Colorful promotional materials and an innovative boomerang weren’t enough to save this game.
I avoid first-person shooters like the plague. Seriously, the last one I willingly played was GoldenEye 007 in 1997. There’s just something about the mechanics of not having an avatar that bothers me, and I never think I can shoot accurately and quickly enough to survive later levels. This dry spell changed after my sister-in-law raved about a game titled Rage 2, which released to PlayStation 4 and XBox One on 14 May 2019. I decided to shake the rust off and give the game a shot, with my experience channeling something along the lines of Doom and Mad Max. But did I like it? Well… no.
Rage 2 was developed by Avalanche Studios in association with id Software and was published by Bethesda Softworks, the company responsible Wolfenstein, The Evil Within and – of course – the latest Doom installments. A sequel to the 2011 game, Rage 2 finds a fictional post-apocalyptic wasteland with humanity crumbling into masses of riff-raff and military warriors known as Rangers fighting back against the attacking mutant forces known as The Authority. You play as the last Ranger to survive a massive attack, and set out on a journey to avenge your fallen heroes and save humanity from total annihilation.
An open-world first-person shooter, Rage 2 is far from generic when it comes to customization and weapons of mass destruction. The famous wingstick is back in play. Not only that, but you can develop your character’s skills with Nanotrite as you see fit and a special Overdrive function to your armor gives you massive speed and power boosts. Throw in special powers, weapons customization and upgrading, a plethora of attack vehicles, and yeah, you’re ready to kick some serious ass and take the names of any bounty hanging on a wanted poster. With more side-quests than you can count, a familiar story-line and countless hours of battles on the horizon, Rage 2 was supposed to be really great. Only it wasn’t.
I’m admittedly not a fan of first-person shooters, but Rage 2 has difficulty settings and I found the beginning of the game to be rather enjoyable when I had it set to “easy.” The wait time between enemy fire was generous, so I was able to get my kills in without sustaining any big damage. Plus, dead enemies typically drop health for you to pick up. It wasn’t until my third or fourth mission that the game started to drag. Everything became a deterrent and I gave up on the game after a week. I need a little more than shoot, kill, repeat; shoot, kill, repeat and when I only found two characters to be marginally relate-able, Rage 2 started to drag even more. Repetition killed the beast, but I should have expected that concept from a game like this.
Rage 2 also takes a while to really get started. Most games hook you from the beginning, but that never happened here. My interests with the game never reached more than a “meh” level and that made me less likely to devote any time management to playing. One of the things that bothered me most was the directional, which shows you all quests at once and increases the ability of you losing your desired path and wasting whatever time you planned on pumping into the game that day. Games like Breath of the Wild had the same dynamic, but it was constructed better and easier to understand. However, it could stand that Rage 2 was a more complex experience than I’m used to and without its genre being in my playing realm, the experience was lost on me.
The game looks beautiful and is voiced perfectly. I can’t criticize its production value at all. It’s just that repetition, character stereotypes, and some shotty game controls matched with too serious story-lines ruined an experience I already had low expectations for. I guess you can say I went into this a little biased from the get-go and was proven right. Now I’m going back to playing my kids’ games and Pokemon…