A week after a series of rumours, leaks and all kind of speculations, Bethesda finally announced that RAGE 2 is a reality. The reveal came with teaser, featuring real life actors doing ‘fuck you’ with shotgun shells and pouring energy drinks to their faces. Not only the goofy insanity caught everyone’s attention, considering what anybody would expect from the sequel of the original game, but it was the pop-punk aesthetic and intense use of colors that striked me the most.
The gameplay trailer reinforced this even further. At first, it introduces the setting in a way we’re used from games like these: 80% of the world’s population has vanished by an asteroid, and now scum, mutants and punks rule what is left of mankind. You are a Walker, a ranger left for dead who has a threat to tear down the Authority, a mysterious group that is trying to overcome the place. And that seems to be it… until an enemy gets shot from a giant cannon from what it looks to be a hand-made carnival in the middle of the desert, serving as target practice to us.
That’s the new RAGE, being developed once more by id Software, but with the interesting addition of the people behind Just Cause and Mad Max, Avalanche Studios, to the team.
Everything else is just crazier. Giant mutants that resonate to Fallout’s behemoths, all kinds of customized cars and buggies flying through ramps and crashing against enemies, punks playing baseball with grenades… you get the idea. Borderlands is one of the first examples that came to mind based on the direction they seem to be taking, replacing the grittiness of the classic wasteland facade with satire and unexpected situations.
The use of turquoise and pink colors were a surprise, too. Adding a bit of neon-ish aesthetic to a light brown world it’s certainly a nice change of pace, and I can’t wait to put all the goofy stuff in action. In one of the moments of the trailer we get to see grenades causing explosions in those colors as well, so it’s definitely a concurring element in the game as well.
There’s a lot to discuss gameplay-wise. Pretty much everything has been changed in some way from the previous game, except for the focus on weapons and that small but deadly boomerang. 2016’s DOOM left a mark in id Software, and you can easily tell they are following a similar path in terms of gunplay. Luckily, weapon variation is increased even further now. Along with machine guns and big cannons, we briefly see an enemy getting shot with a weapon that apparently keeps them in a sort of low gravity mode. Hopefully, we’ll be able to experiment more in the battlefield with physics.
Double jumping seems to installed for good in id’s spacebars, which makes me really happy. There will also be combat skills that reminded me of the times I used a Psycho in Fallout 4, but there aren’t many details on those for the moment.
It seems RAGE 2 will feature factions, each with their own unique areas and biomes, beautiful equipment and weapons to loot and probably tons of side quests to complete. It’s unsure whether or not players will be able to build a reputation with each, but it already seems like an interesting addition, granting variety to the new open world.
Vehicles are back, but racing seems to be crazy than ever. It’s no surprise, though, as Mad Max’s driving system was one of the best I played in years. It also seems they will be keeping the customization aspect, and I can’t wait to create my own buggies from scratch.
This mix of elements from some of the best games in their own genres and sub-genres sounds like an almost perfect combination, but there’s a lot to consider. A big open world isn’t justified if most of the side quests rely on fetching certain items or conquering settlements. For me, fewer and more significant missions should be mandatory in games like these. Knowing Bethesda we will probably be content packed with random encounters, specially know with vehicles going around, chasing us and inviting us to races (called it).
Perhaps we won’t know about a new Fallout anytime soon, but it’s encouraging to see a game set in a wasteland taking a different direction from the ones we are so used to. We only have to wait until E3 now to know more details about the game.