Have You Played… Rage?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I do wonder what Rage could have been without the ultimately empty open-world bits you drive around. Oh, I know automotive combat was a cornerstone of id Software’s vision but it ended up a distraction on the side, creating expectations of an open world that it didn’t deliver on. Aside from that, see, Rage is a fun bang-bang quest-y FPS.

Rage is a funny old thing. You have delightful little hub settlements to poke around in, chatting with people, taking on quests, and soaking in the world. That’s great, that. You also have combat zones, which are linear but have a few fine dramatic set pieces, and are fun to do shooty-shooting in. Then a kinda pointless free-roaming world connects the two with driving and not-great automotive combat.

I don’t know how all the bits fit together, but I like the towns and world and people and I like the gunbangs. I especially like lopping off heads with the wingstick and summoning adorable little spiderbot buddies.

I wish I could forget Rage was made by id because I’m sure there’s an awful tedious part of me which wants them to stay in the ’90s and quietly rejects Rage. Stop being a babby, That Part.

I don’t know what’s up with the car bits, though. Or why it zooms through the final act and crashes to an end.

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  1. gbrading says:

    What I most remember about RAGE is the absolutely cataclysmic texture pop-in. It was mind-alteringly awful. Thankfully some kind soul on Steam has a mod which fixes the issue (that alone is tempting me to reinstall it), but it was quite insane.

    I enjoyed the shooting in RAGE; it was very fluid and fast-paced, but the world felt dead and the various elements (shooting, driving, racing) never stood together well. There were some really beautiful set-piece locations though.

    • padger says:

      This was fixed with a patch. It looks shit hot on a high end machine fwiw.

      • gbrading says:

        It wasn’t for me: I still got awful pop-in after the patch. Not as awful as it was before but still woeful.

        • suibhne says:

          Yeah, I also played the fully-patched-up version and the pop-in was embarrassingly awful – the worst I’ve ever seen, even more than a handful of pretty bad PS3 titles like Enslaved and Uncharted 2.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            Have you “worst pop-in ever” guys forgotten about the PS1/N64 era? Or were you just not around at the time?

          • epeternally says:

            None of the major N64 titles (Super Mario 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie, Donkey Kong 64) had noticeable texture pop in and the first Playstation was such a mess of polygon jitter that I think comparatively texture issues weren’t that memorable as far as graphical flaws go. They were also generally being hidden behind all the distortion a CRT creates in both cases, which helps.

          • Unclepauly says:

            Not for me I’ve had HD CRT’s since they 1st came out. I saw all the graphical absurdities in all their glory.

      • Sivart13 says:

        I played it maybe two years ago and it felt like the exact opposite of “shit hot”.

        Even a relatively show 360 degree turn involved watching all the textures flash from “blurry” to “maybe not blurry?” detail. Keep turning around as long as you like, it never gets any better, best case you just get use to it.

        id heavily hyped their “MegaTexture” technology in the ramp up to the game, but I think however they ended up implementing the feature it just isn’t friendly to video cards.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      You must’ve done nothing more than do 180’s as fast as possible if that was all you recall from it. It wasn’t worth than most Unreal Engine games from similar period.

      • geisler says:


        Wait, you’re not kidding are you?

        • ocdmonkey says:

          Unreal engine games have terrible texture pop-in, but they are mostly just when you first load a map. Even with the fan “mod” to fix Rage’s texture pop-in I still get some that rather ruins any immersion for me.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    I’ve seen rip off “without nintendo seal of approval” games with less abrupt endings.

  3. Unsheep says:

    It was the kind of game I hoped Borderlands would be.

    I really liked it, it was quite tough and thus reminded me of classic FPS games. The storyline was cool sci-fi stuff. I mean its an action game, its supposed to be cool and entertaining, not philosophical and melodramatic.

    • Josh W says:

      I thought you were saying that borderlands was overly philosophical for a second there.

  4. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Excellent shotgun.

