Wot I Think: Rage

By Alec Meer on October 6th, 2011 at 3:22 pm.

Driving along in my automodeathbile

Rage, the first id game since – careful now – Doom 3 – came out on Tuesday in American climes, and is due in the retailer-oppressed UK tomorrow. After initially losing a day to the PC version’s notorious technical problems, which ultimately led to picking up a different graphics card and manually tweaking configuration files, I’ve since been haring my way through its wastelands and tunnels, on foot and on wheels, and I’m ready to offer my verdict. Return to form, exploring new frontiers or compounding age-old problems? Let’s find out, stranger.

“Red Orchestra 2?”
“Nah, too much of an acquired taste.”
“Brink?”
“It was pretty good, but…”
“Bulletstorm?”
“Mmm-hmm. Alright for some.”
“Duke Nukem Forever?”
“You’re not taking this seriously, I can tell.”
“Deus Ex: Human Revolution?”
“Not really the same thing, is it?”

So went, roughly, the conversation between Jim and I earlier. We couldn’t do it, but maybe you can: name me a better PC FPS released this year so far than Rage. The depressing mess of technical problems at launch are inexcusable – especially given id’s Tim Willits told me almost two months ago that they were pretty much finished and the nature of Steam releases afforded them extra time for spit and polish – but we already know that story. What of the game underneath this instant drama? I think it’s rather special, I’ll have you know.

You’ve probably got a fairly accurate impression of it over what’s been almost half a decade of promotion: it’s a sci-fi shooter with vehicular bits, an inventory and a smattering of open-world freedom. Some folk seem to think id had promised Fallout 3-levels of openness and are grumpy that’s not the case: I’d never got that impression, but perhaps the marketing has over-egged the free-form pudding. There’s probably also a Pavlovian response going on too though: see post-apocalyptic desert, expect open-world.

Rage is a halfway house between the traditional linear shooter and the ‘eh, do whatever’ sandboxes of other after-disaster games. To make progress, to see more, to shoot different kinds of things, you will have to go into its carefully fenced-in interiors and gun down whatever pops up in front of/behind/below/above you. Thing is, you don’t feel that insistent, unrelenting hand on your back, pushing you forwards, occasionally darting up to forcibly stop your head turning in another direction – Rage works hard to get rid of, or at least hide, the cattleprod of Call of Duty et al. You go into the tunnel/collapsed building/spooky ruined hospital/cordoned-off prison sections when you’re ready to go into them. They’re all pretty quick and peppered with setpieces, some very effective but others leaning towards repetitive, and either side of them you’re free to do other things.

It could be looking around the truly impressive hub towns and admiring Rage’s single greatest feature, its character design; it could be taking on a quickie fetch or sniper defence mission for extra cash; it could be spending said extra cash on weapon ammo and upgrades; it could be racing your increasingly souped-up buggy for prizes’n'kicks; it could be one of several slightly awkward minigames such as that thing Bishop does with the knife in Aliens, guitar-strumming or card gambling. There’s plenty to do and, while none of it quite climbs all the way to top-tier spectacular, as an overall package this is to today’s shooter norm what London Zoo is to a pet shop on Norwich high street.

I’m fearful of sounding like an apologist here, but I just can’t take the cries that it’s just another id game or just another so-so FPS at all seriously. Yeah, it’s got plenty of pop-up monsters in plenty of corridors, but this is id reaching so far out of their comfort zone that even comparing Rage to their uneven back catalogue is almost pointless. Though they deserve every bit of outrage they’re suffering for not including a proper graphics settings menu – what were they thinking? For me though, it does not ultimately overshadow what is a great, bold, characterful piece of work from a studio that formerly seemed to be speeding towards irrelevancy.

Again – what most stands out for me is the work they’ve put into the human characters who hang around the game’s non-combat areas. They look phenomenal, both in terms of the arcane tech powering their detail, the low-key, mostly realistic but ever so slightly stylised oddness the art team has designed them with, the richness of the incidental animations and, most of all, the sheer life in the faces. I’ve banged on about that before, but most everyone is just a little… off. Not ugly as such, but imperfect rather than the usual sanitised, flawless symmetry of gamefolk. That, coupled with the attention to detail and a raft of really professional performances (which soars far above the largely unremarkable but likeably relaxed writing), makes for characters I’m convinced and charmed by.

Mick!

I can’t do a lot with ‘em and most of ‘em are rooted to the spot, but they accentuate the pleasantness of Rage’s downtime and the unpushy flow of the game. id have never done anything like it before, and even so they trump most of their contemporaries: even the vast majority of DXHR’s characters, for instance, might enjoy far more nuance and ambiguity, but they’re nowhere near as magnetic or memorable as sad Dan Hagar or chipper, homespun-wise Mick the Mechanic (I love Mick; I wish he was my uncle) or thuggish Mayor Redstone or the tough but beautiful woman who runs the bar in Wellspring or the middle-aged no-one who wanders around with his beer belly hanging out of his tattered clothes.

Consistently impressive and varied face and clothing detail aside, Rage doesn’t always pull this off, admittedly – the plot-centric Resistance group you join up with are blandly heroic, and tied into the game’s hitherto gentle plot slowly taking on a more conventional go-save-us-from-oppression narrative. Even so – it feels grown up and it feels loving in its characters. The profound difference between Rage and Borderlands – which some people persist in poisonously comparing this game to, as though Gearbox somehow have sole rights to what long ago became the standard wasteland action fantasy tropes – is that Rage doesn’t drown the world it’s carefully built with overt gaminess.

However, there are two very different games squeezed into Rage. One is its world, comprising its characters, the small, semi-open world between its relatively few but always sizeable interiors, the racing and the odd-jobs; the other is, you might say, an id game. That’s where Rage can stumble at times, which I’ll explain in a moment. However, I am all-told a big fan of the shooting in Rage: from tedious, underpowered plip-plip-plip pistol beginnings, it grows into a carnival of over-the-top violence, as you get to indulge in surprisingly unreserved quantities of special ammo types (the shotgun that fires grenades is my personal favourite) and deadly gadgets (the adorably loyal spider-bot is my personal favourite of those; especially when it cutely climbs stairs after you). Puts me in mind of BioShock, particularly 2, a little in terms of broadly being on a fixed path but constructing your preferred arsenal to tread it with.

Presumably there are people who prefer machineguns and the exploding RC cars, or turrets and the mind-control crossbow bolts, or the pistol bullets that turn into six bullets on impact and EMP grenades, or and or and or and. Plenty of stuff is simply looted from corpses (though you can’t collect felled foes’ weapons, which is vaguely jarring) but most of it is constructed from found and bought junk using an expanding repertoire of recipes and a simple but agreeable crafting interface.

You can rarely step outside the rollercoaster track on Rage’s main missions, and there’s some distractingly obvious impassable barriers and scripted door unlocks crudely built in to ensure this, but you’re pretty uninhibited in terms of how you make things fall over. Having an inventory, one you manage yourself, makes a huge difference to a shooter – because that’s one piece of control scripting doesn’t take away from you. It means you’re making your own decisions about how you play, and Rage is completely happy for you to indulge yourself on that front – in fact, it enthusiastically fattens you up with combat possibilities.

Unfortunately, the specialness that seeps out of Rage’s pores in its downtime is often entirely absent in its id-time. The enemies are short on variety both in terms of appearance and behaviour – the AI doesn’t have many tricks and is easy to second-guess, and one mutant looks the same as another. On top of that, the enemy design is humdrum, in sharp contrast to the distinctiveness and character of the friendly NPCs. Pale leapy guy, hood-wearing guy, punk guy, armoured suit guy… They are only there to be fodder, of course, but they just seem so deeply ordinary against the wonders of Rage’s downtime towns. And, too often, it will default to those old id standbys – enemies popping up out from nowhere, or rushing you in a gradually spawning swarm until the script ends and a door unlocks. It goes to so much effort to build a convincing place, but then often blows it by blatantly showing its working. A hearty roast dinner with tons of trimmings, but it used packet gravy and microwaved the carrots.

On the other hand: look at the size of that thing. When Rage wants to, it really knows how to pull off a setpiece and a half. Contrived boss battle or not, that engine can do wondrous things with scale and destruction. Better still, when the game lifts itself out of corridors and partially-collapsed concrete rooms full of junk, it’s flat-out spectacular. If you don’t ever play its Dead City level you won’t see what might just be the most impressive and atmospheric mainstream videogame sight this year. Imagine if Fallout, any real comparison to which is simply disingenuous and bewildering, had been made with this tech, this amazing way of rendering the ruins of a metropolis.

