Originally used as a tech demo during Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) on June 11, 2007 for the iOS platform, John Carmack and the team at id Software have completed their latest project, RAGE. With titles such as Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, devouring all of the media’s attention this holiday season, RAGE must deliver an experience like no other and prove its value to cash-strapped gamers this holiday season. Does it deliver and deserve a spot in your game collection this year? Read more for my full review of RAGE to find out for yourself.
As a survivor of the 2029 Apophis asteroid that strikes Earth, you wake up to find yourself within the Ark, a deep underground bunker. Those who survived this catastrophic event were housed within the Ark as it was intended to protect the future of the human race from the known asteroid, at least that’s what you are led to believe. In order to prevent spoiling of the campaign, I will not go into much more detail than that when speaking on the storyline of RAGE, but once you exit the Ark, what you witness is devastating. Earth as we know it has been torn apart by the impact of the Apophis asteroid and when the survivors of the event attempt to rebuild society, you discover that you are not alone. Mutants infest the land and additional human factions demand control of the survivors causing conflicts with the original plan.
Throughout the campaign you will have the opportunity to progress through a plethora of experiences ranging from racing challenges to playing cards along with a collection of various mini-games. At its heart RAGE is an open world first-person shooter with a burst of story missions and side missions. During these missions you will be assigned with the task of locating significant characters, killing off a collection of mutants, outracing a racing rival for their upgraded vehicle, and more. The team behind RAGE, id Software, has done a great job of providing gamers with a diverse first-person shooter experience with hours of entertainment implemented.
My favorite aspect of RAGE, besides the FPS experience, is the solid implementation of the driving mechanics. While driving will certainly take an active role in the campaign as you travel great distances, the optional races you can take part in are addictively enjoyable. I literally found myself doing nothing but races for a solid 40 minutes and loved every moment of it. In fact, after racing in a wide range of races, I hold no doubt that id Software could crank out a dedicated racing title that would not disappoint. I highly encourage players of RAGE to check out the races and upgrade their vehicles with the collection of race tickets earned by placing in a qualified rank during your performances.
Taking roughly eight hours to complete the campaign, I rarely ever found the gameplay to drag on. Sure, I believe the ending to RAGE could have been executed better along with assistance locating specific people, but outside of that, RAGE delivers a solid campaign experience that will have you hooked for a majority of your adventure.
As I am sure most of those who have played the final build of RAGE would agree, the visuals delivered throughout the post-apocalyptic adventure is breathtaking. I can easily state that RAGE offers one of the most astonishing visual experiences on consoles today and likely the best of the multiplatform titles currently available. The reasoning for three discs on the Xbox 360 version and an 8gb required install on the PlayStation 3 is easily justified as the graphical fidelity of such a monumental atmosphere is benchmark-worthy. Top all of this off with the fact that it runs at a stable 60 frames-per-second on all platforms and you have a title that will make your eyes water in disbelief.
Not only does the campaign offer a collection of gameplay experiences while delivering impressive visuals, RAGE offers one of the best first-person shooter experiences I have ever taken part in. Unlike most shooters on the market today, hit detection is spot on. If you shoot a mutant in the leg, expect the mutant to crawl and do what he can to function with an injured leg. Shoot one in the head, expect a gore-splattering show as the head is decapitated and blood gushes out its neck. Do so in near proximity and you will experience the explosion in the perception of the character as it splatters on the screen.
You will also learn early in the campaign that a select few of the devices and items you must use to progress throughout the campaign are not just given to you. Objects such as the RC Bomb Car and EMP Grenades require three items to build and develop these creations. Completed through the game’s navigation system, with the click of a button, you will construct these objects which can be used not only for the required missions, but entertainment on the side. These simple implementations add up to one of the best titles I have played this console generation.
When it comes to multiplayer, it is evident that id Software’s focus was on the singleplayer experience, which is fine when it delivers as it did, but for those who demand online multiplayer gameplay RAGE has you covered. As of its release, RAGE offers two different options for multiplayer gameplay: Combat Rally and Legends of the Wasteland. In Combat Rally, up to four players go up against each other in an arena using the vehicles unlocked throughout the campaign. The goal is to collect as many rally points as possible while fighting off your opponents, which you can steal points from. In Legends of the Wasteland, you and one other player adventure throughout varying missions that are hinted at during the singleplayer campaign. RAGE is not going to deliver an online experience you will find yourself actively engaged in for months on end, but certainly extends the life of the experience.
Overall, RAGE delivers an impressive experience that is hard to find in gaming today. Everything from the mind-blowing visuals to the incredible hit detection adds up to another software launch that deserves a spot in your gaming collection. While it would have been nice to see a more developed online multiplayer experience along with minor tweaks such as more direction assistance when finding certain people, id Software certainly does not disappoint and, as of today, currently possesses the title of “Most Underrated Videogame of 2011”.
Final Score: 9/10