Rage 2 Review | (PC/PS4/Xbox One)

Rage 2 drops you into a post, post apocalyptic
world. A world where yes, society has fallen apart
but it’s also started to rebuild. It creates this environment that looks like
if Mad Max had accidentally falling inside a neon sign and it’s awesome. For those of you that haven’t played the
first game but want to jump into this new sequel, no worries, you’ll be just fine
doing that. Rage 2 takes place 30 years after the first
game with a completely new character. You play as Walker, the last ranger of their
kind. Think of them as a super soldier. After an asteroid destroyed most of humanity,
factions began to rebuild and among them was the authority. They’re a military power set on taking over
the world now that governments have been completely wiped. As a ranger, you have the power of nanotech
on your side, something that the authority desperately wants. It’s a piece of technology that grants you
new combat abilities with every new ark piece you collect. Over the course of its campaign which can
take you anywhere between 10-20 hours depending on how much time you invest into the side
missions, you’ll meet some old and familiar faces. However, most of these interactions are written
in the sense to be a soft reboot for the series, making it easy for newcomers to jump in with
Rage 2. Overall the story does a good job at padding
out missions with context but not so much at really driving an interesting narrative. That’s mostly because like other ID software
games, most of the entertainment comes from the gameplay and Rage 2 is no different. Rage 2 is a collaborative effort between ID
Software and Avalanche Studios. ID Software previously made the 2016 reboot
of Doom and Avalanche most recently worked on Just Cause 4 but also worked on the cult
classic mad max game back in 2015. Together the two create a marvelous joint
venture to create one badass game. In that sense Rage 2 encompasses a lot of
the design language from Doom when it comes to gunplay but then features the open world
the design talents from Avalanche Studios. It doesn’t take long to see the fruits of
this collaborative effort either. Upon selecting your character’s
gender and completing a quick introduction mission, you’re thrust into this neon wasteland. It’s large and very lived in open world. Factions and strongholds are scattered throughout
it with missions constantly in between. Speaking missions, let’s talk about their
structure. Very early on, you’re introduced to these
three characters that act as mission guides. They assign you missions throughout the open
world and it’s completely up to you in which order you take them on. It all leads to the idea that this is a very
open game. No matter where you are, chances are there’s
objective nearby that you complete. It never feels like you’re wasting your
time exploring because every little action works towards an objective. Early on these objectives can come off as
a bit repetitive. You’ll mostly be tasked with taking out
goons at a specific outpost or blowing up propane tanks. Yeah, it’s repetitive but I surprisingly
didn’t mind it as much thanks to the incredibly entertaining gunplay. Now while it isn’t one to one to Doom, you
definitely feel that design language here. Movement is fast paced, guns feel impactful
and mixing the two along with your special abilities makes for some amazing combos. As you rack up kills you’ll also gain your
overdrive meter that buffs all of your combat moves. Initially, I was hesitant to use it because
I thought it was used for more rare occasions but I quickly found out it’s a tool that
can be constantly refilled quickly. Using it constantly in waves of enemies made
for some great adrenaline rushing rampages. Later on, when quests and larger scale boss
fights become more varied, the combat really starts to shine for the fun that it is. A drawback though is the management system
for the combat. Unlocking things is fairly easy in the sense
that you’re not leveling up but rather just using currencies to unlock new abilities. Other games that follow this mechanic have
done it well but Rage 2 has a bunch of different skill trees and currencies that make managing
everything a bit cumbersome. For example, each of the quest giver characters
have their own skill tree, each gun has its own upgrade tree and each ability has a modifying
tree. Even the car you drive around in has an upgrade
tree. I often myself just scrolling through the
menu to make sure I wasn’t missing something that could have been upgraded. Oh yeah cars, those are here and they’re
alright. They’re certainly not my favorite part of
Rage 2, they do their job of getting you around the world but I personally didn’t enjoy
them too much. Any vehicle you see operating in the world
