Rage preview

Unlike most high-profile games, Rage has not been shrouded in mystery. Its developer, id software, has been candid about its premise and its gameplay. Perhaps that's why getting access to the first two hours of the single player campaign felt entirely uns

29
Unlike most high-profile games, Rage has not been shrouded in mystery. Its developer, id software, has been candid about its premise and its gameplay. Perhaps that's why getting access to the first two hours of the single player campaign felt entirely unsurprising. It could also be the game's uncanny resemblance to Borderlands. Sure, both games share a similarly futuristic desert-themed dystopian setting. But after completing my umpteenth fetch quest, and leveling up my weapons, it was the gameplay that begged the most comparison. There are worse things to be compared to. Borderlands was a success, critically and commercially. The progression and the feel of the open-world may be similar to that of Gearbox's, but that doesn't make it any less awe-inspiring. The dramatic CG cinematic sequence at the beginning is just one example how far the developer has come since the days of Doom and Quake. This is a bigger, far more mature and nuanced game, than anything id has ever produced. And the developer knows. "We're trying to go deeper on the story; we're trying to go deeper with the weapons; we have different ammo types--we've never done that before," id's Jason Kim told us earlier. The ability to switch weapons and ammo types on the fly makes for a significant addition to the usual run-and-gun gameplay. The weapons feel very fun to use, especially as you start unlocking heavier ammo and more powerful weapons. While the game eschews the traditional RPG leveling-up system, you'll definitely feel more capable as you progress through the game, earning not only better weapons, but better armor and gear as well.

Click to see brand new Rage screenshots

If there's one word I'd use to describe the combat in the game, it's "organic." Yes, Rage is guilty of having scripted sequences, and linear level design at times. However, it really shines when it gives you an open space to fight against the AI. Thanks to the variety of tactics employed by the computer, and some very impressive character animation, enemies really do seem "alive." It's a totally different experience from the nameless, voiceless enemies you face in so many FPSs. You will have characters that flat-out run away from you, and you have others that will drag their bullet-ridden bodies into a corner, as they fire away at you, Last Stand-style. Given the developer's pedigree, I expected nothing less from the gunplay of Rage. However, I was surprised by how much I responded to other aspects of the game. The animation is truly spectacular, done in a slightly exaggerated, cartoony way that makes all the NPCs seem that much more expressive. I actually found myself getting attached to a few of the characters, something I didn't expect from a shooter. It's too bad there was no way for me to further develop that relationship--your character suffers from the antiquated "silent protagonist" syndrome. Given how "realistic" the world is meant to be, it's entirely unbelievable that you'd speak no dialog. It's uncanny, really. For the two hours we were allocated to spend with the game, we were given the freedom to do whatever we wanted. Sated with what the gunplay offered (and besides, you've read our coverage before, right?), I decided to spend most of my time, honing my vehicular combat skills. id has placed a lot of emphasis on the vehicular combat, and unfortunately, I'm not entirely sold yet. To the developer's credit, the mode is incredibly accessible. Even without a proper tutorial, it's easy to figure out the controls: how to lock on to enemies, use power-ups, and fire weapons. Unlike my time with the FPS portion of the gameplay, the vehicular combat felt decidedly less exhilarating. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, there's simply no sense of speed. As your vehicle careens through the desert, you never get a sense that you're really going as fast as you are. You'll hold down the boost as long as you can, just to get to your destination faster. Secondly, the cars handle a bit too precisely. Unlike in racing games, the vehicles don't have a certain heft to them. But perhaps most discouraging of all is that the competitions are not unlike those found in Mario Kart. The weapons and power-ups are so powerful that it behooves you to trail behind the pack for most of the race. The final lap is when you should unleash hell on the other racers. It's what I like to call the "Lightning Bolt strategy."

Click to see brand new Rage screenshots

I played the Xbox 360 version of the game, and I wish id had offered the PC version for demo. While Rage is by no means a bad-looking game, I found myself disappointed in the lackluster texture work on the 360. I remember when I first came out of the Ark and looked into the expanse in front of me ... waiting for a better texture to replace the low-res blur that marred the vista. It never happened. Rage will be available on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 4th. Fans will also get a chance to play it later this week, at QuakeCon.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    August 2, 2011 7:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Rage Preview.

