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Rage review



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Our Score:



  • Bleeding-edge graphics
  • Immersive world and fascinating mix of styles
  • Classic iD action at the core


  • Some gameplay elements fall slightly flat
  • Oddly old-fashioned
  • Lacks the big drama of rival FPS blockbusters

iD Software is no ordinary developer. Time and again, it’s a company that has pushed the boundaries of graphics technology, first with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, then Quake, Quake II, Quake III, Doom 3 and the ‘megatexture’ tech behind Quake Wars: Enemy Territory. As a result, we expect something ground-breaking from a new iD release, particularly when it’s the debut of a new graphics engine and a new IP – not to mention the company’s first major solo-developed title for over seven years.

And in many respects Rage delivers. While iD Tech 5 faces some stiff competition from the graphics tech powering Gears of War III. Crysis 2, Killzone 3, Battlefield 3 and Uncharted 3, it’s still an incredibly impressive piece of work. Rage’s post-apocalyptic landscapes are spectacularly detailed, beautifully lit and packed with truly awesome levels of clutter and debris. While the characters are clearly hand-animated, not motion-captured, they’re just as lovingly rendered. If iD Tech 5 isn’t the huge step forwards that the Doom, Quake III or Doom III engines were in there time, then it’s still responsible for one of the most sumptuous looking games on the current crop of consoles.

However, there’s one thing we tend to forget about iD’s games: they’ve not always been as polished as the engines. While we might look back now with rose-tinted specs on Quake and Doom 3, the former was an incoherent mess with moments of stunning grandeur, while the latter gave us such joys as a flashlight you couldn’t use while aiming weapons and the notorious monster closets – rooms and chambers which seemed to spawn hell-spawn as if from nowhere.

Now, Rage is a little different. It’s been hyped, buffed and polished for an awfully long time, so maybe you can’t blame some critics for feeling a little underwhelmed by the finished article. However, it’s actually a better all-round game than either Quake or Doom 3, and probably the strongest single-player title iD has put out since Quake II. Sure, the storyline is a little sketchy and it’s all a bit quaint and old-fashioned, but it’s a game that’s rich in ideas, that comes based in a fascinating setting, and that boasts some of the most satisfying shooter action we’ve seen in ages.

There’s no need to talk too much over the premise. You’re some kind of nano-engineered super-soldier of the future, frozen in suspended animation, then sent into orbit in an Ark-ship to ensure that humanity survives an imminent asteroid collision. Some years later you find yourself back on Earth, you’re comrades all dead and the world transformed. Your particular stretch of Earth is now a desert, populated by bandit gangs, mutants and fragile settlements and well-defended townships. Some people want to help you, more people want to kill you, and some mysterious force known as The Authority wants you captured and probably dead. It’s a strange world, mixing elements of Mad Max with hints of Cyberpunk and high-tech sci-fi, but it’s an increasingly fascinating one to explore.

Where iD’s previous games have been linear, story-led shooters, Rage is a weird kind of hybrid. It takes place in an open world, traversed by armed buggies and quad-bikes. It has RPG elements. The characters you meet will send you on quests, and the game has simplified systems for crafting healing items, ammo types, explosives and a ton of miscellaneous equipment. Rage moonlights as a vehicle combat game and racing game, with events to win, upgrades to fit and plenty of four-wheeled bandits to blast, yet it’s at its best when it returns to iD’s shooter heritage.


October 7, 2011, 8:39 pm

To my dismay, the PC version seems to suffer from a few technical issues. The frame rate produced by my mid-spec machine (QX9650, HD5850, SSD) is excellent, better than expected even, but low-res textures, screen tearing and texture pop-in spoil it a bit. Hopefully iD will sort this out in due course, but it's a little disappointing coming from the people who invented the PC FPS.

I blame the consoles :)

Another thing - is it just me or is it becoming increasingly difficult to pre-order a game based on a review? Are strict NDA conditions forcing reviewers to publish their reviews only after release?


October 7, 2011, 9:20 pm

What games platform(s) did you use to play and review this game?

Come on guys, this is really basic stuff.


October 7, 2011, 10:29 pm

The PC build is terribly broken so Im guessing you guys were reviewing a console version, as id intended.

I bought the PC for the enhanced visuals and it sure does look great until you touch the mouse and keyboard. Texture pop-in and really quite savage screen tear await!


October 8, 2011, 11:12 pm

If you're having technical issues, here are a few things to check:


If you're using an AMD card, they released a driver update yesterday that has improved things for me. It's a few days newer than the one currently listed on this page:


If you've got 1GB of memory on your card, try these settings in Steam's 'Launch options'.

+r_swapInterval 1 +vt_pageImageSizeUnique 8192 +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly 8192 +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly2 8192

This has *almost* eradicated screen tear and texture pop for me, and the textures look a bit better too.


October 9, 2011, 2:26 am

There were some problems with ATi cards on the game's release. ATi has now released a preview driver that fixes many of these problems. You might like to try it out to see if it improves your experience:


October 9, 2011, 3:52 pm

I have the PC version. The texture fill/pop-in issues are horrendous. Every sharp turn is greeted with them. Saw the PS3 version and no problems at all. Nice one ID/NVidia/AMD, PC gaming is suffering enough as it is without this being considered as "fit for release".


October 9, 2011, 10:58 pm

Yeah, thanks. I'd found this after a bit of googling.

id have now released an update which increases the texture cache size, allows the user to turn on vsync and fixes a few animation bugs. Together with the new drivers, this pretty much fixes all of the major issues, as long as your machine is up to it.

The low-res textures are an issue with the game design though. I've read somewhere that id may release a high-res texture patch at some point.


October 10, 2011, 2:12 pm

Hi all. The review was based on the Xbox 360 version, though I have played chunks of the PS3 version as well. The 360 version was the one we were offered for review - and the one I suspect most published reviews have been based on. Whether this was because iD were aware of the issues numerous people have picked up – both here and on other forums – is not really something I can speculate on, but I would say that it's generally getting harder to get hold of PC code before launch, presumably due to fears surrounding leaks and piracy.

In future, we'll make it clear which version has been tested. Thanks, as always, for the feedback.


October 30, 2011, 4:36 am


The game update reduced the texture pop-in/fill issue but its not entirely eliminated.

But for those thinking this is just a problem for PC gamers think again. I had a more involved play on the PS3 version and it has the texture fill issue in spades. So the xbox must have them as well? Granted it isn't quite as obvious as it is on the PC but it is very easy to see it - and I have to say that graphically this game is beaten quite easily by other PS3 titles that suffer none of these problems.

As for the game itself, I've gotten a fair way into it now and I have to say it's not really that special. Sure, the combat part of the game is great - something ID have always been good at - but the driving part is probably best described as super mario kart in a post-apocalyptic world. It is monotonous, only broken by the equally monotonous encounters with the bandit vehicles. The car control is basic to say the least. Sorry, but this game is nowhere near 8/10. I rated it 5/10 on metacritic, where the gamers are really going to town on it.

I expected so much more from the grandfathers of fps. Sadly, this feels like a corporate cash in and a poor one at that.

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