Rage Hands Off Preview - Rage... Against The Machine
Written Tuesday, May 04, 2010 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Awesome is the word. It's the word id Software's Tim Willits uses to introduce Rage and it crops up countless times during the demo, but nothing can prepare us for what we actually see once he fires up the studio's first game since Doom 3 for our viewing pleasure. Our initial reaction is, “this must be running on a high-end PC. It looks...well, awesome actually.”
Of course, the barren desert wastelands are filled with every type of reprehensible scum imaginable, from vicious, marauding mutants to unscrupulous, violent bandits - there are plenty of ugly, ragtag enemies to show the business end of your gun to. And of course, this being id, there is a variety of loud, brash weaponry in your arsenal and you can carry as many of them as you like as there's no encumbrance and therefore no limits when it comes to firepower.
A brief loading screen pops up, and within seconds we're in a bustling hive of activity, surrounded by a variety of colourful characters and ragged store fronts assembled from salvaged junk. Everywhere you look, there's someone doing something, whether it's Jackie Weeks offering you the opportunity to earn a race certificate, Ginny suggesting you buy some new duds or Dallas in Wellspring's rowdy bar seamlessly issuing an impromptu mission to gather bottles of water.
It's an environment dripping with detail and incidental audio, like the sound of flies buzzing around a flickering lightbulb or the chattering of the folk as they mill around. On a side note, the audio design in general is superlative, fully immersing you in Rage's atmospheric world. Next up, we're taken down into a water-refining plant manned by engineer Carlson, who wants us to enter the lower levels and clear out the bandits who have hijacked the well and are threatening to poison the water supply.
Beneath the surface - covered in the distinctive graffiti tags of the Ghost clan - the crossbow comes into play, with crackling electro bolts loaded into its chamber. Taking out groups of lurking mutants is a simple case of firing an electrified shot into the water they're standing in, frying them in an instant. Each of Rage's weapons will have different ammo types that you can use, and the electro bolts are just one example. You'll also have a range of gadgets in your arsenal such as radio-controlled cars with explosives strapped to them and crawling spider turrets that can be used more than once or salvaged for parts if they get damaged.
There's a very real sense that although Rage is very much an id game, Willits says that the team “didn't want to do another Doom or Wolfenstein,” and this looks as though it'll deliver on that promise by offering more in every department. The visuals look like concept art brought to startling life running at an ultra-smooth 60-frames per second, there's added depths in the upgrades and other details, and most importantly, the core shooting mechanics appear to be every bit as solid as you might expect, although it'll take a proper hands-on to actually gauge just how well Rage is shaping up in that department.