Rage Review

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.

7/10

Great

Watch the RAGE Gameplay Look | View the RAGE Screenshot Gallery

American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator is one of those game that I never pictured myself playing for longer than one hour—I have played 16 hours in the last two weeks. That’s crazy!

In American Truck Simulator, you are a truck driver. You deliver various cargoes across sunny California, sandy Nevada, and the Grand Canyon State of Arizona. New Mexico and Oregon can be purchased as DLC for $11.99 each. Oregon just released on October 4, which is probably why American Truck Simulator was included in the October 2018 Humble Bundle. If you got the October 2018 Humble Bundle, you will be able to save 50% on New Mexico and 10% on Oregon until November 5.

Try New Things: Humble Bundle

The obvious question: If American Truck Simulator was not in the Humble Bundle would you have bought it and played it? No.

American Truck Simulator is not the type of game I typically enjoy, but this game is relaxing and while it might not be fun at times, it is enjoyable. The game is somewhat simple. You drive to a location, pick up cargo, drive to a different location, drop off cargo, and repeat. Sometimes you stop at a rest stop, refuel at a gas station, buy a new truck, upgrade a garage, and hire a new driver for your company.

My second truck.

There are very few driving games that are not racing games. American Truck Simulator is one of the few, but you can still semi-drift around corners if you so desire.

Tried to take this corner at 93 mph—quickly slammed on the brakes midway.

You will get tickets for speeding, running red lights, and collisions. Other vehicles actually respond to your turn signals so make sure to use those even though a lot of people still do not use them in real life. You will fall asleep if you do not stop at rest-stops every so often and you will have to call a tow truck if you run out of fuel.

Sometimes you will come across road construction or wrecks.

If you are uncertain about American Truck Simulator, there is a demo available on Steam. I think that American Truck Simulator is enjoyable, but probably not for everyone and for some people $19.99 might be a little bit too expensive. It is fun if you want to relax and take in the scenery.

Try New Things: Humble Bundle

I subscribed to Humble Bundle at the start of this year, January 2018, specifically to get one game, Quantum Break. Every month, Humble graciously reveals one to three games that will be included in the upcoming bundle and gives subscribers the option to pay early to go ahead and start playing these games. For the January 2018 bundle, Quantum Break was the massive game that Humble showcased, so I jumped on board the Humble train and never looked back.

To put things into perspective Quantum Break costs $39.99 on Steam and the lowest recorded price, according to SteamDB, is $9.99. Subscribing to Humble Bundle is only $12 a month. This is why I decided to subscribe to Humble Bundle.

This month’s early reveals include Overwatch, Dungeons 3and Hidden Folks, with the full bundle being available October 5th. These three games alone, total up to $87.97. That’s a lot more than $12, and there’s still 5 more games to come!

Personally, I am most excited about Hidden Folks. As a child, some of my favorite books where Where’s Waldo? and Hidden Folks is essentially an interactive, colorless Where’s Waldo? video game.

At this point, I have received 9 monthly bundles and I am far more satisfied with this subscription than with my Fallout Loot Crate subscription (I am not providing a link to that because I do not recommend it). I have not played every game from every bundle, and I have completely ignored some bundles. For the rest of this article, I will discuss some of the gems that Humble Bundle has provided me with.

January 2018

I already owned Tomb Raider, but this game alone could make the bundle. If I didn’t already own this game, I would’ve been extremely happy to see it in the bundle. I haven’t had time to play Sleeping Dogs, but this looks to be another great title. As I’ve stated, I initially subscribed for Quantum Break and I was pleasantly pleased. The game could have been better, but provided a fun 8 hours. Hiveswap was an okay game. I’m not a huge fan of point-and-click games and would have never played this game if it were not in the bundle. I think I could’ve survived without playing this game, though.

February 2018

Tacoma is garbage, but The Norwood Suite is the true gem of not only the February 2018 Humble Bundle, but the highlight of my entire 9 month subscription. Seriously, I’m not joking. The Norwood Suite is the best game, I’ve gotten from Humble Bundle. This game was a huge surprise and I’m glad that I gave it a chance and that Humble included it in the bundle.

March 2018

I actually haven’t spent a lot of time with the games included in this bundle. Dark Souls III is just a little too hardcore for me (okay, a lot too hardcore), but Splasher was fun the little bit of time I played it. I’ve neglected this bundle, but that’s because other bundles were so great!

April 2018

This one has Outlast 2, Lara Croft GO, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, GOD EATER 2: Rage Burst, GOD EATER: Resurrection, and Mafia III!? What? Oh, and there’s three other games and the Humble Original. Holy smokes!

May 2018

The only game I’ve played from this bundle is Dead Rising 4, and people don’t like it, and I see why. I can’t truly review this bundle, because I haven’t had any playtime in any of the other games included.

