Welcome to Easter Eggs, where the TA Team shines the spotlight on games that many gamers might have missed, perhaps hidden away behind the millionth copy of Call of Duty or FIFA. Much like a gamer who finds an Easter Egg hidden away in a game and proceeds to trumpet it from the highest hills and forums, the TA Team is going to be featuring these Easter Egg games on the front page for all to see.
Back in 2009 when Bethesda took over id Software, it was already known that the development studio was working on a post-apocalyptic shooter named RAGE
. By the time it was released to the public in 2011, it was following on the heels of the immensely-successful, desert wasteland titles like Borderlands
and Fallout: New Vegas
. Did the public need another post-apocalyptic game? Could it match or even surpass those titles?The Basics
The game is based on the catastrophic consequences of a collision between the asteroid Apophis (which is real
) and the earth. In an attempt to survive what threatens to be an extinction level event, Arks have been created to save a select few, the elite, who will be responsible for rebuilding civilization in the future. The player is one of these lucky few, put into suspended animation, and buried deep underground, waiting to rise to the surface again at a predetermined time or when signaled.
Of course, that time does arrive, and the player is re-awakened some 150 years later, but not all is as it should be. The Ark has been wrecked, fellow sleepers have been killed by mysterious survivors, and the player stumbles out alone into a hostile, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Thus begins the story and the player's quest to discover what brought the Ark to the surface, what happened to the other occupants and Arks, and what the mysterious and all-powerful Authority wants from you and the other survivors.The Hook
It has to be said that the story is not the strongest part of the game, and the fight against the mysterious Authority seems to get lost among the various jobs and quests demanded of the player. It also comes to a very abrupt end, leaving the player feeling that he or she has just reached a finale in a TV series' mid-season break, anticipating a further story that never comes.
It also has to be said that the vehicular racing and combat in the Wasteland, whilst fun, feels a little discordant to the rest of the game, and serves little more purpose than moving between locations or grinding for extra cash. That's also true for the different mini-games that are dotted throughout the survivors' towns; they give the player the opportunity to earn some desperately needed money but little else.
Unsurprisingly, the game shines in those areas that id always did best, the visuals and the gun play. The game runs on the studio's latest engine, idTech 5, which brought the Wasteland to life in stunning fashion using the new giga-pixel textures and a locked-in sixty frames-per-second. The settlements, sewers, gang hideouts, and mutant tunnels were all brought to life in incredible detail. Character models, too, were rendered with such realism. The game was simply beautiful to behold, a work of video game art. It is possible that the game remains the best-looking FPS title that ever graced the Xbox 360 console. All of the dark, closed, environments also oozed and dripped atmosphere, provided by incredible lighting and audio effects. At one point in the game, whilst visiting the Dead City for the first time, the player emerges from the darkness of a motorway tunnel into the the daylight flooded streets. The panoramic view of destruction and desolation across the city is simply breathtaking, a water-cooler moment to be enjoyed by any survivor of the wastelands.
The other area in which the game really shines is the gun play, not just the weaponry but also in the way enemies behave against you. The weapons are varied and are the usual mix of pistols, shotguns, and rifles, but there is also the possibility to make more intriguing devices from schematics, including bombs built into remote controlled cars, robot sentries, and a sentry gun. Both types of sentries are essential when attempting to survive the onslaught of mutants or gangs in confined areas. These tight corridors and rooms also force the player into close-quarter battles, raising the tension during combat, as ranged weapons become redundant in some of the cramped spaces.
To add further complications during firefights, the human enemies encountered in RAGE
have a fair degree of AI and will not only try to outmaneuver you but will also fall back and strategically retreat when necessary, enticing the player further into the battle. Mutants, on the other hand, have no such qualms and will brutally and ferociously attack the player with savage melee weapons, but even here it is no duck shoot. The mutants have enough intelligence to avoid your bullets by leaping along walls, weaving from side to side, and springing from distances, often closing the gap between them and you in one jump.
On the occasions that the player is overwhelmed and eventually falls, the game introduces a nice little mechanism with which the player can use a sort of defibrillator to revive himself. Admittedly, this can only be used whilst charged, and takes a finite time to recharge before it is ready to use again, but judicious use of the device can mean that the player can make it through the tougher portions of the game without dying.
This combination of weapons, the intelligence of the opponents, and the close-quarter battles make the combat feel tough and intense, and to a certain degree, a lot more personal. id have always known how to make a shooter, and in RAGE
they have surpassed themselves. The AchievementsRAGE
features 50 achievements covering the standard mix for a shooter, including story progression, campaign completion on various difficulty levels, multi-player, collectibles, and weapon-based. None of those will be too taxing; however, the collectibles all have to be completed on a single playthrough, and given that parts of the world are closed off during story progression, this can potentially become a missable achievement.The Stats
Just over 46,000 gamers have played the title, which is slightly higher than we would usually consider for an Easter Egg; however, in a saturated genre, we felt that it was still worthy of inclusion as a good proportion of shooter fans might have missed it. Out of all of the on-site gamers that have started it, just over half completed the campaign on normal or higher, with only 7% (3405 gamers) actually completing the title in its entirety.
Our community rated the game with a decent score of 3.9 which parallels approximately the favourable rating of 81 from Metacritic.The PriceRAGE
came in two different editions, the Standard Edition, and the Anarachy Edition, which included additional weaponry and a couple of extra side missions. Both editions remain available and prices vary quite significantly across retailers, so it is worth shopping around for the best deal.
For a little over $13.00, the standard edition is available from Amazon US
, whilst UK gamers get a slightly better deal with the Anarchy Edition coming in at £7.49 from Amazon UK
Whilst it is hard to deny that some parts of RAGE
come over as incomplete, experimental, and little more than a distraction to the main game, it is also equally hard to deny that the essence of the game is a showcase of id's talents. The visuals and the gun play are simply second-to-none. Stripping away the layers, the title remains a classical, old school shooter, but it is the quality of the visuals, the atmosphere, the lighting, the weaponry, and the gun play that raise the title above other games in the genre. The FPS parts of the game remain stunning and a work of beauty, a fitting swansong for John Carmack's final work at id.
If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!