    Unlike most high-profile games, Rage has not been shrouded in mystery. Its developer, id software, has been candid about its premise and its gameplay. Perhaps that's why getting access to the first two hours of the single player campaign felt entirely uns

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:03 AM

      felt what?

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:08 AM

      The suspense is killing me!!!!!!!111

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:18 AM

      YOON YOU DEVIOUS MAN

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:20 AM

      NuShack strikes again!

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 2:17 PM

        yes, article is about shit stuff and tells nothing about the shooting part

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:21 AM

      Sounds good! This is my most anticipated title this year. Deus Ex is looking pretty hot too!

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:22 AM

      Low res textures on the XBOX 360 version is disappointing given all of the talk I've heard from Carmack about the optimizations they've done for the console.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 7:31 AM

        Maybe the PS3 version will look better. I had hoped it wouldn't be bad on either though

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 7:44 AM

          id titles should only be played on PC

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 8:05 AM

            if I had a decent PC I'd get it for that

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 7:54 AM

          The PS3 has less RAM than the xbox360 it almost always has worse textures than the xbox360 port of any game.

          Google ps3 muddy textures and see how many comparisons come up.

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 8:04 AM

            Carmack has already stated that the PS3 version would probably use more high res textures at certain places. This due to the one disc Blu-ray PS3 version vs several DVDs for the 360.

            • reply
              August 2, 2011 8:11 AM

              As in, you couldn't cut up the game at the wrong places (textures has to be on the disc being used in a particular section) - and MS won't allow for id to require that the game is being installed.

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 9:01 AM

            I believe one of the main reasons idTech5 has muddy textures is due to storage limitations, not available vram (which it's supposedly very frugal with) So the PS3 version could come out ahead.

            • reply
              August 2, 2011 12:38 PM

              Sounds like an id game needing modern hardware for visual effects. Nothing new here.

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 2:00 PM

            PS3 and X360 have 512 MB RAM

            PS3 graphics card is weaker

            PS3 Storage is better fitting for a title like rage

            • reply
              August 2, 2011 11:52 PM

              Not quite, the PS3 has 256MB system+256MB video ram, the Xbox 360 has 512MB of "allocate it however you like" ram.

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 8:31 AM

          Judging by the trailers they've released, the low res textures aren't going anywhere.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:42 AM

        Its not surprising. There are cell phones with more processing power than the present generation of consoles.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 10:56 AM

        According to the preview posted on pcgames.de the PC/X360/PS3 version look almost the same

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:23 AM

      were they not showing anyone the pc version yet? i too wish you had gotten to play that variant

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:02 AM

        I don't know if id have more leeway with this, but Brink wasn't allowed by Bethesda to release PC gameplay footage.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 10:50 AM

        RockPaperShotgun got to play the PC version. Shacknews must have decided they'd much rather preview an id Software game on XBox.

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 11:39 AM

          You didn't read the article, did you?

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 11:52 AM

            Ah- yeah funny though that RPS got to play PC version at presumably the same press event?

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:45 AM

      Uns-atisfactory

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 7:46 AM

      Entirely UNS UNS UNS UNS THE SYSTEM IS DOWN THE SYSTEM IS DOWN DOOTLEY DOO DOOTLEY DOO UNS UNS UNS

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 8:08 AM

      Why did you guys get an hour less to play than Giantbomb? http://m.giantbomb.com/news/rage-the-first-three-hours/3544/

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:03 AM

        Ohhhh no you id'nt!

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:09 AM

        GiantBomb got there an hour earlier. Alex TOTALLY cheated.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:15 AM

        They were offered an extra hour, but they were told the review would have to be held for a month and Shacknews knew that it's loyal userbase would never let that stand.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 11:41 PM

        GB preview sounds really promising.

        I should stop reading/watching stuff about the game now... I'm sold, just roll out the preorder deals.

