RAGE 2 is the long-awaited sequel to 2011’s RAGE, which incorporated elements of id Software shooting in a Mad Max-style apocalypse environment, complete with hyperviolent vehicular combat and tight shooting mechanics.
RAGE 2 launched earlier this week and received a bit of a mixed reception. Some major outlets have flat out called the game bad, while groups of passionate apocalypse fans have spoken positively about their experiences with id Software’s latest efforts.
id Software wasn’t alone on this one, either. Teaming up with Avalanche, known for franchises like Just Cause and the recent (wholly underrated) Mad Max game, it seems like the team hoped to combine id’s intimate knowledge of shooters with Avalanche’s portfolio of explosive open-world action games. The final execution is far from perfect, but the ultra-violence is on point.
And isn’t that sometimes enough?
Mad Max meets DOOM
Bottom line: RAGE 2 lacks refinement in a number of areas, but so do many ’80s B-movies we all know and love. This is hyperviolence at its most delicious.
- id Software’s legendary shooting mechanics
- Large open world with a range of variety
- Tons of weapons and abilities for maximum violence
- Great art style
- Visuals are disappointing
- Story is forgettable
- UI annoyances
- Vehicle combat isn’t great
What you’ll love about RAGE 2
An expansive open world awaits players, following a meteor strike that effectively killed the world. Terraforming ecopods have crashed back to earth, creating wild and mutated jungles and even wilder creatures that beg to be hunted down with your vast array of weaponry. Rocket launchers, laser weapons, even DOOM’s BFG 9000 makes an appearance, and the Ranger (that’s you) also sports an array of space crystal-enhanced (don’t ask) cybernetic powers to aid him or her in combat.
RAGE 2 is as gory and fast-paced as they come.
You can select whether you want to play as a male or female to experience the story, which plays out in various quest hubs and linear, more dungeon-like areas intersecting with the open overworld.
RAGE 2 is as gory and fast-paced as they come. And it’s delicious. The merciless combat shotgun not only turns enemies into dismembered chunks, but its alt-fire mode acts as a force push, knocking enemies’ armor off, or even knocking them off cliffs and ledges. The game runs at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second (FPS_ on Xbox One X, with uncapped frame rates on PC. Xbox One S users have to settle for 30 frames, however.
The open world is vast and varied with a wide variety of outpost-style objectives to explore and complete. You can dive into hulking giant pits deep in the jungle, take out raider camps suspended on cliffsides and mountain tops, or even participate in death races on the sand-blasted wastes.
Various hubs allow you to talk to NPCs, trade in consumeables, and undertake side quests.
As fun as RAGE 2’s shooting is, the game is far from perfect.
What you’ll dislike about RAGE 2
At times, I found myself either laughing out loud or twisted in disgust.
Getting around in RAGE 2 is quite fun, with decent vehicle handling complimented by on-road events like racing, and vehicle convoys to destroy, Mad Max-style. Oddly, though, the vehicle combat is nowhere near as refined as 2016’s Mad Max, which is strange, since it was made by the same developer. The roads in RAGE 2 are winding and don’t lend themselves to long stints of wheel-to-wheel combat scenarios, resigned to having to drive slowly behind vehicles to hit them with your weapons, rather than shunting them off the road. Vehicle combat certainly isn’t the main focus of the game, but don’t expect to be blown away by it.
There is also a collection of minor issues that hinder the experience. The game has atrocious lighting and no torch in-game, so you’ll oftentimes be in areas that are too saturated in darkness to actually see anything. At 1080p, the game has a blurry appearance on Xbox One X when compared to other similar open-world games that manage to hit a far higher resolution (to be fair, it would likely sacrifice that smooth frame rate in the process, however). PC, as always, is the best place to play if you want the best visuals and frame rates.
So should you buy RAGE 2?
Where RAGE 2 truly shines is its relentless, unapologetic, apocalyptic violence, which has long been id Software’s forte.
If your video game library is hungering for fresh blood, guts, and gasoline, you should definitely buy RAGE 2.
Mad Max meets DOOM
The neon apocalypse
RAGE 2 has its flaws, but if you loved the high-octane action of DOOM and the open-world mayhem of Avalanche’s Mad Max, this is a match made in heaven (or hell).
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