Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

At the presentation in Stockholm, RAGE 2 seemed like a rather good game. The dialogues are clearly “under-rotated”, but the shooter mechanics are very decent. There is nothing to say about the graphics, but the trailers and art look interesting.

Initially, we were shown literally a 10-minute gameplay segment, a single level that could, imitating Hotline Miami, run 10 times in a row, squeezing all the nuances out of the combat system. In a linear location, the game felt relaxed and confident. But as part of a recent show, we were released into the open world – the emphasis has shifted, and the overall picture has become a little more unambiguous.

Just Mad Avalanche

We see Avalanche – we mean a “sandbox” with some aspect raised to the absolute. Just Cause is physics and destructibility, Mad Max is a machine and everything connected with it. RAGE 2 is an aggressive first-person shooter.

Shooting that id Software helped make is a powerful enough “Unique Selling Proposition” to sell you a game. Not DOOM in the open world, but definitely something much more than another Far Cry. In the latest demo, we had a new set of weapons and abilities, so it’s already clear where leveling in general will lead as the game progresses.

And she will lead in the direction of Just Cause. Or, as the developers say, Avalanche-style action. All the character’s abilities are designed to make you feel like a god compared to an NPC: every two minutes you can create a black hole, sucking everyone around, turn opponents into a projectile, attaching magnets to them and indicating the direction of gravity. There’s also a bulletproof shield, Bulletstorm-style slowing enemies in the air, and a legitimate wallhack. All living things should scatter from you, but for the sake of gameplay, they joyfully break on your face.

If in the first demo it was still somewhat moderate hacking, where opponents could withstand two shots from a shotgun, now the abilities and weapon modes (a homing volley of six missiles!) Incline towards purely Bulletstorm-ovsky “amuse yourself”. And this can not be called a definite plus.

Fun fact! Faster than any other open world shooter. But for an hour and a half, I never needed to send someone into the air with grav cartridges. The Just Cause Syndrome begins to hatch in the game: the authors imply that it needs to be weird in it, but they do not give real reasons to do it. That is why RAGE is not DOOM in the open world: there you constantly used all the opportunities, because in fact you were much weaker than your opponents.

Here, when you are vulnerable, it seems as if something is going wrong. I honestly “didn’t understand” the complex shootouts. When the enemy becomes too tenacious and is not killed in the first 10 seconds, you have nothing to counter him: there is nowhere to run from the bullets, you cannot get close. Abilities are useless, you die quickly. I hope I just didn’t have time to get used to shooting and this will remain just a suspicion, but so far it seems that RAGE 2 is based only on the power of the player and does not fit with “skill-dependent” tests.

But it’s damn good during a relaxed, confident sweep of locations, when you fill up the servants with superpowers, jump like a saiga on the roofs and see through the walls where you can funny watch for the next punk. Thanks to the open world, you can definitely say that this is basically what the game is about.

Why drive when you can fly?

The open world did not have time to show anything innovative, but did not really try. Convoys drive through the toxic wasteland, which can be attacked by car. Just get off the track – you will find a barn / junkyard / fort filled with enemies.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find any third-party locations where I would have to do something other than kill enemy masses in style. “Break the solar panels” doesn’t count. It turns out contradictory: on the one hand, as soon as you get off the road, you immediately run into something not marked on the map, interesting, on the other hand, you most likely just need to shoot there.

This even has a purpose: reputation points are earned separately for the three leaders of the resistance, and they give pumping equipment, abilities, weapons. Cleared more – became stronger. And as we found out earlier, getting stronger in this game is critical.

Fortunately, if you are not interested, then you can drive through all this and even fly over: in the new video they showed a quadrocopter that saves you from wagging along the roads, stupid convoys and oncoming cars. You can avoid unnecessary fuss and immediately fly to the plot task … which will still be “races”.

