GamesCom 2009: Rage Preview - Our Game of the Show
Written Sunday, August 30, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Rage takes place in the not too distant future, in a world that has been devastated by an asteroid. That doesn’t mean the end of the world though, of course not... they’d be a pretty awful game. Before the impact the governments around the world had the common sense to bury pods of people under the planet’s surface, so these people could come out when it’s safe and rebuild society. Things however don’t go according to plan – do they ever in video games? – and your pod pops up a little early and you find yourself in a lawless world of bandits and a never ending wasteland. It feels like a good time to mention that this world you are cast into is absolutely visually stunning. I’ve become a fan of the cel-shaded/illustrative look in recent years and id have created something truly beautiful here by embracing that art style. Let me throw an early spanner in the works though and mention that the demo at GamesCom was performed on a high end PC, so whether the console version will be as sublime remains to be seen.
So we pick up proceedings about 90 minutes from the beginning of the game, out in the middle of the wasteland. On the one side of you; a buggy, and on the other, a deserted shack guarded by a solitary wasteland bandit. Our player whips out a “wing stick” (essentially a three pronged boomerang weapon) and one swing of the arm later, the bandit collapses to his knees without so much as a whimper. There’s nothing like a silent kill... or is that silent hill?
There are a ton of weapon varieties in Rage and in our short presentation, we got to see the pistol, shotgun, machine gun, crossbow, remote controlled bomb car, the wing stick, sentry bots, spider turrets (complete with melee) and we have a feeling that we’re only just scratching the surface in terms of weapons. The gadgets can be mapped to a quick select menu as well so you won’t be faffing around in menus all the time.
Rage also has an engineering aspect in it – a lot like Fallout 3’s – and you can use items you’ve picked up around the wasteland to make funky gadgets once you have the blueprints; in this instance, id created a batch of remote controlled bomb cars to use. Rage also has an economy system as well so players are rewarded for performing side missions and looting the bodies of the recently deceased in a bid to raise capital to buy and upgrade your weapons/armour/vehicles. Gamers can also rejoice though as id are placing no restrictions on your inventory so you can carry as much, or as little as you want. Again, it’s a shooter, not an RPG... which by the way means no morality choices either. Random and off topic I know, but it’s worth pointing out.
id is looking to add plenty of variety into the proceedings with Rage and you’ll not only have chance to take part in races across the wastelands in your spare time, but you can also get involved in an battle arena called BashTV with the tagline, “mutant bash.” It’s exactly how it sounds... you step into some putrid warehouse full of mutants and you’ll have to demolish them with whatever weapons you have at your disposal in order to win some cash. It looked like some pretty intensive but fun combat and by our reckoning Creative Director, Tim Willits, saw off 19 mutants in around 80 seconds – not bad going.
Comparisons with Fallout and Borderlands are inevitable simply because of the setting and art style similarities. It’s worth pointing out though, that whilst Fallout 3 was an RPG and Borderlands is an RPG-shooter; Rage is just a straight up shooter that just so happens to share a few similarities with a handful of other games. Rage has a ton of innovation, cool weapons and gadgets, a fantastic look to it, and plenty of variety with vehicle combat, races and BashTV. Bethesda must be kicking themselves ever so slightly that they purchased the Texas based developer after the EA publishing agreement was signed, sealed and delivered, although it stands to profit if it sells well anyway. Either way, Rage is now currently on our radars and we look forward to seeing how this one shapes up.
Rage is out on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC some time in 2010.