Rage 2 Review
Bethesda lets players step into a post-apocalyptic world of chaos and mutants with their sequel to the 2011 first-person shooter, Rage 2. Boasting a bigger game world, and featuring more carnage, more chaos, and more weapons, this one is set up to be a sequel worth getting excited about – but does it hit the mark?
Rage 2 Review
Players take on the role of Walker, the last living member of an elite combat unit called the Rangers. No, unfortunately you don’t wear lightly colored spandex and you can’t summon awesome giant robots. The story follows Walker’s journey through the post-apocalyptic wasteland, where mankind is on the brink of extinction and an organization known as the Authority fights for control and is on a mission to wipe out mankind for good.
Following on from Doom’s hugely successful remake back in 2016, my expectations for Rage 2 were mixed. Although I generally tend to avoid the chaotic side of the first-person shooter genre, the pure quality and entertainment factor of Doom gave me a small hope Bethesda could pull me in to Rage 2. As it turns out, I was right.
Within minutes of starting the game, I felt like an unstoppable force of ass-kickery. The controls, the movement, the shooting…it all felt so very similar to Doom. It’s polished, it’s smooth, and it’s rewarding. Every aspect of the basics of combat and movement mechanics are nailed perfectly. In a game that focuses nearly entirely on combat as a draw, it’s so very important to get it right, and Rage 2 does just that.
The combat retains the same level of rewarding gameplay and exciting action sequences throughout, thanks to steady progression that rewards additional skills and abilities. While small in number, each of the abilities can work in tandem with another, leading to some really interesting combinations of abilities that often deserve a brief pause and a pat on the back. Assuming you even have to pause; usually a good combo destroys everything in the immediate vicinity – and it feels great.
The same can be said for the driving and vehicular combat, which is important because you spend a lot of time driving. The open world is huge, and there’s plenty to explore. Whether you’re on foot, driving a tank, or soaring over the hills in a gyro-copter, every available method of transport feels well-refined and well-tuned.
As a first-person shooter, Rage 2 gets everything right. However, combining the traditionally more limited genre of the FPS world with a sprawling open-world more at home in a modern RPG does start to take its toll.
Rage 2 wears its Doom inspiration on its sleeve. There’s no reason not to; the reboot of Doom was an instant classic, and a masterclass on rebooting the right way. Thankfully, Rage 2 brings many of that games best assets and lets them shine. However, it’s also quite clear that Rage 2 takes inspiration from other areas of the industry – and not always for the better. A number of sections of the environment, along with the open-world objectives and the structure of progression all feels incredibly similar to a Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed game. You reach a new location that features one of several objective types, you clear it out to complete the area, and then you move on to the next area.
The mission structure and objective variety did feel a little lacking throughout much of the game, though it’s not without its merits. Utilizing vehicular combat and a grotesque live-action game show where you destroy mutant enemies for the peoples viewing pleasure creates for some interesting distractions from the otherwise traditional missions, but I can’t help but feel the game could have done more.
Despite its open-world nature, Rage 2 is a relatively compact experience. Depending on difficulty and play style, you’re likely to get 10-20 hours out of both the main story and the bulk of the interesting side content. However, when considering the overall design and direction of the game, any attempts to stretch this out would have had a hugely negative impact on the experience. Technically, the game was near flawless. I didn’t experience any crashes, any serious frame drops, and no technical issues whatsoever.
Rage 2 is a chaotic, fun, and rewarding adventure that combines a light but interesting narrative with explosive combat and a well-structured open world. It won’t blow you off your feet, but you’ll have plenty of fun blowing everyone else off theirs.