Rage 2

WE GO HANDS-ON WITH 2019’S WILDEST FPS

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Every­thing about Rage 2 is de­li­ciously over-the-top; the gore, the guns, the goons, the com­bat, the sound Ef­fects. Unapolo­get­i­cally bom­bas­tic, its tight, fran­tic gun­play bleeds id Soft­ware, mak­ing it feel fab­u­lously fa­mil­iar for any­one who’s spent time with its re­cently re­booted Doom ti­tle. It would be easy to un­der­es­ti­mate it – wave it off as just an­other post-apoc­a­lyp­tic shooter – but don’t be too hasty; the more time you spend with Rage 2, the more so­phis­ti­cated it feels.

Yes, the com­bat is out­ra­geous and flam­boy­ant, but it’s clever, too, en­cour­ag­ing you to keep creep­ing for­ward, chain­ing your at­tacks, ex­per­i­ment­ing with your pow­ers – that’s right, you get su­per­hu­man pow­ers in Rage 2 – and load­outs. In an open­ing tu­to­rial, a mock­ing voice re­minds us that “mobility is key to sur­vival”. It’s not wrong.

While the story picks up where Rage left off, knowl­edge of the prior game is not a pre­req­ui­site. You play as Walker, the “last ranger of the vinelands”, a rare breed of pro­tag­o­nist that talks aloud to help play­ers re­mem­ber – or learn – the story’s his­tory.

Each com­bat se­quence plays a lit­tle dif­fer­ently as you come to grips with your weapons and pow­ers. At first there’s a temp­ta­tion to hang back, snipe strate­gi­cally, but Rage 2 isn’t that kind of shooter. Which is just as well, re­ally – it’s so much more fun to go in all-guns-blazin’. We dodge and swerve with slick flu­id­ity, able to flit across each sec­tion with smooth, silent speed. Over­drive – a spe­cial abil­ity ac­ti­vated once you’ve filled a me­ter – tints every­thing a hot pink as you un­leash car­nage, ram­pag­ing through the waves of en­e­mies. Tac­ti­cal use of grenades, wing­sticks – yes, we’re de­lighted to re­port that they’re back – and your pow­ers – Dash, Shat­ter, Slam, with more promised – can be dev­as­tat­ing, and the more creative your com­bat, the quicker it is to top up that Over­drive me­ter.

For a game rooted firmly in a post-apoc­a­lyp­tic set­ting, Rage 2 is sur­pris­ingly colour­ful, and no, we’re not just talk­ing about that hot pink again. The world has moved on since we last took on The Author­ity, and gone are those brown, sandy, bor­ing back­drops. Na­ture has wo­ven its way through this world, the en­vi­ron­ments re­claimed by lush na­ture.

Un­for­tu­nately, we’ve yet to see how Avalanche’s open-world mas­tery im­pacts on Rage 2’s sand­box ex­plo­ration. There are some gor­geously dis­tressed (and dis­tress­ing, de­pend­ing on how many en­e­mies are wait­ing for you) ur­ban in­te­ri­ors for which id gives all credit to its part­ner, and though we’ve seen ve­hi­cles in demos, we’ve yet to ex­per­i­ment with them for our­selves.

Bethesda reck­ons putting two triple-a stu­dios to­gether will give some of us the sex­tu­ple-a post-post-apoc­a­lyp­tic shooter of our dreams.

Guess we’ll find out for sure in early 2019.

“WE HAD A TON OF CRAZY IDEAS WHEN WE STARTED PLAN­NING RAGE 2 AND WE NEEDED THE RIGHT STU­DIO TO BRING OUR VI­SION TO LIFE. WE’VE AD­MIRED THE OPEN-WORLD CHAOS IN ALL OF AVALANCHE STU­DIO’S GAMES AND THEY HAVE DE­LIV­ERED BIG TIME”

TIM WILLITS, STU­DIO DI­REC­TOR, ID SOFT­WARE

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