extends to the RPG element, as upgrading needs a serious beef-up and the storyline doesn’t begin to draw you in as engrossingly as Fallout New Vegas.
- Combat is exhilarating.
- Gameplay too restricted.
It was perhaps inevitable that RAGE wouldn't quite live up to such high expectations and despite exciting combat and gorgeous graphics, the map is too small and multiplayer, upgrades and narrative are seriously underwhelming.