Review

In a world where everything is just a barren wasteland and people have to live in subways and purpose-built fortresses, Bethesda know what they are doing. With the success of the Fallout games under their belts, the hotly anticipated game from E3 is unleashed – Rage.

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This chap does not want to make friends – Rage

You awake from a frozen-state sleep inside the safety of an Ark many years after Earth has been directly hit by a massive meteor which changed the planet as we know it. Everything on the surface was either wiped out or mutated as a result of the climate changes. People have been forced to live in shanty towns and make shift cities from whatever was left after the impact.

Stumbling out of the Ark and into the wasteland for the first time you are faced with a small band of bandits called the Ghost Clan. Coming to your rescue is a local named Dan Hagar (voiced by John Goodman) who helps you escape and drives you both to safety in a converted dune buggy where you meet the rest of the good guys.

As the story unfolds you find out you are the only survivor of your Ark and the mysterious ‘Authority’ are capturing anyone who comes out of the many Arcs dotted around the globe, never to be seen again. Your task is to not only evade capture from the Authority but to find out any information on the original Eden Project who built the Arks.

The first couple of hours playing Rage are a gradual introduction to the huge world and its many characters. Getting to grips with the weapons and the driving sections come about at just the right point in the game to keep the progress going without overwhelming the gamer.

The first few missions are pretty mundane – search and rescue a missing crew member or retrieve some information or gadget – the usual. The added bonus of being able to drive around in the quad bikes and dune buggies throws in a bit more excitement to the proceedings, especially when you realise there’s gattling guns and missles on board your vehicle to take down random bandits as you go from A to B.
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As well as being able to shoot from the vehicles you can also race your various vehicles when you find the race tracks in the towns you will come across. Each race has varying degrees of difficulty and some will allow you use your weapons mid race. Win the races and you’ll earn credits to spend on kitting out your buggy with spiked wheels, turbo boosts or better weapons and ammo.

But driving is only a part of Rage as you’ll mostly be walking around talking to the locals or killing the enemy. By talking to as many people as you can you will not only find out nuggets of information but also unlock new missions. Again, the missions will vary slightly but involve driving somewhere, getting out and killing some bad guys before either rescuing someone, something or blowing something up. Complete the side missions to unlock new weapons or earn money to spend in the shops.

The shops will let you buy all sorts from hardened armour to upgrades for your weapons to blueprints and components to build gadgets and grenades. You can also sell off any of the random bits of junk you collect from the dead enemies you kill from missions. From the in game menu you can put these blueprints to use and build things like bandages to provide instant health boosts, various grenades or ammo and also the very handy sentry bots and assign these to the quick-use menu for frantic battles.

All of this put together makes a pretty decent game – there’s no denying that. The only real problem is that its all too familiar. If we’d never heard of Fallout or New Vegas then there’s no question that Rage would be in our consoles more often than not. But we can’t help but feel it has missed the boat by a couple of years. Yes the graphics are strikingly crisp and bold which make everything feel alive on screen and the animation of the NPC’s is superb. But looking good is one thing whereas making something that has been done already look a bit better is something else.
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Its unfair to say that Rage is a glorified Fallout – that would be an unfair comment on both games. Rage has its own things to offer that Fallout does not – vehicles and Sentry bots. But honestly, after a good 10-15 hours of gameplay it was beginning to feel like a chore to do yet another mission which had the same ingredients as the countless ones before in a story that seemed to be dragging out much longer than necessary. Considering our character is a born killer, he fails to get information out of anybody without having to run around doing several missions before being told to go see someone else. Yes the missions can be good but it just starts to grate.

Despite being tipped as the biggest game in years by the makers of Doom (id software), Rage has failed to grab us as we thought it would. There’s a lot of game to keep you going but it will only keep you interested if you’ve not played Fallout or are a hardcore Wasterland surviver. Good game – just not great.

Rage in-game trailer

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