Review: Rage 2
Rage 2 should be brilliant! It’s made by Avalanche Studios who developed the excellent Mad Max. It’s co-developed by id Software who were responsible for the fantastic reboot of Doom. It’s also published by Bethesda who have pedigree, releasing the superb Wolfenstein games. It has brash colourful graphics, an open world to explore, car combat, and decent gunplay. So why have I turned it off after about 3 hours of play time, and contemplating deleting it from my hard drive?
There are a number of reasons flying around my mouldy old brain, so to help me work them out, I thought I’d write them down and share my impressions of Rage 2.
I mentioned Mad Max earlier and Rage 2 follows a very similar structure. You explore a post-apocalyptic wasteland on foot or in a variety of vehicles. The main story has you visiting three leaders who control different areas of the map. Each person requires you to do certain jobs, and then there are the obligatory side quests from people you meet along the way. Jobs is the apt word, as the brief time I had with Rage 2 felt like a chore, and I’m afraid to say the missions weren’t much fun.
As you travel around the world there are question marks on the map with new places to discover. These usually consist of clearing out a group of enemies, destroying turrets or blowing up gas tanks. Each area has the same missions with varying difficulty, which is another problem I have with the game. A number of open world games suffer with repetition, but Rage 2 seems particularly lacklustre and isn’t particularly gripping.
The more missions you complete in an area, the more you unlock, which in turn means you’ll be treated more favourably by each leader. As you would imagine, you can upgrade a whole host of things, including your weapons, abilities and vehicles. There are also Arks you can discover which give you special moves and weapons. This can include double jumping, charge attack or ground slam. For some reason you have to complete a tutorial for each ability or new weapon you find. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except the story pauses and you are taken away from the main game into a simulation, where you have to prove you can carry out each task before you can move on. This is annoying and slows things down, which makes the game feel a bit clunky.
On a positive note, the vehicles and shooting all feel well done, and are probably the highlight of the game. The cars and bikes seem to be lifted directly from Mad Max which is no bad thing. In fact, the only real difference between Mad Max and Rage 2 is one is third person and the other is a first-person shooter (FPS).
This is where my conundrum comes from, and the biggest reason I’m baffled why Rage 2 isn’t clicking with me whereas Mad Max did. I like FPS games, and I liked Mad Max, so Rage 2 should be a sure-fire hit, shouldn’t it?
The phrase “it’s not you, it’s me” comes to mind. I was really excited to play Rage 2, and technically there isnt anything wrong with it, so maybe it’s just me? Maybe another reason I’ve decided to drop Rage 2 is because I played it with Microsoft’s Game Pass. This is a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee and are able to unlock a number of games. Maybe if I’d have paid for Rage 2, I might have decided to carry on with it? Or maybe it’s just a bit dull, and life is too short to play a mediocre game?
I usually complete video games even if I’m not totally loving them. However, my biggest problem these days is not having enough time to play all the games I own. I always used to hold the belief that I couldn’t fully review a game unless I completed it. However, I’ve finally come to the realisation that it’s better to spend time enjoying a great game, rather than persevering with an ok game just so I can say I’ve completed it.
As it stands Rage 2 is confined to the 5 or 6 out of 10 for me. Of course, like all reviews this is subjective, so if you love Rage 2 then I’m really happy for you. If you do love it, then please let me know if/why I should carry on with it.
Rage 2 is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Stadia.
Review by Chris.