Posted on October 3, 2011, Phil Hornshaw RAGE Review (PS3)
NOTE: RAGE Steam codes (PC version) did not unlock until Monday, so our PC review is currently in progress. We’re on it–stay tuned!
“You know what you’re here to do,” RAGE seems to say, shoving a pistol into my hand a mere five minutes after I’ve finished installing it onto my Playstation 3. “So let’s f–king do it.”
So I hop on my ATV — it’s got a longhorn skull on the front, complete with the horns — and I drive out into the desert Wasteland that looks conspicuously like certain chunks of Nevada without roads running through them, and I head to where the game tells me I will need to be killing some guys. Actor John Goodman said that those guys are jerks and need to be put down, so he asked me to drive to their territory, walk into their house, and shoot them all mostly unprovoked. So here I go.
Platforms: PC, Playstation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Released: Oct. 4, 2011
MSRP: $59.99 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Apparently, killing guys is what I do, and what RAGE is all about. That’s almost all anybody seems to want from me in the brave new world that is RAGE, some 100 years after the Nevada-tization of Earth because of the impact of an asteroid called Apophis. Also there’s driving, racing and playing a collectible card game for some reason, which is like a highly simplified version of Magic: The Gathering. But primarily, what we’re here to do is what id Software does best in its video games: facilitate the murders of many bad guys.
I’m what’s called an Ark survivor, meaning I came out of a weird technological tomb that was buried before the asteroid strike, and that gives me special powers in the post-apocalypse. One is the ability to regenerate health. Another is that I have a defibrilator in my chest. I’m hard to kill, and everybody knows it. That’s why within five minutes of rescuing me from certain death after I’ve been cryogenically frozen for 100 years and have no idea where I am or what’s going on, John Goodman is handing me a pistol and telling me to go massacre a bunch of “bandits.”
Why I have to kill these guys doesn’t really matter, and it’s kind of strange that RAGE carries much of a story at all, since it’s utterly clear from the outset that the game’s developers cared little for the reasons they use to prop up my slaughter of hundreds of people and mutants. The game is constructed around the very shaky premise that as a member of the
Vault Ark program, I’m especially useful as well as hunted by an authoritarian government that purports to be in charge of everyone in the Wasteland (aptly called The Authority). So I’m taken to a town, where various people have various problems and many of them ask that I solve them. Then it’s off to some bandit hideout to wipe them out, maybe steal back something they stole, maybe identify the body of some poor wastelander they kidnapped. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It’s very Borderlands and Fallout 3, and even though RAGE has been in development for longer than both those two games have been available, you’ll recognize the underpinnings. Basically, if Mad Max was ever adapted into a video game, RAGE is very likely exactly what it would look like.