you can take for yourself and drive around. Aside from using them to traverse the world,
you can challenge npc characters to races or use vehicles with weapons to take out enemies. It’s not just cars, there are air ones too. They’re great for getting to spots that
don’t have a fast travel point yet but usually if I could make a walk towards somewhere,
I’d choose to travel on foot over vehicle. There’s just something about how they handle
that I didn’t enjoy. Ultimately I found the campaign to be entertaining
with gameplay that felt reminiscent of Doom’s gunplay in a less linear fashion. Its open world is populated with plenty of
side mission to do to extend its play length up to 20ish hours but if you’re eager enough,
you can easily finish it in about 10 too. Driving mechanics felt competent but not as
fun as just annihilating mutants left and right. Rage 2 has the balance of looking beautiful
and ugly. Sometimes textures can come off low res, lighting
can look off and there’s a handful of pop in scenarios just traveling through the world. On the flip side, when it does look good,
it’s absolutely gorgeous. The mix of wasteland and vibrant neon colors
is an odd yet brilliant combination. Anytime I found myself having a shootout with
hordes, the firefight in front of me always looked like a bladerunner firework show. It’s an aesthetic I hope continues on with
the series because it’s truly stunning. Now for my review I primarily played on PC
with a rig running a GTX 1070 and an i7 4790k. With this set up I was able to play on high
to ultra setting while maintaining a mostly 1080p 60 performance. I did see a few dips to the mid 50 range but
luckily there are a few tools in settings to help you out. You can turn on a dynamic resolution scaler
that helps you hit your target frame rate and it worked pretty well for me. On the console front, PS4 Pro and Xbox One
X both run the game at 1080p with a frame rate ranging between 50-60 frames per second. The base consoles drop the frame rate down
to 30 fps while the PS4 keeps the resolution locked at 1080p while the base Xbox One sits
at 900p. If anything Rage 2 really shows the age of
some of the base consoles, it’s dated tech and only increasingly shows the need for the
next generation. Enhanced consoles are certainly the way to
go for this on the console front, PC for the best performance. Now let’s just get this out of the way,
Rage 2’s soundtrack isn’t Doom 2016s. I know a lot of people going into this game
are wondering that and while it’s not the same team, there are some hints of it here. There are some loud guitar intros to each
track that almost sound like the Doom soundtrack but quickly become more filler tunes for firefights. They also don’t seem to sync well with the
gameplay. I had a few moments where music straight up
stopped and then came back like if something didn’t activate correctly. When it didn’t randomly cut out, it still
didn’t sync up to the combat very well. On the brighter side, I thought the voice
acting throughout the story was well done. I wasn’t able to pick up any recognizable
voice actors but I think that speaks well of the performances here. The real star of the show though were the
weapons that sound as great and powerful. Shooting them was always a figurative and
literal blast and most of that was thanks to their excellent audio work. Rage 2 was a joy to run through. It wasn’t as long as I expected it to be
but the way it was designed allows it to be a game you can easily run through in a day
or extend for a longer time through world exploration. Its gameplay truly feels like the best of
ID software and Avalanche came together to make something invigorating and captivating,
even if a few blemishes came with it.

8 thoughts on “Rage 2 Review | (PC/PS4/Xbox One)

  1. Thanks for checking out the review! Next one is going to be on A Plague Tale! About halfway or so through it right now but university finals have been slowing me down this week. Congrats to those graduating this week too!

  2. Hey Luis, as always – I love your writing and your take on the game! I’m looking forward to your next steps in your career! I have been following the channel for years it’s been a pleasure seeing your evolution and polish. Congrats on the Graduation! Enjoy!

  3. Great video! Did you have another channel or something, you should be way more popular! I dont always comment but always watch, good job.

  4. Rented it last night at RedBox. Wanted to see if it was worth buying. There’s no question that the combat is pretty superb. However, there’s something lacking with the game and I’m having trouble putting my finger on it. It is fun though and as long as you don’t spend a full 60 bucks on it, I think it’s worth your time

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