RAGE 2: Terrormania Critique

Well, Thanksgiving’s around the corner, and
what better way to celebrate it than a Halloween DLC for RAGE 2? Like Rise of the Ghosts, Terrormania is a
standalone addition, though I’d hesitate to call it an expansion. What you’re
getting is a new melee weapon, six new combat arenas, and spooky reskinned
enemies. While it’s nice to get a wave-based challenge
mode, it’s annoying to see that all of the problems present in the
base game are ignored yet again. Thankfully, there’s no unskippable exposition
to annoy you when starting out. A
brief cutscene plays then Walker get teleported to Hell. From here, you’re free
to explore the new Deadlands region, but there’s nothing to do outside going to
the bonetowers. There are no other points of interest nor
are there any world events to speak of. Exploration is completely unrewarding due
to this locale being a sekreto wetlands reskin. As a result, Hell feels strangely lifeless
and feels like a waste of a perfectly good setting. Heck, I would’ve even been okay
if some of the DOOM reboot’s assets were cribbed and stuck in here to make
things more atmospheric. So, with exploration and looting being nearly
nonexistent, we’re left with just the combat, of which, Terrormania changes
very little. The new weapon is the Sword of Transitus. Starting off, it’s merely okay, as
its swings deal damage roughly comparable to the combat shotgun but at point
blank distance. However, it becomes far more interesting once
you start unlocking new moves through upgrades. The first one unlocks a lunge that makes
Walker charge at an enemy if he dashes close enough to them. So long as you’re
aggressive with your dashes, this is a fantastic gap closer that helps mitigate
the sword’s pitiful base range. Upgrade two grants a block ability, allowing
Walker to nullify all bullets and melee attacks in front of him. Unlike
nanotrite powers, the block operates off of a recharging meter, allowing you to
parry on demand. It’s important to note that explosions will
damage through the block, so Walker still needs to dodge those. Additionally, blocking will
immediately cancel out of rush if it’s active. Personally, because of those
two limitations, I never really used block against enemies, as I find the speed
buff and invisibility from rush to be more reliable defensive tools. The next
upgrade unlocks a beam attack for the blade. After holding attack for a few
seconds, Walker charges up his sword and releases a moderate-ranged energy
wave. While this move deals fairly good damage and
has no cooldown, the player slows to walking speed during this process. So spamming this ability against
ranged threats is ill-advised unless you want to become target practice for
them. Upgrade four will reset the cooldown of dash
when Walker kills an enemy with the sword. Finally, the capstone skill unlocks the gravity
beam. After
charging attack while blocking for a few seconds, Walker unleashes a short-ranged
stasis wave, pulling in and stunning nearby foes. I’m conflicted on this weapon and that’s because
its usefulness largely depends on the game’s current difficulty. On normal where I can reliably oneshot trash
mobs, the sword offers an exciting alternative to gunplay, On nightmare, it
becomes rather pathetic. The killskill stops activating because time
to kill becomes longer than dash’s cooldown, so range
becomes an issue again. Additionally, enemy gunfire us much deadlier,
with shotgun blasts easily taking out a quarter to a third of Walker’s health. Therefore, lunging towards foes is
a really poor decision when the outcome is always a faceful of lead. While you
can get the sword to work on nightmare with careful blocking, it’s just a
smarter option to use the combat shotgun, which can ragdoll with its airslug
and kill from a safer distance away. As for the new arenas, they’re probably the
best ones we’ve seen in RAGE 2. They’re large, circular and span multiple
floors, balancing open terrain and tight corridors to create natural chokepoints. Additionally, there are many
environmental obstacles to keep fights dynamic, ranging from speeding railcars
that run over everything to jump pads. Enemy spawning has also been
dramatically changed. Rather than having some foes patrol each arena,
bonetowners spawn set waves of mobs and minibosses. Now this starts off as a
great change of pace, as no location in the base game eally tested your
endurance. However, this also makes bonetwoers become
extremely repetitive. I think the issue lies in the disparity between
RAGE 2’s combat flow and Terrormania’s spawn mechanics. The former is designed to be fast-paced and
highly lethal. Your tools (excluding the shield) are designed
to get you close, keep you aggressive, and clear house quickly. And with one to two minute
combat loops, this cycle works well. However, when these fights are prolonged
to 10-15 minutes, new problems arise. First, ammo consumption becomes a major
issue, especially on nightmare. Since you’re constantly fighting enemies,
there’s little time to explore for crates and you can’t restock at an ammo
vendor. For normal, this is mostly noticeable with
the rocket launcher, but it’s painful on nightmare as Walker easily
runs out of shotgun ammo. Secondly,
since there are no checkpoints, you’re punished for experimenting and being
aggressive. Ultimately, I had to slide in and out of chokepoints
to take potshots. Regardless of difficulty, you still have deal
with the constant mob spam. So while setting up ability and weapon combos
are fun, they’re not efficient at killing. So you’ll avoid the more exotic weaponry in
lieu of using the shotgun to have a faster clear rate. On that note, let’s talk about the “new” enemy
faction: the army of the undead. They’re mostly just reskins of existing baddies. On normal, they don’t pose
much of a threat, nor do they have any interesting new mechanics like the
Ghosts’ dash. On nightmare, it’s a whole different story. They are fucking
relentless, as they spam rockets and grenades at you, while sending
in shotgunners and katana-wielding assholes who deflect all of your bullets. Combined with their eclectic spawn patterns,
they can easily overwhelm Walker unlike any other faction. It also doesn’t help that they’re resistant
to hitstun, so the crowd control from fire weapons
are useless. And because
they’re bullet sponges, expect to run back to the trader after every fight. What’s most frustrating with Terrormania is
the missed potential for the end-game content that’s been sorely missing
from RAGE 2. Had the bonetowers
been condensed down into one repeatable arena with shuffled maps,
that would’ve cut down on the current grind. For the final map, ultimus, it
should’ve been a proper dungeon crawl, rather than a series of singly linked
arenas. Maybe throw in some procedural generation
or a timer so we could speedrun them. Yes, it would’ve been only two modes, but
I think that’s better than stretching out one game mode over six
maps. To wrap things up, Terrormania is disappointing. It fails to address any of the
problems of the base game yet again, whereas at least Rise of The Ghosts
provided us with new content instead of reskins. I’m hoping that this DLC isn’t
the end of RAGE 2, as I do think there’s a great game buried in here. Thank you are very much for watching. I’d like to thank Durandal for giving me
feedback on this script. Regarding future videos, I’ve finished moving
now, so regular content production schedule will resume,
continuing from the Spooktober special. Saya no Uta and DUSK videos are coming, even
if they take a while to get here. As for Dying Light, the video probably won’t
happen until the new year. As for other ideas, I’ve been thinking about
doing a video on Fight n’ Rage as well as a mini-awards show to “celebrate”
gaming in 2019. There have
also been a lot of requests to do Linux gaming tutorial videos, so if you guys
don’t mind the channel broadening in scope, I’d love to do some. If you’d keep
up to date about channel news, you can join the Squidcord discord server or
follow me on Twitter @SquidTheSid1 for announcements. Finally, if you’d like
to financially support the channel and be absolved of any guilt from using an
adblocker, you can join my Patreon page or become a YouTube member. Every
little bit of support puts me one step closer to making YouTube a full time
career. As always, stay frosty.

