‘Rage’ is certain to satisfy your id

‘Rage’ is certain to satisfy your id

Gregory D. Cook, Photo Editor

It’s just another evening on near-future Earth. In pod-like bunkers called Arks, all over the planet, the world’s best and brightest are being tucked into their cryo-beds and buried in the hope that they will one day emerge and rebuild civilization. In the sky, a rather large chunk menacing-looking of space-rock is smashing into the moon on its dramatic way to wipe out life as we know it. Sweet dreams.

And so begin your adventures in “Rage,” the newest offering from legendary first-person shooter developer id Software, and for the most part, the ride is well worth the price of the ticket.

While id didn’t actually invent the genre, as many believe, they can certainly claim credit for guiding it through its awkward adolescent phase with such groundbreaking titles as “Wolfenstein 3D,” “Doom” and the “Quake” series. “Rage’s” well-polished game play and breathtaking visuals make it worthy of a place on that list as well.

The first thing a player will notice about “Rage” is the fact that it looks damn good. The outside world is filled with crumbling ruins of cities, and mountain ranges rendered in more vibrant color than most post-apocalyptic worlds in games of late, telling you that very little about this game is going to be muted or drab.

The id Tech 5 engine does a fantastic job of bringing the world of “Rage” to the screen.

Character animations are fluid and realistic, and the gore factor is definitely well represented. Shoot a mutant right in front of you with a double-barreled shotgun, and you can expect to get some of it on you.

The artificial intelligence of the enemies the player faces in “Rage” is also pulled off pretty well, although there isn’t much variety in the types of opponents the player faces. Enemies generally come in two flavors; those that sit back and shoot at you, and those that prefer to take a more hands-on approach to their work and come at you with clubs, claws, knives or lit torches. Both have dynamic behaviors; the ranged opponents will try to find cover when they notice the player, and move if they see a better place, while the melee specialists rush you while dodging, rolling and jumping off walls like something out of a John Woo movie.

There is a fair bit of personality to each enemy that makes up for the general lack of overall variety of encounter. Opponents will taunt you with insults and threats and when sufficiently wounded some will try to carry on the fight, while others will attempt to limp or crawl away.

But to label “Rage” a first-person shooter is only telling half the story. A large part of the game takes place behind the wheel of your vehicle. Your vehicle is how you get to the various mission areas of the game, and for some reason, the post-apocalyptic world seems to be obsessed with the sport of armed auto racing.

Every settlement in the wasteland sponsors a series of races and vehicle combat events that offer the player the opportunity to upgrade parts and weapons on their cars. This and other mini-games serve to give the player a lot to do other than just filling bandits and mutants full of lead.

The game is not without its share of drawbacks though chiefly in the multiplayer realm. There are only two multiplayer modes to speak of; a two-player co-op mode that lets you explore some of the back stories of the characters with a friend, and a vehicle race mode that pits four players in a no-holds-barred rally to collect points for driving over checkpoints while attempting to blow up the other three racers. It is fun to begin with, but it gets old pretty fast.

The fact that there is no large-scale player-versus-player game play seems odd coming from the makers of the Quake series, especially from the same company that brought us the Quake series.

The story also seems move a bit too quickly, not that the game is too short. There are a good 20 or more hours of game even when played at a rushed pace, but the main characters never get developed quite as much as they could be before the player is whisked off to the next settlement to continue the main story.

Although the races and abundance of side missions give the impression of an open world, the game is actually quite linear.

And finally, the game’s ending is somewhat underwhelming. After spending most of the game learning to deal with enemies that, for the most part, put up a pretty good fight, you are handed a weapon that allows you to just walk to the end of the game as if you were taking a Sunday stroll in the park. The challenge just isn’t there like it was in the rest of the game.

But despite these shortcomings, “Rage” is still an entertaining romp through the first-person and racing genres, worthy of the id Software name.