There have been many games that cater to niche audiences. Railway train simulators, airplane simulators, garbage truck driver simulators (it’s a game; honest, look it up), etc. But while these games were getting made, one critical market was being overlooked or ignored – the errand boys. That’s where Rage comes in. It’s one of the most realistic errand boy simulators. Ever wondered what it would feel like to do chores for other people for the rest of your life? Of course you have. Wonder no more, because id’s got you covered. And thanks to Rage, you never have to creep out your neighbour by offering to mow his lawn or do his laundry again.

The game doesn’t waste any time in getting into it either. You come out of your space ship in a post apocalyptic future and any fears you may have of the future not having enough fetch quests for you to do are immediately put to ease. For a change, it’s nice to play a game that doesn’t waste time with nonsense like exposition or setting up the plot, but instead puts you to work right away fetching things. This is the future goddammit, and the future needs every errand boy it can find. Whilst other games set post-apocalypse make you feel like a hero and a saviour, Rage’s ambitions are far more grounded and sanity-destroying. And, in a completely shocking (or maybe not) turn of events, the game even has courier jobs, where instead of fetching things, you deliver them (the creative genius of this actually blew my mind). I am dead sure the irony there isn’t deliberate.

Now, I know what you guys are thinking. Hey Afty, fetch quests are awesome, but I am terrified of variety and I like to do the same thing over and over again till my brain cells start to die. Well, worry not, my friend; Rage has something for you too. In an ongoing war against entertainment and stimulation, Rage strikes the killing blow with furious anger by reusing large chunks of the game’s map to make you go over them again and again till your brain decides to shut the core functions down in an effort to be still useful when the game is over. There are sensory deprivation tanks that don’t work half as well.

Alas, it’s not always like that. Some malicious developer on the team decided to go against the mandate and actually made the gunfights interesting and fun. He must have gotten the AI programming guys and the weapon design team to go along with this madness, because combat is actually joyful. Weapon ugprades, different types of ammo and smart AI make the combat exhilarating. Thankfully though, there were plenty of sane people on the level design team, who intervened at the right time by making most of the levels look alike so as not to overload the players brain with actual stimulus. The fact that most of these levels (which already look alike) ended up being used more than once was surely the crowning jewel in their…crown.

The idea that you actually have to go all the way over to an objective, finish it and come all the way back just to report to the person you took the quest from was a stroke of genius as well, especially as it happens in every mission. It’s been scientifically proven that artificially padding your gameplay like that can actually increase the length of the game by a factor of 40%. Unlike lesser developers, id understands that a severe lack of content or ideas should never come in the way of making a long game.

I imagine id would have had you walk all over the world they created, but suicidal tendencies from the game testers kind of nipped that in the bud. So you can also drive around and take part in races. Again, like the weapons, the vehicles are fun to drive and racing and vehicular combat is very enjoyable (our old saboteur at work again, I imagine). Winning races also lets you upgrade your vehicle to add to its capabilities. It almost starts to get entertaining towards the last one third, but thankfully, an abrupt ending takes care of that little problem. Oh, and obviously, there is no closure to the story.

Then we have the multiplayer, which surprisingly turns out to be quite decent. Firstly, there are co-op missions called Legends of the Wasteland, which has you (with a buddy) shooting your way through different maps. Don’t worry; they didn’t forget to reuse the levels here as well, albeit with minor changes. On the bright side, it is playable offline in split-screen mode. There is also Road Rage, which is a vehicle-based mixture of race and combat. It’s quite reminiscent of Carmageddon and it is pretty frantic and enjoyable. Still, its rather disappointing that the guys who made Quake completely abandoned the versus on-foot multiplayer.

While the game can look stunning outdoors, it compensates for that by the aforementioned samey looking indoor levels and absolutely horrendous texture work up close. And even though the lighting is pre-baked, it still makes for some pretty good looking vistas. But again, that’s only outdoors when you are zooming around in a vehicle too fast to take notice. It also has some minor pop-in issues, even with the game being installed on the Xbox 360’s hard drive. On the plus side, it runs at 60 fps on consoles, so it feels very smooth and responsive.


All that sarcasm aside, to be brutally honest, Rage is soulless to the point of being worrisome. There is barely a story to speak of, and there isn’t a single character that is remarkable. It’s not a particularly bad game, but it’s just got no charm or passion to it. If video games were ever made in assembly lines by machines, I imagine Rage would be the sort of game they would churn out. Functional, but hollow; pretty, but vacant; long, but boring. For a game named Rage, it’s completely devoid of any emotion, in the game or what it exacts out of the player.

IVG's Verdict

  • Solid gunplay, good vehicle combat
  • Decent multiplayer
  • Extremely boring mission design
  • Poor level design
  • VERY repetitive
  • Looks inconsistent
  • Poor story, lackluster characters
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