I had an opportunity to check out Rage 2, a collaboration between Id Software and Avalanche Studios, at a Los Angeles preview event a couple weeks ago. Many people weren’t sure what to think when they revealed the game back at E3 2018, and nobody was sure why Bethesda decided to bring this franchise back after the release of Rage in the previous generation. However, this is an id Software game, so if you are a fan of first-person shooters and their games, in particular, you’ll have fun in Rage 2.
In Rage 2, you play as a Walker, who you can choose to either be a male or female. The main crux of the story is that you are after General Cross, who at the start of the game, attacks the place where you live and murders your family. In order to get to him, you’ll have to go after something called Project Dagger. In order to obtain it, you will be taking on missions and activities from three different characters. After introducing yourself to each of the characters, you’re free to tackle whichever mission or activity you like. The game is structured around Project Dagger and the three characters.
The game is organized similarly to Just Cause 4 in that it revolves around some project that you have to complete, and characters in the world provide activities you have to do to achieve your goal. You can tell that the open world aspects of the game and the progression comes from the Avalanche Studios side of things. Activities throughout the game include bandit camps, exploration area, convoys, arks, Mutant Bash TV, and races. Each activity is tied to one of the three characters and completing them will increase each character’s operation level, which unlocks new skills. You are incentivized to complete activities and progress a character’s level to get the skills you want, although whether you actually do everything or just focus on the skills and upgrades you want is solely up to you.
To travel around the overworld, you will have access to the Phoenix, which is Walker’s default car. You can upgrade the Phoenix with your typical upgrades or you can get another car to fill your garage. These other vehicles are not upgradable like the Phoenix but they provide a different way to travel around the world of Rage 2.
One of the main things that will differentiate Rage 2 from the first game is the world. The team wanted to make sure that this game felt different from the first, and one of the ways they accomplished this was to set it 30 years after the first Rage. The other way was to introduce different biomes throughout the world. Each part of the map will feel distinct from one another. One area is more of a desert while the another is more like a tropical forest. In each area, you will encounter different factions that you’ll have to fight as well, with weapons and more importantly, the abilities, which is another feature that makes Rage 2 its own.
The abilities of Rage 2 are the cornerstone of the combat. You will get abilities such as the slam which allows you to jump and smash down on your enemies; the push ability can generate a force that can eviscerate an enemy and turn them into mush or push them away from you; the vortex ability is a grenade that will suck everything around it and then explode like a grenade; and you also have access to a barrier that can deflect enemy fire or cause enemies to explode if you can knock them into it.
You will also have access to a variety of weapons that each will have a unique alternate firing option. The shotgun can be used to fire someone quite a distance, while the pistol can fire off a burst of rounds or one round at a time. The wingstick also makes a return to the series, and has been upgraded so you can bend it around corners, Wanted style. In addition to the alternate fire, each weapon you get is unique in the ways you can use it. The hyper cannon fires rounds into an enemy and then flings them in either a direction or to other enemies. It’s a lot of fun and allows for a lot of experimentation, again, similar to the Just Cause series and its different gadgets.
The weapons and abilities are tied into a combo meter. Utilizing different combinations of abilities can build up overdrive, which boosts Walker and allows him to go crazy with each ability and weapon.
Rage 2 is extremely fun, and while some of the open world elements seem similar to other titles, they provide enough incentive to seek them out, an engaging backdrop while you enjoy what many might say is the best part of the game: the combat. Tim Willits put it very simply, “If you enjoyed Doom 2016, play this. You’ll be good.”