1. Superb Stability
My copy of Rage has had zero issues on my PC. It ran the first time I launched it, it never stuttered, never showed any graphical glitches or screen-tearing, it never crashed. It works like a charm. I know “this game installs and runs” shouldn’t technically be a reason for loving the title, but given the sheer amount of rage over Rage (I had to – sue me) in the Steam forums, I am very grateful for the utter lack of technical difficulties with the title.
2. Breathtakingly Beautiful
Carmack has done it again. The game world is absolutely, incredibly, undeniably gorgeous. From the smallest rocks to the largest cliffs, and from the tiniest settlements to the massive towns, Rage is a beautiful, gorgeous game. Stepping out of the Ark for the first time, I spent the first five minutes just spinning the camera around, looking at the beauty of the world that surrounded me. The shafts of lights from a sun, half-obscured by billowing photo-realistic clouds, water that shimmered and rippled and textures that jumped at you with the sheer amount of detail contained within.
3. Destructive Driving featuring Various Vehicles
Unlike other games that make you work for it, Rage gives you a vehicle pretty much from the very beginning. You can continue to get newer, better, more specialized vehicles, as the game goes on, but you can drive at the very start. You don’t get a shoddy starter vehicle either, this little quad can book it, and it can get you where you need to go because there are significant travel distances between points of interest on the map.
And then there are the races. There are a variety of tracks where you can race your various vehicles in modes ranging from simple racing, to an all-out war zone with machine guns, rocket launchers and road spikes. The racing mythology is well-embedded into the gaming world, and winning several races gets you some recognition with NPCs randomly stopping to admire your success and praise your driving skills. Yet the driving part of Rage feels a little disjointed, as if it was a separate game that was incorporated into the larger game world, and the developer was clever enough to hide the areas where the overlap was soldered together.
4. Walloping Weapons
The weapons in Rage, all the way from the starting Settler Pistol, are meaty and pack a wallop. These are id Software weapons. They are highly detailed, they feel solid and chunky in your hands, and they shoot some serious ordnance. If the several weapons were not enough, each weapon also fires several types of ammunition, like the Fatboys that double the standard round damage for a pistol, or the Fat Mammas, which proclaim that if these don’t kill your target, you better hightail it out of there! Every weapon in rage feels just right. They have an authoritative presence, and it’s satisfying to see them do their dirty work. Add grenades and the much-touted (and rightly so) Wingstick, and you are a one-man mutant-slaughtering bandit-bashing army.
5. Ostensibly Sensible Objectives
Did you ever have to gather 100 pigeons in Grand Theft Auto? What about 100 feathers in Assassin’s Creed? Better yet, have you tried the World of Warcraft achievements? There are several collectible items and objectives peppered through the game world of Rage. However, they aren’t as arbitrary as 100 of who-gives-a-shit. One is 3 field goals. There are field goals, and you have to drive your vehicle hard enough into something to fling yourself from it far enough to fly through said field goal. It sounds like a fluff objective, and it is, but it is fun, and there are only three of them. There are also 18 jumps in the game. Not 100. not 54. Just 18, and hitting each jump doesn’t simply add a +1 counter to your number of jumps, it rewards you with items for each individual jump, if successfully completed.
But perhaps the best of these collectibles are the Rage Collectible cards. Within enemy stronghold, settlements and the open game world, there are a total of 54 game cards for you to find. These aren’t just tokens, but effectively a tabletop game, where your cards have health and damage numbers, and you try to beat opponents to cash out a hefty chunk of change.
This is the kind of obsessive compulsive game completion objective that I can get behind. Objectives that are fun to achieve, and give rewards if you complete, instead of a flat percentage towards your percentage completed score.
The characters in Rage are well fleshed out. The animations look life-like and the voice-acting is absolutely top-notch. Largely, they still suffer from the MMO-esque NPC syndrome: they are only there to dispense missions and collect rewards, but somehow it still works. People can be seen walking about towns, bandits freely roam the desert in deadly vehicles, and there is a natural buzz to life, despite ultimately plastic characterization of their humanity.