Vehicles are firmly embedded in the DNA of the game: they allow you to get into any buggy or a motorcycle, shoot at enemies from a turret, leave a mine behind you – this is an important part of the mechanics, which is given a lot of time. But it’s too early to judge her, because I don’t want to negatively. Shooting on the move is fine. Flying to the side of the road and getting stuck in the garbage is inconvenient. Falling off the bridge and respawning at the checkpoint is unpleasant. Racing is bad.

The developer said that races in the game take place regularly, but it is not clear why: the driving mechanics are primitive, pushing around on the track without a weapon is simply not interesting. This is not Mad Max, where it was cool to drive. Logically and physics, the car is more like cars from Borderlands, but more overweight and likes to get stuck. Trying to justify it with the PRE-BETA label in the corner of the screen, I get on the quadcopter and fly to the nearest upgrade capsule.

I really liked how the protagonist’s pumping was arranged: the capsules that fell to Earth at the end of the first part attracted special attention of local residents, and entire settlements of bandits formed around them. Through them, we make our way through the spacious city streets in the best format that the game is capable of, there we get an upgrade (in my case, a rocket launcher), we go to a holographic simulation, where we are taught how to properly use a new toy, and then we go out – and make our way back to exit through even more opponents, substituted for our shots.

Everything is clear, everything is fun, no questions asked. Unlike story missions.

Under-Borderlands, Re-Borderlands

There can be no doubt about what served as the main reference point for game designers. Remember the earliest screenshots of Borderlands before the game was given a comic book style with strokes? This game is made by Avalanche. Realistic, but crazy and overreaching post-apocalypse.

About the excess, I’m serious: the game is trying to be disgusting, vulgar, deliberately terrible. Instead of the charming Moxxi, here is a parody of her: a flabby old woman dressed as a cabaret girl. Her henchmen are naked slaves with obscene movements and ugly masks on their faces.

At the same time, the dialogues are trying to be bold, sharp and impetuous, but they do not pull at all. So far, the script, characters, and briefings are the most unfortunate part of the game. They would definitely have to be squandered, if not for a rather amusing storyline.

For example, I managed to complete three missions in which I became the star of a bloody show on local television, won races and climbed to the top of the city for titles to the main moneybag of the city in order to fall from the top of the tower into the basement with a locked overgrown mutant. In a brief retelling and at the level of screensavers, scenery, images, it is really funny.

But the dialogues, the world and everything else seem so unnecessary and meaningless! When you walk around the city, literally everyone you meet tries to give you a task to clear a random point on the map. And the texts of these tasks of the universe are simply not needed – primitive, not funny enough. Thank God, the “Skip” button invitingly signals that you can press it and go have fun.

What awaits in the secondary quest is clear: the mechanics are tuned specifically for the “medium range”, when there is a dump of port containers or a small arena with shelters and hills where you can climb, where you can jump, where you can have fun with a rocket launcher. But during the story missions, the authors are clearly trying to move away from the basic part of the game and add variety.

Sometimes it can be weird – for example, there is an arena on a TV show where electric pendulums kill enemies before they reach you. Sometimes it’s inconvenient: in cramped corridors, the potential of local “abilities” is not revealed. But the authors are clearly trying to make the story missions interesting in every way, and the campaign is exactly the opposite of the open world in the best sense. She wants to see it to the end.

***

From the preview, you may get the impression that the game is drawn to the “Prokhodnyak”, but this is not so. She really really wants to be scolded – for unnecessary races with weak car physics, for the fact that absolutely every aspect of it (be it pink, madness, open world or parody characters) has already been done better. But this is the paradox: with a very average level of performance, RAGE 2 is a good alternative to everything, and it bypasses many direct competitors on secondary points.

Will it turn out to be a not very interesting open world compared to Far Cry? But not a single “sandbox” gives such shooting mechanics. Unhappy against the background of the “board”? But there is something to do in addition to the “grind” and the plot. Not DOOM? So there are not so many hours of gameplay. And it is precisely the high “arithmetic mean” that RAGE 2 will cover in the absence of strong competitors.

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