RAGE 2 Hands-On Preview – Colourfully Insane

The original RAGE had a lot of promise, but it ultimately fell over with an incredibly limiting open world (if you could call it that) as well as a story that left those who made it to the end feeling empty and wanting more.

Thankfully, RAGE is back and looks to make good on everything that the original left to desire all those years ago. The collaboration between id Software and Avalanche is an interesting one that seems to have paid off. The game feels like an Avalanche game with its open-world brilliance, but there’s that id style combat that you’d expect. The result is essentially insane action in a vast open-world, that also has a lot of id style corridor styled locations.

The game is set thirty years after the original game with your new character Walker who is the last range of a settlement called Vineland. Whilst the Authority were thought to be destroyed after the ending of the original game, they’re definitely back and badder than ever. The story is based on what has happened to the world in the last thirty years.

I got to go hands-on with a more closed in, combat-focused section of RAGE 2 at Avalanche Studios some weeks ago. The game felt familiar to a certain extent, but it’s clear that Avalanche Studios have put their own spin on what RAGE should be in 2018.

As you would have seen in the trailers released so far, the world is colourful. Gone are the fifty shades of brown, which are now replaced with luscious greens, vibrant purples and everything in between. The art style finally matches the kooky world of the first game, and if the sample of locations that were talked about (swamps, deserts, forests and water) are anything to go by, this world is actually going to be worth exploring, more so than the small sample that we were given in the last game.

Combat has also been given a complete overhaul. I got to play a short segment of the game to test out all of the new combat mechanics. The mission started in an open junkyard, with enemies coming at me from all directions from both above and below. After clearing these out, I was faced with an inside portion of the game that felt much more similar to that of the original RAGE, clearing out waves of enemies, to proceed to the final area.

The original RAGE felt quite repetitive in terms of the weaponry that you had to work with to take out hordes of enemies. Whilst the weapons are quite similar to what I played (pistol, shotgun, machine gun), the gunplay feels familiar (which is a good thing). There’s a bunch of other special abilities and combat techniques that Avalanche has built in to make the combat feel much faster paced and make your character feel much more powerful. Things such as an ability that allows you to send enemies flying with a wave of force, and another that literally allows you to pound the ground (which works reall well when you’re up above). Obviously, the wing stick is back here and feels just as good as it always did.

The game is very self-aware of the fact that you’re going to be killing wave after wave of enemies, which is why a combat meter, as well as the brand new Overdrive ability, has been introduced. Once you defeat a certain amount of enemies, you’ll go into Overdrive, which basically means that weapons (such as your shotgun and machine gun) don’t need to reload, so you can take out hordes of enemies much easier. As long as you’re killing enemies, you’ll remain in this mode. It’s every bit as colourful and batshit crazy as you’d expect.

Whilst I didn’t get to play both the open-world portion of the game, as well as the driving, I was shown a portion of live gameplay that got me excited to see more of the game. The driving didn’t look too dissimilar to that of Mad Max (which is a good thing), and the open-world locales looked interesting enough to the point that I was dying to explore. I was also assured that you could really tackle most missions in any order that you pleased, and if you came across a boss or horde of enemies that were just too hard to defeat, you could literally run away and tackle something else. I was told that, in essence, anything you can see in the world, can be visited, which is the polar opposite of the last game.

RAGE 2 has definitely got my interest. I can definitely feel parts of Avalanche’s portfolio of games, id’s shooting brilliance, but there’s a lot of the original RAGE in there too, so I’m incredibly intrigued to see how it all comes together next year.

Press Start flew to Avalanche Studios in Sweden as a guest of Bethesda to play RAGE 2.