When the game “Rage” released in 2011, it didn’t (in this reviewer’s humble opinion) receive nearly the acclaim or attention it deserved. Perhaps that’s because single-player shooters don’t generate the same buzz that multiplayer ones do.
Still, the game found enough of an audience to warrant a sequel some seven years later. “Rage 2” features all of the over-the-top action fans of the original expect, though a few shortcomings keep it from reaching the heights of the best single-player offerings.
Picking up where the first game left off, players step into the advanced armor of the last Ranger — a woman or a man named Walker, of course — and continues the fight against The Authority, as well as the plethora of mutant creatures inhabiting the game’s huge open world.
Let’s address a few of the negatives first.
The game’s story, and by extension its character development, doesn’t particularly matter. It plods along, stitching together minor narratives from the missions you tackle, building to nearly nothing.
That the game relies on its action to move things along isn’t bad in itself, but it would have been nice to care about the central characters a little more and to receive some motivation beyond the joy of shooting mutants in the face for moving forward.
Also, the game doesn’t know what to do with its vehicular action. While it makes for a nice occasional change of pace, the sequences fail to generate any real excitement.
Ultimately, these shortcomings only lightly tarnish the game’s fast action and the massive open world waiting for exploration.
When the game begins, your character claims the armor off of a dead Ranger, granting extra power and shielding. You’ll have to locate arks scattered around the world to upgrade your armor and abilities.
As a Ranger, you have access to an impressive array of Nanotrites to give you special movement and combat abilities, and the motivation to find them all will keep you pressing forward in the game.
Though it feels like you can access the game’s entire world from the outset, certain powers open things up even more. The double-jump, for instance, allows you to reach new heights … literally.
The game’s open structure works particularly well with the frantic combat style. Once you start to receive missions, you can venture off as you’d like, tackling them in the order of your preference.
You won’t find a lot of variety in the quests, which generally fall under the “kill ’em all” banner, but I never minded. You spend the game charging headfirst into seemingly insurmountable battles, stringing together a balletic array of moves and leaving nothing but bodies in your wake.
Oh yeah, did I mention this game is violent? Like, really, really violent. The killing never falls into the realm of realism; the satisfying POP! that comes from a successful headshot borders on cartoon lunacy. Still, I couldn’t recommend the game for the younger set. Consider this strictly R-rated.
Like many open world games, “Rage 2” can become a collect-a-thon at times. Fortunately, the game takes a cue from other recent titles by giving you a handy checklist for each area, showing you what’s left to find.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention your constant companion, the wingstick.
A holdover from the first game, the wingstick — a tri-pointed boomerang-type contraption — acts as a secondary weapon, capable of slicing through enemies like a hot knife through a mutant skull.
It even has a few new tricks hiding under its nigh impervious coating. Since dead never seems to be dead enough in this game, consider adding an explosive charge to your wingstick for an impromptu mutant-meat shower.
Needless to say, “Rage 2” isn’t a subtle game. It wallows in its excess, which makes it great fun to play, despite its lack of a terribly cohesive story.
So if you’re looking for something with great graphics, smooth gameplay and a whole lot of blood, consider giving this game a whirl. It’s a fun diversion all the way around.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Who it’s for: Those looking for a good single-player shooter with a light story
Console: PS4, Xbox One, PC