WE GO HANDS-ON WITH 2019’S WILDEST FPS
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