After the asteroid 99942 Apophis hits the earth, everything became a wasteland, an almost-desert covered by either a torrid sun, or toxic gases. Humanity found a way to survive, of course, the ones who didn’t die from the explosion, or the hunger, managed to join efforts and build small camps and towns. Trade posts eventually became a thing, and humanity somehow managed to move on, but there are other humans lying underground… Soldiers were put into hibernation chambers before the asteroid collision, hoping to launch a salvation program in the future, but things didn’t go as expected, and the majority of these launches remains locked. Soldiers either die from system failure, or emerge at an uncertain time, such as our hero and protagonist; Lieutenant Nicholas Raine.
Upon waking up, Nicholas Raine quickly realizes the world has become an insipid place to live, as he’s immediately attacked by Bandits, but saved by Dan Hagar, the founder of Hagar Settlement, one of the many available beacons for humanity to survive. The world is not a pretty place, there’s trouble everywhere Nicholas goes, and if Bandits weren’t bad enough, years of radiation made Mutants out of people, and to make things even worse, there’s a new law in the region called The Authority. They are well equipped and their will is the law all over the Wasteland. Will Nicholas become a puppet of the oppressing force, or will he join the Resistance and free the people of the wastes!?
Developed by id Software, the same team that brought us titles such as Doom, Quake and classic Fallout, RAGE stands with Mostly Positive reviews on Steam, and some Mixed ones as well. It’s definitely a fantastic game, but with flaws nonetheless, and after seven years since it originally hit the stores, RAGE is a great genuine First-Person-Shooter that carries the legacy of the studio behind it.
When RAGE was announced, players expected an open-world experience, but the final product proved to be quite different. Instead of an open world, players can explore the Wasteland through specific key locations that lead to particular area-levels in order to complete missions. Overall, the wastes are a medium-sized hub, very similar to what we see in games such as the new Deus Ex series, where players traverse hubs with locations to complete missions. It’s not much of a deal-breaker, and looking back, it was probably for the best. Areas are still long and gameplay is quite diverse.
A shooter to its core, RAGE is heavenly inspired by movies such as Mad Max and games like Fallout, but adding it’s out fingertips to the genre. One of the most famous feature is how players can use a Wingstick, that behaves like a boomerang, but made out of razors, so it’s the perfect weapon for deadly attacks. Wingsticks can return to the player, or be lost in the enemy’s head, but for those looking for a much more typical FPS experience, guns surely won’t disappoint you. iD Software is well known for creating extreme guns, but in RAGE it’s all about using whatever it takes to finish the job. Pistol, Shotgun, Machine Guns, Assault Rifles, Sniper, and even grenades are some of the fast paced guns available. There are plenty more weapons though, they just require a little more effort....
RAGE is surely a fast-paced shooter, but looting and finding rare items is part of the fun as well. In the game players will have the ability to use the base item, like weaponry, but schematics to upgrade guns are available, to either earn or buy. Learning how to craft items will turn things around, as it delivers a much vast variety of ammo and even increases the weapon quality, making it more effective or accurate. Upgrades define this adventure as a perfect balance between exploration and looting, giving players enough materials to craft all sorts of items such as; Explosives, Healing Bondages, Turrets, Sentry Bots, EMP Grenades, and all sorts of goodies. Scavenging for scraps can usually result in an advantage for players who want to play on the Hardest difficulty, as money is considerably shorter as the difficulty increases.
Although classes are not heavily emphasized in the game, players are still available to choose from three different suit classes that enhance specific abilities. Wastelander receives discounts on all purchases, Roughneck adds extra protection, and Fabricator increases the quality of items crafted. It’s surely a nice extra, as the wasteland can be quite the rough place, and walking on foot it’s definitely not the best option. In RAGE, players can drive vehicles that are assigned to him, meaning not all are drivable. Starting with ATV’s and a Buggy, Nicholas quickly gains access to some heavy armored cars. It’s not as exciting as the Mad Max movies, but it’ can be intense at times.
Action packed races are available at the main settlements, where one can join three types of races, Time Trials as a test, traditional racing against opponents that may or may not add machine guns and rockets to the mix, and the last and final mode that requires players to collect randomly placed checkpoints along the circuit. After earning races, credits are added and open the possibility to upgrade vehicles with extra protection, better tires, a more powerful engine, and even a special paint job. But there are plenty of upgrades to choose, in fact, reaching every race in the first place isn’t enough to earn enough credits to maximize each vehicle. That is shameful, and definitely a less positive aspect of the game.
(Bandits will try to take you down by chasing you till the most dangerous areas of the Wasteland.)
Besides the main campaign, where the goal is clearly to take out The Authority, one can enjoy Side Quests to earn extra money. Although it’s a wasteland, money sure hasn’t lost its importance, and everything requires cash. Side quests and Main quests share almost the same moto; drive to a specific location, clear an area, and return for the prize. While at it, enemies will do everything to kill you, of course, and they come in different styles too. There are some rare encounters with heavy and enormous beasts, but mostly one will be killing bandits and mutants. Authority agents provide extra challenge since they use technology!
Visually, RAGE could have been improved vastly, and an earlier version was a mix between pure amazingness and disappointment. Looks great from afar, but up and close, the textures are washed and blend. In early 2013, a guide was posted on Steam on how to unlock High Quality Textures, that are in fact still not enough for 2018, but back then it was a major increase in quality. Visuals in general are appealing, plus the game has its own unique art style, so it blends perfectly fine. Doesn’t help much the fact that it’s a straight console port, and PC version was severely capped due to that, but we’re already used for developers not having much responsibility in that department. Glad things changed, for the better. Basic configuration options are available for the PC version, but that's not saying much, but it's still great to travel trough each area and feel a different vibe every time, despising how it looks. Old forgotten buildings that have once held an important role in society, are now simple playgrounds for mutants and bandits. Underground areas will give some jump scares and with all the gore one can find, it's definitely a fantastic game to test your reflexes.
RAGE can take over 40 hours if one goes for the full completion of the game, but the main mission alone can take up to 6 hours. Multiplayer is available in two distinct modes. One is Road Rage, where players complete racing each other in free-for-all matches. The other mode is Wasteland Legends, and it’s a series of Co-Op missions based on the main storyline. Two DLC’s were released; Wasteland Sewer Missions, was a DLC that later became free and part of the main game on later releases. This small extra content takes players to explore the sewers around the wasteland, for cool gear while killing mutants in a closer involvement. The Scorchers DLC adds considerably more content and 3 more hours of gameplay, in which we meet a new character named Sarah, and earn one of the best weapons in the game, the Nail Gun. The DLC is worth the money, only if purchased during a special sale.
(Giant Mutant is one of the biggest enemy of the game, and it's a boss that will test your strength.)
Overall, RAGE is a consistent release, with entertaining gameplay and extras that can make one keep exploring the wastes for collectible cards and playing mini-games, such as card games and others based on luck and skill. One would expect a wider variety of weapons considering who made this game, but based on the enemies, the present layout is more than enough. Upgrades sure make up for any excuse of lacking guns, and although the ending could be better, it’s still a solid game. Despite the lack of bosses, enemies are extremely fun to kill, and if anything, I personally regret not having much of a bigger map to explore and quests to complete. Still, RAGE 2 is coming, until then, the original is a fantastic starting point for players.