Rage

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #27 in PC Games

Posted

Pros: Varied gameplay, stable framerates, promising game engine

Cons: Low resolution textures (update has been promised), static sky, still some texture pop-in after first patch, lack of atmosphere

Having played a little over 12h30 of the single player campaign, I think I'm qualified to share my thoughts on the game. I've been playing games made by id Software since the days of Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3d, and I've spent some quality time over the years playing games either made by or published by id Software. And judging by all the accolades RAGE got from it's E3 preview, it looked like RAGE, with it's brand new id Tech® 5 engine, would deliver what many expected to be a serious candidate for the game of the year award. So, does it deliver ? Not really. Here is why:


Graphics and physics:


id's brand new Tech® 5 engine is something of a bizarre thing as of this writing. It promises the following:
Quote:
Graphics that have to be seen to be believed – Powered by id’s cutting-edge new id Tech® 5 engine, new Megatexture technology brings the vast wasteland to life in never-before- possible detail with action running at an astounding 60 frames per second.

The fact however is that the game for the PC is still pretty much a barely polished version of what the consoles got. For starters, the sky is static, and that, combined with the low resolution textures that can be seen in almost all objects throughout the game, ruins the atmosphere. While you are out in the Wasteland, you can hear the wind, but the sky is made up of a panoramic picture of the sky. It doesn't add up. Just for comparison, Crysis has a dynamic sky, and the only way you can make it revert to a static sky is to lower all the graphical settings to low. But you just have to increase the shaders to medium and you get back the dynamic sky. And this was four years ago.

Truth be told, the sky is much higher quality than the static sky you can observe in many Call of Duty games, but it's still static. This is what it looks like (click each picture to enlarge):

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And, of course, because this is a picture, this is what happens:

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When it comes to the promised mega texture, it may be doing it's work around the Wasteland, but it's not really doing anything to improve the objects' quality. John Carmack already aknowledged that they screwed up the launch of RAGE for the PC and an update is coming to bring high resolution textures to the game. As of the writing of this review, the update still hasn't arrived. You can find a thread over at the Steam forums with examples of low resolution textures, so I'll just leave a few here. A few games from 2004 have better textures than RAGE.

375

One of the disconcerting things about it, as you can see, it that next to low resolution objects, like the gas can and the lamp, you'll find highly detailed objects, in this case a weapon, or in many others, a character. This huge discrepancy also helps break the immersion.

The game is 25 GB big, but I sense that it should have been 50 GB for the PC (and it probably will once the update is available). Some objects like phones or this TV appear in other places and since the model is low resolution, this is what you will find throughout the game (also notice the extreme texture compression clearly visible on the TV and the stand it's on - click to enlarge):

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One of the many examples of low resolution textures:

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Also, physics is something that is lacking. If you shoot an object, it won't break or shatter. It will just display a slight sign of damage from the shot, and even that sign will disappear after a few seconds, making it even more disconcerting. Even Return to Castle Wolfenstein, from 2001 (!) has better physics than this. But it's not only small objects.

Even cars can look terrible:

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This one is just opposite to the guy you can buy stuff for your cars in the first city you get to visit.

But then, showing that RAGE is capable of the best, this is how your buggy looks like with updated wheels. The shock absorbers still look like crap, but the wheels look very nice.

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Also, as of this writing, even with the first game patch and the latest Nvidia drivers (285.79 Beta), and having GPU transcode enabled in the settings, there is still some texture pop-in in many places, which is also disconcerting because the game is not using anywhere near the VRAM limit of my GTX480.

With everything maxed out at 1680x1050 and AA at 4x, it uses at max 780MB of VRAM; if I use 8x AA, it jumps into the 800's and into the 900's if I set AA at 16x. From a visual point of view 4x and 8x look virtually the same, and there is no noticeable impact on GPU usage between both. 16x however makes things look a bit blurry and it adds GPU load, but it doesn't reach 70% GPU usage. Taking this into consideration, I game at 4x AA, which sees GPU usage around the 30's %, with room to spare on CPU usage too (less than 70% globally, on my Q9550 at 3.4 Ghz), all with constant 60 fps.

