Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Developer: id Software, Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC
R.R.G Score: 7/10
Rage 2 is a post apocalyptic first person shooter set in an open world sandbox, just like the first Rage was, but with a much bigger map. There has been some significant time between the two titles and that's probably a good thing because it gives some wiggle room for the story, with only a couple of tie-ins here and there from the first game, having to have played the first Rage isn't necessary.
From what I can remember at the end of the first Rage, when all the arks start popping up out of the ground, it made me think there would be this huge, beautiful story about having to track down the arks, find them and re-purpose the old technology to help further the survival of mankind in the next game, I was wrong. Rage 2 is just a revenge story.
Lets start with the worst part of the game here: the story. Yes, like almost all reviews have said the story is really short, really generic, and falls super short of where I was hoping they were going to go when the first Rage ended. You play a rookie/recruit/noob named Walker who is in training to become a Ranger. The opening scene is your home, Vineland, getting attacked and overrun by The Authority lead by General Cross. One huge battle later, General Cross killing your adopted mother(Erwina Prowley) and almost leveling Vineland, you and your "sister" Lily are all that's basically left.
Prowley leaves a will of sorts for you and tells you that you need to go and kick Project Dagger into gear in order to stop General Cross. So, that's what you do. However Project Dagger kind of feels like more of an afterthought than a real objective. Revenge seems to actually fuel Walker as he treads across the wasteland getting the pieces together for Project Dagger.
The writing overall is pretty good, all things considered. It's a game that doesn't necessarily take itself too seriously, but also doesn't just fly off the rails in absurdity either, which I respect. Rage 2 makes fun of itself in one of the missions because I think the developers were self aware enough to know that the formula they are using has been way overused. It's almost like they maybe wanted to give us a huge ark hunting, deep and fulfilling story, but couldn't and it was their way of "apologizing" to the players.
The first Rage looked really good for its time. Like no BS'ing, surprisingly good. With everything basically adopting the 4k/hdr support games look great almost no matter what. Given some muddy textures here and there, some weird graphical pop-ins/outs, the graphics are fairly solid. Except for the explosions, they did a top notch job on those.
The only thing I can maybe even come close to knocking them on is the color scheme, and that would be just nitpicking. I don't know what it is about the post apocalyptic world and neon colors/bright pinks, but yeah, just like FarCry: New Dawn, this game throws that color palette at you, just not on the scale of New Dawn.
Okay, so this is where the familiarity part comes into play. It's an FPS, of course it's going to be familiar. However, it seems like they basically just copied and pasted the moves/animations from Doom and reused them here. I seriously felt like I was replaying Doom sometimes with just the way Walker moved and interacted with the environment.
Which isn't a bad thing, especially when it comes to the combat. It's brutal, fast paced, and overly gory at times. Especially when combining the powers together, mixing in environmental hazards, and some good ol' fashioned gun play. It's rewarding, the guns feel like they actually have an impact, and not properly thinking out at least an initial strategy could be the difference between living and dying. So, combat in Rage 2 is an overall winner in my book.
Throughout the game you gain access to certain powers via discovering different arks, and you gain different upgrade materials doing the slue of activities spread across the map to spend on upgrading your powers, weapons and your vehicle. The people who say there is nothing to do in this game seriously just ran straight the story and didn't bother to stop and explore. Although the missions/activities do get repetitive after a while, there's still little places tucked away to find. You just have to explore.
Once you leave Vineland after the introduction you're free to explore the map and do whatever you want, how you want. There are three other characters that you need to help out in order to exact your revenge on General Cross. Doing activities/missions for them raises their power level in their area which makes said activities get easier, or seemed to.
All of these characters also have their own branching skill trees that help you out tremendously, so it's worth going out and doing as many activities/missions for them as possible.
There are some seemingly useless activities. Such as the bounties, the spy drones, and the convoys. I didn't really see much of a use in doing any of these side activities because whenever the experience bar for them filled up, nothing happened. It just started back over at 0 or with the case of the convoys, you just got parts to upgrade your vehicle for destroying the convoy leader while nothing still happened once the xp bar for that activity filled up. So, I don't know why these activities are in the game except to get some more reputation and money. But doing the bigger activities/missions gives more than enough.
Also, generally just doing a lot of activities and getting yourself "over leveled" always helps a crap ton too, I did this by accident just driving around, doing a lot of different activities and discovering different arks. Before you know it you've got more than enough upgrade materials to make yourself god like and just wreck face through the campaign.
I ran into some glitches. One where if I was using any vehicle aside from the Scorpion, it would always catch fire whenever I exited it and turned to look at it. There was never any damage to the vehicle it was just burning for an unexplained reason. There was a part where it seemed the further I progressed the story the game got more glitchy. I experienced two or three crashes and a couple of screen freezes while doing the story missions for the good Doctor Kvasir but after getting past those points, the game went back to running just fine.
One thing that was a constant annoyance was breaking open crates. Sometimes you'd just have to shoot them, instead of melee them, because the melee just wouldn't register or you'd have to crouch down and then melee the crate.
All in all Rage 2 is a fairly solid experience. Yes, the story is short but if we are to believe the roadmap Bethesda has for the game, there's definitely going to be more content later down the road. You would think that with a single player experience they'd throw the most content they can at you in the very beginning to keep you occupied while they create more meaningful content. The game runs pretty smoothly and the combat is about as fluid as can be. You can get pretty creative with mixing the powers, weapons, and environmental hazards. If you're on the fence about the game, don't be. If you're like me you've spent $60 on far worse experiences.