Rage was released way back in 2011, but that’s okay. We can still review a game that is seven years and we should to determine whether older games are still worth playing. Without forcing you to read this entire piece, I will assure you that, yes, Rage is still a game worth playing seven years later.
At its release Rage was most commonly compared to Borderlands (2009) and Fallout 3 (2008). Today Rage is also compared to Mad Max (2015). All four of these games are very similar, but all four offer different experiences, some more similar than others. Borderlands focuses more on humor and loot, Fallout 3 focuses on RPG elements, and Mad Max focuses on enjoyable vehicle combat. Rage has no humor, no loot, no RPG elements, and the vehicle combat is perhaps the worst component of the game. Rage also doesn’t have a story.
Rage excels in being a first person shooter focusing on smaller zones of combat that are essentially arenas. The level design is superb especially on levels where you adventure through tight corridors and interiors. One of my favorite levels is Jackal Canyon, which is one of the last levels you will come across in the main story. I might have liked Jackal Canyon so much because it reminded me of a level from Borderlands. Jackal Canyon forces you to make your way across a series of narrow bridges and ziplines to descend to a cave at the bottom of the canyon to retrieve a Decrypter. Along the way, Jackals shoot at you from atop tall cliffs, deploy balloon bombs, and charge at you on the narrow pathway. Not all of the levels are as exciting and well made though. A primary example is the final level in the game, Capital Prime. Capital Prime is a boring level that feels like it could be in any generic first person shooter. It’s not fun or exciting compared to other levels in the game.
There are a total of three boss fights in the game and the first two are some of the most unfun combat moments in the entire game. The Wasted Boss and Giant Mutant are fights that require a great deal of patience. During the first boss fight, the Wasted Boss is mounted on a vehicle turret. You simply have to wait until he pauses shooting to pop out and shoot him. The second boss fight requires the player to shoot the Giant Mutant in highlighted spots with the Rocket Launcher. Wait until he is about to hurl a huge chunk of stone at you, shoot him in the chest, dodge three melee attacks, shoot him in the head, and repeat that process two more times. These boss fights slow the game down. I would much rather fight Kraken Mutants and Large Mutants. I would consider the fights against Krakens and Large Mutants, the actual boss fights of Rage. These fights are actually challenging, don’t require patience, and feel rewarding. Fighting the common enemies is a lot of fun, but the bosses suck. The only boss that might be a little bit fun is the third boss, the Gearhead Boss, but I killed him in mere seconds with the shotgun. Combat in Rage excels when the game throws hordes of enemies at you and especially when Krakens and Large Mutants join the horde.
Vehicular combat also sucks and feels like it was added at the last minute because somebody felt like it had to be in the game. Vehicle combat is almost never fun and is always tedious, but Rage takes it to a new level of boring with its auto-targeting system. You simply wait until a hexagon appears above the enemy vehicle and press the fire button. That’s literally it. This combat system works well in races, but does not translate to open world travel. Fortunately, id Software has teamed up with the developers of Mad Max, which had amazing vehicular combat, for Rage 2, which releases June 2019, so we can expect this to be improved significantly in the sequel.
Rage has a story, but it is lackluster. If you want to play a game for story, Rage is not the game for you, but if you want to play a fun FPS, Rage is the game for you. For the most part, the graphics are great. Rage is seven years old so compared to today’s AAA games, the graphics are a little bit lacking, but that cannot be a concern all these years later. Some textures look pixelated and do not stand up in quality to other textures, but again Rage is an aging game so that is forgivable. There is spectacular level design, which I hope is not abandoned in favor of creating an open world in the sequel and enemies are varied to fit each individual level. Rage is a good 7/10.