Rage Review (PC)
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on PC
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Released: Oct. 4, 2011
MSRP: $59.99 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
What do we expect from id, whose games we’ve been playing on PC our whole lives? Well, we expect them to make a game that works. That’s our baseline expectation. It’s an expectation that id hasn’t quite been able to meet with Rage.
The version of Rage id released this week is fraught with goofs, the most notable being the absolutely insane texture pop-in that occurs every time you move the mouse. I’ve never quite seen anything like this before, and it makes me feel like the megatexture experiment was a failure. AMD has released a driver update Tuesday that improved the situation, but it really didn’t fix it completely; the texture pop-in is still an extremely distracting occurrence.
But the bugs aren’t limited to that pop-in. The screen tears like a motherf–ker, for one. While everything else looked more or less fine before I entered Wellspring for the first time, after that occasion all sorts of other things went straight to hell. Characters flickered in and out of existence. Textures disappeared completely, leaving black squares all over the place. A shotgun shell hovered above my shotgun for the entirety of my time on Mutant Bash TV.
Many times with PC games, players can fix problems by messing with the game’s graphical settings, but that’s not an option here, because the only in-game graphical settings there are to mess with are resolution, gamma and anti-aliasing. The game instead uses an auto-balancer to determine your graphics settings, and that just creates more problems. The main issue the auto-balancer creates is with texture quality; despite running a machine with an i5 2500K, a Radeon 6950 and 8gb of RAM — which should be more than enough to run this game on max settings, I found myself encounturing textures that looked like this:
You can forcibly alter the game’s settings to eliminate screen tearing and enable higher res textures using your video card’s software and by creating a rageconfig.cfg file, but you shouldn’t have to do that, and many folks out there don’t know how to do that. The game should work correctly without user tinkering under the hood.