Developer: id Software
Platform: PS3, 360, PC, Mac
Length: 5+ hrs
Rating: Take or leave
This might seem like a weird review given Rage did appear back in October, however only in the last few weeks have Apple fans had a chance to try this reasonably well hyped game. Keen to see if both my laptop and legendary Doom creator, Carmack, have still got it I decided to give it a bash (there’s a Rage pun there, but it’s not worth the ink to explain it).
To my laptop’s credit (although I suspect more of the credit should be given to Carmack) the game runs very well. Granted, the scenery does tend to skip around a bit whilst it loads in more detail. Overall though the game runs smoothly, whilst also looking pretty spanky. Much of this comes from the amount of detail placed into the game, allowing it to avoid that cut and paste feel that many of the open world games have. In this way, the game gets one up on the similarly post-apocalyptic Fallout 3. In most other ways, it’s inferior.
What lets this game down is how small, linear and unbelievable its world is. With many of the missions being walking distance away and involving mind-numbing tasks, the game fails to capture a feel of grandeur. In the opening alone, the disappointing character voiced by John Goodman claims we need to hide from the bandits. He then literally drives around the corner and pulls into his house. While on the bandits, far from feeling like a terrorising force tearing the last of humanity apart, they seem more content with joyriding and committing unseen atrocities. What’s more, your allies despite always being ‘under threat’ seem hardly phased, with most appearing to be surprisingly upbeat about the whole thing. Hell, there’s even car racing in amongst all of it, that despite being conducted in a town populated with a only a handful of stereotyped and forgettable characters, still seems to not only pull a great turn out, but manages to find racers despite the ridiculous death toll.
While I can live with a game featuring such an inconsistent world, what disappoints me most is just how family-friendly and frankly boring the game is. While in comparison Doom 3’s entertainment value was pretty schlocky, what with it relying on a mix of brown moments and cheesy horror storytelling, fact of the matter is that shit was interesting. This game distinctly lacks any form of mechanic, be it gameplay or story-based, to keep you hooked.
Overall the best thing about this game is gameplay; the gun combat at least, given the racing feels like a poor man’s Motorstorm. Unfortunately, when that’s not matched by an engaging story, there’s only so long that will last you.