June 2018

The June 2018 bundle had Destiny 2 in it. Everything else in this bundle is kind of …meh. I resold Destiny 2 for $16, so I actually made a profit on this bundle and sometimes that’s okay.

July 2018

Titan Quest and Shiness are the two games that stand out to me from this bundle. I’ve only had time to play Titan Quest from this bundle.

August 2018

The Surge is a great game, perhaps not as good as Dark Souls, but still fun. I look forward to playing A Hat in Time, The Escapists 2, and Kona when time permits.

September 2018

Little Nightmares, Sniper Elite 4, Tales of Berseria, and Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition are all great grabs, but the real standout of this bundle is Battle Chef Brigade. I haven’t beaten Battle Chef Brigade yet, but boy is it cool. I typically, despise match 3 games, but BCB does enough different to make an absolutely stunning game.

Conclusion

I understand that I haven’t done a very good job reviewing the bundles, but I hope that my point has come across. I support and recommend Humble Bundle. Sign up, you won’t be disappointed. I guarantee that you will get your money’s worth every month and if all else fails, you can sell or gift unwanted keys to friends.

Humble Bundle has exposed me to amazing games that I never would have played otherwise like The Norwood Suite, Battle Chef Brigade, Titan Quest, Mafia III, and Outlast 2.

Vampyr and Gravel

Vampyr was one of the games that I highlighted in the June Expansions and it is much better than I was expecting. Vampyr features one of the most interesting level-up systems I’ve seen in a game, challenging but manageable combat, and lightning fast auto-saving so if you screw something up…well, it’s screwed so just try to not screw up. In Vampyr you play as Dr. Jonathon Reid who has vowed to find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens-oh, but you’re also a newly-turned vampire or more specifically an Ekon. This premise creates a slightly hypocritical plot depending on how you play, but let me warn you that no matter how good you try to be, you will still end up killing some of the citizens. Unless you just happen to be a perfect Jonathon Reid, which clearly I am not.

My original plan was to play Vampyr two times. The first time I would be the good doctor who doesn’t feed on the citizens and only heals them. The second time I was going to be the evil vampire who feeds on all the citizens and never heals them. Unfortunately the Docks area went awry because of my decisions and I’ve been forced to fight and kill a number of the NPCs so I decided to feed on the poor soul in the above picture to gain XP. It’s okay though, he was conning a little old lady…I think so that justifies that. Hey, on the bright side I’ve completed sanitized the Hospital district. White Chapel is almost as bad as the Docks and I just reached the West End. Hopefully, I don’t screw up the West End.

To level up in Vampyr you need XP, which can be earned very slowly by killing enemies or rapidly by feeding on the citizens. XP does not automatically level you up, though, instead your XP is put in a stash and needs to be spent at a bed. Leveling up will progress the game to the next night and if you haven’t healed the sick citizens they will get sicker and will die after their sickness gets too extreme so if you care about the citizens you have to make sure to give everybody medicine before leveling up. I really like the consequences to becoming more powerful, because the game feels more immersive and your choices seem more impactful to the game world. Some of your choices in missions will cause citizens to go ‘Missing,’ which means that they’ve likely turned into a vampire, werewolf, or joined the Priwen Guard, so you have to hunt them down and kill them. I have unfortunately had to kill four or five of the citizens because of this mechanic. And don’t think that you can just reload a previous save to fix these mistakes. Every time you make a decision the game automatically autosaves and there is only one save file. A lot of players probably hate this, but I actually admire the developers for designing Vampyr this way, because it makes the game feel even more immersive like I previously stated.

Vampyr‘s combat is challenging, but also satisfying. The combat is similar to Dark Souls or The Surge. Vampyr‘s combat feels a little bit easier than combat in The Surge making combat more manageable and satisfying. You can choose to use two melee weapons, a two-handed melee weapon, or a melee weapon and a firearm. Some of the off-hand weapons can stun enemies. If you whittle the enemy’s white bar empty you will be able to bite enemies which will refill your blood. You need blood to use many of the vampire abilities. The combat is somewhat deep and too much for me to explain here, but the gist is that Vampyr‘s combat is fun and challenging.

In my opinion, Vampyr is one of 2018’s must-play games. Vampyr is available on Steam for $49.99.

View Vampyr screenshots.

Vampires are cool, but maybe you are looking for a casual off-road arcade racer. If that’s the case you should check out Gravel. Gravel is available on Steam for $49.99Gravel is extremely fun and doesn’t require the skill that games like Project Cars and Dirt Rally require. It also doesn’t require an internet connection like The Crew although the driving does feel very similar to The Crew. I don’t have much to say about this game, because it’s essentially just another racing game, but this time everything is off-road. The Alaska races are the best. Just look at this jump:

View Gravel screenshots.