As I was saying, the engine algorithm needs to be revised, as it is too quick to (unnecessarily) remove textures from VRAM that just went off screen and then not quick enough to put them back as soon as you turn around, making the re-texturing visible.

This is to say that the engine still needs some polishing, along with better textures and a dynamic sky for it to truly shine. As it is, it can already produce some very nice visuals like this one, which is almost photorealistic:

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If only the game looked this consistently good (and from all distances)...


Character animation:

As I said earlier, the characters are quite detailed. In some cases they could be better, but I'd say it's pretty much acceptable all-round. And the character animations are quite good, with good lip-syncing. There is however a problem which is noticeable in some characters: when it stops saying what it has to say, there is no smooth transition to it's idle state, and it's clearly noticeable, again breaking the immersion. You can first notice it when you talk to the lady that is sitting next to an ill character in the first stages of the game. You can also clearly see it with your mechanic in the first city (in the garage / workshop where you are first able to store all your vehicles).


Sound:

Sound is another area that fails to create atmosphere. id didn't know how to manage silence in this game. There is always some generic and generally forgettable (I can only remember of one particular piece that is quite good) music as background to your actions, and it's not even very dynamic at it, as it just loops, with the same problem I wrote above with the characters: you can clearly hear the transition when it starts again, which is also something that breaks immersion.


Gameplay:

The game does not reinvent the wheel, but I'd say it is quite competent at what it does, mixing FPS with driving armored cars (makes me remember Death Track from the early nineties) and some RPG elements. You can also build many different kinds of objects from parts you can collect or buy, in order to help you achieve certain things, like destroy a door lock or build an R/C car with explosives that you can guide to your desired destination.

The weapon selection for both your character and your cars is good, and having quick slots for secondary types of weapons / defense for both (character and cars) also adds up to making a good gameplay experience, altough you will find some gameplay elements / tasks a bit repetitive, which ties in with the lackluster story in general.

I haven't played the co-op or multiplayer part of the game, but that part is reserved to driving only, so you miss out on the FPS part of the game.


Misc.:

At the time of writing, and after the first patch and driver updates (I'm only speaking for Nvidia drivers), there is no show stopping bug, altough I should mention some annoyances: you can't skip the first three screens with the Bethesda, id and engine,etc, even after you have started the game many times. Usually games only make it mandatory the first time, and then you can hit a key to skip the next time you start the game.

Also, sometimes the V-sync turns itself off the next time you start the game (edit: I have noticed it happens all the time if you pause the game and let the screensaver kick in. The game will always return with V-sync off). I have no idea why it happens, but the fix is simple: just go into the menu and enable it again.

Another annoyance is that the mouse moves incredibly fast in the 'accept mission' dialogues. It doesn't happen in all types of dialogues/menus though. I remember this happening with the game Dead Space, and it is quite annoying. It doesn't happen in the main menu, for example or when you press Tab to acess the in-game menu, altough it does not feel as precise as when you are on the desktop. This is all probably due to a lack of polish for the PC version of the game.

And lastly, when you alt-tab out of the game, the desktop retains the resolution you are gaming at. It goes back to normal when you exit the game though. For people that game with a different resolution than their desktop like me, it can be an annoyance. This is probably a driver problem though. I have to say that, despite this minor problem, alt-tabbing works fine otherwise and the game never crashed.


Conclusion:


All in all, the new id engine is still not showing it's best in the current RAGE version. Carmack promised a texture update and other updates in the future too, so who knows what the game will look like in a few months.

From a gameplay perspective, the game is certainly very playable, with many types of enemies and interesting choice of weapons and upgrades, but there are also many things that break immersion, like the low resolution textures, the texture pop-in, the static sky, the almost constant soundtrack (silence, with just natural sounds - wind, water and other noises - is also a great way to create atmosphere, but id didn't do any major exercises on that), character transitions and in general an uninspiring storyline, make RAGE an enjoyable game, but you end up with the feeling that it could have been much more. Not worth the full asking price as it is now, but future updates might make it worth it. I got it on Steam with a 33% discount, which, after a little over 12h30 of consideration, feels like a more reasonable price to pay for it.

