Rage 2 Review – Split Personality
Having only spent around six or seven hours with Rage 2, I’m only able to bring you a review in progress at this stage. Rage 2 is an enormous game with lots to see and lots to do.
Thus far I’ve only met one of three main NPCs and taken part in a handful of story missions. Like many other open-world shooters (Far Cry, Mad Max) you’ll find lots of distractions as you make your way around.
So far, Rage 2 is just pretty good. There’s nothing really grabbing me. Nothing stands out or makes Rage 2 demand my attention but, I do find myself wanting to keep playing. I can see its potential, though whether it lives up to it is another thing.
Rage 2 Review
Right away it’s obvious where Rage 2 comes from. The core of the gameplay — shooting and movement — are pure id. More than that, they’re pure Doom. However, that core is coupled with the very Avalanche open-world and vehicular gameplay.
I have to admit, it’s an odd pairing initially and after six or seven hours, the strangeness hasn’t subsided. Rage 2 feels like two separate games. One, a tight, claustrophobic corridor shooter.
The other, a meandering, outrageous open-world.
I’m not entirely sure they two go together, though as I say, I’m compelled to keep playing. The gunplay is satisfyingly intense and firefights always feel over-the-top, brutal, frantic and fun.
Combining the different firearms with Walker’s ever-expanding arsenal of special moves becomes a bloody violent ballet of bullets, body parts and broken bones. Taking down 20 or 30 baddies in one of the many outposts is definitely a highlight so far. Of the abilities in Rage 2, I’ve unlocked a few that do make the game live up to its wasteland superhero ambitions.
Being able to dash toward and enemy and melee them with a critical hit then turning to use a ‘force push’ that explodes another while leaping into the air and hovering while firing is undeniably cool. The more abilities I unlock, the better the overall experience and the more fun it is to clear out outposts.
However, after running through 10 or so outposts in total, things do start to get a bit repetitive.
This is where Rage 2’s open-world should kick in and give you a palate cleanser. Unfortunately, the open-world (so far) seems to be more of the same. I’ve found a handful of different activities and they largely involve driving to a location and engaging in a firefight. There’s not really anything to do along the way, aside from stopping off at other outposts you may come across.
Brown, Brown, Brown
It’s early days but so far, the brown, post-apocalypse is less of a feature and more of a detractor for Rage 2 as I found myself wishing I was playing a linear game instead.
It’s not all bad though. Thanks to Avalanche’s experience with both Mad Max and Just Cause (the former being far more obvious) the vehicular sections (read: anything outside of the shooting) are lots of fun too. The driving is very arcadey but it’s responsive, fast and easy. I just wish there was more to it and not just a means to get to the next shootout.
There are, of course, the Arks to locate. Each of these gives you a new skill or weapon and gives you new ways to play. These Arks are spread all across the map and finding them all will certainly take a while. It’s worth doing though as the more you find, the better Rage 2 gets. I myself have only sought out a couple and they’ve already changed things for the better.
Gotta Go Fast
Being a shooter with id DNA, Rage 2 is incredibly fast-paced. However, the speed at which you progress through the story and through the world is painfully slow. The same can be said of the pace at which you unlock new skills and find new things to do.
Again, this feels like the result of Rage 2 being essentially two different games jammed together. On one hand, you’ve got this speedy shooter and the other a slow burn open-world. I just can’t reconcile the two disparate, yet equally important elements of Rage 2.
So far, I am really enjoying Rage 2 yet something just doesn’t sit right. I’m not sure that it will have the staying power to keep me entertained for another 10 or 15 hours, let alone another 30 or 50 you’d expect from an open-world game of this size.
Time will tell whether Rage 2 succeeds and for me, it only will if it stops feeling like two different games and starts feeling like one satisfying whole.
Update – Rage 2 Review
Now that I’ve finished Rage 2, my opinion hasn’t changed all that much. What you see is what you get with this game. No matter the abilities I discovered or the places I explored, Rage 2 boils down to a really boring overworld with a bunch of very similar encounters in between.
I still really hate the driving. So much so that I was super relieved when I found the helicopter and could just fly over the open-world to get to the next point of interest. My advice, do the same.
Unless you’re really into the vehicular combat for some reason.
As for the weapons, some of the later unlocks are very cool and some aren’t. The rocket launcher is amazing but the sniper rifle is terrible. This isn’t a game for sniping, it’s for getting in amongst things and doing some crazy damage and combos.
Lots of Rage 2 is great and lots of it isn’t. It’s hard to recommend as a game to play mindlessly while watching TV or when you want to unwind. Sure, the combat sections are up to the task, but then you need to slog through the open-world.
It’s also not a game I’d recommend sitting and playing for hours. Why? Again, that bloody open-world.
It’s just so damn boring. I’m not sure what could have been done to change things for Rage 2, but for my money, I’d prefer a tightly scripted corridoor shooter. That’s why I’ll play Doom Eternal.
Overall, Rage 2 feels like a game from 10 years ago and I’m still not sure whether that’s a compliment or an insult. It’s certainly not the worst game you’ll play, but it’s never going to be the best.
What you get out of it really depends on how you feel about the open-world and lots of repetition.
Rage 2 was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by Bethesda.
PowerUp! Review in Progress
Game title: Rage 2
Open-world is terrible - 3/10
Combat is incredible - 9.8/10
..but it gets really repeititve - 5/10
Driving isn't fun - 4/10
...but all your abilities are amazing - 9.9/10