RAGE. All caps, with an Anarchy-style A. Yeah. Frightening. The name is probably the first reason why I was overly reluctant to try this game developed by Id Software: what good could come from the mind of people having thought of such name that sounds puerile even for preteens?
But there were more serious reasons. The next in line was what I remembered of Doom III: overly gluttonous regarding computer hardware, it was not that pretty and the scenario and overall concept nothing more than just a never ending cheesy horror movie, über-abusing the concept of spawning monsters just behind you.
Even more, yes, there were even more reasons not to give any attention to RAGE: amongst other, John Carmack numerous claims here and there about how this game was about to be some kind of revolution in many regards. Overly pretentious obviously and usual Carmack rants/crap: lot of bragging based on the success of Doom/Doom II while nothing of consequence was ever done since then. According to Wikipedia, he’s son to a news reporter and he surely knows his shit when it comes to saturate media for advertising. So RAGE won the Game Critics Awards of E3 2010 for “Best Console Game,” and “Best Action Game,” along with the “Special Commendation for Graphics.” IGN awarded it their “Best Overall Game” and “Best Shooter” in their E3 2010 awards. It also won many of GameTrailers’ E3 2010 awards, including “Best New IP,” “Best First Person Shooter,” “Best PS3 Game,” “Best Xbox 360 Game,” “Best PC Game,” and “Game of the Show while being actually released… in 2011. Best game ever not yet released, yeah you read that right however dumb that sounds. So that clearly made me suspicious about the game, especially when you read news just after the release saying RAGE is awfully buggy.
But you know how it is: at some point, it was bound to be part of a big steam sale, especially since the game is not going well with the public (almost no mods, that’s quite an indicator when it comes to a game claimed to made to be modded).
And then I gave a try. Two years after the public release, I assumed I would avoid the most obvious and obnoxious bugs and start playing willy nilly, especially since RAGE people said it was GPU drivers related. Well, I instantly hit the screen tearing problem for which RAGE is famous since it’s release, even though I have recent drivers and hardware exceeding from far what the game could need to run with the best graphics options. It took me a while doing various tests to find a setup that is actually acceptable regarding screen tearing: there is a “smart v-sync” option that is actually more or less (actually less: still tearing but to an acceptable level) doing the trick. But the real trick is to notice that this option is reset each time you restart the game – yeah, top notch coding bro!
And finally I was able to play. And I was actually positively surprised after all that. The game is quite nice, pretty (no screenshot for you: I had to reinstall win7 after an upgrade failure) and fun to play. Actually, it compares to a Borderlands with some extra-stuff and some missing stuff. There is not much room to do whatever you want, you are a nice guy in RAGE (yeah, not much of an anarchy there! even the name of game is a blattant lie on too many levels), you just follow the rails for at least something like 18 hours. But it’s well done, with a few things well thought of regarding gameplay and funny weapons. It’s not really a game that is really new and original but it’s actually well done. I guess the game could have been a success if not sold as something it is definitely not. If you open the door and let me in, Then I won’t say you put the jinx on me again, You gotta jump back.
And since I like the notion of comparing games in these reviews, I’m kind of obligated to comment further about Borderlands. Borderlands is probably the game the more similar to RAGE (or the contrary) in many regards: graphics, ambiance, storyline. Borderlands is much bigger, though, with many more weapons and stuff, an is a multiplayer game, up to team of four. Borderlands 2 is even better than Borderlands with lot of gameplay and interface improvements – plus teammates are even more complimentary. I wo’t comment much on Borderlands, if you like FPS and RPG or simply if you like multiplayer coop, you definitely need to give them a try (obviously, right now, it’s best to begin with the much improved Borderlands 2).