RAGE is id Software and Bethesda Softworks’ latest title and was announced back in 2007 at QuakeCon, which is a free convention held annually in Dallas, Texas USA. Being of the post-apocalyptic genre, RAGE has a typically blockbuster scenario. The game takes place on Earth in the years after the 2029 Apophis meteorite impact. This meteorite wiped out pretty much everything on the Earth’s surface after crashing through the moon, creating more asteroids hurtling towards Earth.
When you first take the game out of the case you notice that it is three DVD’s big. The first two are for the campaign, having you swap discs at a certain point. On the third disc is the multiplayer content. The only annoying thing that I found with this setup is that if you want to have a quick game of multiplayer in between campaign sessions, it requires repeated disc-swapping. Upon starting up the game, it recommends for you to install the discs, even just to the reduce loading times required.
You play as one of the survivors of the Eden Project. This project was designed to rebuild the Earth after the impact of Apophis. Scientists and people of significance were loaded into Arks and cryogenically frozen so that they would return to the surface afterwards – these Arks were then shot underground so that they would survive the impact of the meteorite. The people that are part of the Eden Project were injected with Nanotrites, an untested new technology allowing people to survive the deep-freeze hibernation. These Nanotrites also act as your HUD and inventory systems, mini map, as well as your diFib allowing you. once incapacitated, to revive yourself (as long as it has charge). Once you use it you need to wait for it to recharge – when this is happening it’s best to take it easy and try not to take to many hits
The Ark that you were in malfunctioned and left you as the only survivor. Shortly after you leave the Ark you are rescued and taken to the Hagar Settlement, it is here where you set off on your travels through the wasteland. This settlement is a little community of a few people just trying to start anew and survive. They offer to help you get on your way as long as you help them out. Dan (the guy who rescues you) is the leader of the settlement, and is in charge of giving you missions while you are there. These missions range from cleaning out hideouts of their dwellers, to searching garages for car parts to fix your vehicle.
Once you help out enough Dan kindly kicks you out and sends you towards Wellsprings. This is a much bigger town with plenty of missions and odd jobs for you to do. In the major towns there are job boards, from these you can get a few odd jobs like finding someone’s lost alcohol to finding a missing person. My favourite missions from these boards would be the sniper protection missions, where you have to make sure you employer survives their dealings, while covering the from a snipers perch up above the target area. As well as the races. Racing is a big part of this game, which is pretty cool as it breaks up the game from just being a straight shooter. There are various styles of races for you to win, each having Racing Certificates up for grabs. You use these Racing Certificates to purchase upgrade for you vehicles, things like engine parts and weapons. The different styles of races are:
Time Trials - Finish the course under the par time to get the gold reward, earning maximum Racing Certificates
Non-Combat Race - These races are just bare racing, no weapons, finish first to come in first place.
Weapon Rallies - Get the Rally Points before the other racers. Weapons are unlocked for these types of races depending on which race type it is. (Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher, Pulse Launcher)
Weapon Races - Just like your normal races but weapons are unlocked, depending on which race type it is. (Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher, Pulse Launcher)
Not all of the race styles are available at once, you have to unlock them by earning enough credits as well as having the required vehicles / upgrades on it. Different races are also available in different cities.
There are five different vehicles for you to play around with, each one is different to the previous. You unlock the different vehicles as you progress through the campaign. The first vehicle that you unlock is the Jetter. This small four-wheeler is unarmed but it is quick and easy to move about, you however cannot upgrade or race this little guy. The next vehicles are relatively the same, the Dune Buster and the Rat Rod the only main differences between the two are how they look. The Dune Buster look like a dune buggy and the Rat Rod looks like a hot rod, funnily enough their names are similar. The Cuprino is up next, and it is needed to progress further along the story line. You unlock it by gaining a sponsorship for a race and progressing to win that race. This car is a lot tougher than the previous ones it has machine guns as well as missile launchers. The Monarch is the final vehicle and this one’s a beast – it boasts machine guns, missile launchers and a pulse cannon, you win this car by beating the local racing nut in the Subway Town.
As your journey continues you come across many groups in the wasteland, all doing their part to survive, and when travelling through their territory they will most likely attack you, chasing and attacking you. As you progress through the game these enemies level up and get tougher. The varies types of bandit groups are:
The Ghost Clan - This clan deal in the occult, offering up sacrifices to gain a ticket to the afterlife. The members of this clan act like typical mutants, in the way that they climb around one the walls, hang from pipes in the roof to dodge attacks from the player, as well as to attack them. They use powerful boomerangs to attack the player from a distance.
The Wasted Clan - Members of this clan likes to use blunt weapons, as well as their alcohol. They are often found in areas where they can find scrap metals and car parts for their vehicle projects.
The Scorcher Clan – To these guys fire is their friend. They also worship the asteroid the crashed into Earth as they believe it will grant them great power. They paint flames onto their bodies as well as the bodies of their vehicles.