7. Raging Rollercoaster
Rage isn’t a sand box by any stretch of the imagination. Sure the game world is huge, and once you get a set of missions, you can choose to complete them in whichever order you see fit, but at the end of the day, the entire game is a linear experience of getting from point A to point Z, hitting B, C, D etc. on the way. And as much as I love open worlds, this is actually a beautifully thing. Rage is a tightly controlled experience. Intense firefights in claustrophobic close quarters, vicious dune buggy races across torn tarmacs, linear gameplay in a (largely) linear world. Rage is the ultimate roller-coaster. Once you get on, you don’t want to get off.
I can’t give away the ending, obviously. Nor can i divulge details on what your ultimate objective is. But I will say this: there will come a point when you will realize you are not the hero of this story. You are simply a small cog in a much larger machine, and you are to do your part the best way you can. This is ultimately what really set Rage apart for me, the realization that no matter how powerful I got or how many enemies I can kill by simply flexing my biceps, I am ultimately insignificant, a mere speck in the unending evolution (and devolution) of the human condition.
Why I am Glad Diablo 3 is Delayed
There are a lot of high-profile titles coming in the next few months that will keep me quite occupied. Dead Island and Gears of War 3, two titles that I’d like to play, are already out. I just haven’t had the time to play anything else, so I have not bothered purchasing these titles yet. I am still working through my second run through Deus Ex: Human Revolution, still leveling my scantily clad made in WoW, and tinkering with the stupidly cute Shakes and Fidget browser game.
Game of Thrones: Genesis also comes out in four days. But I am not sure about that one. I am a hardcore fan of the excellent series by George R.R. Martin, and from what I have seen in the trailers, I have a bad feeling about this in my gut. Over the course of time, I have learned to trust my gut.
October will bring id Software’s latest foray into first person shooters in the form of Rage, the much-anticipated and pre-ordered Battlefield 3, and Batman: Arkham City. Rage is exciting because the studio is finally going for a new IP after so long. Battlefield 3 just looks sick, and Batman: Arkham Asylum was too good to pass up City.
In addition, one of the MMOs that I have always wanted to play extensively but the monthly subscription cost kept me away was Fallen Earth. The MMO is going free-to-play on October 12, so I will definitely be checking it out.
November will be hell month. We have Modern Warfare 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will release within the span of about a week. This, coupled with the releases in September and October (along with Champions Online, WoW and Fallen Earth) will keep me quite busy through the holiday season.
Hence, I am glad Diablo 3 has been delayed!
EA Won’t Let Me Play SW:TOR
“Hi EA, would you like my money?”
“No, we don’t like where you live.”
Bunch of previews that I finally got a chance to get through today.
Looks interesting. The premise does not seem terribly novel, and we have already seen some of the finest post apocalyptic worlds crafted in Fallout 3 and Metro 2033, so I am curious to see what id’s version of a less-than-ideal future may be like. But then again, Doom III, at least for me, was a massive disappointment. id claims the game is part racer and part shooter, and that is what sets it apart. Hello! GTA did that like eight years ago!
Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution [Joystiq] [Kotaku]
Deus Ex will always hold a special place in my heart, although Invisible War sort of ruined the whole thing for me. But if these previews are any indication, we seem to be back on track. I was initially wary of the lack of Warren Specter in the development of the third title, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Mafia 2 [Joystiq]
I loved the first Mafia. That game had me hooked from the moment I saw the rippling waters of Empire City as the camera panned over the lighthouse, and into a city teeming with life and opportunity. In many ways, I think Mafia was a better and smarter game than Grand Theft Auto 3. But that, of course, is more of a matter of perspective than anything else.
Portal 2 [Joystiq]
I am rabidly following any Portal 2 news, as, I am sure, is everyone else who got a taste of the brilliant title a few years back. And co-op? I am going to need several new shirts by the time I am done drooling!
Homefront [Joystiq] [Kotaku] [Trailer]
The more I look into this game, the more interesting it seems. Modern Warfare 2 extensively explored the possibility of America’s soil coming under invasion by Russia in a contemporary setting, but there is something about the grit and passion behind Homefront that seems to set it apart. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet though.