RAGE 2 REVIEW
It has been some time since we visited the wasteland of Rage. Even though Rage 1 was a bit of a disappointment in the story department, I still felt it was a beautiful and fun game. The gaming landscape has changed over the years and with that, gamers now demand more. With the help of id Software, Avalanche Sweden has finally done it. Pulling resources from games like DOOM and Mad Max, both studios have come together to make one of the most entertaining Open World/First Person Shooters I have ever played: Rage 2. Let's dive in….
Story The Isn’t The Highlight
As most of you know, I’m usually all about the story in a game. With studios like iD and Avalanche, I was expecting the game to have a huge, deep story...But that’s not the case. Rage 2 is set 30 years after the first game and you play Walker, the last Ranger of The Wilds. It is your job to take on The Authority and many other Clans to take back control of the world. While there is more story in Rage 2 compared to the previous game, it’s how the story is told that holds the game back from being a great story-driven experience.
As I played through the story missions, I found myself playing the game with no care, i.e. wreaking havoc on my enemies, exploring the world, and doing side missions before I completed the story. For some completionists, this may seem like a normal playthrough, but not for me. Most of the time, if a story is gripping I play it from start to finish before I ever touch a side mission. Though the story isn’t horrible, the pacing and the overall plot was just...ok. With games like Mad Max, Doom, and Wolfenstein coming from these devs, I know the story could have been better but instead, it felt more like I was watching a straight-to-Netflix movie that was made by two of my favorite directors.
Throughout the story, you’ll take on the Bandit Clans, who are some of the coolest enemies I have faced in a game. You have the Goon Squad, The Immortal Shrouded, The River Hogs, Abadon Mutants, and of course The Authority. All of these clans will try and stop you from taking back the world, no matter the cost, and they all fight differently.
Clans like The Goon Squad or Mutants always seem to fight in packs, while the Authority, River Hogs, and Immortal Shrouded fight a bit more spread out with different tactics. Of all the enemies, I found that the Immortal Shrouded is by far the most difficult to face in Rage 2, with their ability to cloak, ninja-like movements, bullet reflection, and pretty heavy armor. Though they were tough, it really added diversity to the characters and made taking on these different clans way less repetitive.
I wish the story was a bit meatier, but with all of that said the voice acting was pretty solid and pulled me in. I chose to play as the Male Walker, voiced by Sam Riegel (best known for playing Teddie in Persona 4) and I really enjoyed the way he presented his character in the game. Though there were some problems with the NPC’s quality of voice acting, Sam vibed really well with the game and made me feel better connected to the character I was playing as through the story.
There is also the option to use Voice Packs in the cheat section of the game and I suggest you use it. I’m sure in the coming months we will get more voices, but my favorite voice to use is, of course, Tim Kitzrow! Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years Tim is the voice and announcer from NBA JAM. There is nothing better than catching a Bandit on fire and hearing Tim Kitzrow yell “HE ON FIRE”!
An Open, Beautiful World
The world of Rage 2 is vast and beautiful with six different sections to explore. These sections come with different land types and people to interact with. The first Rage was a very dry and bland wasteland begging for more life. In RAGE 2, I received exactly what I wanted; beautiful and varied areas flooded with more life and color than ever before. Without a doubt, the environmental upgrades are one of the strongest elements in Rage 2.
When you first start exploring the map you can literally go to any location and do whatever you see fit. There are six different locations that actually feel like their own little world. You have The Wilds, Sekreto Wetlands, Torn Plains, Broken Tract, Twisting Canyons, and the Dune Seas. Every area on this map is unique and feels like a HUGE improvement over the previous game. As I was exploring the map, I started noticing the love and care put into every detail of the crazy world that is Rage 2.
Yes, this is a “Post Apocalyptic” world, but id Software and Avalanche have ensured this is more than a run-of-the-mill Apocalyptic setting. It has been 30 years since the events of the first game, so the world has changed and civilization has begun to grow.
I love driving from one area of the map to another, finding beautiful landscapes, and walking around to explore the life and chaos of the world. There were so many times I used the photo mode to capture breathtaking areas, battle moments, and even how the sky looked at certain points throughout my playthrough. Truly, the attention to detail in the game made me appreciate the development teams even more. They really did want Rage 2 to be an over-the-top beautiful game and they hit a home run with this title!
With most open-world games you have the ability to upgrade your character with a skill tree and sometimes it just doesn't seem to affect the gameplay much. That is not the case in RAGE 2, you start the game as a very basic soldier that can unlock skills in the Project section and add things like more speed, higher jumps, less fall damage, and more. These projects are all themed to four main story NPCs that will help you along the way.
There are even unlockable skills for your weapons, vehicles, and nanotrites that will make said items and abilities more powerful, cool down quicker, and easier to use. All these added skills help the game go from a normal FPS title to the wildest, fastest, craziest first person shooter I have played in years. The nanotrite powers you can use in the game are insane, there are a total of 11 abilities to unlock with some so powerful they make you feel godlike.
My two favorite nanotrites to use while taking on enemies are Shatter and Slam, but if you use them both at the right time, during a fight, these can turn the tide in your favor very quickly. I have upgraded these two nanotrites to the fullest extent and can now destroy an enemy with the palm of my hand or jumping very high in the air and slam down on a group of enemies to kill more than one at a time.
This right here is the reason RAGE 2 is a great game, not only is the world open and beautiful, but it is also a high-octane madhouse of fun. The best way I can describe this game is if DOOM and MAD MAX had a drug-fueled baby that was raised by a post-apocalyptic Vin Diesel. Speaking of Mr. Diesel, the driving in the game is extremely improved from the last game and this time comes with a surprise.
As you progress through the game, you will find a large number of vehicles that can be driven. There are so many games that launch and are said to be “open world” but the small detail of driving a random car isn’t placed in the game. Avalanche Sweden has a lot of experience with this style of gameplay coming off of making games like Mad Max and Just Cause 4. Thus, Rage 2 features a wide array of vehicles, across this vast map, that are drivable. That’s right, if you find it, you can drive it!
You can also upgrade the vehicles to have more speed, armor, and firepower to help take on the vicious world and its crazy Convoys! Convoys are heavily guarded groups of vehicles with a huge fortress vehicle leading the group. If you destroy the convoy you get a ton of parts to upgrade the vehicle of your choosing. Facing off against motorbikes, shielded turret mounted cars, and more is a crazy and fun way to upgrade your cars and make your drive even safer!
My time with Rage 2 has been a lot more than what I thought it would be. Although the story is a bit lacking, the gameplay, level design, and voice acting make up for what the story mode didn't give me. Rage 2 is the craziest, most action-packed game on the market and it’s definitely worth a playthrough! I have had so much fun in this world and plan on spending a lot more time with it over the next few months, as more world events and DLC are released. Thank you, Bethesda, iD Software, and Avalanche Sweden for the chance to review this game.