Skip to main content

RAGE Hands-on [PAX Prime 2011]

RAGE is a game that originally piqued my interested because of how much it looks like an upgraded Borderlands 2. With the recent announcement of the actual Borderlands 2 though, it was starting to seem a little like maybe RAGE wasn’t as exciting as I was originally thinking. The benefit though, being that its id’s newest, is that things are getting interesting for it as a unique First-Person-Shooter. 

The demo that I played through started out inside of some kind of a spaceship/capsule and opened with the character learning how to look up and down; ala Halo. Immediately there-after I stepped out into the sunlight to find that I’d be stranded in the middle of a desert wasteland. The sharp contrast between a super futuristic space ship, a plug suit in the vein of Mass Effect and the ass-backwards wasteland of some post-apocalyptic world nearly gave me whiplash. I’m sure that it’s going to be explained in the story, but it seemed a little weird to say the least for someone just jumping into the game for the first time.

So other than being not Borderlands 2.0, having a wacky futuristic/post-apocalyptic vibe, and a glave… the question becomes what does id bring to the genre that keeps thing interesting?

For me the answer was simple: it feels great. 

Even at the top of the game, when it was introducing us into the concept of being able to look up and down, I found myself really enjoying the way the movement felt. It’s hard to really put a finger on what it is, considering that pretty much all FPSs are that floating camera that rotates about with the aid of a couple of joysticks, but everything just felt really smooth. Running through the desert, and eventually getting a gun, it was really cool how it felt just getting around from point A to point B. 

The section of the game we were treated to was pretty much the first mission of the game. After being saved from a group of desert-dwelling savage-types, you’re brought back to your first view of the civilization (a small town carved out in the middle of the desert) where your savior promptly requests the tit for his tat… clearing out the group of bandits near the edge of town that had just so recently attempted to murder you. In order to assist with the task, he hooks you up with a pistol, some ammo and bandages, along with access to an ATV to help bridge the gap between town and villain-layer. 

The driving felt pretty good, not unlike the mongoose from Halo, though the acceleration was mapped to a button rather than a stick. 

Where the game really shone though was the way that the AI operated. Not only do the enemies move in unique ways (bounding off walls, flipping off of the roof, and just generally coming at you from the most awkward angles possible) but they react intelligently to damage. The psychotic desert-dwellers would take damage and react appropriately; for example if they were rushing straight at you in the hopes of pummeling you with a lead pipe and ate a round of hot-lead they’d react on the fly and vary their strategy. Even more interesting than that was the fact that when they took localized-damage they reacted appropriately; shoot a guy in the leg and he’ll start limping.

The game is looking great so far. Of course it would with idTech5 and their new ‘mega textures’ but it’s nice to see that it also plays well. The only weak point that I’ve found so far, in my rather short time with the game is the fact that the story seems a little wonky, and the setting almost feels cribbed straight out of Borderlands. 

Questions about what we saw? ASK in the comments! We're always happy to ask about any questions the article may leave you with!