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Game Review: RAGE
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RAGE Xbox 360

RAGE
Xbox 360 I PS3 I PC
DEVELOPER: id Software
PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks
RELEASE DATE: October 4, 2011

Another of the many exciting game titles being released in this fall season, RAGE hopes to stand out as one of the top shooters gamers can get their hands on. Developed by id Software, inventor of the first–person shooter with titles like Wolfenstein, DOOM, and Quake, and published by Bethesda Softworks, the company behind all–time greats The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, as well as the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you could say that the game has a whole lot to live up to.

RAGE starts off after an asteroid (a very real asteroid named Apophis, which in 2004 was thought to have a less than 3% chance of striking Earth in the year 2029) hit our planet on August 23, 2029. You awake from a cryogenic sleep 109 years later, one of the few who were selected for The Eden Project, a program that would put twelve people with special abilities or traits in each of hundreds of Arks that would one day awake and begin to rebuild society.

Upon waking, you realize that none of the other people in your Ark have survived, and you venture out into the vast new wasteland that was once our planet. Within moments of leaving the Ark you find yourself in a problematic situation, when a man named Dan (voiced by John Goodman) comes to your aid just in time. He makes you aware of a dangerous faction called The Authority that pays big money for Ark survivors such as yourself. After doing a few quests for him and others in the area in exchange for weapons and your own transportation, you’re then set off on your journey to try and avoid being captured by The Authority, find out why they want you so badly, and join up with an opposing faction called The Resistance.

The most important thing to remember when entering RAGE is that it’s not an RPG. It does have RPG elements, but seeing as how these are the creators of the first–person shooter, it is, at its core, a shooter. And shoot you will. There’s a wide variety of weapons to acquire and use in your various quests, as well as other weapons like the Wingstick, which is a bladed boomerang that’s perfect for taking enemy heads clean off.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find myself craving a little more RPG gameplay—mainly dialogue options to have an actual conversation with the characters and perhaps the ability to customize who you are and what you look like in order to really make the person you play as your own—but it’s not something I would complain about. It’s more just me being picky and wishful thinking than anything.

And while this is a shooter and not an RPG there are other gameplay styles mixed into the adventure, most notable of which is of course the driving. You’ll earn, acquire, or (rarely) steal vehicles along the way such as ATVs, buggies, or muscle cars on steroids, which will be used to travel the wastelands on your way to your next objective. Vehicles can be upgraded with different types of boosters and themes and tires and other sorts of equipment, as well as some heavy weaponry for when you cross paths with bandits who will attack you on sight. There’s also a bunch of mini–games to play within the world itself, including card, dice, knife, hologram, and music–based games you can find in bars and other locations.

From the start, especially because the game is published by Bethesda, people have likened RAGE to the Fallout universe. But really the only connection is that this post–apocalyptic world is called the “wastelands” (and maybe a surprise or two if you look closely). If you’re looking for comparisons it’s more along the lines of a Borderlands but less stylized and much more realistic looking, as well as much more entertaining as a far as games go.

The world itself is absolutely stunning to look at, from the picturesque blue sky to all of the little things going on around you, which are highlighted by some fantastic sound effects work. There are some times where you’ll catch textures loading around you or something will look pixelated if you get too close—indicating that the game was just a little too big for the Xbox 360 I played it on—but only if you’re really looking for it. Even so, the overall game is an impressive achievement visually.

The voice acting is solid all around, and there’s a great variety of characters to meet along the way, some cool and friendly, some intimidating, and some downright strange. It’s the characters that really helped to set the tone of the world for me; if I were in a similar situation I would expect to meet an exorbitant amount of eccentric personalities, and they nailed that aspect of the game.

RAGE is a large and beautiful game (as beautiful as you can be in the middle of the apocalypse), with an entertaining story and plenty of things to do to keep you busy. There’s the main storyline to follow but plenty of side quests to do as well, most of which don’t feel forced or repetitive. A lot of the things you’ll do feel like things you would have to do if you were actually there, which is something I can certainly appreciate.

If all of that’s not enough to sate your gaming appetite, or at least pique your interest a bit, there is plenty of multiplayer action to partake in as well, spread over multiple game modes. Surprisingly, however, none of these multiplayer modes are first–person shooters; instead you’ll be jumping into vehicles to go to battle with people all over the world. Unfortunately I’m without an Xbox Live gold membership at the moment and am unable to check these out, but I’d imagine they’re a cross between Twisted Metal and the Death Race movies, and that makes me eager to check them out sometime in the near future.

RAGE is a game that most people should find not only many hours of entertaining gameplay and multiplayer action in, but plenty of replay value as well.

Trailer

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