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I remember playing developer id’s Doom 3 on my Xbox years ago. There was this feeling of comfortable entertainment from playing what is now seen as a typical space-shooter. In short, I had fun with it, so hearing how crappy it was from other people never made sense to me.
Flash forward a full console generation and Rage is here. id’s first shooter since Doom 3, a new IP in a world of sequels and reboots, and full 720p HD shooter running at 60 frames per second in a time where fidelity is sacrificed for performance. And I’m still feeling the same as I did playing Doom 3.
As far as graphics, this game runs like a cheetah: fast, smooth and clean. The feeling of playing a game that’s this fast and looks this good is foreign too console owners. Not even Call of Duty runs this well while looking this good. The detail in the world, it’s characters and vehicles are a taste of what’s to be expected in the next generation of games. An experience where we can have super detail with frantic action and never see it effect the frame rate is a remarkable feet.
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In terms of game play Rage feels comfortable… too comfortable. The combat and the AI is slick and competent, but the guns have a been there, done that feel. If you’ve fired one weapon in this game, you’ve fired them all. That’s not a ‘bad’ thing; the auxiliary weapons are cool and, again, feel comfortable and accurate. But they never really have a unique identity.
That’s the major flaw with Rage. I keep finding myself loving moments of this game frequently, the car combat can be super bananas awesome, the shooting’s amazing when the action goes into high gear, but the story, characters and universe of this game don’t speak to me at all.
Because Rage fails to engross, the setting is an excuse to shot things. Everything about this game is an excuse to shot things. And say what you will about Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo or even id’s own Doom; where what you experience is interesting — be it design, narrative or game play — those games give you more to look at than sand, rust and muddy water. Those other games also have stories that genuinely motivate the action and have at least one character to whom we have pathos.
Rage is not a bad game, it’s a revisable one. It’s a comfortable pair of shoes. When the game play takes over it’s a truckload of fun. And while it’s not fair to say that I expected more from id… dude… I expected more. But what’s here does curb the rage. 7/10
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