After hearing for years about what the new id Tech 5 game engine could do, I frankly couldn't wait to see the development powerhouse's new Rage title in action.
It boasted the novel idea of combining first-person shooting and driving, two game concepts that aren't often linked. Coming from the creators of Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, all I could think to say was, "Yes, please."
But then I got what I wanted: a demo of what the engine could do, but not much more. This game very much feels like an example of the capabilities of a game engine and not what a legendary development company can accomplish.
The story, although never that important in a first-person shooter, is even less important here. Within the first 15 seconds, you — the mute hero — are given a gun and told to eradicate an enemy encampment. This is to be expected in some sub-par games, but it's surprising to see such a lack of creativity here.
Once you get past that, or overlook it from the get-go, the shooting mechanics and core shooting gameplay are quite fun.
As expected from the company that essentially pioneered first-person shooters, the gunplay is superb, exciting and almost the only thing that keeps the pace of the game going.
Without the solid gunplay mechanics, there wouldn't be much here. But it's so good, and so much fun, that it's hard to overstate its importance.
There are well-scripted shooting elements with scares, sharpshooting enemies, strategically placed items and more. It's also worth noting that id chooses to go the opposite route of games such as Gears of War or Call of Duty in that this game suspends reality. Feel free to run into the middle of battle, and you might just see an enemy off to the side who leads you to a secret room, reminiscent of the company's old-school games.
Rage is one of the most beautiful games to ever hit the Xbox 360, but that beauty quickly wears off while playing the extensive driving segments. It feels a bit as if the driving elements are forced.
And in a major misstep, the game makes extensive use of invisible walls. In this day and age of expansive open gaming worlds, invisible walls are unforgivable, and they are used often here.
If you're a big fan of id-developed games or of the first-person shooting genre in particular, this is a game to get.
But if you've never heard of id or Doom and are just looking for a good solid shooter, there are better picks elsewhere.