RAGE Hands-On Preview [X’11]

Ever since its engine was first unveiled, id Software‘s upcoming wasteland shooter, RAGE, has been one of my most anticipated titles. Getting a chance to sit down and demo it for a little while at Microsoft’s X’11 Preview Event was like a gamer’s dream come true. My inner gamer, that is. Luckily, it was one of the playable demos on the floor, whereas The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was not.

Bethesda Softworks allowed quite a bit of RAGE to be shown, which was nice and surprising at the same time. Their demo consisted of a few unique options: driving through the wasteland, shooting your way through an institution or blowing one’s way through a sadistic game show. My time was mainly spent with the latter two, though I walked the dusty roads of the wasteland for a brief period of time. It didn’t last long because my vehicle was nowhere in sight and a group of marauders showed up to ruin my party, with their vehicle and its turret.

The core (campaign) gameplay demo I got a chance to enjoy was very polished, controlled like a dream and happened to be just as badass as I’d hoped. The military-style institution was well guarded with mercenary foes. Not to toot my own horn or anything but they met a pretty quick end as a result of my trusty old shotgun and a select few other weapons. This demo consisted of working my way through the building, shooting everything I could find. Some stealth was required and both the stealth elements and gunplay worked very well. Although this was a transition from the wasteland the game is known for, it seemed to fit in very well and was a very fun gameplay element to try out.

After trying that out for a bit, I was told to load up the game show minigame to give it a spin, and I’m glad I did. The sadistic, bullet ridden death show mode is a lot of fun. Of course, that’s just my term for it considering what it consists of is attempted survival against waves upon waves of incoming foes of varying types. Players are scored based on time and effectiveness, with a par time showing in the top left corner. Being assaulted from many angles and needing to find a way out presents a lot of enjoyable but tense gameplay, mixed with some action-packed gameplay with lots of bullets needing to be fired. The best weapons for this were the shotgun, grenades and throwing blade, which decapitated my foes.

One thing I need to mention is just how beautiful RAGE looks. Everything I saw impressed my eyes, with a ton of detail to accompany the visceral action. Enemies, weaponry, locations and in-game characters all looked exceptional. One standout would definitely have to be the host of the game show, who looks amazing because of the render work but a bit disgusting because of his filth and sadistic manner. Thankfully, the demo ran like a dream, easily keeping up with the throngs of ugly foes who were getting shot with light-speed precision.

RAGE and its early October release date cannot come soon enough. This is a knockout game that shooter fans are going to love. It’s fun, chaotic, polished and interesting. It’s chock full of combat with some interesting included mechanics. The demo really impressed me, making it even harder to wait for. Though, I now know that all of the interest, anticipation and drooling mouths have been well-worth it.