RAGE 2 [Face-Off Review]: The Rage For and The Rage Against.

Robert “The DCD” Workman

ROBERT WORKMAN: No one really asked for a sequel to Rage, did they? Not that I would turn one away. The first game was actually quite ambitious for the team at id Software, who I usually knew for Doom terrain. Now they’ve returned for the Walmart Canada-confirmed sequel, with Just Cause developers Avalanche Studios in tow. And while it’s not a perfect affair when it comes to traveling in the open world and keeping you hooked with its story, Rage 2 still wins — in my mind, anyway — thanks to its fun gameplay and ridiculously detailed world…

(Cont.) The game puts you in the shoes of an unlikely Ranger as you attempt to build up a resistance against a deadly tyrant in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. To do this, you’ll need to complete a number of missions for each party, while unlocking new side missions and gaining new abilities with the help of hidden Ark chambers throughout the world. Probably the most boring thing about Rage 2 is getting around, though there are times you’ll stumble into a battle with neo-punks that can be worth the trip.

Travis Moody

TRAVIS MOODY: And those battles, Robert, make Rage 2 a solid ass sequel. Will it be on many “Best of” lists come December? Likely not. The story is indeed OK and interesting enough; but behind all the noise and flair I wonder if Rage 2‘s script would come off better as a comic. The dialogue wasn’t as fun or as funny as expected; our Ranger is near humorless. While Bethesda hasn’t done much to market the title either, they did endorse it as a bombastic shooter in this intrinsically hilarious world– and after 12-15 hours it winds up being “just a game” as I roll creds. That’s fine. Not every AAA game has to break ground or be hailed as the next Breath of the Wild; I just wish everything else about Rage 2 was as much fun as its intense gunplay.

Caught ya, skyblue-blade-handed!

ROBERT: That’s where Rage 2 truly shines, Trav. The vehicular stuff handles quite well too, especially when it comes to ramming into enemy forces like a boss. But the on-foot stuff is equally engaging, as you can take on opponents with some great moves, like a dash rush to knock them off-kilter. The weapons are amazing, including a shotgun that doubles as a sonic-style blaster that can send someone flying off a cliff. And, of course, the Wingstick returns, and is better than ever with quick beheadings.

TRAVIS: I’ve never been big on boomerang weapons in shooters, man, but that ‘stick was rad! Throw in the gun’s venomous Overdrive ability, some tight shoot-dash-and-melee combos, and the game’s engrossing combat might be enough for fans of FPS’ to purchase. It should be no surprise that Avalanche’s all-terrain driving works. The Phoenix is smooth from the get, and speed sluts will def wanna hit the barren sands in the electric Wind Razor cycles. But my favorite vehicle in Rage 2 is definitely the Icarus gyrocopter. Dude! I was surprised how soothingly effortless it was to steer, having zero issues trekking through thick tree branches and tricky cliffs onto the next destination.

Art is commerce.

ROBERT: Awesome! Riding around this wasteland is definitely fun, if not super. Rage 2‘s visuals are impressive as well, with a beautiful 60 frames per second presentation for the most part. Animations are fun at times, though some enemies, like those damn turrets, can be a bore. Fortunately, the game makes up for it with some truly wild finishers, where you can send multiple punks packing at once. The music’s not bad, but the dialogue can waver between quality and laughable, depending on the character.

TRAVIS: The game definitely looked pretty spectac on the 4K playing on the Xbox One X. Punk bandits look ferocious, river hogs look scary and fans of Marvel’s Carnage will eat these mutant types right up. id Software definitely put a lot of effort into character detail. My only issue on the graphic side is a nitpicky one: Rage 2 loses some of its visual luster when the sun goes down, and also looks no more than your average paint-by-numbers shooter when inside buildings not full of demons and disaster. The Authority’s main base is generic. The more horrifying, holy fuck these people made Doom blood ‘n guts stuff is well done; and a nice surprise. I didn’t expect Rage 2 to have such a horror element to it and feel and play so much like Doom beyond the guns.

Grampa! What’d you do to.. GRANDMA!!?

ROBERT: In the end, what you’ll remember most from Rage 2 is the experience, Trav, and not so much the story behind it. It could’ve used better writing, sure; but the rest of the game holds up divinely with its various side missions, fun combat and sharp visuals. It’s not a perfect sequel by any means, and it may be too large for its own good (yes, I just said that), but it’s better than it has any right to be. 4/5 Bibles.

TRAVIS: Hey. The longer I played Rage 2 the more I liked it, Rob. Despite some repetitive side missions — and I feel like I say that about every game I review not named Witcher 3 — there’s a lot of kick-ass shit to find the more you explore. Looting is great, and the upgrading conditions are enjoyable; it’s a shame the side stuff is so disparate from the main campaign though, as I feel I missed out on a third of all the game’s fun toys brushing through the campaign. The narrative’s endgame is pretty standard fair too, and felt abrupt.

(Cont.) Rage 2 is a solid shooter that has Far Cry, Mad Max and Doom‘s best interests while not exactly bleeding ingenuity. My favorite mission also happened to be the one I played at E3 2018 (go figure), and the in-game cheats (that come with the Deluxe Edition, sorry plebs) are everything! When toggling Cheats on in your settings, your Ranger — even if a gal — can be the “Son of Thor” (zap foes with lightning), go “Super Wingstick” with the unlimited redirect treatment (!!), pour “Red Barrel Rain” when the going gets tough (exactly as it sounds), and have that classic NBA Jam guy Tim Kitzrow call the action (“He’s On Fire!”). Even if unintentional, these advantages added spice to a shooter in dire search of an identity. 3.5/5 Bibles (3.25 without the cheat; 3.5-3.75 with).

-Robert Workman & Travis Moody

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