iD Software are known for making great First Person Shooters, they brought us classic FPS titles like Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake. They created the genre that is arguably the best, and less arguably, the most popular. With games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo selling millions of copies and becoming household names, id’s games are being left behind. The latest versions of their beloved franchises just don’t stand up to the new shooters out there.
Then they told the world about a little game called Rage. You’ve all seen the hilarious Blake Griffin commercial by now, but just what is Rage all about. We know it’s a FPS, but there is alot more to it than that.
Normally you probably wouldn’t think about an id Software game as one with a great story, but not this time. They have setup a story that has us very intrigued and excited to see how it unfolds. The premise is that of real life asteroid Apophis, that is going to pass over earth around 2036. In the fictional world of Rage, the Government creates a program called Eden, where they bury people underground to survive the catastrophe when the asteroid hits. You are a survivor of the program and awaken 100 years later into a world unlike the one you last saw, with mutants running around, groups of factions pulling back and forth for power. You must choose how you want to play, who you side with and what choices your character makes. Having this open society to play with in a post-apocalyptic setting allows the story to be played out through missions that you will receive from NPC’s throughout the world. You have some freedom to explore the world, maybe not quite as much as say Fallout, but a lot more than your typical FPS.
Rage is the first game to run on their latest engine, idTech 5, and it is one of the best looking games we have seen on a console. The graphics in Rage are running at 2x the framerate of other shooters, and it shows. Just watch any of the latest trailers and you’ll see what we mean. Not only does it create a great looking game, idTech 5 utilizes a Megatexture technology which allowed them to create these huge, detailed environments, giving gamers fully unique environments around each corner. id really wanted to focus on the environment as if it was a character in the game and bring the world to life like never before.
Being a FPS, Rage would be nothing without a huge arsenal of weapons, gadgets, and special ammo types for your disposal. There are plenty of standard weapons such as the Shotgun, SMG, Machine Gun, Pistol, and Sniper Rifles, but Rage also includes a few special weapons such as the Crossbow and the Wingstick. The wingstick is one the cooler weapons in Rage, it is a bladed boomarang that has smart nano targetting technology, and with the right timing you can slice enemy heads clean off, before they even know you’re there. You use this on your offhand, so you can throw the Wingstick and then keep shooting while it’s tracking your enemy. The gadgets include a remote control car armed with explosives, turrets, a sentry bot and many others. To be able to use the gadgets you have to find the blueprints and the parts to create them. Different specialty ammo types are available around the Wasteland as well and they serve to give you some extra power. For example; Electric bolts for the crossbow will electricute any enemies in or near a water source, fire rounds light your enemy on fire and explosive rounds, well, blow people up. Much like the recently released Deus Ex Human Revolution, you are free to use whatever combination of weapons and gadgets you want, to decide how you want to play the game. You can play as a badass who just kicks down doors and starts blasting, or you can play with a bit more strategy and use gadgets to help you move a little more silently through the level, adding to the replay value of the game.
Vehicles also play a large role in Rage. There are a few different types of vehicles that you can use for Racing, traveling around the world and to help you in combat while out in the Wasteland. Throughout the game you can upgrade your vehicles, change the paint and equip new weapons on them. Much like Borderlands, vehicles are really important to have in Rage not only to help travel across the large world, but mix up the variety of the gameplay. Vehicles are always fun to use and id really worked hard to create a set of vehicles that were not only fun to use, but ones that actually felt smooth and worth driving. This is key in any form of open world game, and so far the vehicles in Rage look great.
Not only can do all that in the single player campaign, but Rage supports a seperate co-op mode. The co-op mode will allow you play online or offline with a friend. You will play through missions based on stories you heard about during the single player campaign, but didn’t have full missions to complete. The missions will include new backstory, objectives, and secrets allowing you to not only play with a friend, but not just rehash what you already did while playing alone. This is a fresh idea on co-op and sounds like it should be a lot of fun, as long as it isn’t too short like some other co-op modes in recent games (looking at you Two Worlds 2).
Rage also features a robust online competitive multiplayer suite including Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and other standard multiplayer modes, is what I would say if that was true, but it’s not. id Software didn’t want to just add in forced or unnecessary multiplayer modes, they wanted to do something new and unique and so they give us Rage Combat Rally. Combat rally is all about vehicles, with modes such as Team Rally, Chain Rally and Vehicle Deathmatch. I’m actually pretty excited to see how this turns out as it sounds like a great idea and not just more of the same multiplayer you would expect to see in a shooter. It will include a full EXP/level progression system to earn new loadouts and unlockables to upgrade your vechicles. With the FPS onslaught that is coming this fall, it’s nice to see a company take a risk and not just play it safe with the online system. How it all turns out in the end, we’ll find out on Oct 4th.