Bethesda’s most recent release, Rage 2 came out of left field to surprise everyone. Rage 2 is an incredible culmination of 2 notable developers, Avalanche Studios and id Software, brought together to create the first SEXTUPLE A (Thats 6 A’s) experience under publisher Bethesda. Each development team brought their own unique flavors to the table. Avalanche carried their massive open world and driving mechanics over from Mad Max. id Software took the buttery smooth FPS gun play and movement from Doom with all of it being neatly packaged into the post apocalyptic sandbox, Bethesda is so well known for creating.
You play as either Male of Fem Walker who is thrown right into the first open assault, initiating the war with the Authority. You pick up the mantle of Ranger, donning a powersuit and walk out of the attack being the only Ranger remaining. Walker sets out with a handgun, assault rifle and Night Rideresque vehicle. The goal is simple, find the remaining leaders of the neighboring lands, go on a mutant slaying, authority crushing rampage. The overall story isn’t something we’ve never seen before, but it takes the familiar approach “talk to this person, go here, kill these enemies, get the McGuffin, stop the bad guys” and gives it a refreshing spin by integrating interesting characters and a ton of lore.
Graphically the game is a gorgeous combination of wide open sandscapes to burn through with the dozens of vehicles at your disposal. Thankfully it isn’t all beige and grey like the original Rage. The northern location is a sprawling lush jungle with plenty of locations to explore along with bandit camps and mutant nests to explore. Sprinting face first into combat rewards you with the explosions of neon colors highly promoted in the trailers. The stark contrast between the neon explosions against the usually colorful camps and beige sands really emphasizes the playful nature driving the fun in Rage 2.
Mechanically the gameplay is somewhat inconsistent. The driving in the game certainly leaves more to be desired. It is your common open world driving mechanics that really good have been displayed better with more active vehicular combat. There have been people commenting on a “lack of interactions” on the open road and it is only the case when it comes to the driving. The only time you are really prompted into vehicle combat is chasing down and destroying convoys and the game could certainly use some more anarchy on the road. Besides that there are pretty much turf wars going on at every corner so the world is far from empty. My only other issue with the vehicle part of Rage 2 is the fact that halfway through the game you unlock the flying Icarus which easily outclasses any ground vehicle when it comes to efficiency. It takes less time to fly between locations than to navigate the winding roads.
Gunplay, however, is hands down the biggest selling point for Rage 2. It is some of the most crisp gunplay I have ever experienced, and id Software copy and pasted it from games like Doom and Quake, so if you are fans of either of these fast paced shooters, Rage 2 is absolutely for you. The movement helps put on display the how incredibly smooth the weapons feel and having several different weapons and abilities at your disposal results in unique, creative ways to go about the slaughtering. I cannot praise the gunplay enough, but I can assure you that if you enjoy solid first person shooting in a giant open sandbox with loads of variability, Rage 2 excels in spades. My one qualm with the weaponry is that you really only NEED to use the assault rifle, shotgun and rocket launcher. Similar to the Icarus with mobility, these weapons seem to be much more efficient than the other more flashy weapons you can find throughout the wasteland. That being said, the variability allows for each player to mix and match at will to find what fits best for them.
If you know anything about me or have listened to any episodes of Not Another Gaming Podcast, you will know I’m not the biggest fan of massively open world games due to the fact that I prefer to complete everything that pops up through my playthroughs. Rage 2 is completely filled with content adjacent to the main campaign, with plenty of bandit camps, mutant nests, roadblocks, and hidden areas to explore. Naturally I impulsively have to stop and clear every single area that pops up on my minimap, but Rage 2 is the first open world game that really pulled me back in within the past decade. Rage 2 is a beautifully crafted, wonderfully designed and and incredibly executed FPS open world experience that I highly suggest others to explore.
4.5 Screeching Mutants out of 5