May 29, 2012

ACRIMONY

I still have no idea why dudes in the desert wasteland would go full on punk revival, but good on them.

Finishing my playthrough of RAGE (which I refuse to lowercase for the same reason Doom is technically DooM) I started around release, I’m reminded of a note I made 25 minutes in:

This shotgun is AWESOME

Yeah, it’s a fucking stupid thing to say when it comes to Real-Ass Game Criticism but it’s something I don’t think I’ve said about any shooter in way too long. And it really says something about the way iD makes games. 

Don’t get me wrong, RAGE isn’t the best, as by now you probably know. It’s linear as hell, there’s no ending, the hyped MegaTextures only work about half the time, and it has multiplayer options that just don’t cut it in this post-CoD world. 

But the weird this is, RAGE fails when it comes to the extras that we expect from modern AAA titles in general, the basics are absolutely perfect. That probably is a given when you’re the people who basically invented first person shooters but let’s think about the things that you expect from an FPS:

  1. Guns
  2. Killing
  3. Movement in 3D space
  4. Environments to do said killing with aforementioned Guns

Granted, that’s the literal bare minimum. But RAGE absolutely succeeds in all of those. All the guns (including but not limited to the Awesome Shotgun) have a tactile heft and feel that’s near gone nowadays. When you shoot someone with these guns you can tell that it absolutely hurts (so, check killing) instead of just sorta falling down. The surprisingly really well handled driving mechanic of the game counts for a ton of movement in 3D space.  And for the environments? Well the half the time the MegaTextures do work, they’re quite pretty.

Ultimately this isn’t enough, which is why I’m not surprised to a lot of poor reviews about the game having some version of the phrase “stuck in the past” in them, but after year after year of games being accused of all skin and no bones, here’s the skeleton of a much better game.

Oh, and the shotgun is awesome. 

—Zack