I got to spend some time playing id’s latest FPS, the post-apocalyptic Rage at Gamescom 2011. Here are my first impressions…
Expectations for Rage are high, coming from the studio that gave us Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. The new id tech 5 engine certainly looks good, with the post-apocalyptic world looking really detailed and vibrant. Rage begins with your character entering cryogenic sleep on a spacecraft built into a meteor. Your meteor-ark then blasts into a nearby planet. Moments later, the game takes us inside the cryogenic cell, as the ship’s computer begins to wake you up.
Once the cell is opened, it’s clear many years have passed, and your cryogenic cell was the only one that survived, as all the others are cracked with the people inside desiccated and skeletal. The ship’s computer then unlocks the doors to the outside world, and the game proper begins. Early on, a human rescues you from attacking mutant bandits and explains a little about the world you find yourself in. Ark survivors like you, he says, are valuable, and therefore likely to be the target of many different groups. You are then sent back to the bandit’s hideout to attack enemies before they come looking for you.
Rage is primarily an FPS: although the world is reminiscent of Fallout 3 and has plenty of characters to talk to and interact with, it is an action-focused game. In the demo we played we got to use an ATV to travel, and a variety of different weapons. The shooting is excellently done, with weaponry feeling very good and enemies responding realistically to being damaged. The bandits are not very serious enemies, but are fast and agile, jumping and swinging around to avoid your attacks. Rage will certainly please the hardcore gamer, as it’s tough but fair, requiring accuracy, speed and careful management of ammunition resources. It delivers shocks, and as much blood and gore as we’ve come to expect from id games.
My only reservation about Rage is that it didn’t have as much character as I would like. The enemies and allies all seem pretty stereotyped, as does the post-apocalyptic environment. This isn’t unusual in games, but I hoped id would inject their newest game with a unique flavor. This aside, Rage might not be reinventing the FPS wheel, but it still looks like an excellent AA title.