Thursday, October 13, 2011

RAGE: First Impressions.

Rage looks farking amazing.

It is easily the best thing I have ever seen on my PC. I loved the graphics in Dead Space 2, but Rage is something else. As soon as I stepped out of that vault Ark... and raised my hands to block the suns glare in my eyes, a massive grin sliced across my face.

The Post Apocalyptic future never looked this good. There were numerous comparisons to the visuals of RAGE to games such as Fallout3 and Borderlands, and though these games might share a common theme... it truly does no justice to compare Rage directly.

Looking at a screen shot is one thing, but actually walking through the rusty, dusty world of Rage is a trip. From the bright burning sky above you, to the vast wasteland of decaying buildings and scavenged settlements that await you... I spent a decent amount of time just looking around before I followed any of the markers to do a quest.

And once you get a set of wheels the whole thing just takes on a different kind of life.

But know that Rage is not a full on RPG, no matter what the trailers and dev talk might say. If anything Rage is an action shooter with a little bit more NPC and story interaction we've come to expect from an iD game (or from most shooters to be honest). There is a general story that runs through the whole narrative. You've just come out of an Ark that was set up to contain the last of mankind moments before a meteor smashes into earth. Waking up many years later the world is now a harsh Mad Max sorta place, where mutants and bandits run rampant. The 'decent' folks have banded together to form survivor towns, and these become the hubs for your missions that unfold the rest of the story.

In these towns you meet people who have tasks for you, some of these tasks lead the main story, and other ones add to the richness of it. And this is where the game really shines for me. The characters you meet are just awesome. Each one of them brought to life with amazing animation, the kind where I sometimes just couldn't help but stare at the way they move and talk.

Hey babe... nice polys.

Every expression just feels so 'real' and every movement looks so "un-thought" of and natural, iD really out did themselves with it. If you wanna compare Rage to Fallout and Borderlands, the NPCs in those titles come off stiff and lifeless compared to the people of Rage.

And it doesn't stop there.

The first time I came across the baddies of Rage, it seriously scared the shit out of me. My first encounter was with these Ghost bandits. Mutants that were hold out in this abandoned building, half of which had crashed and gone underground. You spend a good 15 mins or so exploring the world before you meet these guys, and when they attack it's farkin mad.

The canon fodder of Rage. Always in packs, always deadly

I aim my sawed off shot gun at one of them and fire a shot, only to see the creature quickly duck and do a barrel roll towards me. Behind him another mutant came flipping and jumping through the pipes ahead. And beyond them I could see even more of them scuttling all over the place.

Who the fuck do I shoot first? this guy in front of me for sure, o fuck he dodged... ok that guy over there... I got him in the leg. Shit his crawling for cover... still firing. I can hear him though - telling his friends that his hurt. I turn the corner to see him staring at his leg, this guy was actually worried about the wound on his leg... as he looked up to stare me in the eyes with a snarling growl ,I empty my double barrel into his face.

one down, god knows how many more to go.

come at me bro!

To say the combat in Rage is frantic is an under statement. These baddies seem so alive. There have been so many games in recent years that deliver an enemy that looks as though the AI is really thinking and reacting. But nothing like this.

It really felt like these guys were up to no good for years before I showed up, and from the screams and aggression it really felt like I fucked up their day.

I found my self creeping and popping, not wanting to stir these guys. And by the time I finished the first mission - I was pumped. And so far I've only been up against the mutants and bandits, I can only imagine what I will be like when facing off against the organized Authority.

The weapons in Rage are also freakin awesome. Every gun you pick up you can be modifed to suit your needs. Smack a scope on a pistol, kill the recoil on your assault riffle. I'm not sure as yet if I can grab all the up-grades for everything, as you need to buy these upgrades, but the customizing in the game feels very good. They also sound great and pack a punch, and why wouldn't they? if there's one thing iD knows how to do is make a good gun.

You get money from quests, or from selling the numerous items you pick up on your missions. Some of these are simple vendor trash, but some are items you can use to make things.

