Video gaming news and review sites once had a cynosure in the form of id Software and justifiably so. These were the guys who’d literally given the world of video gaming a new perspective by pioneering the first person shooter; those of us born before the 90s have fond memories of Wolfenstein 3D. id didn’t stop there, going on to further define the genre they’d created. The highly successful Doom and Quake franchises shaped the FPS genre and symbolized an entire era in video gaming. Simply put, they pretty much established themselves as the elder statesmen of video gaming, and were now looking for an ‘unretirement’ of sorts.
The intense combat experience, weapons that were innovative as much as they were fun, and a dark, twisted sense of humor were the stand-out traits of these games and that is the formula that id is looking to revive with Rage.
Rage Review: Redefining Video Gaming Graphics
And what makes it really stand out is that, as they’ve done before, id have somehow managed to revisit the art of redefining standards for graphical brilliance. Of course, you’ve heard that before, what with every new game that come out aiming to mediocrity with sheer eye-candy. Rage is among the exceptions where the graphics aren’t just there for the thrills, but serve to bring alive a truly beautiful, true-to-life animated, near photo-realistic world. Yes, this world does get into your face every now and then and tries to rip your throat out, but we’re not talking about gameplay right now, are we?
Speaking of which, Rage scores well here too. The combat is intense, immersive and unbelievably satisfying (okay, not quite in the I-need-a-shrink way) and not just because there’s a generous dose of good old video gaming blood-&-guts. The weapons are innovative, and with multiple ammo-types, the shooting never really gets old as you keep finding new ways to wreak havoc upon all who stand in your way. Suffice it to say that Rage will make you a veritable video gaming angel of death. Some weapons are pretty much standard FPS fare, and then there are others, like the bladed boomerang, that make you feel like a kid holding a brand new flavor of (virtual, of course) candy. The races that also allow you to shoot your opponents into oblivion make us want to dig up our old Death RaceVHS tapes and weep tears of joy.
Traveling on foot, encounters with the enemy are likely to leave you shaken; make no mistake, they’re not going to roll over and die just to make you feel good about yourself. Melee enemies will try take you down with the sheer weight of numbers, while the ones with ranged weapons know how to use them to deadly effect. Not only is the AI good, different kinds of enemies have their characteristic strengths, and use those strengths as well as the video gaming environment frighteningly well. Enemies tend to utilize cover effectively, so you’re always on your toes trying to deal with different enemies and it isn’t quite Serious Sam. Every encounter, especially when you encounter a new kind of enemy, turns into a dash to safety whichever way you can manage it, trying to kill the enemy at the same time. All in all, the adrenaline pumping gameplay keeps punching you in the guts to remind you that id Software is back.
The storyline is where Rage flatters to deceive. That is not to say that it is bad. It’s also not just that the overall awesomeness warrants a better story, but more than that, it’s the story itself that’s promising and yet feels underdeveloped. You meet quite a few quirky and memorable characters on your quests, and while they feel nicely fleshed out, their storylines aren’t quite. Most of them are characters that send you, the player, on various quests. However, they have a tendency to simply vanish once their quests are completed. All the same, the story keeps you involved for the duration of the campaign—which can take anything between 10 and 20 hours—and is quite interesting but again, it just ends abruptly. Also, with all the stupendous arsenal you have on you by the time the final level rolls along, one does wish—classic corridor FPS action though it does showcase—that the final fight could have made you use your death dealing contraptions a little more and offered a challenging fight, instead of ending it as it does (see, no spoilers!)
Multiplayer Video Gaming
The multiplayer was clearly not the focal point for the developers who decided to go for a superlative single-player campaign instead. That said, it gets the job done by providing a more than decent multiplayer FPS experience. So our final verdict is that Rage is a must play game for the simple fact that it’s a fun game. It seamless blends a hardcore FPS video gaming experience with some basic and interesting features of an action RPG without letting that go so far as to detract from the chief fun element, the sheer delight of carnage-filled fighting. That it’s easy on eyes at the same time only goes on to check another box with players still looking for more reasons to buy this game. Seriously folks, buy this fine specimen of video gaming multimedia already!