Price: From £7
Okay, so I’ll freely admit I bought this because Bethesda. I was playing Fallout 3 and Oblivion at the time and was lured in by the promise of a similar set up.
Only Rage really isn’t. In fact, it takes more in gameplay terms from its ancestor ‘Doom.’ Bethesda clearly were behind the beautiful world. And beautiful it was – my sister laughed at me when I said I liked standing underneath dripping pipes because I found the way the screen blurred with the water to be incredibly pretty. And Rage is full of such ‘small touch’ eye candy. The backdrops are impressive, of course, but there’s incredible attention to detail all round. From the various characters that populate the world to the places where they live – the design of the game is superb.
In terms of gameplay, it will disappoint those looking for Sandbox gameplay. There are side quests and ‘Jobs’ posted on a board that you can pick up or leave as you desire, but things are fairly linear. You do a main story quest, it triggers a side quest on the board that you can pick up. These side quests usually involve revisiting a place you’ve just been and clearing it out of enemies again. There are occasional quests you can pick up from characters, but they aren’t exactly off the beaten track. All of them can be found in the major towns. So exploration is limited to driving between locations for missions – occasionally stopping to blow up some bandit cars or perform stunt jumps – and not really the open plan gameplay boasted by Oblivion and Fallout.
Of course, in FPS terms, it’s a solid game. Not so linear as to be on ‘rails’ and with enough world interactivity to allow for some inventive killing (slicing up a mini-gun toting bandit with a plane propeller for instance), there’s plenty to keep the game engaging and fun.
Padding things out around the edges are some mini games – including gambling card games and racing. I didn’t really participate in the card games, and only really raced when it was necessary for a quest (races win you tokens to upgrade your cars and sometimes money, but other than that don’t impact the main quest much) as racing tends to put me into Rage mode. I hate it. The main quest race missions were easy enough to beat without too much bother, which was fine by me.
I did play this one through on Easy mode, which probably impacted on my game time, but for a world that looks to be huge and the scope promised by that Bethesda credit, there wasn’t really that much game time. I think it was less than 12 hours all told, with the running around getting flowers for side quests stuff. A straight play through would probably have been less than 10 hours.
So, beautiful world, some good game play mechanics (if you aren’t looking for the next Fallout) but overall there’s a reason why it’s only £2.68 on Amazon – it’s just too short. And it wasn’t good enough to make me want to play through again on Nightmare mode.
Up Next: LEGO Batman