8 thoughts on “RAGE 2: Terrormania Critique

  1. So, Spooktober kind of flopped since I needed to move (hence the delay in videos), but I will get videos out on DUSK and Saya no Uta, even if it takes me a while. Fight n' Rage is also a game I want to cover (disclosure, I received a review key for the switch version, but I got the PC version in humble monthly). I'll also probably do another Squiddies video (really old one if anyone remembers that) for the new decade.

    Join the discord server! https://discord.gg/GYEZNDv
    Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/SquidTheSid1
    Support me on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/SquidTheSid

  2. While I think it's a positive development for Avalanche to try and improve Rage 2, even if it's mostly forgotten, I feel it disheartening that their efforts seem to be going in the way of "add more guns/enemies/abilities" rather than fixing the inherent problems the overall experience had. A stand-alone expansion would be the perfect place to shake up the whole formula up, fixing (or hell, just getting rid of) the open world and taking pointers from Doom 2016 in terms of level design. Linearity is not a bad thing and I will never stop repeating how the best parts of Rage were the linear levels.

    It also looked like the combat itself was regressing. Aside from the enemy spawn and combat length you mentioned, the fact that the sword doesn't cut enemies into pieces is a wasted opportunity, and the skeletons not breaking or exploding on death makes them look extremely boring to kill. Seriously, if you are going to have skeletons as enemies, have the bones fly around in different directions when killed, or make it seem like you're actually doing damage to them. A bit of bone particles and a stagger isn't satisfying.

    Seems like a problem Avalanche has in general, a lack of cohesive connection between the basic gameplay and the overall game. Just Cause was fun to mess around and explode stuff, but everything else just felt like it was second thought. Missions were dull and the story sure as hell wasn't gonna keep you playing, and I honestly got my share of fun from 2 and 3 fairly quickly. Mad Max I think was a better experience, but it suffered from a cluttered open world and inane and absolutely boring activities. The best part of that game was hands down the Dunes. Open, empty, atmospheric, beautiful level, with the best mission in the game. No clutter, no mine fields, no half rooms with five scrap, just pure Mad Max.

    Also Ukraine has the best eurojank and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

  3. Is it the job of DLC to fix/address problems in the base game? I don't think so but the DLC content should be designed to avoid those problems (in the DLC content only).

  4. Rage 2 should've been the game of the year. Take the best parts of the first one and add a longer story, more levels, more complex combat, less exploration of zones with nothing in them, no driving. How did they fuck it up. Again.

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