Thursday, November 24, 2011

RAGE Demo Impressions

Today iD Software finally threw out a demo for their uber-hyped and highly criticized shooter RAGE. The demo only came out XBLA today but it is coming to PC and PSN during the first week of December. The demo is a whole two gigabytes and gives you a small taste of the game with two minigames, racing and one decently long mission. Unfortunately the mission and area they give you to mess around in is one of the most highly publicized missions there is. The Well is it's name and there have been several videos that show off that area/mission specifically. Even more the demo that most press seem to have gotten before the game came out was this exact demo that is coming out now, so if you've read any impressions then it is likely about this demo. Nevertheless, I appreciate iD giving us the public a RAGE demo at all, especially since the game got so many negative and positive reviews.

Quick Info
Here is a slight bit of background info on the game: RAGE originally came out back at the beginning of October for Xbox 360, PC and PS3. The game is a FPS with impressive graphical technological and is made by the creative minds that brought Doom and Quake to the world. It had some notorious graphical issues on PC, making the game fairly unplayable for most, but it has since been fixed up quite a lot. The game was criticized greatly for its simple mini games, graphical issues and poor story/characters. There was also plenty of praise thrown onto the game as well, by gamers and critics, but it certainly isn't a contender for game of the year. Back to the impressions!


The demo starts you staring out from a doorway into the town of Wellspring, one of the main towns from the game. All you are told from the start is to go find the Mayor and deliver your message with no idea of what the message was, but that matters not. You would think hey here's this big town I hope I have to go explore a bit before I find the mayor and start the main mission, nope, it's right freaking next to you. The town of Wellspring seems rather large from first glance but when you thoroughly know the layout after exploring for five minutes then you may feel a bit let down as well. I had thought Rage was supposed to be open world with open world towns, but this town feels so tiny. Within Wellspring you have a shop, a bar, a garage, a race track, the mayors office, the sheriffs office and a bunch of named people who will tell you stories or warn you about mutants.

This guy is not as exciting as he looks

I kept hearing about races from random people around Wellsprin and so I decided to go find the race track before I did anything else, which was far too easy to find..damn tiny city. Racing is the biggest mini game that the demo lets you try and it's pretty fun, but the race tracks you fight/race on feel pretty static, despite how good they look graphically. You earn racing points for winning races and you use those to upgrade your vehicle, the vehicle you presumably use outside in the open world as well. The demo lets you do plain racing, time trial and combat races. You could probably spend a good thirty minutes on racing in the demo, if you felt so drawn to it, but I wasn't too excited about it after doing each race once. I wanted to like it more but it just felt like a pretty solid minigame.


The other two minigames, besides racing, in Wellspring were interesting but very simple. One was a dice game set on a futuristic holographic playing board. You were the sheriff and you had to roll four crosshairs to defeat the four mutants, each turn you miss they move on step closer and by turn three you lose. If you managed to roll four crosshairs, out of the four dice, on the first trun you get a big bonus. You can definitely make a lot of money through this minigame but it is entirely grounded in luck. The other was a card game that slightly reminded me of a Magic The Gathering for a second but then it got super simple. You have cards, that you can collect throughout the game, that have strength, health and abilities. You can put four cards down on the board at once and first person to defeat all of the other persons card wins, it almost entirely comes down to the strength/life of each card, but thankfully it does have a little bit of strategy and skill involved, just not as much as I would have hoped. These two minigames don't suck, but they aren't addictive or exciting either, merely okay.

This is where the card minigame is in the demo

The main mission in the demo has you going down into the Well to take out the raiders who are trying to put poisonous toxins in the towns water supply. It was interesting to see the crafting system and create some neat tools of death, like sentry turrets and rc explosive cars, but my biggest problem was ammo. I made the mistake of playing the game on hard and got incapacitated several times during the Well level. When you go down you do this self defibrillator minigame where you basically restart your heart and the better you do the more health you start with. It was a fine minigame but it felt like you could continuously die with few or little repercussions, the only time I truly died was when I was on a lift and it clipped the platform above, which instantly killed me.


In the well you get to use the crossbow, the shotgun, the assault rifle and pistol. The pistol was my favorite since it had so many different types of ammo to try, while the shotgun only had two, the assault rifle one and the crossbow had two. Each gun does actually have four different ammo types just not in the demo. The combat in the game felt very doom like to me, enemies took a lot of hits before they went down but some special weapons instant killed mutants. The lack of melee also made it feel a bit odd to me, if an enemy got close up to you you had to frantically reload, run, or throw a special weapon. I really kept wanting to have some kind of button to at least push mutants away from me if I got surrounded by them in melee, but it just wasn't there. All of the weapons have decent controls, especially for a joystick controller, and were enjoyable enough to use, but they didn't give you anything overly exciting, they were all pretty basic weapons except for maybe the crossbow. The one exciting part of the mission involved fighting a bunch of mutants with several friendly NPC's, but it didn't last too long and then you went off on your lonesome once again.

It's hard to say that I didn't like the RAGE demo, but it just felt inferior to my already watered down expectations. I especially expected more out of a demo that came out long after the game released, at least more areas or different areas than what has been shown off a hundred times before. If you want to check out the demo it is already available on XBLA but it will be arriving on PC and PSN shortly. I would recommend just watching the video below, since it covers the majority of the main mission from the demo. If you want to check out reviews then just check out the web, reviews for RAGE are plentiful and varied. The game is currently on sale on Steam, but it's still $40, down from $60. Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

-Written by Sean Cargle


Post a Comment