Gaming, Technology, Uncategorized, Video Games

RAGE Review (360): Score of 7

I wanted to love this game; I really did. It seemed to have so much potential, and nearly every review I found online awarded RAGE with an 8 or 9 out of 10 (or the equivalent for each different scoring system). The concept for the game was great, and I was actually quite excited to start playing. It didn’t take long for my excitement to wane, however. There was so much more that could have been done to make this game great, but in my opinion, it turned out to be a run-of-the-mill shooter with just a bit of a twist.

RAGE puts you in the shoes of an “Ark Survivor.” An asteroid hit Earth a few years back, and scientists of the day had underground cryogenic freeze facilities in place to preserve humans to repopulate the planet in case of such an emergency. My Ark was activated and I awoke from my long sleep to find myself in a total wasteland… literally. The place is called the Wasteland. It’s got a Wild West/Steampunk sort of vibe to it, but that doesn’t quite describe it right. Just like in any post-apocalyptic tale, the survivors have their fair share of issues; government corruption, bandits, rival clans, mutations, and sanitation problems.

A survivor happens to be there when I emerge from my Ark and he helps me get some clothes, weapons, and information. In order to obtain these riches, I run errands for him; go here and talk to this guy, then go over there and get some supplies, etc. Before long, he sends me off because the Authority might come looking for me and put him in danger; the Authority doesn’t take kindly to Ark Survivors. I go to a nearby city, where I run some errands for the mayor, and eventually I get caught up in a resistance movement against the Authority. I end up running errands for the resistance leader until I finally infiltrate the Authority’s capitol and activate the Arks that are still underground; the resistance plans to use these new Ark Survivors to create an army to fight the Authority.

At its core, RAGE had potential; that can’t be denied. Vehicles like ATVs, buggies, and armored cars take an important role for transportation and income. Driving these vehicles around the Wasteland is not only convenient, but it’s a load of fun as well. Outfitted with weapons, these vehicles can make plenty of bandit cars explode; the vehicular battles are great, and the handling and control reminds me of Motorstorm: Apocalypse. The vehicles can also be entered in races; the winnings allow you to buy tires, weapons, boost, and other upgrades for your vehicles. Driving these buggies around and absolutely destroying the enemies makes you feel like a total boss.

Sadly, that was one of the only high points for me. The rest of the game was mainly downhill from there. The storyline was so thin, you could’ve cut it with a butter knife. Seriously, this is the sort of plot line I can write in ten minutes at 2:00 in the morning on no sleep; there was nothing to it. I’m not trying to brag and say “I can write a better story,” but it’s true. There was hardly a plot line at all. There were no real motives or reasons for my actions until about halfway through the game, and even at that, the motives placed before me would never have driven me in reality. The story of survival wasn’t expanded upon, there was no character development, hardly any background story as to what happened during the post-meteor years. Nothing.

The missions were marred by this lack of motive. There was a decent variety to the missions; there were several different factions to fight in several different locales. I fought mutants, the Authority, bandits, and Gearheads, and the variety was great as each faction had strength and weaknesses. For example, the mutants don’t have much health, but they’re little kamikazes, and they’re annoying as crap. The Gearheads have a ton of health, but they’re not exceptionally powerful; it’s a nice variety.

Although the missions themselves had good variety, I hated the lack of motive for taking on the missions. Because there wasn’t really a strong storyline, I felt as though I was just being used as a messenger boy; a pawn. I didn’t feel like I was important, and I wasn’t compelled to greatness. I’m not kidding when I say the missions were as simple as “go here and talk to this guy; I’ll pay you nicely.” Then I go to that guy, and he tells me about a place I need to go to. I go to the place, kill the enemies, retrieve an object he needs, report back to the guy, and he tells me to report back to the other guy. Lather, rinse, repeat… a lot.

There was a disappointing lack of autosave in RAGE. The game did save automatically, but the autosaves were so few and far between that in my 12 hours of playing, I only found 3 times where the autosave overrode my manual save. To make it worse, the autosave didn’t seem to work right, so it sent me farther backwards as opposed to my manual save. I would then have to load the manual save and go from there since the autosave set me back to a place I had cleared almost an hour before.

The enemies are vicious, so I found myself saving the game every 2 to 5 minutes, which is extremely tiring and redundant. Now, RAGE takes the form of an RPG with guns, so I can understand why an RPG would include manual saves instead of autosaves. However, the campaign is perfectly linear, and there was not a single time where I thought that autosave would have possibly been a bad thing.

Speaking of saving and loading, the load times were awful! The RAGE single-player mode is on two discs, so it is recommended that the player installs both discs. I did not do this before I began the campaign, but I did so at about the halfway point. It didn’t seem to make a difference in the load times, so I think that the changes only take place when you reset the story mode back to the start. Concerning the installation, it was also supposed to help the texture loading… I noticed that there were many textures in RAGE that didn’t load, and it was a little jarring. Again, this could be chalked up to a lack of disc installation, but I’m not sure. 

