If a game has been out for a year or more, and hasn’t received any post-release content, it’s almost a surefire bet that it will never happen. However, that particular statement is not a rule, nor is it written in stone, as id Software and Bethesda Softworks have proven. The two companies just combined to release The Scorchers, the first downloadable expansion for RAGE, 2011′s apocalyptic bullet fest. By doing so, they’ve been able to make good on a promise that many had considered moot, with an impressive end result that offers fans quite a bit of quality content for an affordable, five-dollar price tag.
Those who’ve been unable to part with what was one of 2011′s best interactive releases will be able to expand the title’s story-based content by purchasing this action-packed secondary campaign, while newcomers will find another reason to purchase a branded copy. Then again, it’s not like the game’s core, feature-rich experience, was lacking.
Centering upon various locations spread throughout the Wasteland, including a couple of newly-accessible, but contained areas, The Scorchers acts as more of a side note than anything else. That isn’t a complaint, mind you, as the five new missions that are included within are of quality, enhancing the already great game. As such, those who love to shoot fast-moving foes with an array of high-powered weaponry will find little to complain about.
This additional arc begins at the Hagar Settlement, the first human outpost found within the original campaign. You see, its mutant-filled caves are beginning to show signs of the unwanted return of The Scorchers. Described as a gang of evil pyromaniacs, its members could once be found throughout the Wasteland. However, as time went on, its numbers dwindled to the point of near extinction as a result of violent failures. Of course, as is always the case with long dormant and nearly forgotten factions found in fictional experiences, the fire-loving maniacs have bounced back with refilled ranks and a plan to destroy the Wasteland.
Expectedly, the aforementioned plot line sees players using bullet and explosive-based means, in an attempt to put the titular gang’s plan on ice. That’s easier said than done, however, despite the occasional assistance that is provided by a dreadlocked female ally. Granted, even when the help is provided, it’s still only two against many. Then again, nothing comes easy in post-apocalyptic lands, as those who’ve played through RAGE will surely attest to. The core experience was a challenging one, and this downloadable content is the same, if not a bit more difficult.
In order to make it to the end of this two or so hour-long add-on, players must make good use of the tools at their disposal. That means collected guns, rockets and manufactured tools, along with the newly-introduced nail gun and its three uses. Gifted to the main character following the completion of The Scorchers‘ debut mission, the incredibly useful machine gun moonlights as a rebar shooter and a rail gun. Yes, you read that right – one secondary function will let you stick foes to surfaces, while the other will let you one-shot them through barriers. As a result, the handy gun may end up becoming your new best friend, especially if you prefer taking enemies out from afar.
Those who properly manage their inventory and make sure to regularly restock will almost always have a great offensive option to use against the pyromaniacs’ different forms. Some, like the basic grunt, can be taken out quite easily, while others require a certain amount of focused attacks. A small amount of strategy factors into each conflict as a result, although RAGE‘s fast-paced nature and arena-like encounters usually force players to think quickly, as opposed to letting them take a breather for planning purposes. Of course, that’s the id Software charm – something that I, along with the studio’s millions of other fans, enjoy. However, with that being said, even I feel the need to comment on The Scorchers‘ overuse of lengthy closed-in encounters.
In addition to the pros that have already been mentioned, RAGE: The Scorchers is noteworthy for introducing several new elements into the game. First, there’s Ultra-Nightmare difficulty, which adds a whole new level of challenge to the main campaign. It, along with the new set of stages, offers new achievements and trophies for players to unlock. That isn’t all, however, as an unlockable trophy room, two new gambling mini-games and a new episode of Mutant Bash TV also factor in. Combine all of that with the new story arc, and you have something that is well worth its five-dollar price tag.
If you’re looking for some action-packed first-person shooting to enjoy this holiday season, make sure to check out RAGE and its The Scorchers DLC. The core game is great, and is further enhanced by this impressive mini-campaign.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, which we were provided with.