Rage Review- PCOctober 14, 2011
Rage is an extremely fun, ambitious game that could have been near perfect.
id Software once again makes an impact on the shooter scene with its new IP Rage, powered by the all new id Tech 5 engine. It’s a beautiful game, featuring the most realistic, detailed apocalyptic wasteland seen to date in a videogame. They’ve also done a standout job optimizing Rage, as it runs incredibly smoothly while pumping out awe-inspiring visuals. During my playthrough, I never noticed the framerate dropping below 60 frames per second. Also, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions look almost as good as the PC version. While all that is certainly impressive, Rage still has some big problems, especially on PC.
Full disclosure: I was not able to complete Rage on PC. The game has some big issues, including major texture streaming problems and crashes on PC. I got about 3 hours in before the game continually crashed on the same sequence, over and over again. There have been beta video drivers released immediately following Rage’s release to try and combat the problem, but that doesn’t change the fact that Rage was not thoroughly play tested on PC. Also, they don’t have an update for every video driver- mine is still left without an update. Seeing as id Software started out on PC, seeing the console versions get more love is certainly disheartening. I felt the same way about the recent Deus Ex- another franchise that began on PC which ran better on consoles. That game also had myriad video driver problems and crashes on PC, while running flawlessly on consoles. If you have an AMD card, you’ll have a really hard time running this game. I have an Nvidia card and still was unable to complete it. What’s more, there are hardly any graphical tweaking options on PC. You can only set anti-aliasing and resolution.
When the game is running, it is gorgeous and very fun. It’s probably the most technically sound shooter I’ve yet played as far as gameplay. Shooting just feels right, and every bullet has some real weight behind it. You can see your enemies’ bodies twist and contort in pain as bullets pierce their chest. They’ll be knocked over as they are running towards you. If you shoot a mutant in the leg, it can break. Everything feels like it has real stopping power, which is something I’ve never felt while playing Medal of Honor or Modern Warfare. The game also features a hefty dose of vehicles- both for traveling and combat. You can drive ATVs and buggies, and upgrade them with guns and missiles to take out foes while on the go.
The game has a decent money system as well, and you’ll get money for side quests, as well as clearing out mutants on the roads and making the towns safer. You can in turn spend this money on armor upgrades, new weapons, car upgrades, new schematics, etc. The game is packed with content, and you can compete in races, play cards and other games with townsfolk, compete in Mutant Bash TV, and much more. There’s also some online multiplayer content, such as a car combat competitive game and a co-op mode where you and one other player play in missions separate from the story mode.
The story is decent, if a bit undercooked. You awake from cryogenic sleep, which you and a small number of people were put into before a giant asteroid hit the earth. You awake and are freed from your capsule, stepping into the sun’s blinding light. You’ll take a minute to check out the gorgeously rendered, decimated world, before you’re attacked by the first mutant. You’ll be saved by Dan Hagar (John Goodman), and in return you’ll do some tasks for him to repay the favor. From there you’ll go from town to town completing all manner of tasks.
Overall, the game is solid when it’s working. Shooting enemies is just as fun as it was the first time I booted up the shareware version of Doom so many years ago. I was disheartened that I could not finish the PC version, as I was having lots of fun with the game. Honestly, it may have been in the running for my first ever 5 star review. However, I cannot look past the fact that the PC version is simply unfinished. It’s a growing trend lately of companies pushing out incomplete games and patching them later. However, where does that leave early adopters, who happily dropped $60 on a title? It can only hurt companies, as more people are waiting a few months for the kinks to be worked out of a game before buying it. Another recent post-apocalyptic game, Fallout: New Vegas, had the same problem. Rage is a gorgeous, fun, and extremely well designed shooter. If only the PC version had been delayed a few months.