E3 2011 Impressions: Rage (PS3)

Thanks to our friends at GameCrashers for allowing us to use this video and for helping us look more professional than we actually are.

I’ve never been secretative about the fact that I’m an id Software fanboy. I own every game they’ve ever produced for the PC, and own many ports of their titles for consoles, including more than a couple of versions of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.

Rage is really the first id title that looks like it will finally deliver on the oft-attempted idea of adding a full story to the always awesome gameplay. They tried with Doom 3, but it was still pretty thin, and even though many complained about the fact that you couldn’t hold a flashlight and a gun at the same time, I still loved the game and played through it multiple times. Rage though, looks to have not just “a story,” and looks to deliver a rich and robust universe with many unique characters and a deep, fleshed-out story. The first thing that grabs you is the visuals. Everything on the screen is bright, color-filled, and unique. Instead of using a landscape generator to build the vast planet surfaces, everything you see has been built by an artist, and it’s beautiful… well, in a post-apocalyptic kind-of way. NPC’s are very well animated, and many have voices. The character interaction is incredibly smooth, and surprisingly well-done, which is surprising from a dev who normally doesn’t put an emphasis on interaction at all.

Another major shift from the “id standard” is the addition of not only a crafting system to build weapons and items, but also the inclusion of a full driving aspect to not only get from one settlement to the next, but also a full racing circuit that you participate in to earn money within the universe. But you’re not just driving, oh no. This is full car combat that reminded us of a mix between Motorstorm and Mario Kart, with multiple weapons-types and powerups littered throughout the environment. The reason that I mentioned the word “risky” before is because id Software has announced, at least so far, that the multiplayer will only utilize the car combat and racing portion of the game. Being known as the studio that essentially invented multiplayer first-person shooters, the fact that their newest game not only doesn’t have any included, but instead will be car combat instead is a humongous risk, but hey, I still have faith, it’s freakin’ id Software!

The E3 demo allowed the player to choose from a couple of different levels, and in our limited time, we played one level each of the driving and first-person scenarios. The driving in this instance was an organized race that could be bet on in an attempt to earn more cash than simply what could be won as a prize. Again, think Motorstorm and Mario Kart. The track is very similar to what you’d expect from a style-perspective from at least the first 2 titles in the Motorstorm series, set in a desert with a lot of sand peppered with small plants. Huge rock formations loom overhead amd also help to direct you around the actual track layout. As soon as the race begins, you’ll immediately notice, as in Motorstorm again, that there are multiple paths available, but that’s really where it moves into the Mario Kart realm with powerups floating above sections of the tracks, and that’s where the visceral action begins. I don’t recall the sepcific weapons available beyond the standard lock-on missiles, but what I do remember are the luscious explosions and dead-on physics for the vehicles. In so many words, it’s damned cool. But alas, the race was over all too quick, and I moved-on to the meat of the game, a section of first-person shooting! The megatexture tech really shines, and right away. Instead of stretching a single texture all over the place, there’s much more variety in the environments, and effects like dust blowing in the wind and full HDR lighting are plentiful and impressive.

The feel in the controls are straight-up id, and that’s a good thing. They are still using the “tripwire method” of spawning enemies in, but I’m used to that, and luckily they don’t use spawn lockers that keep going until you get to a certain point. The use of sound to mess with your head is incredibly effective, and I found myself slowing-down because I could hear an enemy moving all around me, even though I couldn’t see it. Beside hoards of enemies coming at you from around a corner, they also fell-through the ceiling to pull a surprise attack. Beside the standard “shamblers,” I was also treated to a larger enemy, which is probably a mid-boss of sorts. It took a ton of hits to take down, and the bastard had a higher than normal AI IQ. Hide behind a car? Good luck with that, as he’ll pick the car up and throw it away. Yeah, AI is definitely improving in games, and I LOVE IT!

From our limited time, I could already tell that this is decidedly an id Software game, only 10 times more than what any others have been. This is definitely on my “wanted” list, and I can’t wait to play even more. Check out our interview in the video above, and then go pre-buy this game.

Also, this is the first time that they have shown the PlayStation 3 version, and refreshingly it looks exactly the same as on the 360 from what we could see. Even compared to the PC version, the console versions look fantastic, and really show what id’s new tech can really do. It played wonderfully on the PS3, and hey, at least you get use the superior controller for a console version 😉

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • Great article, Glenn.   If I recall you also have a XB360.  In general do PS3 ports look better, worse, or about the same as their 360 counterparts.  I only have a PS3, and I guess I am biased but I feel that PS3 has more powerful hardware, and thus should have better quality ports (not counting any exclusive add-on content).  Lately, the PS3 ports have caught my attention and made me happy with my decision to go with Sony (ie Kratos in Mortal Kombat!!)  I have been really enjoying your show, and all the hard work you and the gang put in, so thanks.

    • Things have evened-out quite a bit. You’ll occasionally see one version better than the other, but personally, since I won’t pay for online, I always get the PS3 version.

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  • Scruffy

    Good to know it’s running great on the PS3.  Although all the podcast I’ve listen to say PC is the way to go for this one.

    • Agreed, and I’ll get it on both PC and PS3, but the console versions are closer than you’d expect.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to hear good things about this one…honestly from all screen shots and trailers, I was starting to see it as a Borderlands clone. Not that it would be a bad thing, since I love Borderlands. Definitely looks like a worthy Preorder for that juicy bonus content.

    • Borderlands is more MMO/RPG than shooter, whereas Rage is a straight Shooter/Driving Game with some very light crafting elements occasionally. The premise is kinda similar to a couple of other games like Starhawk and Borderlands, but that’s really where the similarities end.

    • Borderlands is more MMO/RPG than shooter, whereas Rage is a straight Shooter/Driving Game with some very light crafting elements occasionally. The premise is kinda similar to a couple of other games like Starhawk and Borderlands, but that’s really where the similarities end.