Rage: A New Version of the Old Scene
Rage is the new IP from ID Software, a company that has not released a new game in 15 years. Oh, and if you don’t like my usage of Aerosmith lyrics in my title, tough. Anyway, I digress. They have, however, given us gems like Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein 3D and created the fps genre we all love so much today.
That takes us to Rage, the newest installment from Id. I was lucky enough to have a full hour to play Rage at PAX Prime this year. The game blew me away! The cinematic opening shows Earth being struck by an asteroid, which causes the apocalypse. You wake up from a cryogenic freeze in an “Ark”, built by the Eden Society to rebuild things after the asteroid. The only problem? Society has crumbled. Small groups of people have formed settlements, in a vain attempt to scratch out a life on the now destroyed Earth.
This introduces us to the many factions you will have to face. Not only have people tried to make a normal life, just as many now survive by causing mayhem. The cool thing about factions is that they are all distinct in appearance with unique equipment and fighting styles. They run the gamut from psychotic Cirque Du Soleil-style killers that flip and tumble across a room (to gut you with large knives) all the way to technologically advanced groups with futuristic weaponry.
Action gets broken up by vehicle travel and standard errand-and-fetch missions. None of it feels smashed in, simply to add time to your experience. The control and handling that weapons have while using them feels potent and quite natural. My favorite is the Wingstick, a boomerang-like weapon, akin to the glave from the movie, Krull. Chucking a Wingstick at an enemy and watching them get a face full of it literally made me chuckle with glee. The different enemies caused me to use different strategies to fight them, which makes for more satisfaction in dispatching them.
The whole feel of the game is Mad Max. The world definitely feels vast, and the feeling of being small in it is tangible. The team at Id did a fantastic job of creating a visually powerful wasteland that masters the suspension of disbelief. When you are alone in the game, it truly makes you feel alone and vulnerable to what may or may not lie ahead. For a game to achieve that, it has to be doing something very right.
One hour was not enough time to spend with Rage. It did accomplish one thing, though. That one hour made me want to play more. For a game to make me lose track of time is a rarity. Rage did that. I will definitely pick it up when it is released this October so I can finish what I started at PAX!