Rage 2 Review
Open world games are likely the hardest games to produce, even for the largest development teams. Because of time constraints and budgets, something is always going to get caught or downgraded to finish on time, and at least somewhere near the targeted budget. Skyrim, for example, was a fantastic experience, but suffered from lack of details in specific areas. When Bethesda announced – or more appropriately, Walmart Canada announced – Rage 2, I was wondering if we would see more of the same. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to Rage 2 – kill the baddies across the wasteland, take down the big boss man, and claim victory. That really is the long and short of Rage 2, and to that end, things don’t start off well for this open world shooter. The story is bland, and it might be one of the least memorable I’ve played in a long time. It uses basic good versus evil ideals, and plasters colour and craziness on top and hope you’ll forget. And frankly, if that was what the development team was going for, they succeeded immensely.
Once you bypass the lackluster story, Rage 2 is a stunning example of what an open world game should be, at least in this context: crazy, funny, colourful, and just outright insane! From the moment you pass the early linear introduction, and get dropped on the open landscape of Rage 2, the possibilities – at least early on – feel endless. The world is open to you, for you to do whatever you want.
Want to drive around in your vehicles, blowing things up and running over people? Go right ahead. With the plethora of upgrades available after completing various missions, you can make each and everyone of the vehicles in Rage 2 more exciting to play with on the open road.
And the same goes for the weapons. This point can never be overstated: Rage 2 has some of the best combat I’ve ever experienced in a video game. Ever.
From the wide range of weapons, to the plethora of unlockable special abilities, combat in Rage 2 is fantastic, satisfying, and incredibly smooth. Swapping between weapons to take down enemies near and far, and then quickly unleashing a force push-esque special ability to blow the armour off an enemy, prior to sticking a bullet in his head, is incredibly satisfying.
And thankfully, each of the mission areas you encounter – whether a small deserted town, an outpost, or an Ark Silo – is built for combat. Climbing up stairs, hopping across rooftops, and slinking around corners is great fun, and even if some of the areas seem to repeat themselves as you tackle similar mission types, the fantastic combat holds it all together and makes you forget that you’ve completed an area that was similar before. Rage 2 is built for those that want satisfying combat.
And with so much customization, everything you do in Rage 2 has a purpose. Taking your time to hunt down the cash stored at each location, as well as the ARK chest, will be paramount in getting the necessary upgrades for your vehicles and weapons. Handy skill trees let you apply points where you deem it most important, and reap the benefits from those selections. And in most cases, each and every improvement just makes the combat in Rage 2 that much better, more fluid, and much more accessible.
Although the game pushes you to focus on quests from three characters, you can tackle Rage 2 any way you want. And even if you haven’t encountered the main quest givers yet, the side-quests and locations that will provide you Project Points with those individuals, can still be accrued. Nothing is wasted, and exploration is actually high encouraged, as some of the best locations and environments are not even on the main story path!
Projects might be on the more confusing aspects of Rage 2. Each of the three main quest givers each have a project, and as you finish quests and clean out areas, you will earn project points with these people, leveling them up and giving you access to new unlockables. It’s a bit strange to not just have your own upgrade abilities, but it is a good way to propel you through the game.
And these unlockables will important as you get further and further into Rage 2. Boss battles will require more than just your standard abilities, so make sure you are upgrading your various abilities, weapons, and vehicles to not only make boss battles manageable, but much more fun. While the boss battles aren’t always as interesting and unique as I would like, they are still fun ways to use all your combat upgrades and special abilities in once place, and this is where Rage 2 is at its best!
What makes Rage 2 so fantastic, ultimately, is that everything leads back to the games amazing combat. You are forced into battles, forced into tight situations, forced into boss fights, and each and every one of these experiences is combat focused, taking the best elements of Rage 2 and putting them front and centre.
When I said earlier that Rage 2 has the best combat in an open world first person shooter, I say that with the utmost confidence. Sure, the story is pretty bad, but the satisfying combat is fantastic, and makes this one of the better open world games this generation!