  5. amorpheous says:

    By the time I got to the first town/settlement I’d fallen into such a deep sleep from boredom I was in a coma. Great tech demo though.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      5 minutes was all it took you to fall asleep. Too bad you missed quite a lot of great shooting, that stands heads above what Call of Duty offer in their singleplayer campaigns.

      But then, if you just warez the game or buy it at for 2$, then who cares if it was boring.

      • ocdmonkey says:

        For me, it took two hours just to get the settings right (like the mouse sensitivity and setting up Autohotkey to make up for there being no option to toggle ADS), and they still aren’t quite how I would like them, especially the weird sensitivity on menus.

        Past that, I’m around four hours into the game and I have to agree that it is for the most part really boring. It has been mostly “Fetchquest: the game” with the occasional good combat segment. I think if they had decided what they wanted it to be (Racing game, FPS, or open world exploration) and just focus on delivering on that it would have been a great game, but as it is it’s such a mess of stuff that it really feels like you are playing three completely separate games.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      What better way to express my feelings on Rage? Well, here’s my Steam review: I’ve been playing it for a fair amount since yesterday and have just done the first Wellspring mission. While there is a reasonable FPS under there (Note: Reasonable, not original, mould-breaking or particularly enthralling in any way), it’s seriously hampered by the writing and pacing out of combat, as well as just how small the world feels.


      .1 I literally laughed out loud at the start where the guy who saves you is talking about bandits basically running the area and that you both better get to the safety of his home and is like ‘oh here we are’ 10 seconds later at his house.

      2. The NPCs take so damn long to say anything, and are happy to talk ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ for five minutes before allowing you to ‘use’ them, and then we you finally do get the prompt, they introduce themselves to you!

      3. That first Wellspring mission is seriously a pisstake: Talk to the Mayor, the mayor sends you to talk to the Sheriff, the Sheriff won’t work with you until you talk to the Auto-weapons guy, who in turn, won’t give you anything until you’ve done a race because apparently money is no good to him just ‘race points’ , so he sends you to the race manager, who doesn’t actually DO anything except direct you to the guy behind him who sorts out the races. Bare in mind, up until the race there is literally no player agency here. It’s just listening to NPCs go through their scripts and walking from one end of the town to the other. It’s appalling.

      The shame here, is that the concept is interesting, but it’s like a themepark, not a post-apocalyptic world. The combat, while feeling ‘right’ with the weapon play, is just corridor shooter stuff. Worse, it’s often very small corridor stuff. It makes Doom 3 feel like a sandbox when you’re in the bandit/gang camps. The vehicle stuff handles well, although being in third person makes it feel overly arcady but I guess with the whole racing stuff, that’s what they were going for (compare it to Half-Life 2’s excellent buggy/car play, or Halo’s vehicles and it comes up short).

      As for the tech, I’m not really seeing what id tech 5 is bringing to the table. It doesn’t look a whole lot better than id tech 4, certainly not much better than Quake 4 – and that had better feeling guns (thanks Raven software, I guess), and the texture popping I’m getting looks atrocious, and the artwork has that same ‘chunky’ unreal look that previous id games have (your preference may vary, but for me I don’t want to see it in every game they do..get some new artists, fellas).

      I really want to like this game, but a few hours in and it’s getting harder to keep up hope.
      Posted 21 June, 2014.

  6. w0bbl3r says:

    Played it and loved it.
    In fact, after seeing this article I would go and install and play again if it weren’t such a big download.
    So it wasn’t the huge open world sandbox people expected it to be… boo hoo. It was still great fun, with fun enemies, simple but enjoyable vehicle sections, lovely graphics (after they fixed the engine), and some really great gameplay and enjoyable mechanics.
    I even liked the tv show thing where you had to survive the waves of enemies. Not because horde mode is fun, but because the idea of the show itself and the implementation of fun things like the slot machine wheels made it nice and silly.
    Anyone who hasn’t tried it, get it on sale for like £3 and you won’t find much better value for money in the gaming world.

