Although id has focused a lot on Rage’s racing component, it ultimately feels like a great bonus, one that showcases the capabilities of the new iD Tech 5 engine. Vehicular events are quick and fun, and offer time trials, rallies, and races, with or without weapons. The physics are decidedly more arcade-like than simulation, and are reminiscent of Twisted Metal. The rally-based events also have four multiplayer variations, though straight-up races are strangely absent from Rage’s online component. Lacking real depth, the four-player, vehicle-based multiplayer matches are nothing but a raucous fun distraction. Rage's Wasteland Legends online cooperative mode offers something a bit more traditional, pitting two players in a string of increasingly difficult on-foot shooting scenarios. However, it doesn't make up for the lack of true competitive multiplayer. Cleverly structured as a series of stories told by a folksy narrator, Wasteland Legends’ suite of 2-player adventures is a lot of fun to barrel through with a friend. And, though its locations are repeated from the single-player campaign, some of them take place in the city-hub areas where shooting is forbidden during the single-player experience, which is a nice twist. Still, given the strength of the game’s gunplay, the lack of competitive FPS multiplayer seems like an odd choice. BOOM video 10378 Fantastic as Rage looks running on the Xbox 360, there are a few shortcomings that bear mentioning. The developer recommends installation of all three of the game’s DVDs to the console’s hard drive. This amounts to a footprint over 21 GB, which may not be an inconsequential consideration for some. (For more on the game's installation requirements, read this.) While the game’s environments look fantastic when viewed at mid to long range and in the midst of the action, textures tend to look washed-out when viewed close up, with the exception of the character models. While not a huge issue, it’s certainly noticeable when looting the corpses of fallen enemies or searching the environment for crafting materials and collectibles—which you’ll do quite a bit of. It’s mainly distracting because the rest of Rage looks so great. In spite of its shortcomings, fans will be pleased to note that id Software still has what it takes to still make meaningful and fun contributions to the genre they created. All told, Rage delivers an incredibly solid experience that’s an arcade racer and a FPS wrapped in Mad Max’s dusty, leather jacket.
Rage, a racer and a FPS wrapped in Mad Max’s dusty, leather jacket
[Rage review is based on a copy of the Xbox 360 version of the game, provided by the publisher. Rage is also available on PC and PlayStation 3.]