Rage The Night Away
Happy Weekend TAY!
It is my beautiful wife’s birthday weekend and I am looking forward to the celebration. We’ve been going out to eat for most of the week and I don’t suspect that will slow this weekend as we visit my wife’s favourite places.
Thankfully, we have my son’s two left Joycons back in the house and we can finally bust out Ring Fit Adventure to help burn off all the bad calories we’ve been eating. The promised week-long repair turnaround from Nintendo Canada ended up taking six weeks instead, but at least they gave him a free copy of Link’s Awakening for the troubles. Had we known it would take that long, we definitely wouldn’t have shipped off all our left Joycons at once.
With The Banner Saga behind me and fate dropping Rage 2 on Game Pass, it was clear my next game was already picked for me.
I absolutely love the original Rage. Sure, it has a terrible ending but the journey is still one of the best shooter experiences out there. I replayed Rage just over a year ago and I loved it even more than the first time I played it. id Software makes some of my most favourite of games and I was looking forward to getting to this sequel.
...and that will teach me to get my hopes up.
Rage 2 isn’t a terrible game and I am having fun with it, however, it just doesn’t feel like an id game.
And that’s because Rage 2 really isn’t an id Software game at heart. As shown in the video above, just after the id splash screen, you’ll see a video for “co-developer” Avalanche Studios (of Just Cause and Mad Max fame). If you continue watching, you’ll then see the real reason this isn’t an id Software game for me as the next video clip shows “Powered by: APEX - Avalanche Open World Engine”.
I’m pretty sure this is the first id Software title not on an id Software game engine.
Apex - Avalanche Open World Engine is the evolution of the original Just Cause engine and it powers almost every game Avalanche has created since 2006. I haven’t played many of Avalanche’s titles, but I really dug Mad Max...despite it being disappointingly easy......and corrupting my save file two-thirds of the way through (thus never finishing it).
Using Apex, Avalanche delivers their trademark open-world to Rage 2. While I haven’t played Avalanche’s other hit, Just Cause 3, I do know that it is one of the biggest open-worlds in all of gaming. Avalanche knows how to deliver insanely large, free-roaming sandboxes and they’ve taken Rage 2 in a completely new direction from other id Software games.
While I don’t think Rage 2 is anywhere close to the size of Just Cause 3 (or nearly as open) it still has those advanced tools in place to create a vast desert world. Both Mad Max and Rage 2 are interesting and beautiful wastelands without feeling empty and barren. However, without the well-oiled mechanics of an id Software engine underneath, the whole experience feels much more like Mad Max 2 than Rage 2; not a bad thing per se...just not an id-thing.
I’m trying to remain positive, though Rage 2 seems determined to piss me off at every turn. I’ve been stuck in the geometry twice already, enemies get caught up on things regularly, the game has an overly complex control system, and the pistol makes an annoying whining sound when you aim down the sight. There was even a problem with the mouse cursor appearing where I aimed and the fix involved turning off Microsoft’s Game Bar in Windows 10 (first time I’ve ever had to do that)…and I’m playing the game from Microsoft’s Game Pass on PC.
Definitely feeling a little unpolished here and maybe slightly tarnishing that id Software name I saw when I first booted the game. I want to play Rage (2), not be filled with it.
We’ll see I guess. If I wasn’t expecting a certain pedigree, then I think Rage 2 would be a great game on its own. I’m pretty forgiving with shooters and I’m sure it will grow on me with time. Thankfully it is quite tough on the Nightmare difficulty, so it is keeping my attention so far.
This weekend I’m looking forward to giving Ring Fit Adventure a whirl and my wife was wanting some together time celebrating her birthday by finishing up our game of The Last of Us (which I’m more than happy to oblige). Of course, more Rage 2 will be on the menu if I can find the time.
So, what are you playing this weekend?