So, you would be forgiven if you didn’t know Rage 2 was already out. This game has managed to stay relatively under the radar compared to most games that come out nowadays. What you will likely remember from this game’s promotion is the bright madness that it showcased in its trailers; it was compared with the brightness of the Far Cry New Dawn world.
Story wise you are put into the shoes of Walker as your home camp comes under attack from General Cross. During this opening battle, you take a ranger suit from a fallen ranger and become the last ranger alive. From here the story takes you on the journey of becoming a hero in your new ranger role as you work with other characters in the world to take your revenge on General Cross.
I never played the first Rage but from what I can gather this game does hope that you have some pre-existing knowledge of the franchise. There is no babysitting introduction to this game, it starts, and you need to pick it up as you go.
For an open-world style game this isn’t the longest one out there. You will find yourself completing the critical path within 10 hours easily with the rest of the map clearing taking another 25 hours. Depending on the difficulty you play on this may be even shorter but there is still a good amount of content to keep you busy.
The map is covered with ‘?’ that you can discover as you travel around the world. These will be camps to clear, fueling stations to destroy, oversized mutants to kill or convoys to attack to name a few. These side activities bulk out the short story and as with any open world game offer a welcome distraction from the main story.
Completing missions and side activities are recommended as they will help you level up your character and unlock all the fun stuff. When you first put on the ranger suit your skills are pretty limited, you have dash which is a short sprint ability and focus which highlights items and enemies on the map. However, later on, you start to get access to the abilities that offer a closer experience to the one we watched in the trailers. Gaining skills such as slam and shatter make combat that bit more exciting. By the end of the game, you are pretty close to superhero level power.
Rage 2 offers a lot of character development. There are skills tree for the 3 main mission givers in the game that unlock as you complete main missions and side activities for them. Most vehicles and weapons come with unlocks to improve them. You can really build a character that works for you. I am not sure how much difference it really makes in being able to complete the game as the combat is more chaotic then strategic but it felt good to have so much to unlock regardless.
Combat can be pretty enjoyable and rewarding once you have a better understanding of how to combine abilities. Gunplay is pretty smooth and enjoyable in this game; you get some sweet crack sounds to accompany any headshots. In all honesty, the gunplay just felt easy and worked for me. You can also unlock upgrades for your weapons as you collect more resources. The standard faster reloads, or larger magazines are of course options but so are some extras such as weapons reloading if you holster them for at least 10 seconds.
Unfortunately, getting to these combat opportunities isn’t as enjoyable and with the amount of travelling you do it can’t be mentioned. Firstly, there are an array of vehicles to use in this game. Once again like our weapons, they come with their own unlocks to improve their health or weapons. However, driving just never really feels good and it is just boring. I am not looking for sim style racing in the game, but I just couldn’t get behind the driving, fast travel for me in this game.
I should start by saying I am no graphics expert, but I play on a Pro with a fancy Sony 4K television, so I have all the hardware to make the most of games and nice graphics. Rage 2 doesn’t ever hit that mark though. I was never too impressed with how the game looked; it maintained an OK level of graphics. The game falls between trying to have a fun borderland look to it while wanting to more serious Days Gone post-apocalyptic feel about it. It just doesn’t ever really come together.
This game is held together by the fun on offer from its combat. Once you get your hands on a few different weapons and upgrades you can start to enjoy yourself. Clearing through camps with your shotgun on overdrive, watching enemies explode as you plan your next move is what I enjoyed most about Rage 2. Getting to these combat opportunities though brings you back down. All this game needed was a wing suit upgrade for your ranger kit to save you from having to drive to locations.
Rage 2 offers the potential for fun and rewarding combat but doesn’t deliver on the in-betweens. The story is relativity short and it is not really accompanied by any other storylines to give purpose to the side activities, apart from they are bad people you should kill them. Gunplay feels great and the abilities you can unlock as you progress just add to the fun. Fast travel was welcomed when it was unlocked but doesn’t excuse the poor travel options. Overall the game is fun but never hits the heights it could have.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*