RAGE – The darker, grumpier cousin of Borderlands

Logo 01I snagged myself RAGE for $5 on a Steam sale a couple weeks ago or so. I’d heard some mediocre reports about it, but one buddy enjoyed it and recommended getting it, at least if it ever came on sale. So I snagged it and installed it. And for 3 days straight it crashed the moment it started. Talk about truth in advertising; the crash bug gave me massive NerdRage. Nothing worked! I tried everything, from re-installing the game to updating the drivers. On the fourth day, it just suddenly worked fine. No idea why, it just did. I’m just glad I could finally play the game, and it really was worth grabbing.

2013-11-27_00025The game has an interesting opening premise, one I actually liked for the most part. The premise of arcs and survivors of an extinction-level event is definitely interesting. The initial cut-scene was well done, and the graphics throughout the whole game are impressive. Gameplay, I must admit, is nothing terribly new or innovative, but still fun and very solid. I think this game got a bit of a mediocre reception purely because it stuck to tried and true gameplay rather than trying to break boundaries by doing something new and unique, but a game doesn’t have to push the industry forward or advance tech in order to be fun and worth buying. RAGE is definitely fun and worth buying. It has a lot of similarities to the Borderlands games in some ways, but some major differences as well. Where Borderlands went with a cell-shaded, colourful, somewhat cartoon style, RAGE went with more grit and realism. Where Borderlands 2 went with upgradeable skill trees, RAGE went with craftable consumables. Where Borderlands 2 went with a bazillion different guns, RAGE went with a set number each with 2 or 3 ammo types.

2013-12-08_00004Honestly, I like some of the directions they went with gameplay. One thing that was, to me, both very cool and very annoying about Borderlands was the variety of weapons while at the same time the limit of weapons you could carry. The variety of guns the game can create is daunting, and can sometimes be overwhelming trying to figure out what to keep and what to store in the vault and what to sell. RAGE doesn’t have that issue; you’ve got a much smaller number of weapons, and can pretty much access them all at any time. To make it feel like there’s more weapons than that, each has multiple ammo types that can be used. The only weapon that is a bit of a pain to swap ammo types with is the nailgun added in the DLC; it doesn’t have a default key that it’s bound to like the other weapons do, so the only way to swap ammo types is to open the weapons menu and manually equip the other ammo types. At least doing this pauses the game, so you don’t have to worry about being pummeled while you do that.

2013-11-27_00018I personally think the vehicles in RAGE are far better than Borderlands 2, and I much prefer their control scheme. Vehicles can be upgraded and tweaked with better parts and weapons, and the races are a nice touch. Personally, I’m not that great at racing games in general, but I don’t mind the ones in RAGE that much.I’m still getting the hang of drifting and using the hand break, but it’s coming along. The vehicles of the Borderlands games are nice, but not at all very customizeable; the most you can do is chose between 2 secondary weapons and various paint jobs. In RAGE, you can tweak the engines, the tires, the boost, etc. They also have more than just 2 vehicles to choose from. Now, here’s where one of my few gripes comes in. I like upgrading my rides in this game and I like driving around, but I’m not a huge fan of some of the race types. Unfortunately, you can’t go back and re-race anything you’ve already finished, and a lot of vehicle upgrades are only available with racing tickets that are given as prizes for the races. The only other way to get those tickets is killing bandit vehicles, which does not earn you much per kill, so that route will take a long time.

2013-11-27_000122013-11-27_00014The characters are…. definitely interesting. I actually like the design of the majority of the female characters around the towns, they’re neither voluptuous nor skinny supermodels. All the character models are very detailed, and the voice acting is pretty well done as well. John Goodman makes a cameo appearance at the start of the game, giving you a few of your first missions and weapons. I like how the voice actors say things clearly and somewhat slowly, without sounding like they’re purposefully trying to say them slowly; a lot of games have that, and it annoys me when they sound like they’re trying too hard to speak slowly

I haven’t gotten to check out the multiplier yet, mostly because I don’t know anyone with a (official) copy that would be willing to give it a run-through with me, so I’ll have to update here with my impressions of that when I get a chance to give it a go. What I’ve read about it, though, doesn’t really thrill me so far. This game would be incredible with co-op features, but it looks like there’s none to be had. What little multiplayer there is does seem kinda fun, though, so I’m interested in giving it a try.

All in all, I’m definitely enjoying RAGE, and definitely feel it’s a great game worth having in my collection. I’m hoping more DLC is made, especially if they can add some classic multiplayer options and perhaps even a co-op expansion.

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