RAGE Preview: More than just a sandbox shooter
One of the big stories of the year is likely to be RAGE, the upcoming epic post-apocalyptic shooter from ID software. At first glance this shooter seems to smack of typical apocalyptic tales, but in fact it's much, much more. Instead of a feeble grocery-getter style RPG like Borderlands, RAGE brings all the fast and dicey spats without the tedious point to point errands.
Set in 2036, the story begins after our trusty man-steed of a protagonist emerges from a vault style 'ark' alongside the rich and famous who are now off to repopulate a planet decimated by a runaway rock... as if those yuppies weren't lucky enough before the impact. Rest assured though, the 'arks' luckily aren't some cultish concoction of Heavens Gate so you'll even be lucky enough to pop out with your balls in tact.
Building RAGE from a tired storyline such as this is like a star quarterback making a predictable move right out of the box. Even so we will let I.D. off easy with a light hazing and go right back to watching what they do best, and that is making sickeningly sweet games.
In conjunction with ID, Zenimax (a Bethesda sister company- stepping forward once EA pulled the plug) will be tagging along for the ride using a very new and very adaptable ID Tech 5 engine for the game's beautification. How is the engine important to the vast majority of folks who roll their eyes at such nerdy vernacular? Well this handy bit of software is charged with the task of minimizing the burdens of texture rendering, making it a welcome addition to many a developer's desktop. All it takes is one look at this game and it's evident the new engine will be smoothing the gaming experience for a while to come; unless ID decides to be stingy with their new toy.
Gameplay wise, ID is making a conscious deviation from the linear style shoot-em up progression of Doom or Quake and transitioning to a more adaptable experience. The aforementioned engine will sprinkle a bit of a bloody unpredictability into the mix with an all new method of presenting murderous opportunities. Instead of the same mutant creepily wheezing in the same corner at the same time every time, the dead men walkin' will adhere to characteristic behaviors created by the AI. They therefore will act in a manner conducive to what one would see appropriate to that type of enemy. For example, the fat guys will be slow and hard to take down while the little wily guys are quick and erratic. Appropriate AI programming enables the ruthless bad guys to blend seamlessly into the environment as they interact with objects, swing from rafters, and bounce off the walls all before smashing your face.
Speaking of the environment, the world of RAGE is a mishmash of an open world and a cleverly designed layout. Don't' be mistaken though, there will be plenty of areas to explore. The open world concept has merely undergone a makeover through a careful tailoring to ensure the impression of nonstop action. Players are able to set out on foot and literally hit the dusty trails, or hop on in a MotorStorm style dune buggy shredding dirty NPC's all the way home.
Very few games bring everything to the table quite like RAGE does, and it will surely be exciting to see what's sat down at dinner time in front of glassy eyed fans. Hopefully shooter addicts won't cannibalize Borderlands all over again in an attempt to fill the void left by inferior fps's. Without a release date set in stone, keep yourself posted here for updates that are all the RAGE.
Read more about RAGE for the PS3.
Post Author: Coty Biggs
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