Videos Games 2011: Rage

PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC
1-Player Shooter (Multiplayer TBA)
By: id Software
Release: September 13, 2011

Agoraphobes would be upset about the direction id's taking with its most recent shooter, Rage, but the rest of us could not be more pleased. Instead of developing yet another corridor shooter, the company is dismantling the walls and presenting its first wide-open experience. It is id, nevertheless, so don't await placid glades, lush fields, and serene spaces. The world could be a more open place, but it's been scourged by the lingering effects of a meteor hit and caught up

with a fascist regime and rampaging mutants. Good thing you have your guns.

Players have an arsenal of weapons in Rage, and they are a bit more specialized than the "pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher" guide we've become used to. The wingstick is a razor-edged boomerang that takes out limbs (and heads) with aplomb. Handguns can fire an assortment of ammo types, like electric rounds that provide a disastrous jolt to enemies unfortunate enough to be dealing the same puddle. Engineer objects can also be deployed, like a bomb-equipped RC car or spider-like turrets. Players cobble these things alongside scavenged spare parts, and id says blueprints for new items are spread out all over the world.

The game's engine, id Tech 5, makes exploration an optical treat. The engine's largest bullet point is also the easiest one

to spot. The game's world has been crafted employing megatextures, which affords the studio's artists to create fields by hand without falling back to smaller, repeating textures. The demo's opening surface area, set in a wide canyon, exhibits the tech to excellent effect. The area is full of rocky outcroppings, steep walls and boulders and it uses a stunning quantity of variety. Areas truly look unique, without the unusual quilted quality that other games with large worlds often fall back to. That was demonstrated best in a level that was shown for the first time. The Dead City is a place normally off-limits to survivors. It's basically a ruined downtown center that's been domesticated by mutants. The palette is almost overpoweringly gray, but structurally it's sensational. Walking down the cracked asphalt street you will see collapsed parking garages and more than a few buildings that seemed as if they would fall at the slightest aggravation. After tearing along a grenade-launching creature the size of a Fallout 3 supermutant, the worst was still not over. The demonstration ended having a glimpse of a mutant huge enough to span the two-lane street with ease. If that's what we are up against, it's certainly good that we have some room to run.

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