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 8:11 AM

      here, I fixed the headline: "id software sends shacknews an x360 copy of their latest fps"

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 8:20 AM

        why would it even matter besides what was written in the last paragraph?

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 11:44 AM

          call me crazy but I'd like to hear about how an id game looks and feels on a pc

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 12:46 PM

            its an id game :P

            As for the feel of the vehicles in particular - tja, that part worries me

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 4:25 PM

            ^^signed

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 8:30 AM

      I really want to love this game (Given i've played Q1,Q2,Q3,Q4, Doom 1-3 etc) but unfortunately my love for the game is in the Multiplayer... and from what I've heard this is a driving only multiplayer mode? Can anyone else confirm if the "MULTIPLAYER" is truly an FPS?

      Thats a HUGE disappointment.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 8:43 AM

        Yeah. With the Borderlands comparison in this preview, if the multiplayer was actually like Borderlands my friends and I might buy this day 1.

        • reply
          August 2, 2011 9:05 AM

          It is and it isn't- there's coop mp, about 8 specific levels, using assets from the SP but they're not a part of the main storyline (hinted at as past events). So I guess the COOP mp is on foot, and is sort of a prologue.

          • reply
            August 2, 2011 10:11 AM

            Sounds mostly "isn't." When I think "like borderlands" I'm thinking of dozens of hours of pretty free-form coop.

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 10:19 AM

            I think they have a cool idea with the co-op. They are taking side-stories and background stories from the overall story arc and fleshing them out a bit with the co-op missions. These missions are specifically designed for co-op.. so they have potential to be more entertaining than just playing the SP game with another person. They also seemed to hint that these co-op missions are something which could be added to with DLC.. so they could keep pumping out side co-op missions.. and if they are fun and sell well, they will probably keep making them. I think it sounds great to me.

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 8:43 AM

      The missing sense of speed during the driving portion probably comes from the 3rd person perspective - a perspective that always takes you out of the game. If it was first person with the car bouncing and shaking around you it would be intense, I'm sure.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:09 AM

        Well, I've played racing games in third person. A lot of them. And they feel faster. It's true that the camera is too far back, though.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 9:25 AM

        ^^^^ i'm also hating the precision of car handling, you can easily tell that from the gameplay videos, i wished it was more like Halo's Hummer

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 8:54 AM

      there are fetch quests? what the fuck. i hated that shit in Borderlands.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 8:57 AM

        I need 10 rats for my ratpie!

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 9:42 AM

      something about this game just feels stale to me. I want it to be good, but I haven't really enjoyed an id single player game since the early days. Doom 3 came close, but it was just so repetitive.

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 9:44 AM

      I loved Mario Kart...and Wipeout!

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 2:16 PM

      The preview is kinda boring. Author devotes way too much on bullshit stuff and telling anything about actual gameplay, like you know, shooting stuff. Story, characters, emotions... wtf is wrong with you man?

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 2:32 PM

      Bullseye HANDS DOWN. Greatest gun in MP.

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 2:56 PM

      Terrible comma use but decent preview.

      • reply
        August 2, 2011 4:32 PM

        lol, glad I'm not the only one who thought this.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 8:15 AM

        I disagree, as I thought, his comma use; was great.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 10:37 AM

        I've noticed a serious lack of proper editing in Shack reviews of late. Stylistic license doesn't, include, unreadable (sentences?) with inappropriate punctuation.

        Makes one feel almost out of breath in the attempt to read. The quality content is poorly showcased by such writing.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:09 AM

        Maybe the author has asthma. You should be more sensitive.

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 11:46 AM

          Reading sentences like that gives ME asthma!

    • reply
      August 2, 2011 11:02 PM

      It's too bad there was no way for me to further develop that relationship--your character suffers from the antiquated "silent protagonist" syndrome. Given how "realistic" the world is meant to be, it's entirely unbelievable that you'd speak no dialog. It's uncanny, really.
      A silent protagonist may not be realistic, but it's really the only way to go imo. I've found that in action fps games, every time your character opens his or her big fat mouth, a derp-fest spews forth. It's pretty embarrassing.