Out in the desert, Rage also looks startling. I’m not at all happy that I ended up changing my graphics card and even then having to apply a load of tweaks to get it running smoothly, looking sharp and not suffering from that ungodly texture-pop, but the sights of the open wasteland, as I’m haring along in my rocket-armed buggy can be breathtaking, if your graphics card is deemed worthy enough by the game’s auto-settings. Huge and detailed and there, even if most of it is little more than backdrop – but the point is it doesn’t look like mere backdrop. (A tip, by the way: upgrade your second buggy as soon and as much as you can, as it makes the driving a whole lot more like you hope speeding an armoured four-wheel drive vehicle through the desert would be.)

It’d be easy to lament that this brilliant technology, once it’s working, is wasted on a mere shooter. True, I’d love to see id Tech 5 also put to use on something more wild and free, but I’m also very happy that it’s powering this shooter. Rage is often guilty of ordinariness and blandness in its main missinons, but it definitely pulls off being more than just a journey of unthinking destruction. The lengths it goes to for world and character design, and its refreshing lack of interference or handicapping in terms of its large and satisfying arsenal, results in something far and above most anything out or due out this year that’s predominantly based around moving a reticule over a man/mutant’s face. It has flow, it has character, it has life and it has stair-climbing friendly spider-bots. id have learned a lot, and without abandoning why we used to love them in the first place.

Rage is out now in most of the world, and tomorrow in the UK.

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241 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    Agreed. It’s good. Best iD game since Quake 3. Obviously.

    • pakoito says:

      So you’re saying that Doom 3 wasn’t good, because they haven’t make any game since.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think Doom 3 and Quake 2 were both weak. I played and enjoyed them both, but ultimately neither were what is interesting about games.

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      PeopleLikeFrank says:

      I liked Quake 4 well enough when I played it the first time, but then a couple years later went back and replayed Q2 and then Q4 in quick succession. Q4 just seemed so plodding by comparison. It had neat set pieces and such that the newer tech enabled, but comparatively less fun in the gameplay department, IMO.

      I was thinking Rage would be a necessary play at some point if only to check out the latest efforts of Carmack et al, but this review has tipped me over to definitely wanting to play it.

    • zeroskill says:

      I certainly am a strange person because I loved and still love Q2 with a passion to the point where I throw shoes at people who disagree with me. *throws shoe*

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      I played Quake IV on 360 (was working on OXM at the time, so had to) and, boy, was it turgid. It was nice that they eventually made use of that Doom 3 tech for something else, but the lumpen plodding of the corridors was like a crap Aliens / Borg.

      Also, given that only Bethesda / Xenimax companies can make use of idtech 5, is anyone else actually going to use this engine?

    • Alec Meer says:

      I loathed Quake IV; Doom 3′s a masterpiece by comparison.

    • fuggles says:

      Suprised you feel that way about Q2 Jim, given that in my memory it was a landmark title (and in possibly the biggest issue of PCG ever published). This was the game that made a 3dFX card worth having with all the fancy coloured lighting and had good pacing, fun enemies and nothing to do with Quake1, which was a pretty odd single player game all in. Awesome weapons, music and it was all great fun.

      Then again, I never like Q3, thinking it an inferior UT and I don’t care much for multiplayer.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Q4 is genuinely nob on any format.

      “Quake1, which was a pretty odd single player game all in”

      Yeah, I loved how it was. And still is. Writing about that for Eurogamer, actually.

      “Then again, I never like Q3, thinking it an inferior UT and I don’t care much for multiplayer.”

      Haha. I can see what you did there.

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      Mungrul says:

      @Jim: ooooooo, You? A retro on Quake for EG? Squeeeeeeeee! Probably still one of my favourite games ever, and even though it had no story to speak of, the world was so vividly realised, it dripped with character.
      And shamblers man.
      SHAMBLERS.

    • Jockie says:

      I loved Q2 as well actually, it convinced me to buy a Voodoo 2 (!) and the LAN play down the local Internet Cafe/Sweaty teenage attic kept us occupied for ages with it’s numerous mods and map packs. Obviously Q3 was betterat the mp stuff but for me it was an iterative improvement and refocus, rather than anything truly groundbreaking, possibly because Quake 2 was the first FPS i really played online.

    • GoodPatton says:

      I find myself looking forward to playing more Rage to see what sights have been created in the game, but at times I find it difficult having fun with the actual game. The racing is a bit tedious at times and I find the overall feel of the vehicles to be toy-ish. There are times when I find the shooting to be trying as well. There have been more than a few instances that the damage feels weak and enemies are simply bullet mops. Regardless of bullet type no regular person mutant or otherwise should be taking 2 or more headshots and live.

      My other gripe is I can’t help but feel the many minigames are slightly shoehorned in the game as extra content to pad the content and perhaps distract from the slightly underwhelming gunplay. Now, likely if I start enjoying the shooty bits more I won’t feel as strongly about the minigames, and I do look forward to playing the game through.

      Regardless of my problems with the game I couldn’t think of a better shooter either, and I pretty whoreish with the FPS genre.

      Also, I’ve finally been playing Doom 3 and have to say it took some time but I’m actually starting to enjoy it. It’ll have to wait now because of Rage, but I look forward to finishing it! I no longer thinks its as awful as I did when it was released and i’m hoping Rage grows on me in the same way, though Rage has much less work to do on that front!

    • barfmann says:

      Yeah this game has been really fun to play. The painful release was just that though: painful. I really wish Bethesda would modify their release behavior. It feels like I’m trapped in an abusive relationship with them: they keep hurting me with horrible QA, but I keep crawling back once I unearth the awesome, lovely game beneath their smoldering pile of coding fail.

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      Vandelay says:

      Quake is easily the best of id’s single player output. 2 plays well, but is dreary. Doom 3 is solid, but nothing special, getting very repetitive towards the half way mark. Doom 1 and 2 are great, but from an older era, making it harder to compare (I think I prefer Dark Forces from that style of FPS anyway.)

      I recently played Quake 1 again and had a blast playing it. The style is so much more interesting than the blandness of the Strogg stuff from the series that it always baffles me that they don’t return to it. The speed is perfect and unseen nowadays, as is the proliferation of secret areas. Multiple entire levels were hidden away! A whole difficulty setting required exploration!

    • CowardlyAnonymous says:

      After this WIT actual game was majorly underwhelming.

      I haven’t finished it yet, but so far the game quickly showed its basic structure which is “1. press button on a quest givng point (a static npc dummy) 2. get to a quest target point(s) 3. return to quest giving point”. And with most npc being kinda bland and boring parts 1 and 3 feel really unnecessary and tedious, used only to inflate gameplay length with filler.
      Never could make myself care about the storyline, the exploration is mediocre and unrewarding (interesting locations are hidden behind magic doors that open only when you have the quest). Unoriginal setting and artwork also doesn’t help. Driving bits are ok, but not great at all.
      I definitely agree this is one of the best recent ID games, but only because how bad recent Id games were…

      Maybe they would be better off not trying to jump over their heads and simply made an epic linear fps with driving sections. Like a DNF done right or something..

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      TheTourist314 says:

      If only Rage had a competitive-shooter mulitplayer component to suck Jim into.

    • Heisenberg says:

      reply fail

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I must be weird.
      Q2 after the CTF update had some of the best MP fun ever and will still to this day be more fun than many competitors.

      As singleplayer game, I never beat Q2, but I went through Doom 3 and Quake 4, simply because at least kindasorta pretended something was going on other than just “run through and kill stuff”. Which, oddly enough again, was fine for me to do in Doom 1 and 2, because those you just had to run through.
      And because of the weapons.

      Speaking of: The Q2 quad shotgun is still hands down the most fun thing to point in someone’s face and pull the trigger.

      And now for the really being weird part: Really hated Quake 1, even though I am a massive NIN fan. Especially that they took out “press space to use”. Beh. Bored me to tears that game.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      The best thing about DOOM 3 is of course The Dark Mod.

    • DrGonzo says:

      quake 2 and half life are the best deathmatch games in my opinion. Quake 3 removed all the fun from it and its mostly been missing since. Q2 and HL focussed on fun, nothing else. Its not about being competetive, its about having a laugh. Something those games encouraged and Q3 punished. I can’t quite put into words how disapointing I found Q3

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I’m not sure why I am supposed to dislike Quake 4. Quite a good shooter in my opinion, but then I crave solid mechanics over innovation.

