Bethesda Softworks’ Rage for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, and the PC is a rich first-person shooter that incorporates shooting, driving and role-playing elements in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
In Rage, a sole survivor of a cryogenic experiment awakens to a barren land inhabited by bandit clans. The survivor must accept missions to help out local townspeople and subsequently survive the new world.
Each mission in Rage can range from talking to obtaining certain items to killing a band of enemy bandits. Upon completion, users will nab new weapons, sub-weapons, ammo types, and currency.
Currency can be used to purchase weapons, ammo, and vehicle parts. Each vehicle in Rage can be outfitted with guns and sub-items like shield and bombs to be used in missions or to battle rival gangs on the road.
In addition, users can accept optional missions to obtain new items to provide a less linear experience.
First-person shooting controls hold solid aim and sensitivity properties, with users able to target various points on each enemy. Weapons can be armed with different ammo types to inflict added damage or pierce the armor of harder enemies. The action begins with standard pistols and shotguns, but ramps up with assault rifle, crossbow, and more sub-item options.
While shooting is solid, the user doesn’t have much dexterity without cover or blind fire options. Users can only crouch to sneak up on enemies and jump. The enemy AI, however, is smart in dodging, blind fire, and grenade warfare.
Sub-items include grenades, bandages, Wingsticks to boomerang enemies, Lockgrinders to unlock item-filled rooms, turrets, bots, and even an RC bomb car. In addition, users can engineer new items with random items found in the game.
Driving to each mission location is a large portion of the title and Rage holds solid driving controls for cruising or combat. With standard guns, drivers can shoot up rival buggies in a blaze of glory and earn money for each kill. Physics properties are less impressive without much realism in head-on collisions or damage effects.
Between missions, users will traverse to RPG-like towns to stock up on items, race to earn money, or accept optional missions. The town aspect is a welcome break from shooting and adds a dimension to the standard FPG genre.
The graphics engine is stellar at 60 frames-per-second. id Software id Tech 5 engine can render a large and dusty wasteland with incredible textures and lighting effects without a stutter. Each structure, person, and vehicle is rendered to perfection, with only some occasional banding and texture tearing.
The sound engine is good with standard weapon blasts and enemy battle cries. The soundtrack of guitar twangs establish an old settlement feel amid the barren desert.
Multiplayer options include online racing battles and co-op specific missions for local or online play. Racing battles offer a nice diversion, while co-op missions are a blast and dive into the folklore behind certain characters. The engine could have accommodated a decent shooter game, but the current options suffice.
Rage is an uncommon pileup of genres engineered in a rich world. The title successfully combines shooting, racing and role-playing to carve out a brand new wasteland to hunt and explore.