RAGE Review (PS3)
Vehicular Multiplayer Manslaughter
Driving mechanics get their due in RAGE’s vehicle-oriented multiplayer mode, which comes with four game types. The first three involve racing of some kind — in one, you pick up meteorite fragments and return them to a goal to score points; in the other two, you race to rally points and score points for passing them first. All of the games allow you to blast your opponents in vehicle combat, and you can earn better cars and parts for them over time. All the games are also limited to four players, which actually results in just-frantic-enough free-for-all tension.
For vehicle-combat multiplayer, it’s very fun. It’s also not Quake. I don’t see it becoming a dominant multiplayer force, because like many other aspects of RAGE, it feels a little shallow, with too few weapons, modes or areas through which a player can really branch out and become skillful.
The other multiplayer mode lets players grab a friend and take on special side-missions based loosely on the single-player campaign. These arcade-style levels allow players to compete for points while hammering through enemies and gathering new weapons, but they all play out just like the levels in single-player RAGE: move from room to room clearing it of enemies. That you can do so with a teammate makes the experience more interesting, but overall not too different from what the game already offers offline.
On the Playstation 3, RAGE is beautiful, but I somehow doubt the console version can stand against a PC version even on the PS3′s best day. The console handles the framerate throughout the game, even with things blowing up all over the place, which is great; but expect to see textures popping up constantly, all over everything. Load times are painfully long — never leave a town until you’re absolutely sure, lest you have to re-enter after forgetting something. That the game manages to be so beautiful and run so well in spite of the current hardware is probably a testament to the PS3, actually, but you can still feel the limits of this generation creeping in around the technological edges.
I enjoyed RAGE quite a bit at a few points when I was playing the campaign, but I see few reasons to head back in (or even to fully complete it), even with the promise of higher difficulties. id has made a title that does one thing well, but it doesn’t feel as though it really put much effort into the other aspects of the game beyond the flashy visuals of the new idTech 5 engine. The story is razor thin. The AI, though interesting to watch, quickly becomes predictable. The minigames, racing and driving are fairly minor diversions. The world isn’t really meant for you to explore. And in the end, it’s not a place you’ll need to live in: a visit is more than enough.
- id’s signature well-made FPS comment in spades
- Lots of weapons and items give you lots of options for each combat situation
- Enemy AI is fun to square off with and moves realistically
- Some really, really great combat moments. Fully makes you feel like a bad-ass.
- Co-op multiplayer is a nice change of pace
- Vehicle-based competitive multiplayer modes are pretty fun and tightly made
- idTech 5 engine looks great
- Aspects other than shooting things can often feel thin
- Though it acts like it’s not linear, it actually is pretty linear
- RPG-style elements aren’t really all that deep
- While fun, each level plays out in pretty much the same way
Final Score: 75/100