RAGE Hands-On Preview
As October and the release of RAGE starts to peek its nose around the corner, we had a chance to get our hands on the id Software shooter and see how it is shaping up. On offer was the opening 2 hours of gameplay and the opportunity to jump ahead to the 6 hour mark. Within this time frame, an assortment of weaponry were toyed with, enemies were annihilated, Buggies were driven and graphics were admired.
Lets get this out of the way right now. Many people will see a screenshot or video of RAGE and assume that it is the love child of Fallout 3 and Borderlands. It is not! For starters, this Apocalyptic earth was created by a bloody great asteroid, not an idiot with a button attached to a Nuclear Bomb.
RAGE opens with a cut-scene that instantly shows off that this game is going to leave players in a state of hyper salivation a lot during a playthrough. After mopping up the small puddle of dribble and closing one’s mouth, the controls are passed over to the player. Right from the off RAGE will assure you that it is there to satisfy your needs.
After another small battle with the saliva glands due to the beauty RAGE finds in destruction, players will find themselves smack bang in the action! Almost immediately you are handed your first weapon and sent to end some Bandits. RAGE is set in a world where you do not get something for nothing.
The controls are easy to become familiar with; similar to that of the well known Call of Duty, it’s nice not having to think too hard about how to shoot the enemy bearing down on you (thanks id).
The enemy AI is awesome! The first bullet I fired went sailing over the Bandit’s head as he ducked and weaved to avoid it. RAGE makes you think and adapt to fighting enemies. Some of them are lunatics that have been perfecting the art of parkour (which in itself had me lost momentarily just watching the brilliant movement), while others sit back and move around covering each other while trying to get a clear shot. There is a really good balance between enemies that actively seek you out, while others wait for you to make the first move or break cover. For the enemies that get close, a couple of shots followed by a well timed melee proved effective, while flanking or cooking a grenade dealt with enemies in cover.
The death animations are an area that it is clear time and effort has been invested. You can shoot an enemy in the leg, dropping them to the floor which can give you the extra time you need to deal with a larger threat. It also make for a great game; try making the kill shot in the leg of an enemy running at you and then loot their body before they drop! As RAGE progresses and enemies arrive on jet packs, aiming for this flamboyant method of murder will teach them that learning to fly was not a good idea.
Very quickly, players will learn that looting and scavenging are very important. Not only will it keep your ammo supply up, but there are engineering aspects of RAGE that will aid you greatly. These stretch from EMP Grenades to Spider like Turrets that will help to protect you like a faithful hound. Not only can you build with what you find but you can also sell it. Trading can be a vital ingredient for the acquisition of upgrades. As the enemies get tougher (which they will), specialised ammunition will ensure they drop without using up almost every last round.
Running out of health in RAGE is actually a well thought out mini-game, and due to the Nano-bot technology running through your veins, there is the chance to revive your health and do Area of Effect (AoE) damage to any nearby enemies. If you continue to fail and die before this ability has time to recharge (2 minute recharge…ish) then you will load from the last checkpoint. This can be full of hassle so saving often is advised (it really is, there was an on screen tip during a loading screen).
Getting around would be rather tiring if running was the only option. Luckily a large part of the game involves cruising, boosting and shooting from the inside of a Buggy. Yet again id Software have done themselves proud by making the whole process easy to adapt to. At no point does driving feel strenuous. There are also plenty of opportunities to delve deeper into the driving side of RAGE, as winning races will earn you currency needed to upgrade and pimp your ride.
With two and a half hours of game time under my belt, not only am I hooked on this title but I have tons of questions that only playing further will answer. With the comfort and ease of gameplay, the amazing graphics that can leave you gazing at fire just because it looks good, the diversity of weapons, the clever AI and the attention to small details that would keep even the most worn out relationship alive, it won’t be long before it is time for us all to enter the Wasteland.
RAGE is set for an October 10th release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.