So you like Mad Max, huh? In that case, Rage 2 is a perfect game for you since it perfectly conveys the most iconic characteristics of its dystopian world: the gritty atmosphere, the desert cyberpunk aesthetics, and the violence. This is a game that takes the "last man standing" trope and mixes it with a story about an oppressed group of people fighting back to annihilate the tyrant leader, a war that's as cruel and brutal as you could imagine. Without a fast travel option and a lot of skills to investigate, we can't quite say Rage 2 is an easy game, but not everything that shines is gold!
What to Expect
Nowadays, there are a lot of open-world FPS games for you to play. In fact, post-apocalyptic settings have become the norm, and Bethesda's Fallout may not be the #1 go-to option anymore. A few months ago, we had Far Cry New Dawn, and that's a game you should have in mind when analyzing Rage 2.
Rage 2 follows the same premise as any Far Cry game: you're the hero of the story, but you can win a war if you play alone. That's why you need to convince a few influential figures to join your cause, doing enough quests to win their hearts while also exploring the world around you just in case you find any events to help you level up, earn some money, etc. The problem is that games like Far Cry shine thanks to their living world full of easter eggs and hidden content... while Rage 2's world feels impressively boring.
Just by looking at the intro scene and how the tutorial unfolds, you get an idea of how brutal Rage 2 can be. Following the events of the first Rage and the 99942 Apophis asteroid impact in 2029, this is a war between those humans who want to be left alone and just continue breeding and subsisting (a.k.a the Ark Survivors) versus the Authority, a highly militarized group of cyborgs who control the Wasteland and will do anything to stay on top of the food chain. Following a surprise attack commanded by General Cross, the Authority boss himself, you play as Walker, the only survivor of the Rangers of Vineland and the adoptive nephew/niece of the group's leader, Erwina Prowley. After witnessing her death, a previously recorded message tells you to go meet Prowley's peers and set Project Dagger in motion, something that should put an end to the Authority, once and for all.
Before facing General Cross to decide the Wasteland's future, you need to pay a visit to other settlements, help these people, but also make yourself stronger. That's why exploring is so important in this game, because there are a lot of abilities you can get (and later upgrade) by finding Ark technology scattered around the desert. Although you can finish the game pretty soon if you only do the main quests, there are a lot of side-missions and story events around the map.
The problem is that, even if the plot is rather straightforward, it's not that easy for you to understand everything around you or even feel interested in doing what you need to do. Maybe it's just us, but Walker is far from being an interesting protagonist, and the rest of the main cast feels dull too. All in all, we can say that Rage's lore is indeed very interesting if you take some time to investigate it, but the lack of environmental storytelling and all the gameplay problems you find in Rage 2 makes it hard to actually enjoy the story as you play.
Let's start with one of the game's best aspects! Rage 2 looks beautiful, and that's enough to make you want to play it. The HUD is clean enough and the character designs are on point most of the times, especially since you can't help but compare everything you see with the Mad Max universe. However, this doesn't mean Rage 2 has the best-looking graphics for an FPS game or that the cutscenes will make you feel like you're watching a movie, so don't come expecting photorealistic models or anything like that.
It's nice to see how the flashy hi-tech combines with the desertic setting in such an awesome way, and how this contrast of colors and textures helps you when actually playing. Too bad sometimes there's nothing around you to look at, but we get that's part of being in a desert... right?
Along with the gameplay, this is where Rage 2 has more problems. First, we need to talk about how repetitive the dialogue gets when you find an event. When you approach an outpost, for example, your character starts a brief chat about the situation; maybe the first time you're lucky to trigger different options, but once you've been playing a couple hours you'll see every time you start an event you're hearing the same lines, over and over again. There are a lot of "sketchy-looking places", apparently.