    Seeing those weird mutant things in the sewers start feeling for the head while still running (after I exploded it with my shotgun) always made me laugh. Those animations were brilliant

    • DevilishEggs says:

      Yeah, after tackling some technical issues, I found the whole thing to be terrific fun for about 18 hours, then I lost all interest. If the levels were less linear (and the characters less meathead), I’d be a huge fanboi.

  7. Anthile says:

    Good shooter but one of the worst endings in recent memory. There’s also the racing sections that seem to have no impact.
    Really, it feels rather unfinished. The kind of game where they got a deadline and awkwardly glued together all the bits and pieces they could find. It’s surprising it’s as good as it is.

  8. suibhne says:

    I couldn’t disagree more re. the auto sections and combat. The gunplay was typically tight – unsurprising for id, maybe – but the driving bits were hands-down the best in any non-racing PC game I’ve played. The starting car was a bit crippled, as it should be, but upgrading your vehicle made clear, immediately appreciable improvements. At higher levels, the cars were fantastically responsive and maneuverable.

    You could argue that more should’ve been done with that side of the game, and I can see that, but the actual driving system was pretty great.

  9. Synesthesia says:

    Loved it! Very fun gameplay. Too bad about the space in between, but bah. It’s a good game anyways.

  10. MattM says:

    It was the last game I ever pre-ordered. The launch was such a mess and the patches were so slow that I had to set it aside.
    I finally got back to it this year. It was pretty good but two big issues came up for me. One was the inconsistent world building. I got into the dead city and the buildings all looked practically new. There were fires burning that seemed to be from the original meteorite strike. This was all supposed to happen 80 years ago.
    The second issue was the low difficulty. I played on nightmare mode and found it to be cakewalk easy. The mutant sewer levels in particular were just a shooting ( or punching gallery) where I never felt at any risk.

  11. Kefren says:

    Liked the FPS shooting; hated the hubs and the driving.

    I recently tried Mad Max, and for various reasons gave up after a few hours, just beyond the refund limit.

    Ideal version = the FPS driving of Mad Max + the FPS shooting of Rage.

  12. geldonyetich says:

    I’ve always bounced off Rage when I tried to play it. The graphics were good, but it felt, in a way, too polished… samey, derivative. It’s like Doom 3 decided it needed to be more like World of Warcraft, and I’ve been there, done that.

  13. fredc says:

    Slight problem with Rage you didn’t mention: it didn’t work for a huge number of people with ATI cards.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Yep, I actually returned the game the next day as unplayable because of this. AMD processor and ATI video made it a horrible mess of a game in all visual aspects from framerate, textures going insane, lighting prisms, and pop-in that was like 10 meters in front of you.

      Was this ever patched?

  14. Jason Moyer says:

    I do wonder what Rage could have been without the ultimately empty open-world bits you drive around

    You should play Fallout 4.

  15. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I agree with the above. Beside the useless driving to places the shooting was ID quality as known from Doom and Quake which are of course the best shooters. Ok, Counterstrike is good but not the same genre in my opinion.
    I hope the next Doom will be like Rage in the aspect of shooting not like that pile of garbage known as Doom 3.

  16. Barberetti says:

    I remember being parked up somewhere in my car-jeep-thing while trawling the internet looking for a way to invert the horizontal mouse axis while driving, because for some stupid fucking reason id had decided that mouse left = look right and mouse right = look left.

    In the end I gave up. I ignored as much of the driving and the open world as I could. Each new mission for me was a case of driving directly to the mission start point, jumping out of vehicle and running through the door as fast as possible.

    Shame , because I really enjoyed the rest of the game. The guns were fucking fantastic.

    • welverin says:

      Hmm, never had that issue.

      Of course, every time I got in my car I grabbed my gamepad.

  17. Fnord73 says:

    Shame they didnt build Mad Max around its bones.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      The fuck you say! Mad Max is a superb game, Rage isn’t fit to lick the boots of.

