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Lifewire / Kelsey Simon
Smooth and easy shooting
Obnoxious tutorial messages
Rage 2 attempts to stand strong with stunning graphics and solid shooting controls, but a poor plot, derivative gameplay, and an obnoxious menu system stop it from ever becoming a favorite.
We purchased Rage 2 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Rage 2 is the sequel to Rage, set in the same post-apocalyptic world but further in the future. Its combination of driving and first-person shooter gameplay can be fun, but the cheesy plotline and awkward interface make for a subpar gaming experience. We took a closer look at Rage 2 on the PC, focusing on its plot, gameplay, and graphics.
You’ll launch Rage 2 by either downloading the game onto your PC, which will require you to let Steam do its set up process, or inserting the disc into your system. You’ll be prompted to choose whether you’d like to play as a man or a woman, before being thrown into a cut-scene where you’ll find your home base is being attacked and you need to help save it.
Rage 2 doesn’t waste any time throwing you into the game. You’ll find yourself in a sci-fi looking base that is being destroyed, told to pick a weapon, and shoved outside where mutants are attacking.
You play as Walker, a survivor at this outpost, and eventually, after watching another Ranger die right in front of you, you’ll become a Ranger yourself. As the battle unfolds, Prowley, the woman who raised you and the leader of the Rangers, will be killed the General Cross, the man who leads Authority (the game’s bad guys). Walker, upset over Prowley’s death, is dedicated to finishing what Prowley started. You’ll set out across the wasteland to gain the trust and help of John Marshall, Loosum Hagar, and Doctor Kvasir to take down Cross for good.
This is all fine, but the way things are presented that feels so flat. There’s no time for you to care about anyone that dies, and Prowley is presented as a character with no other purpose than to launch Walker into the Ranger role. The dialogue between characters always feels forced and stilted, if not just outright stupid. The world itself also feels poorly developed, like someone took two stories and tried to smash them together―and didn’t do it well. One is the sci-fi setting of the base and the idea of these mutants, and the other is a Mad-Max, desert world with outposts.
Overall, there’s nothing about the beginning of the game that feels original or interesting. It didn’t help that after the initial action sequence you’re put into a room where you’re forced to listen to Prowley’s hologram for what feels like half an hour. Games like Rage 2 should be focused on the one thing they might actually do well: the gameplay. But instead, Rage 2 attempted to take itself too seriously with regarding its plot, presenting loads of details it’s hard to care about and trying to build an emotional background for the game’s main character which falls completely flat.
Rage 2 is an open world first-person shooter. As Walker, you will explore the Wasteland and complete missions to gain favor with three specialists. The game introduces a variety of gameplay types, first beginning with a special ability called Focus. Focus allows you to do things like zip forward in a burst of speed to dodge enemy attacks, or to hit an enemy with an explosion of power to knock them back and deal damage. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Too bad it almost feels the same as shouts from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Thankfully, these abilities are there to use if you want, but you can get through the game without using them much at all, instead focusing on your guns and grenades to kill things.
Which brings us to the game’s shooting controls―which we admit, are solid. The guns feel good and Rage 2 isn’t shy about showing gore and guts. When you kill an enemy, they can explode or lose their head, and the game has a nice headshot symbol when your bullets connect. It’s a fun game to fight in, but the shooting isn’t much different than with other first-person shooters.
The guns feel good and Rage 2 isn’t shy about showing gore and guts.
While the shooting in Rage 2 might be solid, there are other flaws with the gameplay that can’t be ignored. The most irritating is the continuous over-your-screen messages. At first, they happen as an introduction to the game, with messages that the game developers thought would be helpful, like how to use a certain ability. This sort of thing isn’t uncommon in games, but in Rage 2, the menus freeze everything and take the press of a specific key to remove. And they don’t just happen in the beginning of the game, they’ll be popping up on your screen for the next five hours of gameplay. In the middle of a fight? Your screen will freeze to tell you about something you won’t even read. Just finished a fight? Enjoy another. It feels like it never ends.
On top of this, the games map and quest interface is confusing and riddled with unnecessary visuals. The early missions are hard to follow because there’s no way to pick which mission you’re on and no great system to figure out where you need to go. And once you are headed in the right direction, the vehicles firing system is awkward. Unless you face head-on at what you’re shooting, don’t expect to hit anything, and the guns in the car auto-lock so easily, it doesn’t take skill to shoot something when you do get an enemy in your tiny window of aim.
Overall, the gameplay in Rage 2 is average, and combined with the borderline obnoxious controls, make it a game hard to enjoy.
The movement, in general, feels off, and the prompts to climb ladders, get in cars, and open boxes require a press and hold of a key rather than the standard simple press of one. Overall, the gameplay in Rage 2 is average, and combined with the borderline obnoxious controls, make it a game hard to enjoy.
In our opinion, graphics was the one thing that Rage 2 did right. At the highest settings, Rage 2 looks amazing. The landscapes could be real, considering the detail, and even when one is driving around, it’s hard not to crash into things because you’re too busy taking in the horizon and its details. While driving, Rage 2 has an added motion blur, which can be turned off and on and the game’s settings, and you can also widen your field of view. These are a few nice details that also give Rage 2’s world richness.
While driving, Rage 2 has an added motion blur, which can be turned off and on and the game’s settings, and you can also widen your field of view.
But while the landscapes are beautiful, the Wasteland bases you’ll come across in your adventures are pretty generic. They look like a cross between the outposts from Far Cry New Dawn and those from Borderlands 2―with the strange detail of mannequins placed in odd locations (where did these bandits get all the random mannequins?). The graphics in Rage 2 or strong, but they can’t make up for all the other problems with the game.
Rage 2 costs the standard new release price of $59.99, but there are already quite a few significant sales and price cuts. Depending on the price, it might be worth it, but the truth is, there are other games that you’d be better off spending that money on. The thing is, Rage 2 probably could have been worth all of it if the developers had added a co-op mode like so many people were hoping for, but they didn’t, claiming the game had enough to offer without it. Overall, Rage 2 just isn’t worth it unless you can find it on sale.
Rage 2 isn’t the worst game we’ve ever played, but at full price, it’s just not a game worth buying.
Far Cry New Dawn is a newer title, costs less than Rage 2, and has a lot of similarities. The visuals in New Dawn are almost as good as in Rage 2, and the gameplay is significantly more fun. The plot is still a little cheesy, but at least New Dawn acknowledges this and doesn’t waste your time with more than the bare minimum, letting you get to the fun as quickly as possible.
If you’re looking for the feel of a wasteland, post-apocalyptic world, you should check out Borderlands 2, especially if you want the co-op gameplay that most thought Rage 2 was going to have (New Dawn also has co-op mode). Borderlands 2 is an older game at this point (with Borderlands 3 now out), but it’s still a fun shooter with special abilities and unique enemies.
An average release not worth full price.
Rage 2 isn’t the worst game we’ve ever played, but at full price, it’s just not a game worth buying. That said, there are a few redeeming things Rage 2 has to offer, like its beautiful graphics and fun shooting, but they don’t outweigh all the other issues the game has. There are better, cheaper games that you’d be better off purchasing.
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