Published on May 22nd, 2019 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: RAGE 2
Rage 2, the sequel you never thought would come and let’s be honest, the sequel no one was ever asking for. Does this title justify its own existence or is it just another throw away mediocre title. Let’s dive in.
Concept: Rage 2 has had the reigns taken over by Avalanche studios (the team behind Mad Max and the Just Cause series) to create this sequel in what has to be the best choice for a team creating an open world set in a post-apocalyptic landscape. In the original ‘Rage’ the planet was hit by an asteroid in which the majority of humankind died, leaving a ravaged wasteland in its wake and thus creating mutants and split factions between themselves and the human race. Set 30 years after the original ‘Rage’ the story sees players take on the role of Walker, a human who is tasked with being the last ‘ranger’ (essentially a super-soldier) to help liberate the planet from the mutant faction known as ‘The Authority’ who have risen back up to prominence and declared themselves as the new military power.
Now whilst the story sounds pretty competent, the dialogue between characters isn’t very engaging and I found the voice acting to be average at best which left me feeling very disengaged and wanting to completely zone out. Whilst the dialogue was drab, I still enjoyed the presentation of the open world with the excellent gameplay mechanics continually drawing me in.
Graphics: Probably the biggest point of contention amongst the gaming community for Rage 2, it’s a real mixed bag of opinions. Now I’ll state that this review was done on the ‘Xbox One X’ in which the game runs in only 1080P which may disappoint some, however the sacrifice in resolution makes way for a near perfect lock of 60FPS. Now that might not sound impressive on paper, but when dealing with a large open world that has essentially no loading, it’s pretty damn impressive. A point of criticism on the resolution/framerate compromise is that I would have liked an option for a higher resolution with a locked 30fps, but that might just be me as I can’t stand all the jaggy edges displayed on my 4K TV. Another small gripe is the use of chromatic aberration which if you don’t know what that is please look it up, as it’s a bit hard to explain from a layman like myself, but essentially it puts this filter on the edges of everything with a blue/pink hue. It’s used to create the ‘retro’ almost VHS look and is clearly a style choice that to me didn’t work but fortunately can be turned off in the settings, just like you can with motion blur as well.
Rage 2 is definitely a hyper stylized game and whilst it works in its presentation on menus and some environmental designs, its over saturation of colour can leave some areas looking quite horrible and hard to make out. The fact there is no HDR options as well boggles the mind. Another main criticism comes in the way of lighting. Some areas look fantastically lit but then at a moment’s notice change to something that downright looks like something out of last generation, there’s just no consistency. This divide also applies to character models where main characters look amazing and most NPCs look poorly designed and animated and don’t even get me started on their lip-syncing.
Gameplay: Rage 2 takes heavy influence from ID software’s DOOM and I could be wrong but mechanically it feels like it is in the same engine. Gunplay feels tight and responsive, weapons have a real weight to them and there’s some verticality to environments which is very reminiscent of DOOM, just set in an open world though. Most modern first person shooters have auto health regen however Bethesda’s published shooters stick to the old formula of having to pick up health items whilst keeping an eye on how much damage you’re taking instead of relying on hiding until you’re back to full health. This definitely adds more tension and gets you working more strategically, but on the flip side you’re also able to carry all weapons at once (which I absolutely love) giving you a wide range of options of how to take out foes. There’s not a whole ton of weapons but what you have at your disposal are quite diverse and all pack a punch. Walker can also go into overdrive mode when you build up the meter allowing you to regenerate your health and turn your weapons into revved up versions of themselves dealing massage damage when triggered. This only lasts briefly but can turn the tide of fights when things get really intense.
Traversing around the open world is fun thanks to the many different vehicles you can acquire throughout the wasteland which all vary in weight and size and have different weapons and boosters attached, giving you choice as to what you prefer in terms of not only firepower, but speed as well. The vehicular gameplay feels very similar to Avalanches ‘Mad Max’ title, and that’s definitely a good thing as that game absolutely rocked. Weapons, vehicles and Walker himself can all be upgraded, and whilst it’s quite cumbersome to navigate through the menus, there’s a lot there to keep you searching for hidden crates and scattered nanotrites (needed for upgrading) throughout the world. Missions are very similar to what most open world games have made standard – find an enemy outpost, take it out and reclaim it, however there’s also races, battle arena’s and a lot of collecting to be done besides the more streamlined story missions.
Sound: Just like the feel of the weapons, the sound is equally as satisfying and really makes you feel like a badass, especially when firing your shotgun. The music during intense gunfights also ramps up and blasts some cool metal riffs that get you pumped to kill all the mutant hordes and goons in your way, whilst the over-world is a lot more atmospheric and creates a nice contrast. The only main issue in the sound department is when you’re facing characters you can hear them speaking, but as soon as you face the opposite direction the sound is mute.. Last time I checked I could still hear someone talking to me if I turned my head. This also applies to music you can hear in the background, it just doesn’t make sense.
Awesomeness: Whilst Rage 2 doesn’t break any new ground and might not be the most polished game, what it does do, it does well. The fact that the only load screen you will see is the initial loading screen and a brief one if you die is amazing and helps keep you immersed in the action. Everything flows lag free and with minimum pop up to a crisp 60FPS and shows that the team focused more on what would make the game feel more fun to play as opposed to making it just look pretty. It’s this dedication to old school notions of gameplay is king that I really appreciate and hope the team continue to do. Oh and before I forget to mention…there’s also cheats to unlock to really crank things up in the fun department and something that is missing in a lot of modern games.
Final word: When rage 2 was initially announced, everyone seemed to have the same reaction ‘Why?’ but with the amazing work done by Avalanche, Rage 2 has taken a mediocre game and made its sequel something worth playing and investing your time into. As I said previously, it may not be groundbreaking or be the flashiest title out there, but if you want a fun experience that makes you feel like an absolute badass then give Rage 2 a go and you won’t be disappointed.
Out of 5 Bugs!