It’s no secret that guys at id Software impressed us with their showing of RAGE at last years Eurogamer Expo, but this year we managed to get hands on with this amazing title at E3. So the question is, is it living up to expectations?
During our time with the game there were six different missions to get to grips with, each displaying a different aspect of the gameplay available in RAGE. Most have probably already drawn comparisons between this stunning title and the greatly successful Fallout series, and while both take place in a post-apocalyptic world, the similarities pretty much end there.
The first mission that we undertook had us searching for buggy parts in a bandit hideout (you should get used to seeing these guys because they are everywhere!). The game drops you off in the world hub known as the ‘Wastelands’ near an outpost, where you begin to appreciate the beauty of the game despite its post-apocalyptic setting. It was a pleasure to see the id Tech 5 engine in tandem with the art direction for the game strut its stuff. You almost forget you are just looking at a range of mountains, which is a testament to the MegaTexture/Virtual Texturing capabilities of the engine.
Even so, graphical splendour does not make an FPS, so we’re lucky that the pioneers of the FPS genre are behind this game. The moment you get one of the many weapons in your digitally sculpted hands, you feel at home. Weapons are solid and responsive, the shotgun in particular gave us a very satisfying kick whenever we unloaded our weapon into a bandits face. The sheer variety of weapons at your disposal should also be applauded. For those unsatisfied with conventional bullets, id has seen fit to add walking turrets, RC cars, electrified arrows, and even mind controlling darts, and we are certain that there will be even more in the final experience. The second playable section made full use of RC cars as the only way to get access to certain areas so that you could progress, steering the device through holes and crevices to make a path for yourself.
This bodes well, as the enemies weren’t there to give us an easy ride. Most encountered enemies seemed perfectly capable of taking cover and supporting each other where required, where as others would try and get in your face at any opportunity and spring from unforeseen places. Some of the tougher enemies found in different parts of the demo would sport armour and shields, forcing you to go for the headshot which would remove their helmet before allowing you to end their miserable existence.
The ability to create different types of apparatus to help you with your tasks is also very apparent in RAGE. From lock picking devices to ammo types and secondary weapons (ie turrets), if it’s in the game then you can probably create it. This makes RAGE a wet dream for the loot whores out there, as even in this demo there were plenty of bits and bobs you could collect that seemed to have no use at the time. We can only imagine that the list of buildable items will be quite large and completionists will have immense fun trying to find the recipes for all of them.
Vehicles also feature quite heavily in the game as a way to travel from A to B, but one of the latter parts of the demo had us take part in a race in the Wastelands enabling us to get a proper feel for the buggy handling. These races seem to function as side missions to the rest of the game, but are still quite fun due to solid handling. You can also attach a fair amount of firepower to your little buggy, adding a bit of extra flavour to the fun. This means races are as much about blowing your opposition into oblivion as they are about reaching the finish line.
Just to hammer home the diversity that was on offer within RAGE, there was also a battle royal section where the idea is to increase the ratings for a TV show known as ‘Mutant Bash TV’. We are unsure if this will be a reoccurring mission within the RAGE universe or just a one off, but it was most definitely fun as you fight off hordes of mutants in weird and bizarre situations.
Overall, RAGE is looking like it has everything it needs to be a superb title. With id Software at the helm, the id Tech 5 engine powering it, and the diversity on hand, it would seem we are onto a winner. But honestly, we knew that already!
Rage is due for release this October on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.