Speaking of repeating stuff, not having a fast travel feature forces you to drive from point A to point B quest after quest, exploring not only the world but also the music of the game. That's when you notice Rage 2 doesn't have a well-crafted soundtrack to keep you pumped or even interested. Maybe you can ignore the music when there are 10 people shooting at you, sure, but you can't ignore that when you're running around looking for something new to do.
Another problem we encountered was that some voice lines weren't acting as intended. Sometimes you're doing a quest and need someone to give you instructions by intercom, but all you see is the intercom icon even if you can't hear them talking. Sure, there's a chance you never run into these bugs, but we recommend turning the subtitles on just in case.
Did we mention gameplay problems? Let's jump into that, then! After all, this is the main reason you'll be playing Rage 2 or not, so we'll try to explain how we feel about the game. After the brutal first segment and General Cross' introduction, you'd expect a very action-focused game full of violent encounters and a challenging environment. For the most part, every quest where you need to kill people feels indeed rewarding and awesome to play, but everything you do between those combat sections is boring and unpleasant.
Having an open world is not only about a bigger map, but also about adding something to do in it, and that's the biggest problem with Rage 2 since there's not enough activities to keep you busy or motivated. Once you find an outpost, it's extremely fun to run around killing enemies and using your different skills... but when you put them all down, traveling the desert back and forth just to talk to someone becomes a chore. In other games, people choose not to use the fast travel feature because you can run into a lot of unexpected situations; in Rage 2 that's not a choice because there is no such feature, and all events (Authority Sentries, outposts, convoys, the MBTV arena, etc.) lose their fun after the second or third time you play them.
As we stated before, Rage 2 follows the Far Cry formula, so you need to do some quests and side-quests in order to recruit people to your cause before confronting the villain. Some of the people you meet have already been introduced in the first Rage back in 2011, but if you haven't played that yet, then there will be a lot of things that won't make that much sense to you. Being a sequel, that's not actually something we'd say it's bad, but playing the first game or at least knowing the events that took place in Rage is a must if you want to enjoy Rage 2 to the fullest.
As for the positive aspects, we definitely loved the gunplay and the fast-paced combat. At first, all enemies look easy and you don't need to abuse your Nanotrites and abilities, but once the Authority unleashes their full potential, that's where the fun is! While you explore the Wasteland, there are some Arks you can find that will grant you new abilities, like dashing, reviving, shattering nearby enemies, etc. These abilities will complement your weapons so you don't have to waste bullets, but there's obviously a cooldown period so you don't go around shattering people in god mode. In terms of weapons, maybe your trusty Sidewinder Pistol is the best option, but who can say no to a fully upgraded Charged Pulse Cannon or a Smart Rocket Launcher?
Simply put, Rage 2 is one of those games where you'll have a blast killing hordes of enemies, but you must arm yourself with patience when not pulling the trigger.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Rage 2 is a fitting game for those looking for a good FPS, but the RPG elements and the storytelling are not that well implemented. Like other examples in the genre, Rage 2 is good enough to keep you thrilled for a weekend, but it's far from being the best in what it does. Curiously enough, the first Rage was kind of the same but then all of a sudden it became a cult classic... maybe it's just a matter of time before the same happens to the sequel? We can be sure that this game will be talked about again in 10 years when 99942 Apophis hits the Earth!
The gunplay is really good.
When it tries to be brutal, IT IS brutal.
There’s a lot of customization options, from weapons to skills.
Did we say customization options? Well, you can’t customize your appearance (although you can choose Walker’s gender)..
Even though the map is considerably big, the world feels empty and deadly boring.
It’s hard to feel moved by the story or it’s dull characters.
Events and quests are repetitive.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Then again, Rage 2 is another one of those games that is better to borrow them than to buy them, but to each their own! We can only hope for some update that adds more things to do in the Wasteland, but in the meantime, we must settle for the action sequences…
So, have you played Rage 2 yet? We would like to know your opinion about it! If you want to share your thoughts, please take a minute and leave us a comment. Oh, and keep browsing Honey’s Anime for more gaming content!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...