    • Eclipse says:

      I agree with Jim! Quake 2 and Doom 3 weren’t that great, they’re both overrated. Aside that, Quake 1 is still my favorite fps ever, and Quake 3 is in my top ten.

    • iainl says:

      Quake II was great. Quake, like Doom, suffered a bit from an odd problem – the first chapter was -way- better than the subsequent ones, because the level design was a lot more grounded in reality. Given the the shareware model, I kind of felt a bit disappointed when I eventually bought the full Doom…

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m not sure why I am supposed to dislike Quake 4. Quite a good shooter in my opinion, but then I crave solid mechanics over innovation.

      Probably because it was called “Quake 4″, but wasn’t made by ID and wasnt’ fast and rocket jumpy like Quakes previous. It was a pleasantly competent shooter that probably should have been called something less misleading.

    • Necroscope says:

      Lovecraftian roots of Quake 1 brought back to life , with Trent Reznor hired for the sound effects/soundtrack, I’d be happy. Q4 was good but space marines saving the day is stale as stale can be. Doom 3 was better with the T Reznor gun sounds imo.

    • povu says:

      The technical issues are a real shame, it looks like a lot of fun. I hope it won’t suffer too much from it through morons on Metacritic.

      I want this game to sell well. It’s supposed to be the first in a series of awesome external Bethesda publishings.

    • dmastri says:

      Radeon 5850 here, still getting slight gridlines on everything. I loaded the beta drivers and created rageconfig.cfg with the recommended 8k texture options. Eh?

    • Leonard Hatred says:

      My god, Q1 was so.. exciting. it is the only game that I have ever downloaded a ‘tech demo’ of, and I played that stupid multiplayer demo – on my own, as this was the era of super terrible dialup – for hours on end. I liked that damn game so much I would play the first few levels over and over again trying to get a perfect run, with just the right balance of coldhearted efficiency and showboating. I wrote a mod for it all by myself (not knowing anything about programming, I literally learned it as I went and got quite good at it in the end) and even started to modify a bot for it to use the new stuff in my mod. I spent hours and hours of my life pouring over source code, staring at textures, and being repeatedly raped at multiplayer by people with pings not in the high hudreds. Just thinking about quake 1 gets me all excited.

      I think I need a lie down.

  2. Teddy Leach says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, actual people don’t gesticulate that much when speaking.

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      sonofsanta says:

      Except politicians, of course.

    • Matt says:

      Perhaps these wasteland settlers are all descended from Italians.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Everyone knows politicians aren’t people.

    • Taverius says:

      @Matt: I was going to say, they’re fairly understated to me, as an Italian …

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Actually, I gesture even more, I’m afraid.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Ups, reply fail.

    • godgoo says:

      Last weekend my partner hit me in the face by accident when we were talking on a bench at the pub (and she hadn’t even drunk anything). The other night she started talking in her sleep and suddenly punched me in the throat.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Clearly you’ve not met many Italians or black people. :P

    • mompkin says:

      I put my hand through a glass lampshade and had to get stitches due to overenthusiastic gesticulating while talking to my friend, so it seems reasonable to me.

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      @mompkin: Wow, that was a pretty exorbitant hand gesture. I would have gone with a simple “thumbs down”, but I guess you must’ve been trying to express something really powerful with the rarely-seen “hand through glass lampshade” gesture.

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      Aninhumer says:

      @Lord Custard
      That’s what mompkin was trying to do, but they accidentally triggered a context sensitive action.

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I hate it when you accidentally trigger a non-interruptable animation like that.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      That old joke “The best way to way to shut an Italian up is to tie their hands together” is so very very true.

    • mompkin says:

      @Lord Custard – well, I was trying to enthuse a remarkably indifferent dog. Even breaking the lamp didn’t have much of an effect, to be honest.

    • thecat17 says:

      Everyone knows corporations who give thousands of monies to politicians aren’t people.

    • DopeyJoe says:

      //best way to shut an Italian up: tie their hands together.//

      I’ve found this to be equally effective with Mac users.

  3. Insanity says:

    I have to say Brink has by far been my favourite fps this year, I was so sad to see it so poorly recieved and the community die pretty quickly.

    I will definately be picking up RAGE though as I have been awaiting a decent single player fps for a while. No deathmatch multiplayer in an id game though does have me scratching my head.

    • Torn says:

      Brink, for me and the couple of friends who’d preordered it alongside me, was ultimately disappointing and very short-lived. The balance wasn’t there, the pc game was lacking in options (config hack tools appearing sometime after launch don’t count: the damage has already been done), and the small amount of content got old pretty quickly: it felt like a mod instead of a full-blown game.

    • rocketman71 says:

      I pity Splash Damage, but they did it to themselves: after so long, they said “hey, it’s SO DONE that we’re releasing a month earlier”, and then proceeded to release a game in shambles. And then they didn’t fix most things for two months (many things are still broken). And proceeded to ignore promises made (offline LAN support). And ended with a DLC that after two weeks ended up dividing the community.

      Oh, and apparently they never even ran the game with an ATI. Performance was, and still is, abysmal.

      I had much faith in them, but this is my last preorder of a Splash Damage game.

    • seattlepete says:

      Brink felt like a console port, which is what RAGE feels like. “Press Enter to Continue” right from the splash screen? “Please don’t power off your computer”? I don’t own an xbox, but I did see those things in Bulletstorm, which I attributed to it being a console port.

      Also, Brink killed itself with the basic gameplay. Parkour isn’t cool. It’s lame. And to show off the lameness, Brink maps were built with very tight constraints forcing you to vault over a bunch of waist high boxes for no reason. At least in RAGE I can run in one direction for more than a second.

    • Insanity says:

      Agreed, the game did have glaring problems and a couple of team mates still cannot play with a decent fps on decent systems even today but the gameplay I thought on balanced maps was a lot of fun.

      If they could just make a similar game that was balanced better and faster paced without all the launch issues I think I would have my perfect multiplayer fps.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Brink felt like a console port, which is what RAGE feels like. “Press Enter to Continue” right from the splash screen? “Please don’t power off your computer”? I don’t own an xbox, but I did see those things in Bulletstorm, which I attributed to it being a console port.”

      So basically all games feel like console ports? Based on a couple of menu messages? What do PC games feel like?! Help!

    • grundus says:

      I played Brink while it had a free weekend, and found that if I paused the game it unmapped all my keys and I couldn’t even press esc to resume playing. One ctrl-alt-del later I had my hard drive space back and played something actually good instead.

      Edit: I was wondering that, Jim; Ok, so I haven’t seen a ‘please don’t turn off your PC’ while saving maybe ever, but pretty much every game I have has a splash screen demanding that you (somewhat pointlessly) press a button or key to continue. Like Race 07, which never came out on a console.

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      Mungrul says:

      @Tom:
      I’m beginning to think that id aren’t bothered any more with Deathmatch, and I suspect it’s because they feel they perfected it with Quake 3, an opinion I’m inclined to share.

      One of the games I fired up on my new machine that arrived last week was Quake 3; it goes everywhere with me. Sure, it’s rather ridiculous considering it a benchmark in this day and age, but it’s part of my gaming blood.
      And you know what? It STILL feels exactly right. Perfect character design, perfect physics & feel, perfect arsenal, and some of the finest maps ever designed.

      Sod all this CoD-inspired faux MMO unlock bollocks.
      Rockets & rails, that’s what it’s all about.

    • Goomich says:

      “So basically all games feel like console ports? Based on a couple of menu messages? What do PC games feel like?! Help!”

      Basically all games are console ports…
      And seeing one of them is sign of developer’s laziness. And that’s not a good sign if you spend 60 euros on next console port.

      Besides, what’s their purpose anyway?

    • Gesadt says:

      theres a difference between a good and bad port though. look at just cause 2 or space marine – they were what one would consider ports aswell, yet were properly optimized, responsive and with good controls, thus playing very well on a pc.

      still id like to hear a definite answer whats up with all the “press enter” messages on titles screens. i mean it cant just be laziness on ALL the games.

    • Groove says:

      All I can add to this argument is that X-COM, the most peecee of all pc games, starts by making you choose your language. This clearly makes it a rubbish DVD port.

