Shoot the baddies, ignore the plot, do random stuff. – Rage 2 Review
It may be called Rage but I’m not even mad.
Allegedly, Rage 2 was an endangered game until Avalanche Studios “rescued” it. I’m not sure that is truly the case. The shooting in the game is still the ultra-satisfying and fast paced action you expect from id software. It’s just too bad there’s this whole map and plot that get in the way of your enjoyment. How so?
If you like sand, you’re gonna love 80% of this game. There are spots that aren’t sand, and they actually don’t look as good.
There’s no designated aesthetic for Rage. It has been, and always will be, a combination of other similar games smashed together.
The draw distance on the map is dismal, and that’s on the Xbox One X version. And don’t get me started on their FOV slider.
Some games make you stop and stare in awe at the land before you. In Rage 2, I couldn’t ignore the scenery fast enough.
At least there was nothing distinctly terrible about the visuals?
I don’t always skip cut scenes on a first playthrough. But when I do, it’s usually another id software game. Like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, I regularly bypassed the plot out of sheer boredom.
The plot is too hard to follow anyway, the game expects you to just know stuff about the lore of Rage, which is something nobody has.
Did I even need a reason to shoot baddies? The game could have just said “here’s the bad guys, shoot them” and I would have had a blast.
But the game is so serious and the ridiculous action is at odds with the serious plot.
The plot also seems considerably unfinished, like it’s one third of a Far Cry game. And just like Ubisoft, they were keen to just litter the map with different stuff to do that earned you points towards being given story missions. One of which was a real slog.
This game was finished during a 3-night rental. Well, 4 nights total but I didn’t play it one night. I had to sort of force myself to plow through it.
Soundtrack sounds like it’s on autopilot. And even worse, there were times where it became grueling. Because occasionally the action music won’t shut off and continues looping.
I’m trying REALLY hard to remember any song in this game and I just can’t. I distinctly remember the Mutant Bash TV song being OK. But that’s because it was comical.
The guns and explosions are satisfactory. You can certainly feel the impact when you pull the trigger.
Voice acting isn’t bad. Not that I know that much since I skipped half the cut scenes. It’s whatever. It did the job bare minimum.
When you pick up items of any kind you hear the same exact “pow” noise every time. You also get a chime when you upgrade but there are many upgrades where there’s no sound at all. Really removes the “ooomphf” from leveling up your sh*t.
The sound FX are like a poor imitation of Titanfall 2‘s BOMBASTIC level up and weapon sounds.
Despite the open world feeling like more of a nuisance than a gameplay feature, it does leave a lot of areas to go to. And in all those areas are baddies and you get to shoot them. This game is at its best when you are shooting the baddies.
But seriously, id software has first person shooter mechanics down pat. It seems like Avalanche just used the exact same structure they did in their “Mad Max” adaptation, but let id do all the fine tuning.
The powers are fun, and while the challenge dramatically change, it’s not bogged down by any RPG elements. Each location just has a challenge rating, from 1-10, and I appreciate that you can just walk on in to a high difficulty area and still win if you’re good enough.
There are probably cooler guns, yet I spent the majority of the game with a heavily upgraded version of the starter weapon, the ranger assault rifle. And it never got old. Especially when upgraded to high capacity and faster fire rate. Why aim when you can shoot more bullets?
When this game is a shooter, it’s a great shooter. When this game is an open world sandbox, it’s a boring commute between combat sections. I almost would have preferred to just have a loading screen to teleport me to all the missions.
You know what really breaks immersion though? Having a pause menu that stutters and lags when you go from category to category.
Also the HUD disappears if you press the “Xbox” button. I had to do this frequently because I was capturing footage.
Despite all the complaints above, the actual combat just makes up for it in so many ways. It’s similar to Destiny in a way. They got themselves a great shooter that feels well polished, looks good, but lacks in story and creativity.
As stated earlier, this game was finished during a rental. By the time I finished, I had not done many of the side quests and locations to clear. If I had more time, I might be inclined to do them. But, it’s just not a $60 experience. That campaign is short and there are plenty of elements that keep Rage 2 away from greatness.