Avalanche Studios and id Software bring us the second installment of Rage which doesn’t disappoint. After nine long years of waiting, Bethesda Softworks finally released Rage 2 and here’s our take on it.
Rage 2 Review: Mad Max Meets Doom
It’s been a long time coming for Rage fans who were obsessed with its first release back in November 2010. Rage 2 is finally here and with the collaboration of Avalanche Studios and iD Software, Bethesda has a clear winner. For those who have been waiting for a Doom lookalike will not need to wait any longer. Rage 2 takes you to an apocalyptic open world to do whatever you want.
This review was done on the PS4.
Intro – Campaign Mode
At the start of Rage 2, you appear inside a guardhouse (Vineland) where you can choose the gender of the main protagonist, Walker. Once chosen, you then are directed to the weaponry station; the only option given to you is to grab the Wingstick ( a pistol paired with a boomerang-type grenade). Once chosen, this is when the action begins. A Mutant blasts through the guardhouse door knocking over your partner. Before you’re able to release an array of bullets, Lily Prowley shoots the mutant from behind killing it. Lily is your childhood friend who you grew up with, and she starts your journey leading you outside.
As you make your way outside, you get to encounter your first enemy who jumps onto the platform your on. From there, you jump right into the action sliding down a zipline onto the battlefield. The first objective for you coming out of the guardhouse is to reach the courtyard. But before you do that, you’ll encounter a variety of mutants that you’ll need to take down. Throughout the start of your journey, you’ll encounter infoboxes that pop-up to explain parts of the game. This is where you first find Feltrite Cells.
What are Feltrite Cells?
- Feltrite Cells can be picked up from fallen enemies. They “are highly unstable though and will dissolve if not picked up quickly enough“.
- They are used to regenerate health.
What are Health Infusions?
If you take a lot of damage, you can use health infusions to regain vitality. Health infusions are picked up from the ground. Your objective is marked on the map by a countdown proximity meter which tells you how close you are getting to your point of interest.
As you head to your first objective, you encounter a giant robotic cyclops. At this point, you have your first encounter with a Ranger named “Jersey”, who dashes towards the robotic cyclops and uses his “Overdrive mode“.
This is the first time that players get to see some raw footage as Jersey ends up being decapitated by the monster, right before planting a bomb inside the monster’s mouth to blow him up. From here, you get to see how gory this game is going to be. Once the cutscene is finished, Jersey’s body is highlighted by a proximity meter where you need to pick up his outfit, which is called the “Ranger Armor”. Once you put the Ranger Armor on, you also pick up Jersey’s weapon, which is the point where the real game begins.
Throughout the start of the mission, you continue to learn how the game operates from using weapons like the Wingstick, and utilizing abilities like Focus and Overdrive. The game does a good job to stop you in your tracks and explain how to use certain items. So you’ll need to be patient and follow the guides at the start.
Once you move to the Wasteland, there are a few things you need to familiarize yourself with such as PROJECTS, ARKS, and MISSIONS. Additionally, you might want to read about Rage 2 Tips and Tricks guide which was released by Bethesda recently,
Rage 2 introduces “Projects”, which is a menu where you can purchase “Projects” using project points that you have earned during your travels. Projects give a large variety of benefits. When you first start, you have access to Lily’s basic projects. The first project that you can purchase unlocks the “Vehicles” in the projects menu. It will also reward you with your very own combat vehicle which is called the “Phoenix“. The Phoenix is like slightly bigger ATV but ready for military combat. It is equipped with cannons, cruise missiles, and Gatling gun.
The vehicles menu gives access to vehicle upgrades which allows you to call in your vehicle. Upgrades will be plentiful in Rage 2 as you will continuously be given the opportunity to make your weapon or vehicles more powerful, which isn’t a bad thing. Once you purchase and unlock the “Vehicles” in the projects menu, you won’t be able to purchase anything else for the time being. That’s because you need to gain more “Project Points” which you get by completing Locations and Activities in the Wasteland.
As you progress in the story mode, you continue meeting new characters which keep things interesting and engaging, however, the characters do become an annoyance at times.
