Game Review: Rage 2

Posted at 8:08 AM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-30 11:08:43-04

Rage 2 plays like a game with imposter syndrome. It knows what it wants to be; the makings are there. This could have been the next great first-person shooter. Sadly, this isn’t the case, my friends. Instead of using its promising elements to progressively blossom into something beautiful, it refuses to commit to any gaming genre, making it feel lost in the middle of the wasteland.

This game put me into a weird haze. Around every corner, I found myself pointing out the weird choices it made, asking myself “why am I wasting my time with this?”, yet for some reason I kept trucking along, finishing in just under 10 hours. You’ll likely find yourself throwing on some music or a podcast if you stick with it til’ the end.

The flaws are around every corner. For instance, Rage 2 comes off as an open world game, but its map is far smaller than the other recent open world games and its also somehow emptier. Much of the exploration in the game is done by vehicle, and it’s a lonely drive. An occasional enemy group will sometimes appear, but instead of attacking you, they keep driving past. If you’re looking for Destiny-like random events, it ain’t here. Character dialogue is filled with cringy line delivery. When interacting with someone in the game, a skip scene option presents itself, almost as if the game knows you’re not going to care. Even the game’s punk rock-like aesthetic doesn’t pay off. The look of the game makes it appear like it should be this off the rails zany shooter, but there’s nothing cooky about it. This is a game in need of a pep talk.

Rage 2’s version of the apocalypse is far more interesting visually than its predecessor. Greys and browns have been exchanged for pinks and blues to liven up the end-of-the-world. It’s a gorgeous realization of the familiar video game setting, perhaps the best this generation. I recommend getting the PC version of this game if you have the means to because the graphics are one of the few bright spots.

What hasn’t changed from the first game to the second is the fluidity of the gun mechanics, perhaps the best part of Rage 2. Character enhancements help create for fun, satisfying shoot-em-up moments. From the shotgun to the assault rifle and beyond, shooting bad guy after bad guy creates a scene so vivid, so gory, that Tarantino himself would approve. The enemy difficulty is accessible on normal difficulty, until the final boss, which for some odd reason becomes a punishing endeavor. To be fair, bringing him to his knees after banging your head against the wall makes it all the more satisfying.

I’d like to see a third installment in this series, because the pieces are there for an awesome experience. Rage 2 isn’t offensively bad, it just exists and does nothing memorable. It takes no risks, goes through the motions, and makes no effort to stand out in the crowd. If you’re jonesing for a first-person shooter during the summer months, picking this up on discount isn’t the worst idea, but go in expecting nothing too extraordinary.

Review code provided by publisher

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