I’ve been around the block for a long time, gaming wise. I was about when Wolfenstein first appeared, and when Doom literally blew the socks off of everyone who saw it with a revolutionary new genre making its first steps into the world.
Since then there have been SO MANY first person shooters populating the landscape of gaming that we become lost in the fact that the originators of that said genre are still very much alive and kicking today.
Now, I LOVED the Doom revamp to the point that I bought it twice because I missed it. I also went through the two new Wolfenstein games that came from the Bethesda stables. I even played and enjoyed the first Rage, which at the time was a revolutionary idea, having a tight shooter based in an open world. It did well, but had some flaws.
What is it they say about the more things change…?
The story in Rage 2 is a little basic to say the least. You play Walker, who is the best chance of standing up against the Authority, so you can see that a great deal of thought has went into the main arc, seeing as how it reeks of something that’s been done loads of times.
You start off by getting used to your surroundings by travelling them and getting to know the local natives, friendly ones first followed by all those you have sworn (or fell into, depending on how you look at it) to seek and destroy, including a certain general you thought you’d killed in the first game.
With a game like this you don’t really think about how bad the storyline is, as the action usually sees you through. This does happen to a point, but it isn’t quite that simple.
When you consider that the people working on this are two of those companies that are very good at their craft (Avalanche Studios, king of the open world action games and id Software, who may have done a few first person shooters over the past few decades) you would expect the videogame equivalent of the forming of a super-group. To a point this does happen, but as I’d said, it isn’t quite that simple.
The first person action is drilled in, and DOOM has a lot to gain plaudits from. It is very tight and fun getting scrappy and torn into the action. Every shot, decapitation, punch and whatever else you want to use has that gravitas, that lovely feel you associate with something you’ve never used in real life, but think that it is how it would truly act.
What lets Rage 2 down though is the open-world, but I think this is down to how fast paced the action is up-close more than anything else. Because that part is so in your face and frantic, when you get to that quiet, lacking in action wilderness, you wonder what’s going on. This makes the game feel more linear than it has any right to, simply because of a lack of ambition. This could have been so much more, but it feels like a missed opportunity.
I love the almost Cyberpunk feel of Rage 2. That mixed with the usual id flair helps to produce a wonderful looking game. It is even more pleasing on the eyes when you’re blasting things away at 100 miles an hour. Up close it is beautiful, but once you get yourself out of where all the action happens, you feel like you’re back in another bland title again.
There are those hit and miss sections all over the joint and it is such a shame because when you consider that those bits are from the guys that did Mad Max, you sit there and scratch your head a bit and struggle to work it out. Just Cause as well, just to add some more food for thought.
I was so looking forward to this game, as I was one of the few that really enjoyed the original. If you can keep yourself creative and find ways to extend the fun factor that it DOES have, then you’re in for a good time. If you have been there and done that and you go through the motions, this may well bore you to the point where you just turn off and don’t bother.
The one major plus is the fact that the combat is just brilliant, but the open world boredom and lack of a non-linear feel eat into the goodness that the brutality gives you. If anything, I would suggest buying Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus or wait until Doom: Eternal rears its head. These have a proven track record of being safe and they always give you what is expected. Rage 2 could have had a lot to offer, but it never quite gives you that feeling.
For me, Rage 2 feels like a huge missed opportunity. This could have been an open-world title to shake things up a little, especially for the single player.