Entertaining Peery: Rage (id/Bethesda)
June 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
id/Bethesda’s Rage is a sub twenty-hour first-person shooter/racing/sandbox hybrid game that ambitiously tries to cover all those bases but falls short on almost all counts. This game could have been the Fallout killer with a decent spin on the apocalypse, via asteroid rather war, and its great combat, creature AI, vehicle mechanics, along with amazing art and graphics. However, the sandbox is illusionary, the side-quests sparse, gameplay and pacing is odd, and the story ends unsatisfactorily.
For example, the game does not allow you to drawn guns inside “quest hubs” and create emergent gamelay from having to deal with guards, quest giver reputation, etc. I can play Fallout and pretty much do what I want, I just have to live with the consequences. Rage would have better served with implementing a faction system connected to the “job board” side quests. That way I could shot some tool in the face and still get back in the town’s good graces.
The non-instanced driving is more or less predictable with enemies spawning in the same locations time after time and more or less with the same capabilities. Car mob variety and more random spawning could have went a long way here. Also, enemy scaling to your capability would have made free-form car combat more engaging. By the time I was engaging end-game Authority vehicles in the final drive, I was one-shoting them.
The story’s premise is promising but the story arc itself stops short of a real conclusion to what you were fighting for and the off-screen adversary (whose voice is heard, but character is never seen) is not encountered. Pacing wise, there is one, “real,” boss-fight and it happens about half-way through the game. The final battle is basically a “hold-out” or normal enemies in waves. By this time you have robots and sentry guns doing a lot of your fighting.
The game features one “tutorial” area and two quest hubs, with fast travel between the hubs available, but for what end, I cannot guess other than the game WAS supposed to be larger than what shipped. Also, the NPCs mention other places that the player never sees, such as the town of “Gun Barrel.” This place sounded cool, and made me think I could make or buy guns there. Alas, it’s not in game.
This brings me to the crafting part of the game, while there is a fair amount of stuff you can make, most of it I never used. It would have been nice to be able to make ammo other than wingsticks. Also, the R/C bombs had limited areas where they could be useful. It would have been nice if there was an encounter where you had to face off with enemy vehicles while on foot using the crafted items and foot-based anti-vehicle rockets that were inexplicably vailable. (IE I never found a use for them.) I suppose if you wanted to walk to the quest hubs/dungeons this was possible. However, the lack of cover and distances involved would mean getting run over, most likely.
Overall, I feel that this game suffered from over ambitious design that collided with development realities. It tried to do a lot and ended up not doing many of the aspects very well. There may be hope for a “do-over” as PR boss Peter Hines stated recently that Bethesda believes in the IP and that it’s “certainly our hope and certainly our intent” that it turns into a big franchise. This makes for an interesting situation considering Bethesda/id/Zenimax already has several IPs to juggle: The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Fallout, AND this Rage IP. While I would love of them to continue this IP and style of game, maybe Zenimax should combine the Rage/id team, and their combat and vehicle play, with the Fallout team for the story, content, and sandbox. I wanted Rage to be Fallout with vehicles, or at least a single player Falllen Earth, but alas it fell far too short.