As someone who needs to survive the wasteland, you have skills that allow you to craft certain items. Some need specific items, others have parts that are shared by other items... so you make stuff according to what you need.

These items range from bandages to mixed brews, or even drilling devices that break through locks that lead to otherwise inaccessible storage rooms and areas.

Speaking of areas, scattered through out the wasteland are these sewer entrances that lead to underground networks of caverns and pipes that are home to the meanest and nastiest mutants. Why would you go down there? Because these bastards like to kill shit and take their stuff, so if you're brave enough to go down there and take these fuckers out, you might find your self a nice gun or two.

So far I've found one sewer entrance nd there was a guy standing outside it who was all like "don't go in there stranger... you're gonna fucken die"

... and I believed him.

After mixing it up with the crazies on the surface, I think ima build up a bit more skill before I go fight them on their own turf.

I'm playing the game on Hard by the way... which makes these encounters mad as.

And what ups the stake even more is the lack of an auto-save function. If you don't F5 it now and then, you're stuffed.

If you do take a lot of hits though and get taken down, you get to play a little mini-game with your armor suits built in defibrillator, and depending on how well you do you get to come back with a certain amount of HP. Fuck it up and you come back with just enough health to bite it again, and this time for good.

You can only use this thing once before it goes on cool down.

There's also the Wing Stick. The signature weapon of Rage. This is basically a boomerang that doesn't come back. It occupies a grenade slot and allows you to carry out stealth kills.

So far these stealth kills have been a little redundant though since most of the baddies are really good friends and like to hang out very close to one another. I assume they do this so that they can gossip about the hot new guy who just came out of the Ark, that they can go all "Deliverance" on.

If the world of Rage isn't that big as most reviewers say, you can't really tell from the offset. The areas so far have been huge, and for getting around you really do need a vehicle. It's sort of similar to Borderlands in the way you have these areas that are linked through load points in the form of gates and such.

The driving handles very well. It's more arcade then anything else. It actually reminded me a lot of Burnout. The steering is very forgiving and allows for very tight controls, along with boosts and jumps to make it very exciting. I don't have mounted guns at the moment, so in between missions I get to have these chases with the roaming bandits along the wastelands.

And it's pretty freakin cool too. These guys pull up along side you and call out to you... shooting and threatening you as you try to get along with your business. I actually can't wait to get me a mounted Gatling gun so I can find these fuckers and shoot the shit out of them.

The vehicles like the guns are also customizable, and picking the ones you want really adds to the feel of making the ride your own.

Funny thing is, it's the driving parts that make me miss that one thing from Borderlands...

I actually per-ordered my copy of Rage back in June. So after months of waiting, yesterday I finally got my bloody little hands on it.

The game released last week, and the initial reaction by the majority of the gaming community wasn't too kind. Sure a lot of people agreed that RAGE looked freaking awesome and played great, but a shit load of bugs and graphic issues for the PC edition pissed a lot of people off.

It didn't really piss me off so much as disappointed me slightly. I mean here we have a game that's been in the development for so long, winning so many freaking awards at numerous game conventions, being done by iD software, the grand father of PC gaming... and what do we get?

An awesome console game that fudges up on the PC.

I think this kinda messed up the game for a lot of critics. When you're waiting in anticipation for such a high profile title from a developer that's such a major part of the game industry, you can't help but be shitty on them when they deliver a broken game. If you can't play it out of the box... then it's a broken game, there's no two ways about it.

I had to wait for a patch before I could play it, but lucky for me it was a Steam installation and not that horrid Windows live bullshit. When I first started the game after installation it crashed to desktop. That's just not on... luckily I had already downloaded the ATI drivers recommended by the Bethesda forums, so after the crash I went like this >_< and then loaded the drivers.

But all this was very quickly forgiven once the game started up. From the amazing opening FMV to the first time I fired a weapon. This game has all the hall marks of being one of my all time favorites.

I can't wait to get back to it...

I'll have more up as I play along.

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