Rumoured to be in development and leaked early last year before E3, Rage 2 is a massive departure from the original. This insanely wild first-person shooter offers a massive open world to explore and expands on the first title in almost every way. Pretty much anything you see, you can either ride or shoot it.
Rage 2 is developed by Avalanche Studios, best known for the Just Cause series of games and Mad-Max, injunction with id Software and is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Let’s take a look at Rage 2 and just how much it is improved over its predecessor.
Rage 2 Details
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Reviewed on: Xbox One X
Developer: Avalanche Studios, id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A post-POST apocalyptic wasteland
It been over 8 years since Rage was released, and Bethesda realized that players might be a bit hazy on the events of the first game. Thankfully, with Rage 2, you really don’t need to know a lot. Essentially, all you really need to know about the first game is that the Earth was hit by an asteroid and caused mass destruction and death.
You take on the role of Walker, the last Ranger, who wields some of the biggest weapons I’ve seen and has the ability to develop super-human powers via Nanotrites. 30 years have passed, new settlements and factions have emerged in a dreary wasteland. A group known as the Authority, lead by General Cross, have risen and declared themselves as the military power.
Your mission is to stop the Authority from gaining control of the Wastelands. However, you can’t do this alone. In order to defeat General Cross, you will have to activate the Dagger project to put the final nail in the coffin of the General.
While I must admit that the story is the weakest part of Rage 2, I really didn’t mind at all. It’s a plain and simple premise that doesn’t require you to invest a lot of time to understand. Essentially, it allows you to jump right into the action with little to no effort at all.
An insanely open world first-person shooter
What really got me hooked on Rage 2 was its fast-paced and over the top gameplay. Battles are all about speed and usually the person with the biggest and fastest weapon wins. All of the game’s weapons are upgradable and allow you to expand their abilities substantially.
My favourite weapon in Rage 2 is without a doubt the Grav-Dart Launcher. With this weapon, you can make your enemies defy the laws of gravity. And, if you so choose, you can aim your enemies at buildings and splatter them like bugs on a windshield. As odd as it sounds, it is a totally satisfying experience.
Additionally, you can develop superhero like abilities called Nanotrite Abilities. With these abilities you do things like shoot out a lethal kinetic blast that blows your enemies away and sometimes even makes their heads explode. And, that’s just the beginning. You can dash, slam, and even toss out a portable shield with a barrier to block incoming fire.
Though I must say that the crème de la crème of Nanotrite Abilities is Overdrive. With Overdrive, you essentially push your weapons to their limits with all-new abilities. Your weapons do more damage, Walker’s health regenerates, and you can chain attacks that refills your Overdrive metre.
A bright and colourful dystopian world
Rage 2 uses Avalanche Studios’ Apex game engine and employs a bright colourful palette, which sets it apart for other games in the genre. Character models are generally highly detailed but there are some here and there that are questionable. Voicing of the characters is average and the game does have some great tracks that really get your blood pumping in battle.
Having reviewed Rage 2 on the Xbox One X, I have to admit I’m a tad disappointed with the game’s performance. Though the game runs at 60fps on both the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, it does so at 1080p. And, to top it all off, there are performance issues.
The performance issues mostly occur when you are driving a vehicle. Bush and shrubbery pop-in quite noticeably as you are exploring the world around you. And, to make things worse, at night your vehicle’s headlights in combination with the pop-in cause a flickering effect. However, when are not in a vehicle, the game really doesn’t suffer from performance issues and there is zero load time between areas. In fact, the only loading that occurs is when you die and respawn.
I’m not saying the game is ugly by any means at all, it can actually be quite beautiful and breathtaking a times. It’s just that this late in the current console generation I expect more from a high-profile developer such as Avalanche Studios.
More than just story missions
Rage 2 has quite a few side missions, which aren’t necessary to complete the game but sure do help. Honestly, I’m not really a big fan of side missions in games that do little to nothing to enhance the overall experience. That being said, in Rage 2, it actually benefits you to complete these side missions.
For example, there are over a dozen Arks scattered throughout the Wasteland that if found and unlocked, allow you to collect Nanotrite Abilities and sweet weapons. Trust me when I tell you, this will make life easier later on in the game.
Take part in the Mutant Bash TV show to show them who’s really boss! Or, take a spin around the Torn Plains Racetrack and win a variety of different vehicles.
Rage 2 is one is one of the most fun games I’ve played this year
When all is said and done, what I like most about Rage 2 is that it is fun to play. Its fast paced gameplay always kept me on my toes and I never tired exploring the Wasteland. Even the most obscure locations had weapons or items that I found useful on my adventure. And, listening to some of the conversations between the characters had me rolling on the floor laughing.
Each of the 6 different areas offer a unique experience and blasting away enemies not got boring. If you are going into Rage 2 looking for a deep and intricate story, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you are looking for an arcade like Mad-Max adventure you can’t go wrong. While Rage 2 won’t win my Game of the Year Award, it is some of the most fun I’ve had this year so far.
+ Easy to pickup and play
+ Fun to play
+ Bright colourful graphics
+ Upgrading weapons and abilities is fun and rewarding
+ Meaningful side missions
– Lots of pop-in while driving vehicles
– Story is a little on the cheesy side
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF RAGE 2
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 3.75/5 (75%)
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