Posted

Pros: Wonderful shooting mechanics, environments, guns, fun factor, mini-games.

Cons: Short, poor textures, disappointing story.

I think RAGE is the first game I would think of when it comes to untapped potential. The shooting mechanics and guns are an absolute blast. I really can't think of a modern FPS that has more pure fun factor in the shooting department, and a lot of that has to do with the weapon designs and modding. The games environments look great from afar, but the textures being so poor up close makes you almost forget how great it looks far away.

The story was short, uncreative, and disappointing. Had the game been more like a Fallout style game I actually think it would have been much better. You can easily explore everything in the game within 30 hours or less, unlike Fallout which would take you hundreds of hours. I know they weren't exactly targeting Fallout 3 for direct comp, but as I said I think it would have been a much better game had they tried to mimic it more.

The racing is fun and feels like it's meant to be there. The game in general has a bunch of decently fun mini-games, like the card game. They could have made the card game even deeper, but I still enjoyed it. Reminded me of Final Fantasy VIII's card game if anyone remembers that.

I would still recommend this game, especially now that it is cheap.. who knows you could enjoy it all the way through ( as short as it may be ) like me. A few different design concepts in world scale ( like fallout ), better textures, and this could have been the game to beat.

Posted

Rage Trailer

 

 

Story : A meteor hits earth and few human survivors are left. And those survivors build new settlements and try to live their life but are always under threat by the dangers of the wasteland.

 

Graphics : Most of the times, I truly enjoyed RAGE's graphics quality. Weather its outside or inside, they did a very good job on most of the texture quality, lighting effects etc. What I really liked about it especially was that the game was GPU usage friendly as you do not really need a very strong machine to run the game on a eye candy level. My 670 handled the game at 60 fps stable without any drops at 1440p resolution. I only used 2X Anti Aliasing but everything else was maximized and my GPU usage was around 30% most of the time. Also the wasteland at times look beautiful. Weather it is a destroyed mall, or a giant 5 star hotel being destroyed to ashes, it really gives you the feeling that you are in a wasteland.  Only thing bad about the graphics was the late loading of the textures as this gave me the feeling of owning a console. It is not a deal breaker but it sometimes annoys you.

 

Gameplay : Gameplay is your basic FPS. You gun and shoot, also drive at times to go to various locations. There are around 9 different guns in the game, and each gun is effective against a certain enemy type. The shotgun is especially fun to use in close quarter combat situations where you are surrounded my mutants who want nothing else but to kill you. The death animations of most of the characters are also a delight to watch. But more than that I loved how the enemies used the environment to their advantage to climb, jump or cover. 

 

The driving in the game is mediocre though. I didn't really enjoy driving around the wasteland much as it was dull. Killing bandit cars is not a boring thing to do, but definitely not the highlight of the game as well. There are also different mini games within the game. Such as an arena like TV Show program, tracks where you can race with the AI, a simple roll the dice kind of a board game, a card game that is actually quiet fun, and a guitar hero type of a game where you have to follow the pushed arrows on the screen and repeat it with the same sequence. For those of you who want to play the card game and get better, be sure to find new cards for your decks in various missions. In other words, take a good look at your surrounding and pick up anything shiny. The game also allows you to do some basic engineering. You gather blueprints, and some parts, than by accessing the inventory, you can just build a bandage, a EMP grenade, a lock grinder etc.

 

Things I did not like about the gameplay were basically how you couldn't pick up guns from dead enemies (although you can gather ammo or money) and how the game was not too challenging. There are 4 game modes and I played in the hard mode (though there was a higher mod available) and i rarely died and had to reload the game. Speaking of dying, when you die in the game you can resurrect yourself in about 3-4 seconds via charging your heart. The more precise the charging is, the more health you gain after resurrection.

 

Length : The single player experience, at hard settings with many side missions took me about 11 hours to complete. Not a lengthy game but it is not a very short game either.

