the Andrew Bailey

Rage 2

Once upon a time, I played Rage. It was a competent FPS, but forgettable. So forgettable that I forgot that it had a sequel. Looking through my Epic Game Store collection, it escaped me that I acquired it at some point. It must have been a freebie once. Judging by the fact I hurried my way through it in 5 days and had fun, Rage 2 is not forgettable, and is, in fact, quite enjoyable.

Taking down a vehicle convoy in the canyons.

Do you remember the 90s? Did you remember the pop culture hysteria that a meteor could appear, wipe humanity out, and we couldn't do anything about it? That's what happened in the first game. You were preserved in one of many "arks" with some other important people that could quickly reboot civilization afterwards. You woke up about 100 years after the apocalypse. There was some pretty dangerous stuff going on, so your character opened all the arks at the end of the last game.

This game happens 30 years after that. Unlike the first game (and some others), you do not play a survivor, because you were born after the apocalypse. The Authority (almost the only other thing I remember from the first game) appears and attacks your home, killing nearly everyone. You're told to head off to one of the nearby towns to hook up with the Resistance and destroy the Authority. Whoa there, you think you can just show up and demand things like that? Well, yeah, this was planned for a long time between your now-dead commander and some other important people.

The gameplay is solid. I didn't have much issue with the combat. I discovered that I should stay away from particular gangs until I wipe the floor with weaker ones. Most of the time I wasn't doing the main quest: I was driving out to random places all over to destroy bandit camps and loot them. There's job boards in the towns that you can take, but I passed on those. Vehicle combat is fun, but you need to upgrade your car take on enemy convoys with any hope of success. There were about 3 times when I was going about my business when invincible tanks showed up and wrecked everything, including my car. I never figured out what their problem was, or what they were doing there.

The wasteland is a more colorful place, and some parts of it can't be called a wasteland anymore. There's canyons, sand dunes, swamp, and even a jungle. Whoever runs the magenta paint factory must be making a lot of money, because it's on everything. No one can open a door by pushing or pulling it, because it's the future, and everyone presses a button instead, usually painted magenta. Everyone stores their cash and crystals in containers with magenta lids.

Speaking of colors, the lighting in this game is annoying. One moment, everything looks fine, the next moment, you move into a shadow, and can't see anything. For example, when you walk from the sunshine outside into a windowless building, everything fades to black, and you can't see anything until you walk down the hall a bit. (Standing still for a bit doesn't help; you need to move.) You can be driving down the road, then you notice that all the color is gone, then everything is very red, and you aren't getting shot at.

This game kind of feels like Borderlands, because it's an FPS with vehicle combat and RPG elements, but without the loot. For the most part, I played it like a shooter, and ignored half the cool moves that the game gives you. Some of them felt superfluid, and at least one was outright redundant in my opinion. There's this ability called Overdrive, that makes things more powerful, but I often forgot in which ways or how it would be useful. Half the time I activated it, I wanted to crouch instead, but accidentally pressed the wrong key, because they are next to each other. One gun can hit multiple enemies (if one is exactly in front of the other), but enemies were rarely that dense to justify using it, and I stuck to the shotgun instead. One dubious ability lets you create a black hole-like thing that sucks things towards it, then throws things away from it. One gun shoots magnet-like bullets that cause enemies to slam into each other.

Your abilities have levels that can be upgraded, then there's a separate tree that unlocks modifications related to it (increased damage, range, useful against different enemy types, etc.). That's not easily discoverable from the menus, and should have been cut as a mechanic. Weapons are somewhat similar, in that they, too, have upgrade levels, and you select one (of possibly two) ways to modify it. You can capture and drive a diverse selection of vehicles, and all but two are curiosities that you see other characters using. Of those remaining two, one is a tank used at the end of the main quest, and the other is what a sane person would always use. And wouldn't you know it, that vehicle has modifications, too! Let's not forget that modifications for that, weapons, and abilities each use different resources! (Thankfully leveling up weapons and abilities use the same resource.) Your health, Overdrive, and weapon damage also use separate resources not compatible with others. Sigh, can't I just pay cash for everything?

Unlike the first game, this was not made by id software, but by another sister studio, Avalanche. Likewise, this is made with their game engine, not idTech. This game felt very responsive and ran fast at 4K. That said, the menus were sometimes laggy, and parts of it couldn't decide whether I should click to do something, or press Enter or F to do what the main point of that menu does.

I recommend this to anyone who likes Borderlands. I would not mind reinstalling and playing through this in the future.

Posted under Gaming. 0 complaints.