The gunplay wasn’t great either. Coming from the team that pretty much revolutionized the FPS genre, (id Software) I assumed that the controls would be tight. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the sensitivity to suit me, so I ended up setting it very low. I couldn’t aim well, and the controls were loose. RAGE didn’t feature an auto lock-on assist, so it took some getting used to this as well.

My final complaint is that the game lacked a sense of emotional direction, and this is partly due to the nearly nonexistent story. RAGE looks like a scary game on the outside, and the Game Informer review claims it’s quite scary. It isn’t, and this is coming from a guy who hates horror. I wasn’t scared or spooked a single time. It wasn’t emotional; it didn’t tug at my heartstrings. The game didn’t make you feel like a beastly superhero, as it was easy to die, and you did so a lot. The guys at id could have tried to play any one of those cards, but RAGE sparked no emotions in me aside from a little bit of rage, and it was a bit boring.

I can’t really fault RAGE though and give it a below average score. There’s nothing really wrong with the game, but it’s not quite right either. Aside from some great vehicular madness and decent level design, RAGE left a lot to be desired. It wasn’t the great game I had hoped and thought it would be, and it makes me very glad that I only paid $5 for it at GameStop. Had I paid more than $10, I would have felt as though I had wasted my money; in my mind, RAGE isn’t worth much more than ten bucks, guys.

What game have you played recently that left you thinking that it could have been better? Let me know in the comments below! I hope you’ve found this review helpful; my next review will be of the PS4 exclusive Resogun. Stay tuned! Leave a like or a follow if you’ve enjoyed, follow me @OpinionAsAGamer if you want, and also check out the LP channels in the “Links” tab.

Raging a Bit
Matt

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5 thoughts on “RAGE Review (360): Score of 7”

  1. (1) “The storyline was so thin, you could’ve cut it with a butter knife. Seriously, this is the sort of plot line I can write in ten minutes at 2:00 in the morning on no sleep; there was nothing to it. I’m not trying to brag and say “I can write a better story,””

    Don’t ever, EVER do this again. Ever. Under any circumstances. There is a stark difference between adding colour and spice to a review/articulated opinion and being needlessly inflammatory. Here’s an example of what to do and what not to do in a similar situation:

    ‘Judging from their most immediate games in the series, there seems to be some real creative bankruptcy going on at Bethesda when my character starts out as a goddamn prisoner in the third, fourth and now fifth entries in the Elder Scrolls series. They make sense of it, sure, but it’s not unfair to wonder what else could have been done instead.’ This is good.

    ‘For the third game in a row, Bethesda makes the player a prisoner. Seriously? Again? A prisoner? Did they all decide to just get high during pre-production. Check that, if they were high during pre-production they would have come up with something better. I mean..c’mon…right? How do they not see that and think, ‘no no, a prisoner again. That’s cool. We’ll find a way to make it work’.’ This is not good.

    “There were no real motives or reasons for my actions until about halfway through the game, and even at that, the motives placed before me would never have driven me in reality. The story of survival wasn’t expanded upon, there was no character development, hardly any background story as to what happened during the post-meteor years. Nothing.”

    Now this…this is good, but it sits awkwardly next to the earlier lashing-out in the same paragraph.

    (2) “The enemies are vicious, so I found myself saving the game every 2 to 5 minutes, which is extremely tiring and redundant…Speaking of saving and loading, the load times were awful!”

    Splatterhouse suffered from this as well and it’s a sign of not enough time in development. With Splatterhouse, the sad story is that Namco pulled the plug on support…and I’d venture the same thing with Zeni-Max. I don’t have respect for them seeing the downward trend in quality from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind onward, with Morrowind being great but the Fallouts, Oblivion and Skyrim being worse in real ways (which I won’t get into here). I worry deeply for id Software.

    With Splatterhouse I came close to just putting the game down. The first real fight in the game, the library where the first gramophone is located, saw me die and wait a long time for the same spot to reload. It was maddening. But I learned and began to recongise patterns, soon becoming a badass worthy of wearing the Terror Mask. I’m happy to say I beat the game on both Normal and the Hardest difficulty and was able to enjoy the game, but that does NOTHING to take away from the legitimate issue that threatened to push me away from the game.

    (3) You may find my post about video game scores (http://thebittervoice.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/there-are-only-two-grades-worth-playing-or-not-worth-playing/) interesting. In it I argue for why only ‘worth playing’ and ‘not worth playing’ are the only two realistic grades to give a video game and I think that this side of Academia it does it’s job quite well. Take a look at it and let me know what you think. Whether you agree with this system, try applying it to some of the more recent games you’ve reviewed here. See if it helps you in the position of a reviewer and in the potential position of a reader.

      1. It’s not an issue of bragging, it’s an issue of the use of inflammatory language and whether or not it and particular uses of it will help or hurt and argument.

        It seems to be forgotten that reviews are meant to be critical and, as such, one has to be careful with inflammatory language. There is far too much personality being pushed when it comes to criticism (e.g. Total Biscuit, a fitting but extreme example) and the more we see this the more people think that these things are meant much more for entertainment over information.

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