    • Baboonanza says:

      And seeing one of them is sign of developer’s laziness. And that’s not a good sign if you spend 60 euros on next console port.

      Laziness? Or simply prioritizing other, more important things over something that is beyond trivial?

      I don’t entirely disagree with you, but calling it ‘developer laziness’ is a bit unfair considering the years of unrelenting hard-work that goes into making modern games.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I still think parkour + FPS could be cool. If, for example, you had the large environments and freedom of movement from “Mirror’s Edge” combined with the shooting elements of a good FPS that game would be awesome.

      The problem with Brink was that the levels were too small and the parkour was a poorly implemented after thought (kind of like the shooting sections of Mirror’s edge seemed like a poorly implemented after thought compared to the parkour).

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      Vandelay says:

      I liked Brink a lot too, Insanity. In fact, Rage and Brink sound quite similar. Solid games, poor tech powering it (sounds as if Rage is actually far worse in that regard.)

      However, Brink also had the issue of a piss poor unlock system that gave zero distinction to the classes, until you played the game for quite a while. I personally felt that they did thinks back to front. The weapons should have been the focus of the unlocks, which would have encouraged people to experiment a little more with them, whilst also seeing the various buffs and abilities each class had to offer. Instead, the system encouraged focusing on a single class, whilst the actual game wanted you to switch depending on the situation.

      Besides that, the actual game was great. The combat felt solid, whilst I loved the movement system (I might add, there are numerous areas and alternate routes this allows you to reach despite what people say.) In fact, I liked the system so much that the animation in the BF3 beta always makes me think it uses something similar, only for me to get stuck on a random map prop and remember it is nowhere near as smooth.

      I imagine Rage and BF3 will be the better shooters this year, but I still think Brink deserves a mention as one of the top games of 2011.

      Editted because typing is hard on a phone

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      Morph says:

      Deus Ex asked you to press Enter on the opening screen and that was hardly a console game.

    • rayne117 says:

      Parkour is lame?

      YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU DO IS LAME YOU LAMER

      Nah but for real though, you sound like a pretty crummy person if you don’t understand that, gasp, different people enjoy different things.

      @Jim, a PC game is one that doesn’t work at all on ATI cards or uses PHYSX.

    • studenteternal says:

      “So basically all games feel like console ports? Based on a couple of menu messages? What do PC games feel like?! Help!”

      Well jim to start with they don’t become unplayable due to texture pop in when looking around, because the game was apparently never tested with a mouse. There may be a good game in there, but what shipped was fundamentally broken, to a point I hope never to see anouther IDtech5 game released.

    • wicko says:

      @studenteternal

      Over-react much? You make it sound like it was intentional. I’m guess you’ve never worked on a game before, so I’ll give you a hint – shit happens.

  4. Jockie says:

    Referring to the beginning of your article, I’d probably go with Crysis 2 as the best pure FPS so far this year, it’s probably more immediately comparable to Rage than something like Borderlands too, insofar as (Rage trimmings aside) it’s a fairly spectacular if straightforward FPS, with some glorious sights and set pieces. Although Crysis’s character design was noteworthy only in its complete blandness.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Yeah, Crysis 2 is better than what I have played of Rage so far (about 4 hours). Not only is it better with the shooty, but also it looks better to me, thanks to Rage’s poor textures on anything not a person or wall.

      Also I would say Bulletstorm is right there in the running for second place. I really loved Bulletstorm due to its unique look and absolutely glorious combat.

  5. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    Ok, Mick’s robo-nipples disturb me a bit.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to think that.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Huh, didn’t expect that. Had more or less written this one off after the Ars Technica and Joystiq reviews. Seems I may be picking this up after all. After a while, when the PC technical issues have stabilized.

    • Miodrag Kovachevic says:

      I personally wrote off the Ars Technica review when the author said “Imagine Borderlands with the fun stripped out, or Fallout without actual choice”. It was obvious I didn’t share the same idea of what makes a game fun as AT, so I waited for RPS’s take as I usually agree with them.

    • Christian O. says:

      They also gave high marks to Gears of War 3, so that’s another slag against credibility. I’m a big console guy, but for the life of it, I don’t understand why anyone likes that bland, bland series.

  7. rocketman71 says:

    Portal 2.

    Hey, you shoot portals, don’t you?.

  8. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Interesting, given how much some have hated it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s a shame Kuchera didn’t enjoy himself. We’ve had a fun time.

      Re his list:

      - Dull mechanics
      - Tedious quests
      - Weak shooting
      - Stock weapons

      I disagree with the first three, and the last one, well, yes. Sometimes you just want smack a dude with a shotgun.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Hmmm that review picks out some things that would normally get Alec all angrylike. It’s like these reviews are for two different games. Is the nonPCbox version really that different?

      UPDATE: My favourite stock is the Heckler & Koch VP70

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Arstechnica have a tendency to get bitchy about things and nitpick.

    • Sardukar says:

      Well, it’s a Wot I Think, and so, well done. I’m still on the fence as I’m sure many are. The best shooter in a year of so-so shooters and games that aren’t really shooters or they would be better than this shooter isn’t a ringing endorsement to dump $70.
      On the other hand, you did seem to have fun, fun, fun. 10 hours of fun gameplay and pretty scenes, but no multiplayer, again seems like a poor use of $70. Well, my $70.

      I guess “just a shooter” isn’t enough for me anymore, in this age of DXHR, Portal, and Fallout NV. Well, not without multiplayer. Corridors, even wide corridors, nah. Except for Portal, of course. Which is a shooter where you are the bullet.

      I used to love these games, too. But nowadays, Brink, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2 all seem so pretty and so limited. Oh, well. Guess that bar is permanently raised.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m on the fence too, which probably means wait for a later discounted price, or for a dry spell between interesting games. The shooter games I’ve enjoyed the most this year have been New Vegas and DXHR, both of which provide plenty of interesting context for the combat. I was a big fan of the early Doom and Quake games, but maybe I’ve outgrown games where you go from one shooting arena to another, without much real context for it. Which is what this game sounds like.

    • ix says:

      Ben Kuchera is obviously well known for having opinions that often don’t align to what his colleagues think. Usually good reviews though. I do think some of the stuff he ran into, like the save points, are console specific. I can’t imagine it being this much of a problem on PC.

      Given how much I respect both ars’ and rps’ verdict on most games, I think I’m going to sit this one out and wait for the demo.

  9. Wulf says:

    Hrm. I think the truth of things lies somewhere between this Wot I Think and Ars Technica’s review (which is actually decent). The thing of it is is that both reviews touch upon things the other doesn’t, about the game’s good, and about it’s bad. (And not discounting any element from either set of opinions, here or there.)

    I think at the end of the day it’s fair to say that Rage is just a shooter. It’s like any other just a shooter. But it’s a pretty just a shooter. It’s not something that’ll convince me to upgrade, though.

    • Alec Meer says:

      “It’s like any other just a shooter.”

      No, it isn’t.

    • Inigo says:

      Oh, I’m sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      Oh, just the 5 minute

    • Dervish says:

      The Ars Technica review is “decent?” You mean the one where they’re reviewing a first-person shooter and devote exactly two words to the shooting mechanics?

      EDIT: my mistake, there are four.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      >>“It’s like any other just a shooter.”
      >No, it isn’t.

      Might this be an example of this perhaps?
      http://www.xkcd.com/915/

      I’m not saying that Alec is an FPS snob, but that for people who aren’t FPS fans (I got the impression you aren’t, Wulf), the way Rage diverges from being “any other shooter” is not sufficient to catch their interest. But for those who are long time id fans, the way they have evolved yet played to their strengths is impressive.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      the way Rage diverges from being “any other shooter” is not sufficient to catch their interest

      Yup. From my not-a-corridor-shooter-fan perspective, I see absolutely nothing in this review to stop me chucking it in the same bin as corridor shooters, even if there are a few slight differences.

    • godgoo says:

      ‘Might this be an example of this perhaps?
      http://www.xkcd.com/915/

      I’m not sure I agree. What’s being said here is more like ‘its a sold shooter that raises it’s self above other *games* (not fps’s) with it’s character design. If you are a gamer that really appreciates likeable, believable characters, then this can really tip the balance for you.

      Also, at no point was it implied that this is the FPS that will convert staunch haters simply that it separates it’self from the rest of the FPS pack (this year).