The Shrouded Clan - This clan like to hide themselves from what they were. They are a mixture of clans who have deserted there old clans and joined this one. They use remote controlled explosive cars to wreak havoc on passing cars as well as using them to attack you whilst they are hidden.
The Jackal Clan – This clan act more like wolves then humans, they fight together in a way that a pack of wolves would. They even dress themselves with animal bones and furs so as to appear more like animals. This clan is another tough one, tough enough that even mutants fear them.
The Gearheads - The most advanced group of bandits, these guys like to use advanced machinery and weaponry. Because of their technological advances they are a force not to be reckoned with.
On top of these clans there are two other enemies that stand against you – the mutants and the Authority. The Authority are the guys that everyone loves to hate, they are the dictatorship that control the wasteland. They offer up a reward to anybody who turns in an Ark survivor as they are a member of the old world.
There are a few different types of mutants however they usually attack in groups. How the mutants came to be is a strange tale which will unfold as you play through the game yourself. Another notable thing about mutants is that they are un-lootable, once they have been killed their bodies disintegrate. The different types of mutants are the following:
Grunt Mutants – This the normal type of mutant, they usually use clubs and throwing weapons, these cheeky little guys like to climb around and jump off things to avoid your attacks.
Kraken Mutants - This mutant has a large slime covered tentacle replacing one of its arms (you are going to want to stay away from that), it also wears amour made from scrap metal.
Gunner Mutants - Large mutants that use weapons that they have made themselves, these guys are tough to beat, I found the best way was to dance around shooting them while they are reloading and take cover when they are firing.
Slime Mutant - Medium sized mutant (not as big as a Kraken) they have an acid-like ranged attack and a strong melee attack.
Authority Mutants - These mutants have come about from Authority experiments. They have a pulse gun combined into one of their arms, which shoots similar to a shotgun. They also have pretty tough armour, taking a few shotgun hits to kill them.
To help you survive in the harsh wasteland you have a few weapons at your disposable. Starting out with only a pistol, eventually on offer are guns like crossbows and rocket launchers. All of these weapons have their advantages in different moments of need. If just having these weapons themselves isn’t enough most of the weapons have two or three types of ammo you can choose from, each with their own special perks, like the mind control bolts for the cross bow (controls an enemy until you explode them, killing others surrounding them) or the killbursts for the pistol (a rapid fire shot that shoots six rounds quickly).
The intro cinematic looks amazing, if I wasn’t playing the game and I walked past I would be convinced that I was watching a movie. On top of that, the rest of the game looks pretty sweet as well. When exploring an area it is all pretty unique in the way that the rooms are all different so it’s not like you are spending 10+ hours walking through the same hallways and rooms.
Multiplayer is pretty fun, there are two modes, Legends of the Wasteland and Road Rage. Legends of the Wasteland are co-op missions based on tales that you come across during the single player campaign. These missions can be done over Xbox Live or local split screen, personally I preferred the split screen experience as when I had a go over XBL there was a fair bit of lag, I would shoot an enemy in the head and before the kill counted I could re-aim at another target and fire another round off. But when playing split screen there was no lag, only lots of laughter as we were playing on nightmare difficulty and died a fair few times.
The Road Rage mode is all about your driving skills, and in this mode there are four game types, Chain Rally, Meteor Rally, Triad Rally and Carnage. The three rally types are similar but the Carnage game type is pretty different, instead of scoring by collecting things or hitting Rally Points you gain score by taking out your opponents.
Chain Rally - Hit the Rally Points to score, if you stay in front and keep hitting them first you will gain a score multiplier as long as you keep your lead.
Meteor Rally - Be the first to collect the meteors falling from the sky. Making sure to take them to the drop-off point, otherwise if you are destroyed you will lose the amount that you are carrying, and the person behind you can pick them up.
Triad Rally - To score in this game type you need to hit three consecutive Rally Points.
The Anarchy Edition was only available through pre-ordering the game at certain stores. This DLC gives you some things to use in single player. These items are the Rat Rod Buggy, First of RAGE, Double Barrel Shotgun and the Crimson Elite Armour.
- The Double Barrel Shotgun is a powerful close combat weapon, but it is pretty much useless if you are trying to hit something a distance away. It uses the same ammo types as the combat shotgun.
- The Fists of RAGE are melee weapons that are capable of killing a human enemy in one hit.
- The Crimson Elite Armour is tougher than the other armour options, it also allows you to carry more item, as well as helping you create advanced items.
The “Wasteland Sewer Missions” is a DLC pack that is available for 800 Microsoft Points. This pack adds nine sewer areas for you to explore into the wasteland. These sewers are filled with mutants and loot for you to kill and find. Once you enter you have to make it all the way through to the end as there is only one entrance and exit.
Overall I have mostly enjoyed the game, the only thing that let is down for me was the lag online as well as, during the campaign you don’t really feel connected to the resistance and their cause. You don’t really feel that The Authority are as evil as they are portrayed to be, Other than that would have to recommend this game to people who like shooters with a bit of freedom.