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Rage - Gameplay and pacing

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


The quests, it turns out, are effectively FPS levels, pushing you through fairly linear environments, blasting away at whatever bandits, mutants or monsters stand in your way. In a way, it’s very old-school. Enemies tend to have two modes – hide, pop up and shoot or rush and attack – and there’s no cover system and no CPU-controlled allies to worry about (at least most of the time). The combat is fast-paced, visceral and compelling. iD doesn’t just know every trick in the book – it invented most of them – and there’s a certain pleasure in seeing all the hoary old shooter cliches, not to mention a few new ones, trotted out for what seems like the first time in years. Whether you’re pushing your way through the mutant-haunted ruins of a long-dead city or battling through a bloodthirsty post-apocalyptic game shot, the action rarely lets up for a second.

And there are some genuinely smart ideas in there. iD has kept the weapon count fairly minimal, but added interest with alternative ammo types, which can either be bought or made from scavenged items. With the aid of these a shotgun becomes a makeshift grenade launcher, or a crossbow bolt becomes a great way to slay whole groups; take electrified bolts and just add water. The weapons and ammo types make each successive battle even more entertaining, but the star of Rage is undoubtedly the wingstick. A triple-bladed smart boomerang, it can be hurled at foes with a click of a bumper, dispensing nasty decapitating or limb-severing doom to anyone in the way of the initial throw or the return. It says something for the ferocity of Rage’s combat that you'll be relying on the wingstick fairly often; with so many mutants to slay, even your average assault rifle can’t keep up.

It’s also worth mentioning that those bandits and mutants aren’t quite as dumb as they look. Some of the rushers prove to be highly agile, springing up walls or leaping over ledges to get up close and personal a bit faster than you’d like. Rage also does a nice line in sudden bursts through ceilings and walls. Combine excellent monster design – always an iD strength – with some fine shock-horror music and the well-staged, vicious pace of the attacks, and Rage does a great job of keeping even veteran shooter fans on their toes.

If it falls down anywhere, it’s in the open world aspects and the long-term pacing. Some of the side-missions are brilliant fun, but it’s a bit of a let down to see so many that send you back to previously-explored locales to confront a slightly different arrangement of mutants or bandits waiting for you. A handful of fetch quests feel a little cheap, and while there are useful rewards for going bandit-hunting or joining the local delivery service, actually doing so isn’t that much fun. Meanwhile, Rage suffers from a slight lack of the extraordinary set-pieces we’ve come to expect from shooters in the age of Gears of War, Resistance 3 and Modern Warfare, mistaking old-fashioned boss battles for dramatic high points. The tempo as a whole is a bit uneven, and while Rage delivers an exceptional beginning, it struggles to build towards a satisfying middle and end. It’s always very good, but just when you expect it to take things to another level, it doesn’t.

None of the above changes the fact that Rage is a hugely enjoyable shooter. Those of us who go misty-eyed over Doom and Quake II will play it happy that iD can still do what it does best, and do it better than many of its rivals. The more you explore, the more you fight and the more you play with the weapons,ammo types and equipment, the better it gets. There’s work iD could do make a Rage 2 even better, but then that’s exactly what it did before with Quake. This might not be the best or most revolutionary shooter of the year, but it’s a bloody good one, all the same.


Rage is a strange mix of cutting-edge tech and slightly retro gameplay, combining a number of game styles that don’t always 100% work. Yet the core combat is fantastic, the world itself is absorbing and the weapons and ammo combinations just get better the longer you play. While other recent shooters have done more to up the scale or change the genre, Rage is every bit as entertaining – and a must for long-term fans of iD’s games.

Overall Score



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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