      I don’t even think the cartoon above makes much sense. If it’s is saying ‘if all you’ve got is some quotidian photographs then there will be a best of them, but it will still be mundane to everyone else’ well that’s ridiculous because when a person decides to investigate different types of wine further and becomes a ‘connoisseur’ they are basing that decision on a whole host of information gathered by themselves and others over hundreds of years, it’s a more informed choice that suits that person rather than the result of a lack of information.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Is good NPC character design enough to elevate it above just-a-shooter status? I like the look of the NPC’s from the screen shots I’ve seen, but unless they’re tied into a really compelling storyline and interesting quest/mission design, they’re just window dressing.

    • Meat Circus says:

      What Alec means is it’s like any other shooter, but with crappy fetch quests.

  10. ResonanceCascade says:

    I’m finding it pretty fun so far, though I disagree about the characters. They all seem very bland to me. The combat is great, and the buggy stuff is fun though. There’s also a ridiculous amount of gameplay variety crammed into it.

    If it weren’t for the technical issues, I’d give it the much-coveted Seal of ResonanceCascade’s ApprovalTM.

  11. acidtestportfolio says:

    i heartily disagree

    the moment i knew this game was going to be boring was with all the locked doors and me not being able to explore the wreckage near the ark entrance

    ‘oooooh, here’s some wreckage! you like wreckage, don’t you? ha ha, just kidding, dummy, time for you to go into a scripted cutscene’

    and so forth

    frankly i don’t think id is getting enough shit for this game

    • seattlepete says:

      Yup. The first thing I did was intentionally not get into John Goodmans buggy and was headshot for my exploratory efforts. “It’s dangerous out here!” Indeed.

    • Tyshalle says:

      I think judging this game as bad because it’s not an open world game shows a bit more of your biases than you should be comfortable with.

    • acidtestportfolio says:

      no, i don’t like it because they showed me a pretty, visually interesting thing and then proceeded to not let me see it

      and then told me i couldn’t go anywhere except towards the two muties who are going to jump me

      i was told this was a game of exploration

      what was there to explore: the sewers.

    • acidtestportfolio says:

      also, let’s step aside from exploration for a moment and say:

      id software making the sewer levels as free DLC to deter pirates is pretty much evidence that some of them have been taking stupid pills and chasing them down with bourbon

    • acidtestportfolio says:

      and let’s not forget about nightmare mode

      i like nightmare mode. i like getting my ass kicked as a ritual by one of the hardest, most ridiculous, most unfair difficulty levels in a video game. the fact that you can play rage on nightmare difficulty for about five hours and not die once is kind of a letdown for me.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      No one said this game was about exploration. People seemed to have assumed that for whatever reason, but it was never sold like that.

      Also the sewers as DLC for new copies thing doesn’t apply to PC, as they are all new copies.

    • acidtestportfolio says:

      yeah no one said the game was about exploration

      except for the times it’s mentioned on the sales pitch on the Steam store page

      and yes, the sewers are DLC. the steam purchase gives them to you as DLC. it is marked as DLC. id software tried a really stupid thing to get more players who will pirate rage to buy the DLC. once again: stupid pills, chased down by bourbon.

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      “No, i don’t like it because they showed me a pretty, visually interesting thing and then proceeded to not let me see it”

      Did you feel the same way, when you started Doom, turned left, went up the stairs,
      and saw the beautiful mountains out the window?

      I can’t remember any great FPS (Doom, Halflife 1/2/2.1/2.2/2.3, DN3D, etc) that didn’t have some element of “ooh pretty thing over there, but you can’t reach it”.

      The only other alternatives are (a) An infinite world a la Minecraft (not going to happen) or (b) Sealed in boxes for levels.

    • Josh W says:

      Third option; give those people who explore enough choices of direction and satisfying ways to backtrack and curve round back to themselves that instead of wanting to go to the mountains, they happily leave those till later, even if later never comes.

      If the starting “box” is explory enough, ie not a box but a set of loops and paths that overlook each other rather than always the skybox (or modern equivalent) then people really will be able to see stuff in the distance and go there, because half of what they’re seeing is other parts of the level.

      Look at garden design, and how they wring vast ammounts of subjective space from very small areas.

  12. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    Good to hear you enjoyed it lads. Pretty sure I will too. My bank manager thanks you too for sealing the deal too, he hates keeping my money :D

  13. steve_b says:

    What does “haring” mean? Google tells me nothing.

    • grundus says:

      Haring, like a hare, harelike, a hare being a bigger, faster version of a rabbit. Haring = Speeding around like a bigger, faster version of a rabbit. Rabbits are already quite fast (have you seen Watership Down? (I haven’t)) so I’d say haring means over 60mph, as a rough guess.

    • jonfitt says:

      To go like a hare. I.e. fast and wild.

  14. caddyB says:

    I’d like to replace all the shots with shots of Loosum Hagar.

    Thanks.

    • Josh W says:

      I’ve probably read too much J G Ballard lately, but that sounds vaugely ominous.

  15. Tyshalle says:

    I’m only a couple hours in, but it’s got some of the most impressive shooting of any game I’ve ever played before. Watching enemies semi-realistically react to every bullet hit while continuing to attack you is a thing of beauty, and I have never so frantically fired shots at bad guys in my life. There’s a tension to the combat that is not at all like the tired Doom “jump scares”, nor the Call of Duty’s with their random, explosions everywhere, the horrors of war sort of tropes. This effect might wear of eventually, but at least a few hours in, when bad guys start charging you, and they’re doing quick dive-rolls to avoid your gunfire, or retreating to hide behind some heavy cover, or even after you cripple them and send them to the ground, they slowly get their bearings, find their weapon, and continue to fire at you, it’s very tense without being very hard. I’m very impressed.

    • Dervish says:

      tired Doom “jump scares”

      You’re gonna edit this to “Doom 3,” right?

  16. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    the main problem with Rages technical issues is that John Carmack can just phone up ati or nvidia when he finds a bug or something to his disliking and get them to change it for him right there, the problems come when we don’t get the same regular driver updates he gets.

  17. Dlarit says:

    i cant even play the game even though i have the boxed copy as Steam tells me i’m not an american… :-(

    • jonfitt says:

      Well. Are you?

    • Fwiffo says:

      Are you an American?

      If not, do you WANT to be American?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      If you read between the lines it’s plain that Fwiffo is offering you a marriage proposal.

      There should be more of those in RPS comment threads, don’t you think?

    • Dlarit says:

      haha no i’m british and got my copy today but steam says i didnt… i normally love steam bu not today….

    • Srethron says:

      Further reading between the lines reveals jonfitt to be a U.S. immigrations inspector who takes his work very seriously. Do take Fwiffo’s marriage proposal seriously. It could save your life. (How romantic.)

    • JFS says:

      Most definitely. Any Swiss around here? I’d like to join.

  18. Khemm says:

    Doom 4, due to the series’ corridory and demonicy nature had better have dynamic lighting and textures which look good up close. I don’t think it’s possible with this engine, as impressive as its potential seems to be.

  19. Chris Evans says:

    I was quite pleased with what I saw at the Eurogamer Expo, and despite the issues I am looking forward to playing it. Getting it for £18 thanks to some SavyGamer Tesco codes helps. Just want to start playing around with it.

  20. zergrush says:

    How’s it going for ATI card owners?

  21. King Kong says:

    I’m about 5 hours in and it’s..OK? It’s about as underwhelming and mediocre as Doom 3 and Quake 4.

    From what people are saying, it’s about 10 hours long, and with no real multiplayer and no desire to do vehicle races or go through the same levels again, I wish I would have waited for a Steam sale

    • Syra says:

      Well it’s annoying me how many people hated doom3 and quake4. I really liked them, they were just FUN to play and unashamedly stuck to what they were good at not trying to be anything else.

      Also q4 wasn’t made by id, just saying.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      @Syra
      I am also one of the, apparently, few who enjoyed Quake 4. You are not alone. Hell, at the end of it I couldn’t wait to see what would happen in Quake 5. I was quite surprised to hear how disliked it was by the seemingly vocal majority later on.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I thought the hate for Quake 4 came from the horrible Xbox port. Most PC gamers I know liked the game. It even reviewed pretty well on PC, from what I recall.

      It and Doom 3 both suffer from people looking back on them years later and acting like they were terrible.

  22. HexagonalBolts says:

    Could anyone give me an idea on how the co-op works? Do you and a friend play through the normal single-player campaign together? Can you save your progress and resume where you left off?

