It has been a tough few months for Bethesda. From missing canvas bags to the disappointing reception for Fallout 76 to the announcement of Obisidian’s The Outer Worlds, gamers have not been as willing to cut the video game juggernaut the same slack they have for years. Will Rage 2 be able to return the publishing giant back into the fans’ good graces or will it be another reason for gamers to get upset?
Rage 2 takes place in a post apocalyptic future. You play as Walker, the last ranger, and you spend your time fighting off raiders, bandits, mutants, and other assorted baddies, while you attempt to save what is left of humankind from an evil group known as the Authority. Thankfully, the game gives you a whole lot of guns, plenty of vehicles, and a powerful suit that can be augmented with powers.
Right up front, the description lets anyone who is interested in playing know this is not going to be a game that is going to tell a deep story. Rage 2 is a first person shooter through and through. It promises to be a certain type of genre and makes good on its word, for the most part. That is both the game’s biggest strength and weakness.
The most important thing in an FPS is how well the guns control. In Rage 2, the guns handle beautifully. The shotgun has real kick to it and the assault rife is a joy to use. All the guns have a real fluidity to them and feel like an extension of Walker’s body. The controls are familiar and intuitive making the game easy to learn thanks to its low barrier of entry.
Gameplay is as fast as the trailers make it seem. This is not a cover based shooter where the player pops their head out when the coast is clear. Stealth is nonexistent in the world of Rage 2. This is a game about going in guns blazing. The game encourages players to tackle levels in this risky manner. As enemies die, they drop health. However, they do not stay around long forcing the player to decide whether they want to charge forward for the much needed health or just stay back. It is a great idea that makes the action that much more fast paced and fun.
The open world is beautiful to look at. As trailers have show, the wasteland of Rage 2 is filled with neon pink and bright greens and blues. The map is vast and the landscapes are beautiful to look at. Vehicles make traversal easy and allow the player to see everything the game has to offer. While many enemy designs do not stand out, the mutants are very impressive. There are many moments that are very pleasing to the eye.
Unfortunately, Rage 2 is content to rely on the things it does well. Since it is a FPS, it is not a bad thing for it to focus on the gun mechanics – and the gun play never gets boring. The same can not be said for the rest of the game. Avalanche Studios was responsible for 2015’s Mad Max. The game received mixed reviews with many joking the game could have been called Open World: The Open World Game.
The same can be said here. Rage 2’s world includes all the things an open world game needs. Bandit camps to take over, an icon filled map, and scrap that needs to be collected for crafting. The dungeon designs are little more than bland corridors (for as bright as the trailers make the game seem, it can be surprisingly bland) while the open world is empty and lifeless. Things get boring and repetitive very quickly. There are no memorable characters or moments; just a series of similar missions.
Rage 2 is the definition of take or leave it. The combined efforts of id Software and Avalanche studios have led to some of the smoothest gun mechanics that can be found on the PlayStation 4 and the player will never get tired of firing their weapon. The open world is also beautiful to look at initially. However, the game has little to offer, has uninteresting missions, and may quickly bore players.
Rage 2 is perfect for players who are not looking for much.