RAGE 2 Hands-on at IEM Sydney 2019

In addition to watching Australia’s largest esports event, attendees at IEM Sydney 2019 can also go hands-on with RAGE 2.

According to Bethesda, the expo serves as RAGE 2‘s first public appearance in Australia.

With the weekend already in full swing, I went hands-on with RAGE 2 over at the Lenovo booth on the show floor.

RAGE 2 Hands-on

First impressions are everything. And RAGE 2 makes one hell of a first impression.

Chaotic and frenzied, yet elegant and beautiful; the tiny slither of what I played of RAGE 2 shows immense potential.

The demo on-hand dropped me in a Mad Max-inspired shanty town nestled deep in a lush, colourful jungle environment. The parallels between RAGE 2 and the post-apocalyptic Australian classic isn’t new. The first game drew similar comparisons with its largely desert-setting and crazed goons decked in old car parts.

But RAGE 2 looks to distance itself from such comparisons and establish its own sense of style.

A Burst of Blood and Colour

RAGE 2‘s manic and flashy promotional material we’ve seen on posters and trailers translate perfectly to the game itself.

The jungle environment I was dropped in to during the demo is brimming with vivid colour; a stark contrast from the blandness of the original game. Prior to going hands-on myself, I watched somebody else race through the same jungle in what can only be described as an armoured tank; think the Batmobile from Batman: Arkham Knight

I was taken aback at how visually different RAGE 2 is, and just how beautiful the game looks. After revelling in the carnage the game offers, that’s a weird adjective to use.

Beauty in Destruction

With the controller firmly in my hand, I jump into the armoured vehicle to my left and set off to find someone to shoot at. It didn’t take long, as within seconds I found myself chasing a truck convey loaded with missiles.

Hitting the RB button (on an Xbox One controller) I switched my Gatling gun for targeted rockets and began firing on the squad of motorcycles trailing behind the trucks.

Sparks and flames roared across the screen as I rained rockets onto my enemies. I swerved and dodged past their wreckage to gain ground on the truck convey, but try as I might I couldn’t get close enough.

That’s when I discovered the A button allows me to boost whilst driving. Spamming said button, I caught up to my target, only now I’d run out of rockets.

Switching back to my Gatling gun, I attempted to blow the trucks but my efforts were moot. As we followed the swerving jungle paths, I began to lose control of my vehicle as targeting became too difficult; my enemies used this opportunity to rain furry down on me, thereby causing me to come to a complete standstill.

Let’s Get Scrappy

With my vehicle trashed, I now found myself in the middle of the jungle. But before I could open the menu and spawn a new one, something began firing heavy lasers at me.

I quickly turned and found a looming sentry turret hammering me with targeted fire; so, I made a dash for cover while firing my main assault weapon.

 Holding the Y button, I brought up my weapon inventory and switched to a heavy rocket launcher-style weapon. As the sentry turret kept its sights trained on me, firing every few seconds, I managed to lock aim and fire off a couple of rounds.

But it wasn’t enough.

The subsequent dogfight was reminiscent of the biblical story of David versus Goliath; only this time Goliath bashed David firmly into the ground.

Batman, is That You?

When I loaded up the previous save I spawned Xerxes III; the aforementioned armoured tank. An absolute beast, Xerxes III is slow but vastly powerful.

It didn’t take long for my friends in the truck convoy to show up again, and when they did I was ready to show them some real fireworks.

The motorcycles were quickly crushed under the sheer weight and size of Xerxes III, while the enemy armoured vehicles were quickly blown apart. 

Unfortunately, all the time I spent decimating the smaller targets, the truck convoy itself too far ahead. Due to Xerxes III’s excessive weight, there was no hope I could catch up.

It’s a Wide World

RAGE 2 is a marketed improvement from its predecessor. The first RAGE, while a competent and enjoyable open-world FPS, was significantly lacking in both style and substance.

Actually, I don’t think the idea of what a ‘good’ open-world FPS was all that defined back in 2010. Fast forward to 2019, and there’s been a bevvy of games from which RAGE 2 can build off of.

And build on them it has. My immediate impression of RAGE 2‘s overall structure is that it draws inspiration from Ubisoft’s Far Cry series; vast open world littered with quest markers to complete.

RAGE 2 even features a progression tree tied to passive skills, such as the capacity to sprint 5% faster. All progression is unlocked through organic play and works towards allowing the player to customise their experience per their playstyle. It’s this type of RPG-lite system that I think works really well in open-world FPS titles.

RAGE 2 Hands-on

I’ll openly admit that RAGE 2 wasn’t on my radar for upcoming releases. Though after spending some time with it, the game now has my full attention.

If you’re attending IEM Sydney 2019 this weekend be sure to head over to the HP and Lenovo booths to try out RAGE 2 for yourself.

 Jayden Williams travelled to Sydney, Australia as a guest of Acer. All accommodation and meals were provided by Acer.

Jayden Williams
Jayden Williams
I started playing video games on my grandmother's Sega Master System (go, Alex Kidd!) and after almost 3 decades haven't looked back. I've written for various gaming outlets over the years and enjoy playing across all console platforms and genre types, though have a penchant for action/adventure, RPGs and loot-shooters. Pokémon is my favourite franchise and was there at the birth of the infamous 'rare candy' hack.

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