  23. Giaddon says:

    Bulletstorm was an incredible game. If Rage is even… 3/4 as fun, it will be very good. But no way in hell do I expect it to be better. I’ll check it out when it’s around $20.

  24. Zulthar says:

    By far the best FPS I’ve played this year.

    - No weapon limits
    - Strafejumping
    - Tons of different ammo and gadgets
    - Amazing animations and varied AI
    - No retarded try-hard story
    - Beautiful and ridiculously detailed environments, almost no copy-pasta of textures

  25. Miodrag Kovachevic says:

    I think people are just so used to FPS being either a blank canvas on which you slap different genres, or being gritty grimdark wartorn realism, that they’ve forgotten or never experienced pure FPS. I’ll most likely look into this when all the technical issues are fixed.

    One question: I recently played the original DOOM for the first time and the shotgun is amazing even after all these years. Then I tried Duke Nukem 3D and the shotgun from there felt so… bland. How does RAGE’s shotgun handle and feel?

    • Zulthar says:

      It’s awesome. My most used weapon. You can even shoot small rockets and lasers with it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yep, it’s quite the punch.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      The original Doom shotgun is a thing of beauty.
      I even did a playthrough of Doom using JUST the shotgun. I think it’s the rythm of the thing that makes it just stand head and shoulders above all other shotguns. And due to the 100 shell capacity with no reloads, you can just mong hypnotically into the sheer joy of “CLI-CLACK, BOOM!”.
      I miss weapons that don’t need to reload in my FPS :(

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Couch co-op Doom II on the XBox 360 with the volume turned up for the shotguns is still more fun than most full price contemporary releases.
      The thing that struck me most is the level design. No other game quite has levels like early Dooms.

    • Khemm says:

      I think more FPS developers should pay attention to not only the “puch” and “feel” of the weapon, but also the RELOADING ANIMATION. That shotgun reloading in Doom after each shot looks so freaking awesome.

      The shotgun in Doom 3 was such a disappointment. The sound it made was awfully lame, it looked lame, the “oomph” factor was lame. The alpha version of D3 had a much better one.
      Come to think of it, most weapons in D3 sucked.

  26. Javier-de-Ass says:

    please someone fund nerve software to make strife 2 with idtech5.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Why idtech 5? The engine is the most underwhelming feature of the entire game.

    • HothMonster says:

      Hi, I’m ResonanceCascade and I have no idea what I am talking about.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @HothMonster

      Would you like to clarify or just act like a childish ass?

      The textures are low-res and flat-looking, the pop-in is terrible, most of the lighting is baked in, and all this crappery takes up 25 GIGS. Thank god id has fantastic animators and character modelers, because the underlying technology was all a big misfire.

    • HothMonster says:

      Childish ass and lazy too.

      I dont know if we are not playing the same game but the textures look awesome to me and the world looks awesome. I love the huge open world that actually looks like a real world, were it isnt just repeating the same 5 textures over and over and every ridge and rock have their own shape and look. Is your hardware shit? Because the view over here is amazing.

      Sure texture pop is a problem and in a week it will be patched out. If its not fixed for you already and if it was a problem for you in the first place.

      To quote Alec: ” If you don’t ever play its Dead City level you won’t see what might just be the most impressive and atmospheric mainstream videogame sight this year” Which according to you is also the worst part of the game.

      Also the great driving physics and character animations, which are part of the engine you know?

      I will agree that the lighting needs some work.

      But no your right, the ability to have a limitless amount of textures of unsurpasseable quality is a complete misfire. Why would anyone want more than a gb worth of textures?

    • wicko says:

      “most of the lighting baked in” – So what? There’s no dynamic time of day, and baked lighting can look much better than pure dynamic lighting for almost no frame time cost at all.

  27. WillX47 says:

    For what it’s worth, I never had any problems getting it to work. When I first started it on Steam I was given a warning that my drivers where out of date, I didn’t bother updating them and everything still ran fine. No texture problems, smallest about of texture popping, smoothest game-play.
    I’m just using a Dell XPS L502X:
    Core i5 – 2.3Ghz
    6GB RAM
    Nvidia 525M

  28. asshibbitty says:

    HR’s character design is head and shoulders above Rage’s.

  29. sneetch says:

    “Rage is out now in most of the world, and tomorrow in the UK.”

    Just a point here, it’s out in North America and Australasia now. That’s hardly most of the world. Tomorrow all of Europe gets the game.

  30. Groove says:

    This WIT makes me slightly confused, since this much critiscism doesn’t entirely seem to square up with FPS of the year. You really seemed to have major reservations about it, and the driver issue seemed to equal UBI DRM in terms of game disruption (massive, temporary distruption opposed to continuing, limited disruptions).

    I did think though, does that title say something about Rage, while also saying equally as much about the (lack of ) competition?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Right. It’s not been an outstanding year for shooters for far.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Well yeah. If it had been a better year for shooters…

      (On the other hand, we did have Portal 2 and DXHR, but only if you want to stretch the definition. All told not a bad year for mainstream games trying a little harder).

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      Massive temporary disruption != permenant limited disruption, by your logic a 1 month delay would be worse than releasing it in the current state, since the disruption is absolute and even longer – in reality that would have been appreciated by almost everyone.

    • Groove says:

      @The Sombrero Kid

      I was largely playing devil’s advocate there.

      A lot of people (myself certainly) made a rightly huge issue of UBI DRM, but are more forgiving of other companies making comparable blunders, if they like the company and their games more. My example, minecraft 1.8 made the game unplayable on my system and many others, but I’ve not seen or wanted to join a petition about it. In spite of it being unavailable for weeks.

      Saying that, I did see a valid line of comparison with the UBI issue, since I thought about how many hours of annoyance you’re likely to actually face trying to play an Assasin’s Creed for example, and compared it to Alec’s issues yesterday. On the AS side, you’re looking at 10-30 hours of game? In that time your connection might drop a few times, losing a few hours play, then you might want to play once or twice but be unable to. Maybe 5 hours annoyance in a run through? On the Rage side I followed Alec’s tweets yesterday and it seemed to be a day-consuming struggle trying to get it to work, followed by being physically unwell as a result of the stuttering picture (or that’s how I read it at least).

      Like I said, devil’s advocate, but I don’t think the comparison is completely worthless.

    • Srethron says:

      Hopefully Serious Sam 3 will save us.

    • wild_quinine says:

      This has been a horribly disappointing year for games. Not that I haven’t found many excellent titles to occupy my time, but so many AAA games have really pooched it this year. Dragon Age 2, Brink, Duke, and then BF3 going all Origin…

  31. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m not going to take any critisism of Rage as a linear fps at face value until i can findout how the publication rated the last few Call of Duties.

  32. PatrickSwayze says:

    Alec, as a reviewer do you have to give your technical specs to publishers before hand?

    Just wondering if your review copy was delayed because of Bethesda being aware you were an ATi user….

    Conspiracy Theory Mode: ENGAGED!

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      His review copy was delayed because he didn’t go to the press review event at id HQ.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Alec, as a reviewer do you have to give your technical specs to publishers before hand?”

      No.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      Just wondered if they’d try doing you like that, plus you guys are known for your honesty and integrity.

    • Srethron says:

      Here’s the leaked rumor of Alec’s specs:
      -1 brain, hooked up to hive mind
      -2 hands
      -a face
      -tea

  33. Cognitect says:

    I canceled my Rage preorder after reading some of the early reviews, but now I’m thinking I might still buy it once it goes on sale.

  34. JoWoo says:

    You forgot Crysis 2 in your conversation. Is it better than that? That was the best shootything experience of the year thus far for me.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It is better than that. And in the REAL conversation we mentioned it. Alec is PRINTING LIES!!1

    • Khemm says:

      Funny you should say that, because I can’t force myself to finish that consolized, but most importantly awfully boring game… 25 pounds down the drain. I feel so restricted and shooting just isn’t fun, not to mention the gianormous guns obscure the vision. FOV change doesn’t help much.
      The orginal Crysis felt right, this is a far cry from what I liked.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I liked Crysis 2 more, though you and I seem to be well in the minority of PC gamers when it comes to liking that game.

    • Shooop says:

      @ResonanceCascade

      I think the general consensus for it is good single player only.

      The multiplayer was such a rip-off of CoD4 it wasn’t funny.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I loved Crysis 2 and it blows Rage out of the water in my personal opinion. The reason is similar to Deus Ex: you play it your way and the game accommodates you.