 

Sound : This is the only department that gave me major issues. The sound effects are nice, but nice if you can hear them. There are at times where sound is missing from the game. Imagine you started running but hearing your footsteps 3 second later. The sound does not disappear totally of course, but some of the environment sound does. Sometimes enemy gun fire sound is also missing as well, also when you drive your car, again you hear the engine sound 3-4 seconds later which really kills the game at times.

 

Multiplayer : Well to be honest I just entered the multiplayer of the game one time, and did not pay too much attention to it, but as far as I understood you can always play coop with a friend over the internet. Now I did not have any friends with RAGE so I couldn't test it, but it seems that you actually play a different story with different missions instead of the game itself.

 

Replay Value : Well it has been perhaps a year since the game came out, and there are no DLCs available as the game was not a great success so I can't imagine myself playing this game again. 1 single ride is probably all you will experience with this game, but trust me, it will be a fun ride nevertheless.

 

Verdict : I always wanted to purchase this game when I heard about it last year, but it was plagued with lots of issues for many people so I decided to wait a little bit. I can not recall most of the issues other people had right now, but besides the sound issue I had, I never experienced a major problem with graphics quality (besides late texture loading), nor a problem with the game crashing on me (never happened), nor a problem with achieving stable 60 fps. Developers either patched the game very well, and Nvidia came out with nice drivers for it, or I was very lucky. Therefor for me RAGE was a really fun single player ride with some nice combat moments. The game is currently at $20 bucks at Steam and I would personally not buy it for this price if you have other games to play. I, myself, bought the game with a 75% sale on steam and paid $5 and couldn't be happier. If you are a sucker for single player FPS games though, you may want to pay around $10 for this game as well. Just have your eyes opened, as this game will probably always be on sale from time to time.

 

Screenshots : Below are links for some 2560x1440p quality screenshots I took. Take a look at them if you want to see the quality of the graphics.

 

http://www.overclock.net/t/1291882/1440p-and-above-gaming-club-1440p/1580#post_18725454

 

http://www.overclock.net/t/1291882/1440p-and-above-gaming-club-1440p/1590#post_18733231

 

Rage
Description:

RAGE is a groundbreaking first-person shooter set in the not-too-distant future after an asteroid impacts Earth, leaving a ravaged world behind. You emerge into this vast wasteland to discover humanity working to rebuild itself against such forces as bandit gangs, mutants, and the Authority – an oppressive government regime that has a special interest in you in particular. Featuring intense first-person shooter action, breakneck vehicle combat, an expansive world to explore and jaw-dropping graphics powered by id's revolutionary id Tech 5 technology, RAGE promises an experience like no other. Fearing a planet-wide extinction from a massive asteroid headed towards Earth, world leaders are faced with the inexorable task of ensuring human survival. Left with few alternatives, life-sustaining pods filled with select people are buried deep beneath the earth's surface. You are one of the chosen members of these modern day arks and abruptly enter the RAGE universe after surfacing alone. Leaving you to your own devices to stay alive in a world filled with those who prefer you dead, RAGE combines powerful storytelling with heart-pounding action.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingVideo Game
BrandBethesda
EAN0093155117457
EditionStandard
ESRB Age RatingMature
FeatureGraphics that have to be seen to be believed - Powered by id's cutting-edge new id Tech 5 engine, new Megatexture technology brings the vast wasteland to life in never-before- possible detail with action running at an astounding 60 frames per second.
FormatDVD-ROM
Genreshooter_action_games
Hardware PlatformPc
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Height0.6 inches
Length7.5 inches
Weight0.25 pounds
Width5.3 inches
LabelBethesda
LanguagesEnglish
List Price$59.99
ManufacturerBethesda
Model11745
MPN11745
Operating SystemWindows Vista, Windows XP
Package Quantity1
PlatformWindows XP
Product GroupVideo Games
Product Type NameSOFTWARE_GAMES
PublisherBethesda
Release Date2011-10-04
SKU578339-093155117457-11745
StudioBethesda
TitleRage
UPC093155117457
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC