Friday, 1 July 2016

Rage/ Xbox 360


Ironically the title of this game is how I felt after completing 19+ hours of play. Having been full of praise in my mind for a game that plays and looks fantastic, the ending left me with my mouth open, then shouting at the TV is this fucking it? After all that, this is it? 

When I first took a look at this game I was hyped to say the least, given that it is developed and published by two giants in the open world of gaming and fps type games. Bethesda and id Software deliver at first glance and suck you right in with some beautiful scenery and explosive game-play set over the backdrop of post-apocalyptic survival (which I love as much as I love survival horror) and then lead you right up a path of brutally making your way in the world as you try to figure out who you are and where you have come from, only to leave you with no real answers and the now knowing that there probably isn't going to be another Rage game to pick up the pieces left scattered all over the wastelands. I was sorely disappointed in how quickly and how easily the game finished, just as I was starting to think that two discs for the main game meant that I may be playing for at least another few weeks.
But it wasn't to be and now I must write with a completely changed view about a game that could of been all that.

Plot

The plot is pretty straight forward stuff and a little similar to Borderlands and Fallout 4. You awaken in the ruins of an ark (underground stasis shelter) the sole survivor of a project to rebuild humanity after an asteroid almost wipes it off of the face of the earth. The project has buggered itself (as is often the case in such games), so a little confused, you head to the surface. Once up above you are attacked and then rescued by John Goodman of all people or Dan Hagar as he is known in the game. Dan explains that a group of people known as the Authority, are reportedly the authority of the wasteland and are keen on snapping up any ark survivors; so now you have an enemy without asking questions. Shortly after being a willing slave to Dan's demands you are introduced to a group apposing the Authority (The Resistance), who are keen to have any of the remaining ark brought to the surface, in the hope that the Authority can be stopped in exacting their plans before the Resistance have time to exact their own. Oh and by the way you are pumped full of little nanotrites that were put into your blood stream to help you to deal with the assumed harsh conditions of a planet hit by an asteroid. These little fellows will occasionally kick in when the shit hits the fan. 

Gameplay (FPS/Action Adventure with some crazy driving thrown in)

Attention to detail
Putting the plot to one side with its incredibly lazy ending, this game is a very well made game and fantastic to blast your way through. It is a first person shooter with incredible attention to detail (just check out the guns), so I will begin with the look of Rage. The one complaint (lets do this first) that people had of the graphics, something that I noted and to be honest wasn't bothered by was the fact that there is a slight lag at times with the background catching up with your characters sight as he turns to look at something else. Given the sheer size of the game and the high quality of detail, you can either let this slide, as its not always obvious or use it as a reason to rip the game to shreds rather than focus on the fact that it just looks delightful to the eye. When I first played this game, I played it on a straight forward LCD screen, then later on on my new HD TV. When I made the switch, I had one of those wow moments as I stepped off of the loading screen back into the game; which brings us sweetly to the point of loading and saving in game. There are big loading times in between missions and massive gaps between check points, meaning that you often have to pause to save just in case you die whilst in the midst of battle, otherwise you will go all the way back to the start of the mission you are on (a mistake that I learned from quickly). Unnecessary in modern gaming, but again something that could be excused given the sheer size of the game. Sometimes something's have to be sacrificed in order to compensate for others. 'I am doing my best to protect the developers, but it is easy to pick up on such things and lower the overall score of Rage.' 
The game is mission based, with side missions and a relatively open world map. Unlike Fallout though you are given vehicles to travel over great distances, which can also be driven in races to win money and race certificates which can be used to upgrade your quad or car with such things as armour and rockets. Driving is a blast (literally), with superb handling mechanics, even when the turbos kick in (there will be ample opportunity to test them out). Your character is as easy to manoeuvre around, with the control system being relatively fiddle free as you kick ass... or should I say shoot ass with big ass guns whilst glimpsing at some big ass titties from time to time...oh yes! Those are in high detail too. Not that I was overly focused on them. There are far too many enemies flying, jumping, running at you, and the AI are an intelligent lot who will keep you on your toes whilst you run and gun or throw grenades at them. There is a good selection of weapons to be picked up, with customised bullets to be found or made from schematics that you can also pick up. For me having this choice in bullets makes the game highly more fun to play, as you make the choice to take out enemies in a number of ways that can range from bullets inside of bullets, inside of bullets, to electro-bolts and bolts that explode after making contact. This is the mere tip of the iceberg in terms of the weapons and bullets available to you. The game at times becomes a bit of a gore fest, as you figure out creative ways to blast mutants and humans to pieces. Many times though I would opt for a cleaner kill as corpses in pieces do not leave behind items that you can steal from their cold dead hand. Mutants will just dissolve, so blast away. There are also many types of supplies that can be crafted into health items and power ups, plus bombs and artillery.
In between missions you can wander around settlements re-supplying or taking part in some of the games that settlers will play with you for small bets (cards, etc). The characters in settlements are varied and colourful, with John Goodman's voice not the only one providing decent dialogue. The music and sound effects are as good as the graphics. The overall atmosphere is moody with the music getting lively as you go into fights.
The overall difficulty of the game is that it really isn't difficult to get into and a little of a challenge as you progress, with some bad ass boss fights to be had right up until you get to the end and then it is a bit of a premature ejaculation just as you are about to orgasm. So finishing up on that note. I suspect that the detail of the game had something to do with the seemingly rushed ending. After two discs of play, the game could of been stretched onto another, but that would of probably meant a lot more in costs, plus there are actually three discs with the 360 versions, as there is also another for online play; something that I haven't been able to entertain. If this was the reason then I can only congratulate id on their attempt to squeeze something so big onto something so small. Maybe, just maybe they may get together with Bethesda again in the future and have another go at making a game that isn't Doom or Quake... or Fallout for that matter (Read my Fallout 4 review). So a score for Rage.

For the graphics alone it scores a 6 out of 10, coupled with a 4 for game-play and minus 2 for the ending. Rage scores an 8 out of 10. 
If you haven't played it, it is worth a go just because you will get at least 15 hours out of it.
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