I love that someone at Bethesda actually went to the trouble of finding a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote that used the word “rage” – “The fiend in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of men.”
Maybe I’m an asshole and id Software always intended that quote to drive their latest shooter; if so I apologize, but frankly I don’t think anyone at id is that well-read. In fact I often doubt if anyone at id can read at all. They just like words with one syllable. Their next opus will probably be called Grrrr.
All that aside, the game’s out and the reviews are all over the map. Behold my impressions!
First, in Steerpike Teaches Himself Premiere, Part 2, a bit of video:[UPDATE]: I misspoke in the video, calling Tim Willits the “CEO of id Software.” This is incorrect. Willits was Lead Designer on Rage. Todd Hollenshead is id’s CEO. Apologies for the error.
All in all Rage seems good so far. It’s nothing brilliant, but it’s much more fun than Borderlands – the “open-world” shooter from which it so clearly derives inspiration. id Software went with more roleplaying and story elements than they’ve ever done before, and the result (after just an hour or so) is a very tight, fun game that should entertain you. I hope it holds up in the long run.
Many have been experiencing massive technical problems with Rage. These seem chiefly associated with Radeon cards; I can only say that – as a GeForce owner – I’ve found Rage to be more than just technically proficient. In fact, it’s technically amazing. 60FPS, period, on my machine – which isn’t ancient but could use a nice bath – is impressive, particularly given the attention to detail in Rage’s environments. Gross texture popping is the result of id Tech 5’s Megatexture system, something first innovated in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and apparently improved here. Megatextures – without going into the technical details – have a lot of promise but also many shortcomings. I suspect the texture pops will be fixed in a patch, but Rage also lacks dynamic light, and closeups of some models display clear seaming. Beyond that, though, it looks pretty amazing – and it runs great.
Rage is not STALKER, something I think no one should fault it for. Its method of “guided nonlinearity” means it’s a shooter in classic id style but includes a story and enough self-prioritization that you almost feel as though your path is up to you. Mat C gave it some real props on the console side during his experience at Eurogamer Expo 2011, and if I enjoy Rage enough in single player I may just invest in a 360 copy so I can play with friends when we’re at each other’s houses. So far the game plays great solo, but I can see massive opportunities for fun with the drop-in multi.
The tightness of controls, particularly in the vehicle interface, deserve special mention. Mouse and keyboard (heck, even thumbsticks and triggers) are not optimal for vehicular control, and games have run the gamut from okay to appalling when it comes to driving. Here in Rage, the controls are as clean and tight as you could expect, which makes driving a joy rather than a chore. Shooting, too, feels incredibly optimized; there’s a kinetic link between your click and the gunshot. While some of the secondary controls are obviously optimized for a D-pad rather than a keyboard, in general Rage feels like it’s been tightened and tightened by experts in human-computer interaction.
I’m scarcely an hour into Rage, and I just lost all my saves because I had to go back in order to film the intro sequence, but here on the same day Dark Souls came out, I find myself juggling time equally between them. This one may well be worth your attention.
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