    • Yosharian says:

      Crysis 2 is a terrible game, what the hell are you smoking.

  35. McDan says:

    Good good! Sounds excellent, I shall buy this. Loosum, here I come!

  36. Screamer says:

    @Alec
    So what card did you get to run it on? Trying to gauge my chances of actually running it properly tomorrow :)

  37. Turin Turambar says:

    Fail Alec, fail. I mean, your opinion abou the AI. It’s great.

    They are fast, aggressive, they use cover, they rush, flank, try to run avoiding my shots, they switch cover depending of my position, they can retreat if overpowered, they jump in several way, the use grenades, they can fire from the ground, they will limp, or recover slowly, they have several avoid routines-animations which make them unpredictable. And the general behavior changes from the Wasted clan to the Ghost clan to the mutans to (i suppose) fighting the Authority, so it’s not always the same.

  38. QualityJeverage says:

    Pretty much in complete agreement with this WIT.

    The technical issues with the PC version are, as you said, inexcusable. But the game underneath is a very good one, the best shooter I’ve played this year.

    One of the things I particularly love, however minor, are the enemy death animations. Very smoothly done, difficult to see where animation stops and ragdoll begins.

  39. Ghil says:

    Alec, by the way, your tip is kind of wrong. You shouldn’t upgrade your first buggy, as you’ll get another car worth the ugprade really soon into the game.

  40. Zealuu says:

    So exactly how many hoops would I have to jump through to get rid of the texture popping and whatever other technical issues still present? GTX 580 with the 285.38 drivers (the Battlefield 3 beta ones). It’s not like I mind editing config files to get a proper FoV or whatever, but there is a magical hassle threshold beyond which I’m not willing to buy at full price.

  41. Premium User Badge

    Richard Beer says:

    “perhaps the marketing has over-egged the free-form pudding. There’s probably also a Pavlovian response”…

    I think your subconscious is suggesting you choose something from the sweet trolley.

  42. resignation.speaks says:

    “There’s probably also a Pavlovian response going on too though: see post-apocalyptic desert, expect open-world.”

    Very nicely put.

  43. Unaco says:

    No mention of ‘Hard Reset’ in the FPS’s of the Year? I thought it was quite ‘the thing’… although I’m aware it had some issues.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I wasn’t that impressed with it, tbh. Obviously there were other FPSss. Homefront, for instance.

    • Unaco says:

      I figured Homefront was only a contender for FPS of the year in South Korea… It really didn’t go down well, and I think it deserved to be panned. But there was a lot of pre release warm feelings for Hard Reset, and I seem to recall the WIT was reasonably positive (although I might be mistaken)… checkpoint issues, poorly delivered story, too short… actually, looking back, it really wasn’t that positive was it.

      I’d be somewhat irked if this was considered the best FPS of the year… from what I’ve seen and heard of it.

    • Uthred says:

      So you’ve no actual experience with the game but still feel confident in complaining that it shouldnt be FPS of the year? Never change internet, never change…no wait, actually, do change

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Hard Reset was pretty blah for me personally. Homefront was the worst singleplayer FPS I have played in a decade.

    • Unaco says:

      @Uthred

      I’m not hating on RAGE. Poor launch, but I haven’t heard anything terrible about gameplay. But, at the same time, I haven’t heard anything especially positive about the game play… Good engine, good character design, competently put together, but nothing radical, nothing terrifically new and game changing. I’ll keep my mind open, maybe pick it up down the line and have fun with it myself. But there’s nothing about the game that is grabbing me so far.

      My comment that I would be irked if this was FPS of the year is more a comment on the state of FPS’s. There’s nothing coming out, changing the game, shining bright, hands and above the best FPS of the year. There’s no jewel in the crown of the genre… no one stand out title that could be unanimously said is “FPS of the year”. But then, it’s not because the competition is so tight, which would be good. It’s especially irksome when we’ve seen a decent number of quite stand out, fantastic games in other genres (The Witcher 2, Deus Ex for example) and have some pretty big, quite promising games still to come this year (BF3, CODMW3, SkyRim) and next year (Syndicate).

      I guess I just feel a genre like FPS, which gets plenty of releases, should be releasing a lot of quality titles.

    • Yosharian says:

      Hard Reset was not very good.

  44. Blackcompany says:

    Minor technical issues aside – and after the Fallout: New Vegas launch, they are minor – Rage is a great game. And this comes from someone who despises on-rails, everyman shooters.
    .
    Sure, you are not going to see a marvelous array of moral choices in this game, a la Fallout. Negotiations in Rage are determined by who has more ammo and better aim. But then, this came as no surprise to me, being this is an Id Shooter. Which leads me to the action. Shooting is smooth, aiming precise. The weapons are immense fun.
    .
    Just last night I charged into a fight against gun-wielding bandits. I went in with the Crossbow, leading off with a sneak attack. One bandit down, but his buddy shouted a warning and took off cover. Another bandit charged me through a doorway. I sent a Wingstick after him and he spun, toppling to the floor.
    .
    Another bandit crouched behind cover. I switched to the sniper rifle, opting for only normal zoom and not max, since it was close-quarters precision I needed and not long range action. I got him in the shoulder (the only exposed part of his body) and he spun round at the impact of the bullet, then folded over dead.
    .
    Two more bandits scrambled for cover and stayed there, shouting comments to one another about my location. I tossed a grenade to flush them, got one with a shotgun. He went down immediately and hard and stayed there. The other came on fast and the Wingstick got him, lodging in his skull with a sickly, wet smack. His momentum carried him a little past me but he wasn’t getting up so no big deal.
    .
    The last two were melee thugs, and they rushed me side by side. The assault rifle got both in short bursts. One spun round with the first bullet, and another began limping after a shot in the knee (that thing kicks) but I slowed them down and mowed them down in short, bloody order.
    .
    Then it was over, the whole thing taking far less time than writing about it requires. It was fun, strategic and immensely satisfying. Easily the best single player shooter I have ever encountered.
    But then, its so much more than just a shooter.
    .
    The world is truly huge. Vehicles are a necessity for travel. Which is normally a bother, but not so here. These vehicles are fun to drive, responsive and fast and the world you drive them through is both stark and beautiful at the same time. Wind howls through canyons and ruins, and heavy, thick, high-desert clouds serve as backdrops for flocks of birds drifting by in the distance. Once or twice I found myself wondering, in a most unshooter-like manner, what it would be like to give up the violence and just float away with the birds.
    .
    That sort of thing should happen in Fallout, a role playing game, not here. But it did.
    .
    Which is due in part to the immersive nature of this harsh world. Characters are expressive, sometimes over-acting in way which I find endearing as opposed to annoying. Idle animations are spectacular. Some characters “talk with their hands” and the delivery guy actually tosses his clipboard in the air and catches it mid sentence, punctuating his frantic words. The mayor is somewhat haughty in a realistic way and Dan is both sad and determined. John Goodman does an astounding job here, too.
    .
    When I first encountered Rage I compared it with Borderlands and Fallout, both of which I own, and for this reason I looked for reasons to not pay full price for “another post-apocalyptic shooter.” Try as I might to deny it, however, I liked Rage then and I still do now. Even with the graphical complications I not only do not regret my purchase but have enjoyed the game immensely and I cannot wait to delve back into Dan Hagar’s bleak and often challenging world in search of answers and just to explore the Wasteland, race a buggy and blast some mutants.
    .
    I highly recommend Rage to anyone who likes exploration, shooters and vehicular mayhem.

    • acidtestportfolio says:

      hey blackcompany. i read your review.

      Minor technical issues aside – and after the Fallout: New Vegas launch, they are minor – Rage is a great game. And this comes from someone who despises on-rails, everyman shooters.

      i disagree
      .
      Sure, you are not going to see a marvelous array of moral choices in this game, a la Fallout.

      cool, id is terrible at writing. that doesn’t excuse most of the other writing they shoehorned into the game.

      Negotiations in Rage are determined by who has more ammo and better aim. But then, this came as no surprise to me, being this is an Id Shooter. Which leads me to the action. Shooting is smooth, aiming precise. The weapons are immense fun.

      agreed. killing dudes with a shotgun is so much fun.

