I bought RAGE a while back, but never got around to playing it. I mainly bought it (cheap!) for the same reason I bought FUEL – I was interested in how well the technology worked for a game.
I think I’m lucky I had a 360 because I’ve heard rumours, hearsay and scaremongering about the ‘MegaTexture‘ technology that RAGE uses not working as well on the PS3, and not as efficiently on the PC. Are these true? I have no idea. But I didn’t want to waste a whole $6 to find out!
The game is pretty.
Oh, you want more? Um … very pretty?
Actually, the best thing I can say about the texturing is that you don’t notice it. Like many things, if you don’t notice them, then they’re working correctly. I’m sure everyone has seen the various issues that game engines have, especially with large worlds and draw distances: quilt like patterns on distant terrain, repeated patterns like graffiti, or even cracks in the road. I didn’t notice any of these things while playing RAGE, even when I was deliberately looking for them. That doesn’t mean they don’t occur, but it still says something about the engine.
One thing I also appreciated was the fact that they went with slightly cartoony graphics. I’ve noticed a trend in showing off graphics engines where they try to push the ‘hyper-realistic’ aspect of the visuals, and often slam into the bottom of the uncanny valley. By going for cartoony they get to show off their engine without the possibility of hitting that, and taking the focus off their new tech.
Having said that, I don’t know if I got far enough in to really see enough to judge. While the engine worked well, as stated above, the game didn’t really work for me. I went in knowing that it was a shooter (this is id, after all), but it also seemed to have hints of RPGs (Role Playing Games). Being set in a Wasteland (like the Fallouts, or Wasteland 2) probably triggered that expectation in my brain as well.
Still, it has some RPG like elements, but at its heart it’s a shooter. Now, I’m going to generalise here, and you should ignore that, because I’ve just told you I’m going to do it.
RPGs may have silly quests, or plotlines, but I find I can often immerse myself in the games long enough that either I don’t notice, or the silliness only hits later. Shooters, I find, give you just enough hook/plot to work with and then let you go shoot things. Sometimes these hooks can be very obviously silly at the time. When my brain is expecting RPG levels of quest, and gets Shooter levels of quest (even if wrapped up in pseudo-RPG stuff), then I find it really hard to lose myself in it.
Still, as a shooter, RAGE excels. You have various weapons, on both foot, and in car. Whether ‘random’ mooks, or the waves you get as you traverse a mission area, you have plenty of fodder to mow down. There’s also the traditional mini boss, and boss fights where you have to figure out how to deal with the boss (often with the means to do so in the same room …)
It’s just that apparently my expectations are too different to really enjoy it.