  18. aazell says:

    Rage suffered from several drawbacks:
    – Repetitive combat, cookie cutter mobs
    – No mid level save forcing players to replay entire levels if they close game
    – Annoying car combat that could not be avoided
    – Bleak post-apocalyptic setting (at a similar time to Fallout 3 and Borderlands)

    I got about 4 hours into it, until I reached a challenging level. I was then forced to replay the whole level every time I picked up the game again. Not only that but I had to travel from the local town and deal with the annoying car combat in between.
    Eventually I uninstalled due to too much time wasted before i could get back to where I’d left off.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Bleak setting for you maybe, it appeals to a lot of players though that’s why they made Rage a post-apocalyptic game but to each his own.
      Also “cookie cutter”-mobs is what shooters are all about in the genre of the doomlike shooter. Beside the occasional heavy those enemies swarm you in numbers and are easy to kill which is as it should be.
      No “bullet sponge” marines of games I can think of, no several headshots to no effect or stopping power as in Fallout 4.

  19. mpk says:

    I really enjoyed Rage. It’s a solid 7/10 that I have a lot of affection for, despite the shitty way Id dealt with the graphics issues and the people justifiably complaining about them.

    I still think the NPC design is right up there as some of the best I’ve seen, surpassed only in my mind by Dishonoured and when the engine actually worked, the world was gorgeous. I really wanted to explore some of those abandoned industrial structures – get right up in the frames and see things from up high. (in fact, if anyone knows of a Rage equivelant to idpispopd I’ll be reinstalling tonight).

    • mootpoint says:

      I think noclip in the console is what you are looking for. Google id rage noclip and have some touristy fun.

  20. Scumbag says:

    One of the few games I played where the technicalities put me off. At a distance the textures were fine, but as soon as I got sort of close it all went to pot.
    Had a screenshot on steam and a friend thought I had walked right up to a picture hanging on the wall with the hi-res gun poking out as everything was so muddy.

    Story was awfully paced as well from what I remember of the 2 or so hours I played of it.

  21. Inspired Cup says:

    IMo id’s main strength as a developer was it’s map design. They gave themselves a self lobotomy in favor of mass appeal, you more or less walk in a straight line now.

  22. C0llic says:

    It was great game. The vehicle sections were a bit odd and unnecessary, but it was a fantastic linear shooter.

    I think the tech, and how it really didn’t work well out of the box, ended up overshadowing was one of the best shooters of that time. It had the true feel of an iD game.

  23. pizzapicante27 says:

    Shotgun Rocket Launcher, thats all I have to say, Shotgun.Rocket.Madafakin.Launcher

  24. welverin says:

    Yes, I quite liked it and wish it had done better so that we’d get a sequel.

    Yeah, the ending did come up rather abruptly, the core core gameplay was good and there’s a lack of good single player shooters now a days.

  25. aazell says:

    Everyone says the powerplant level is the best part of the game. I never got there. Think I quit after the level with the remote control cars…

  26. haldolium says:

    After the still viable RAGE I went through, because the game didn’t ran on AMD cards from that era even after X patches, I finally enjoyed it quite a lot on my nVidia powered rig.

    RAGE has been the very last of id shooters. And it has been a pleasure. After some config tweaks it became a very typical id shooter with pleasure put into moment to moment gunplay. It didn’t overstretch the “open world” aspect as almost any games do today and presented itself as a great, semi-linear shooting game with outstanding environment design and the core fun put into actual just shooting stuff and designing your own experience in doing so (aka no XP for headshots or whatever arbitrary fuckup “RPG” mechanics are going into most modern shooters). It was very classic in it’s core. So was Quake 4 (yeah I know, not id) and so was Doom 3 (hate how much you like, it’s still one fantastic gritty shooting experience).

    It’s a shame that this was the last true id titel before they became an irrelevant part of console-first-we-cant-write-and-the-community-will-fix-all-our-fuckups-because-modtools Bethesda.

    That is especially since I witnessed the awful puke-inducing shit that was the Doom 4 MP alpha.

    That said, I enjoyed RAGE quite a lot and think it still puts many games to shame when it comes to environment design.