Using your map in the game is incredibly important. You can use the map menu to locate and track things you can do in the open world. As you explore, more things you can do will be added to the map. Tracking a location on the map will track it with your GPS. The GPS shows you the fastest route there while driving. There are unlocked MISSIONS and ARKS you can track in the map menu.
Choosing an ARK or a MISSION will create a path to the destination on-screen which is a nice user-friendly touch to the game. As you navigate to your destination, you’ll encounter “Road Chokers” which are Trade Coalition road-blocks that have been taken over. You’ll need to clear the outpost and raise the blockers to move through. You’ll encounter enemies at the road blocks where you’ll need to exit your vehicle to engage in combat. There are petroleum barrels around that you can fire at to quickly take out enemies. It’s a nice touch to speed through this blockage.
Once you clear out the enemies, you’ll need to find the mechanism that opens up the road block which is typically a wheel found at the top of the base. You’ll need to turn the wheel to lower the platform on the road. By doing all of this you’ll eventually earn project points. There are not many complex scenarios like this in the game that require a lot of problem-solving. Essentially, the game was made to enjoy the combat scenarios rather than solving a riddle. As a pure FPS lover, I can appreciate that.
There are many ARKs in the game, each specified by a particular number. ARKs teach you certain abilities, or how to use new weapons. In this example, you learn an ability called the “SHATTER”, which you need to install (Id-Accession Shatter). The Shatter Accession is a forward lunge that unleashes a powerful Kinetic force capable of stripping armor and displacing enemies and objects.
Once you investigate an ARK and learn the ability, you can move through the wasteland more freely as your new gained powers will help facilitate any battles you engage along the way.
The Missions in Rage 2 are not overly complicated. For example, in Mission 2 you’ll need to find John Marshall in Gunbarrel (location). You’ll typically encounter people who will help guide you along the way. So for example, in the mission to find John Marshall you first meet up with Sidney Quickdraw who gives you instructions on where to find him once you reach Gunbarrel. So it’s not difficult to follow the path and direction of the game. Within certain locations, you’ll find”Trade Towns”. Trade Towns are like a market place where many traders (merchants) sell and buy from you. Inside Trade Towns you’ll also gain knowledge and valuable information about other locations. Trade Towns also allows you to Fast Travel to them using the map.
Rage 2 Review Conclusion
Rage 2 is an overall fun game to play. If you’ve ever watched Mad Max (or the remake), and managed to play Doom, and happen to like both; you’re in for a treat. The gameplay was incredibly smooth, and the shooting/strafing was visually appealing. The cinematics kept you on your feet, and at points, would admire the work that Avalanche Studios and id Software put into Rage 2.
As soon as you start engaging in combat, the gun mechanics feel good. Headshots are extremely effective, which is a pleasant feeling knowing the extra effort you take to shoot a mutant in the head will be rewarded properly (unlike GoW for example). New features like Focus, and Overdrive add spice to the game. Focus allows you to highlight enemies and objects of tactical importance, so you’re not left roaming around wasting time checking areas that don’t hold anything. This can be annoying and frustrating at times. As well, Overdrive is an awesome special that charges the more enemies you kill. Overdrive increases the damage you deal, and additionally allows you to gain health.
The driving aspect in the game reminds me of how driving was in Halo, It has smooth controls and handling, and you’ll be able to pick it up on the go without getting annoyed of the complex movements (Battlefield V for example).
The only thing that is missing in Rage 2 is multiplayer. There I said it. Why would the developers not produce a multiplayer mode for the game, especially in a time when battle royales are taking off, and everyone enjoys a bit of competition? Well, the devs have stated that the game is too big to have a multiplayer game. However, they’ve still added microtransactions at the main menu which seems a little off. Typically, if I’m going to be buying skins, it’s because I want to stand out in multiplayer matches. Buying skins to stand out in front of AI’s seems rather absurd.
Overall, given that the missions might seem redundant; having the use of abilities mixed with weapon upgrades makes the game fun to play. It’s these different uses that are fresh in the game and players won’t become too bored, too quickly.
7.5 out of 10
All aboard! RAGE 2 is out now! pic.twitter.com/3FBP40sNwu
— RAGE 2 (@RAGEgame) May 14, 2019