I tend to not write reviews, but moreso hands-on kind of moments for people who are curious about picking a game up and need some pros/cons and quickly. Rage 2 was a game I was interested in jumping into because I appreciate that post-apoc drama. What I found was, well, a different kind of beast.
For those not necessarily aware of what Rage 2 is, well, it’s a post-apocalyptic action shooter. You cruise around a wasteland, you shoot things, do missions and you rinse and repeat as you also go through the story and its main campaign. Technically, most games can be watered down in their descriptions to something so simplistic but I feel like I’m missing something here with Rage 2. I played Rage when it came out years ago and I felt like that one was coming through at the end of the life cycle for its novelty as well as its engine. Here we are in the land of the next-gen rising and I felt there was no way that the sins of the past couldn’t be sorted through in the current. Games are just so varied and all over the place now and sometimes those long-awaited titles end up becoming favorites.
The past few years of games have been pretty heavy-handed with every kind of shooter imaginable. In just the past few, I’ve had my hands in Mad Max, Far Cry: New Dawn and Doom when it comes to post-apocalyptic scenarios. The thing of it is, those games seemed to know what they wanted to be from the jump and at times, it feels like Rage 2 doesn’t. Much like its post-apocalyptic setting, Rage 2 seems to pillage pieces from other more hefty games only to cobble them together and make a reasonably competent facsimile. Don’t get me wrong, Rage 2 isn’t bad. It’s just not something that grabbed me personally from a story perspective. The weapons do shooty-shoots in a beautiful and capable bit of programming but the vehicles got on my nerves almost from the jump. Abilities are fun but lose their wow factor pretty quick, making you almost prefer just using your guns. The visuals aren’t a problem either, even if they do have moments of becoming rather repetitive. The voice acting is actually really well done and I’m not even going to undersell the camp there, because it’s very fun. Well, wait. We can discuss at least one problem I found when it comes to the VO.
Why is the tone of the female protagonist SO MUCH DIFFERENT than that of the male protagonist? The tonal shift made the game play differently, I found. The female protagonist sounded just a bit too intense and almost comically so and with very little light in their voice. I wouldn’t have thought anything of that until my daughter booted up the game and she tried the male protagonist. Let me tell you that it changed the game and even how you responded to it almost immediately. He sounded excited yet determined, which in a game with such an intense setting — you kind of need that or else you’re going to get worn out. I know that’s a peculiar gripe, but it definitely took me off-guard.
This trailer up here is for the first Rage game, check out that date — 8 years ago. Maybe we’ve seen too much in 8 years and now this kind of setting is worn out for a revival from Bethesda. It’s entirely possible there is more to why I, personally, couldn’t get behind it. When it comes to settings like this one, a story has to be stronger than the surroundings. At times, I worried that the writing staff seemed insecure about what they were building with and that can make things feel disjointed. Like I said previously, it’s not a bad game and it’s wholly unoffensive in most matters. If you buy this game, you will find your fun in it as I do in most open-world titles. What I will say though is that there are games out there that can do all of the things and do them with finesse and attention to detail. If you’re keen to find a story to this wasteland laid out before you, I hope you find it because it felt to me like I was holding a tin can to my ear and waiting but no answer came.
I’m not mad that Rage 2 couldn’t grasp onto me harder, I’m just wondering about why so many others have that this one title felt so quiet to me. I will tell you what it did make me do though: I re-installed Far Cry: New Dawn and Mad Max. Not sure that’s a ringing endorsement, but it is what it is, right?