Id Software is kind of an enigma in the world of gaming. Here is a company that came out of nowhere to take over gaming for most of the 90s with Wollfenstein, Quake and Doom, and since then they have been fairly quiet. Aside from Doom 3 and working with other companies on spin-offs of their most well-known games, Id has been keeping a fairly low profile. Those who’ve read up on Id know that when they do keep quiet, it’s usually because John Carmack is trying to push the envelope when it comes to graphics. That and more can be said for their newest game, Rage.
IT'S ALL THE RAGE
That’s One Smart Bastard - Enemies in a FPS game almost always are complete idiots. They’ll run right at you, and if they use cover, they really suck at it. That’s not the case with Rage. There are enemies that run at you, but they’re actually quite agile. They can jump right over you and dodge your attacks as they bumrush you, and just to mess with you even more, these enemies will typically have a throwing weapon to fling at you, and hat’s just the guys with the melee weapons. Then there are the bad guys with ranged weapons who will utilize cover fairly well. Not perfect, mind you, as I’ve seen some enemies stay in the cover stance, but are clearly not in cover. They will, however, keep their distance and toss a few grenades at you. After those enemies, at times you’ll comes across more “special” enemies who have some big firepower strapped to them like a minigun or able to throw out some sludge to blind you for a few seconds. Where I was really shocked by the enemy A.I. was when you fight the heavy armored enemies called The Authority. You won’t fight these guys often, but when you do, be prepared to change up your tactics. It’s that changing of tactics on the fly that makes the A.I. a welcome challenge.
Nice Arsenal - Throughout the game, weapons will be supplied to you in different ways. You cannot pick them up from dead enemies as they disappear into the pale moonlight as most real guns do. There’s the standard pistol, shotgun, machine gun, assault rifle, rocket launcher, and sniper rifle that you would expect in a FPS. To make those weapons a bit more interesting, id included different ammo for the weapons. Think that pistol is too weak? Use some Fatboys ammo and the dozen shots it took to take down the enemy is now only 2-3. Want more power out of your shotgun? Use the pop ammo that makes it the equivalent of a grenade launcher. Then you have the crossbow that can be a stealth weapon with the regular bolts, or later on you can get electrified bolts that help whenever enemies are close to water. You can even try mind control bolts, which do just that to enemies. Your arsenal doesn’t stop there as you can be equipped with a variety of supplies to help. Early on you get the wingsticks weapon that not only is silent, but can decapitate a baddie from a distance. There are also turrets and bots you can use to help you through an area. Some of these supplies are not found in stores, you have to find them or make them through recipes you find or are given.
Raging With a Buddy - Co-op play is becoming a fairly standard and welcomed extra to any game these days. The co-op missions have you and a group up to 4 make your way through several of the areas that you’ll play through the single player campaign. While it may not seem exciting that you have to play through the same stages you already dominated through, there are some twists. First off, these missions have you control different the characters that you met through the game. This enables to get some background on them as well as learn about the events that happened before the timeline you played through in the single player campaign. Second, the areas are altered from what you’ll play in the single player campaign. In one mission, you play through the “pilot episode” of Bash TV, a popular TV show that you have to compete in during the single player. The difference is that since this a “pilot episode” a variety of things are wrong so someone that’s playing through it after going through the single player will find it entertaining.
To me, Rage is one of those games that have promise as a series even though the first game is kind of rocky. At about 10 hours of game time, the game can be easily beaten in a rental with a few more hours added on for co-op. I think Id Software made some great strides technically, but they missed the mark on certain aspects of the game, that is, those things that make it more enriching to the player like a good story or a big world with lots to see and do.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.*