*insert Fallout Comparison*
As good as the graphics are, they really don’t compensate for the plot. Its not a good idea to put us in a sprawling breathtaking world and have us do nothing but run errands for the lazy bums who occupy it. When I see a post apocalyptic environment, especially one as detailed and good looking as the one in rage, I want to know more about it, know its history and its people, and know my purpose within it, and this where Rage fails miserably. The first four hours of the game consisted of “X needs you, go speak with him, there’s no map in the city so you have to look for him by yourself”, when you finally get X after aimlessly roaming around, its “I can’t ‘post-apocalyptic babble’ unless you kill people in the north of the map”. With no real plot going on, not only do you fail to learn anything about the world created for you, but you have no real purpose to play, and you lose a lot of the drive of going forward with the game. Around 5 hours into the game, the plot kicks in, and sticking true to their crappy storytelling techniques, the story is generic plot about a noble resistance force fighting the evil authority (called Resistance and Authority…respectively). Your missions become about assisting the Resistance, who are really good guys, against the Authority, who are super evil. None of that moral ambiguity of the Fallout series to be found here.
Even though Rage seems to be single player focused, it does have a multiplayer. Historically speaking, id Software is one of the most important names in multiplayer, inventing the death match and all. So it was a surprise to see that Rage includes no deathmatch at all. Mutliplayer consists of two modes, Road Rage and Wasteland Legends. Road Rage is the vehicular mode, where you can play a variety of races or an all out battle. It is quite fun to play, especially since the game does include good vehicle mechanics. Wasteland Legends is a series of Co-op missions, based on the various stories you hear throughout the wasteland. While exploring the Rage universe sounds quite interesting, the missions are quite short and linear, and don’t really offer much. Multiplayer in Rage is more a bonus feature rather than a full fledged experience, and while I understand id Software’s intention to explore other multiplayer modes and features, it would’ve been nice to see a death match mode, especially since the combat is really fun.
Rage is a fun first person shooter, and a marvel to look at. Unfortunately it is let down by a weak story and presentation. It is a nice break from the modern cover based military shooters, but its hardly a must play. A shame, really; we couldn’t help but get hyped about id Software’s biggest return to the FPS, a genre it practically invented, and alas, this is not a case of “id shows n00bs how its done” or “id’s triumphant return”. Turns out, time has marched on since id’s glory days, and to their credit, id attempted to catch up, but unfortunately, there were a few stumbles along its way.
(Wow, only one Fallout comparison. Have to say that is quite an accomplishment.)