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For The Fans, By The Fans.  Look Beyond The Mainstream.
Dylan Moran is right: overweight gamers litter my generation. They have beer guts, live
in basements, and dress like teenagers. And there’s quite a bit of them at Gamestop
on Monday night.

I’m in line at ten till midnight, zoning out to the wall of used Xbox games, twisting and
crumpling my reserve sales receipt for
Rage, id Software’s latest foray into the post-
apocalyptic shooter. I’ve never been to a midnight release, but I sure fit right in. Behind
me two different groups of friends plan their pending all-night gaming sessions. One
laments the couch he’ll sleep on in six hours. Others laugh at him. Most are drinking
coffee from the gas station down the road. These are my people. And I want nothing
to do with them. Just give me
Rage so I can go back to my hole, Gamestop.

I didn’t make it until six in the morning, but I did get a good couple hours of
Rage in
before I passed out that night. It would ultimately take me just three sittings to finish
the game, or about six to seven hours of running and gunning and driving and playing
cards and five finger fillet.

Rage doesn’t take many risks when it comes to the premise. A comet has crashed
into Earth but luckily right before it hits a few of us scientist types cryo-freeze
ourselves and wake up a century later only to find a world full of raiders, mutants,
and little settlements full of weirdoes who like to wear tires on their heads. I know,
I know, kind of familiar, huh?  
Fallout 3 anybody?

To be fair, Bethesda is distributing
Rage, so the similarities almost seem funny (in
fact, you can find
Fallout 3 references in Rage), but all the same this game fatigues
me. I’ve had enough of the end times. Honestly. How many different yet similar ways
can the world end, video game industry? Does it all have to be so damned bleak?
Well no, not at all, says
Rage. These end times are kinda fun, really. Chipper, even.
The pallet is very colorful and pseudo-cartoony. The folks here have quite a bit of
whimsy. This is the kooky fun end times, not the drab, depressing, always brown end
times of
Fallout 3. It plays like Willy Wonka survived the apocalypse and ran around
throwing glitter on all the rubble. The NPCs are super unique and vibrant—I never saw
a cookie cutter NPC, and even the mobs here look unique. This is about as perky and
fun as the end times get.

The stunning graphics here really need a special mention. I found myself staring up
and marveling at the damn clouds, for heaven’s sake. These graphics give us a
legitimate window through which we can confidently see what the next generation of
games will have to offer. I also felt like I was getting a good preview of just some of
what
Bioshock Infinite has in store for us.

Is this all to say
Rage is better than Fallout 3? Hell no. Rage has a few problems, like
its ridiculously short playthrough time, and its half-assed attempts at being a sandbox
instead of a shooter. I wanted to shoot, but in order to shoot, I’d often have to take silly
vehicle trips or race or play cards or whatever instead. This game promises a gigantic
world, full of possibility and options, and then it ends.  After a few upgrades and some
damn fun shootouts, it just ends. We get about a quarter of the game we paid for.
A shooter can and often does get away with a six to seven hour play time, but a
shooter/sandbox with revolutionary graphics and tons of weapon options should
know better.

Rage is an amazing game. And it kind of sucks. Bethesda did a great job hyping this
thing (hence my presence at Gamestop on a Monday night), but it’s clear they have
other, more important things on its release schedule (ahem, um,
Skyrim.
Now. Please.).
REPORT CARD: RAGE
Graphics/Presentation:
No, really. Want to know what the PS4 will look like when it’s
playing average games? Take a look or two at
Rage.
A

Sound: Plenty of goodness here. Fun voice acting,
awesome atmospherics, suspenseful score.
B+

Gameplay: A shooter? A sandbox? Nah. Not really either.
B-

Story: Fallout 3 meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Awfully disappointing and unrealistic narrative.
C

Replayability:
I had the opportunity to play this game for quite a while before
writing this review. My second visit to
Rage was quite pleasing,
and yields some solid replay value.
A-

Overall: Rage is an overhyped mess in many ways, but it offers a great
preview of what’s to come in the next generation of gaming. I would have
appreciated a tighter script and a more immersive
shooter experience.
B
Against The Dying Of The Light
Written By J.W. Shumate
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Background and images courtesy of
id Software via
www.rage.com