      Just last night I charged into a fight against gun-wielding bandits. I went in with the Crossbow, leading off with a sneak attack. One bandit down, but his buddy shouted a warning and took off cover. Another bandit charged me through a doorway. I sent a Wingstick after him and he spun, toppling to the floor.

      that’s kind of the problem with the AI – i wasn’t expecting magic here, but there are only two types of enemies: ones that hide behind cover and fire and ones that charge. there’s no real in-between to make it interesting.
      .
      Another bandit crouched behind cover. I switched to the sniper rifle, opting for only normal zoom and not max, since it was close-quarters precision I needed and not long range action. I got him in the shoulder (the only exposed part of his body) and he spun round at the impact of the bullet, then folded over dead.

      i liked the death animations too! i also liked the grit of pain on their faces as they died. a morbid little detail is always good.
      .
      Two more bandits scrambled for cover and stayed there, shouting comments to one another about my location.

      also the game suffers from a bit of far cry style screaming. i don’t want to hear what you’re planning, fellas. it only makes it easier for me to kill you. also why are you all screaming? are you all deaf or something?

      I tossed a grenade to flush them, got one with a shotgun. He went down immediately and hard and stayed there. The other came on fast and the Wingstick got him, lodging in his skull with a sickly, wet smack. His momentum carried him a little past me but he wasn’t getting up so no big deal.
      .
      The last two were melee thugs, and they rushed me side by side. The assault rifle got both in short bursts. One spun round with the first bullet, and another began limping after a shot in the knee (that thing kicks) but I slowed them down and mowed them down in short, bloody order.

      .
      those animations are cool too

      Then it was over, the whole thing taking far less time than writing about it requires. It was fun, strategic and immensely satisfying. Easily the best single player shooter I have ever encountered.
      But then, its so much more than just a shooter.

      i disagree. the game has cover shooting, regenerating health, and no tension in fights. those are the cardinal sins i have for the battles in this game. i can’t get excited about shooting dudes if there’s virtually no risk involved.

      at one point i had so many wingsticks i just started tossing them around like party favors because i didn’t want to drill them with the assault rifle for five or six seconds at a time.

      The world is truly huge.

      it’s huge but linear and you can’t explore because areas are usually meant only for plot progression. that is a sin.

      Vehicles are a necessity for travel. Which is normally a bother, but not so here. These vehicles are fun to drive, responsive and fast and the world you drive them through is both stark and beautiful at the same time. Wind howls through canyons and ruins, and heavy, thick, high-desert clouds serve as backdrops for flocks of birds drifting by in the distance. Once or twice I found myself wondering, in a most unshooter-like manner, what it would be like to give up the violence and just float away with the birds.
      .
      That sort of thing should happen in Fallout, a role playing game, not here. But it did.

      i wasn’t all that impressed, but i see what you are talking about
      .
      Which is due in part to the immersive nature of this harsh world.

      not really immersive, but it has a lot of detail, more than i was expecting

      Characters are expressive, sometimes over-acting in way which I find endearing as opposed to annoying. Idle animations are spectacular. Some characters “talk with their hands” and the delivery guy actually tosses his clipboard in the air and catches it mid sentence, punctuating his frantic words. The mayor is somewhat haughty in a realistic way and Dan is both sad and determined. John Goodman does an astounding job here, too.

      i found it a bit overdone, but i would agree with you. they kind of reminded me of fable.

      When I first encountered Rage I compared it with Borderlands and Fallout, both of which I own, and for this reason I looked for reasons to not pay full price for “another post-apocalyptic shooter.” Try as I might to deny it, however, I liked Rage then and I still do now. Even with the graphical complications I not only do not regret my purchase but have enjoyed the game immensely and I cannot wait to delve back into Dan Hagar’s bleak and often challenging world in search of answers and just to explore the Wasteland, race a buggy and blast some mutants.

      there are no answers, just shooting and mutants

      but if you ever find an answer as to why there are british hooligan raiders in the middle of a southwestern u.s. wasteland, i might play it again

      I highly recommend Rage to anyone who likes exploration, shooters and vehicular mayhem.

      i don’t
      it’s another id shooter, but they’ve done plenty of those games already and it’s easier just to fire up quake live (or, if you’re so insistent on having your single-player, then quake)

    • Blackcompany says:

      Good points all. And I respect your opinions. You have valid reasons for disagreeing. No contest there, but then, if everyone agreed on every aspect of gaming the industry would lack for originality even more than it does now.
      .
      That said, I think perhaps the primary reason why I enjoy games like Rage, is the same reason why so many Id fans despise the game. It is not a hardcore shooter. For me there is plenty of tension in fights. While the health does regenerate too quickly I am still able to die while fighting for two primary reasons.
      .
      Firstly, due to pain in my wrists I have to play using a controller. Thankfully this works with Rage. However, it does impede accuracy where charging melee types and that annoying Sniper side mission are concerned. Therefore, I can and do die from time to time. Not often though, and really the health does come back too fast even for my own taste. Secondly, I am not now, and nor was I ever, truly good at shooters. Granted I hold my own, but mouse and keyboard players kill me online for obvious reasons, hence, I avoid competitive shooters like plague.
      .
      So for me, games such as Borderlands and Rage work. They slow down the action with realistic cover mechanics. Where Hard Reset (a great game in its own right) now and then overwhelmed my XBOX-controller-bound hands, Rage slows things just enough that I can survive without being a pro at shooters. This fact, which was plainly on advertisement in the trailers, come to think of it, was a saving grace for me with this game.
      .
      However, I do sympathize with hardcore shooter fans who want more of a challenge. I can understand their plight with these cover-based console ports and their frustration. It seems as if two different modes would be nice – one for those seeking a balanced, inbetween experience, and one for the hardcore mouse and keyboard players.

  45. Shooop says:

    EDIT:

    And suddenly only after posting another reply does this one magically appear.

    Bah I like the newer one better.

  46. 2late2die says:

    As for the question at the top of the article – how about “Hard Reset”. It definitely has its own issues, but it’s a damn good FPS and it didn’t bring bugs and consoles “junk” with it.

  47. Shooop says:

    Reviews are very mixed, mostly lukewarm. But most reviewers also gave Modern Warfare 2 on PC overwhelmingly positive reviews.

    They all say the shooting itself is well done so that’s reason enough for me to give it a test drive. But I can’t stop thinking how much I would love this game before even installing it if it only had some proper mutliplayer.

    Lastly I’m probably going to regret asking this, but why does Mick have metal tits on his overalls?

    EDIT

    I think I perfer this comment over my first one. Maybe this internet hiccup did me a favor after all.

  48. SoggySilicon says:

    Have not played it. Will not play it till it has been Steam’ed for 20 US or less. The architecture and world looks good, the player character does not. Simply just not that interesting, and in that, it is an ID game. Same reason I suppose that I felt Gran Turismo was slaw… it was too Gran Turismo, in the face of NFS Shift, Forza, and Grid.

    Rage all the critters are hopping about, and jumping over each other… the Player Character… walking Dalek turret… may as well be playing an on-rail. Just my 2c.

  49. Ergates_Antius says:

    “microwaved the carrots”

    What are you talking about? Microwaving is a fine way to cook carrots. It’s quicker than steaming them, and better than boiling as all the flavour and nutrients stay in the carrot rather than leaching out into the water.

    If you nuke them for too long they’ll not be nice, obviously, but this is true for any cooking method.

    • Premium User Badge

      X_kot says:

      This media bias against microwaves cannot be tolerated! Just because it is a newer appliance that “all the young folks use” does not mean it is corrupting their food or making them lazy. Microwave cooking may work differently than other cooking methods, but it’s still a form of heat transfer, damn it all!

    • Nick says:

      I find if you microwave them for a bit then oven roast them with some balsamic vinegar they are best.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I must concur; the microwaving process streamlines carrot enjoyment without losing substantial mealtime depth.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      On that note, some of the packet gravy we get in the States is quite easily doctored into something difficult to tell from the authentic. Saves a lot of time and stirring.

    • Josh W says:

      Well seen as a friend of mine can’t eat MSG, there’s one vast difference between normal and packet gravy!
      When you start looking out for it there is quite a difference, generally the home made stuff is less obviously flavoured, less tangy, but has more breadth of flavour. You can eat it for longer.

  50. LostViking says:

    I totally agree with the article.

    Once you are done stabbing the John Carmack voodoo doll in frustration over id clearly putting consoles over the PC, you realize that Rage is a lot of fun!
    At its best it looks absolutely awsome, the characters are brilliant, the shooting mechanics are good and there is a lot of variety.

    Apparently its not the longest game out there, but I am definitely going for a second play through once the patch is out ;)