Review: RAGE 2 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC
  • Stadia

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (26.7 GB)
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Avalanche Studios, Bethesda Softworks
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), £49.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I only played a few minutes of the first game but from what I’ve read, that isn’t a big deal, and the story sums up what happened anyway. This game is a collaborative venture between id Software and Avalanche Studios. Both are masters of mayhem and creators of some excellent games including MAD MAX, Just Cause 2, and lastly the brilliant Doom and Quake series.

MAD MAX still remains one of my favorites of this generation and I often jump back in for some awesome driving and fighting fun. Sadly, I failed to get the Platinum as one of the tasks glitched and I’ve never had enough time to play it all the way through again in the hope that it would be okay the next time.

Gameplay:
RAGE 2 is an addictive game with so much to do, although, the large map would suggest otherwise during the early hours of the game. Conversing with some friendly locals and some exploration begins to populate the barren map with an abundance of activities and places of interest.

The story follows on from the first game, which I only played for a few minutes, but was easily caught up during the first tutorial style mission. There are three allies who require certain things to be wiped off the map, along with some actual story based objectives.

I got so caught up in clearing out mutant nests, bandit dens, repowering stations, and so on, that I had almost cleared the entire map before remembering the actual story missions. Not forgetting about hunting for Arks to get new weapons and abilities.

There are a few things that frustrate me, the first thing is the painfully slow touchpad menu tabs. I’m in these quite a bit, as it’s the place to upgrade everything from my main vehicle to the abilities and weapons. The worst tab is happily the one I never use, the Log database. Luckily I can scroll the other way and avoid it. The lag seems to be an issue with this generation hardware, as playing the same game on Stadia results in no lag when switching between tabs, apart from a miniscule delay loading the Logs.

The weapons are crazy and, once upgraded, can be devastating, I tend to stick with the Assault Rifle and Shotgun but also like using the Firestorm Revolver and Smart Rocket Launcher. Most have alternate fire modes and when used in Overdrive can be very explosive to put it mildly.

Meteors deliver a wealth of Nanotrites, used to upgrade abilities and weapons. If I can get to the crater before nearby enemies, it spares the hassle of a gunfight. The Nanotrite crystals can also be found in containers and even lodged in walls.

Then there are Boosters that upgrade particular things for each ability or weapon. For example, I can unlock Remote Detonation for my Focus ability. These become very useful when combined with the various tracking tiers in Dr. Kvasirs Search & Recover Project.

As I just mentioned, each ally has their own Projects and, as I complete more activities for them, I gain points that make my life much easier and sometimes more fun too. This could be anything from increasing the amount of ammo I can carry to being able to sprint faster. A favourite of mine is the Grenade Tennis unlock.

Most places have Containers, Datapads, and sometimes Spy Drones to discover and destroy. I feel the need to get one hundred percent in each location and so finding all of the deviously hidden items can be tricky. The upgrades and boosters do help, but it takes time to unlock everything, especially when there are other important ones to get that help with attacking or healing.

Vehicles in the game are almost pointless and often frustrating, especially the unwieldy bikes. I was hoping to be able to upgrade and customise each one, but only the Phoenix has that functionality. Plus, its only real use is against the convoys, similar to the ones in MAD MAX. There are some pointless random enemies littering the wasteland and on a rare occasion I got attacked by a few bikes.

The awesome vehicular combat from the other game just isn’t touched upon in this similar game. I did enjoy upgrading the Phoenix but much preferred fast-travelling and the freedom of the Icarus, a little gyrocopter used for scouting and exploration, not combat.

I’m not a trophy hunter as I rarely have the time or inclination. This game however became an obsession and I’m happy to report that…

I GOT THE PLATINUM and even 100% on the Stadia.

Chazz H.

The story is probably the weakest part of the game but it still has a bigger plot than most Michael Bay movies. The controls are great, but there is plenty to learn and the tutorials in the Arks are very helpful. Picking up items can be awkward at times, as I need to be centered on the offending object. It never became an issue with regard to my ammo supply and I was never caught short without at least half of my guns fully stocked.

Visuals:
Gore, there’s plenty of it. Body parts will go flying as you shoot, kick, or Shatter the enemies. Yes, RAGE 2 isn’t just a shooter; there are many abilities to unlock. Shatter sends enemies flying with a strong kinetic shove. Vortex deploys a singularity that pulls in nearby enemies and temporarily suspends them in the air.

My favourite ability is Slam, which generates a powerful kinetic shockwave as my character jumps into the air and slams her fist down onto the ground. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, you can choose to be a male or female Ranger at the start of the game. They both look very similar but the voice is different, obviously.

I can forgive the screen-tearing and pop-up while I’m journeying through the wasteland, as the draw distance is staggering and the world is surprisingly full and varied. It isn’t just rocks, sand, and ruins. The engine is very impressive and easily holds-up as I transition between racing along dusty roads and storming enemy strongholds.

The original reviewer never managed to finish the game or put pen to paper citing motion sickness as the reason. I never encountered any problems, and there are even options to adjust the Field of View, Motion Blur, and Chromatic Aberration in the Video Settings for anyone who might suffer.

There is a very nice Photo mode complete with stickers and an assortment of options to get those lovely shots. I spent loads of time and captured around ninety images, which is an excellent indication of a good-looking game.

Audio:
There are plenty of NPCs to converse with in RAGE 2 and most offer missions or useful information on some loot locations. Heck, even Ruckus, the large Abandoned Crusher won’t stop singing, until you start shooting him.

The Phoenix talks. Now, it isn’t anything like KITT from the old classic Knight Rider TV show. This car is a little annoying, always going on about checking into the clinic when I’m repairing it and asking where we’re going. My character never talks back to it, probably sick of hearing the limited vocabulary as much as I am.

Now that I mention the Phoenix, there is an Auto-drive option but the car is terrible and maybe a little depressed as it often veers off a cliff or into a ditch. Maybe I should check it into a clinic, it might get a better lexicon and stay on the road more often.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only and features no online component. Although, buried in the plentiful Stats menu it does mention avenging Friends in the Social tab. My number sits at zero so either none of my friends have the game or they’re that damn good and didn’t ever die.

Conclusion:
RAGE 2 is not perfect but oozes fun and over-the-top action. I clocked in a few days of play across both systems and still have the expansion area to play. I went in wanting a spiritual successor to one of my favourite games, and in some small way, that’s what I got, but with a focus on the guns and crazy abilities.

I even completed the game on the Ironman Mode, which means I had one life and if killed my save was deleted. The game crashed my PS4 on two occasions, I also got stuck in some scenery and had to load an Autosave. The gamer in me wants to give it top marks, I just had so much fun with it. The boring reviewer in me wants to knock a few points off for the bugs and occasional screen-tearing. The gamer then argues that none of the issues ruin the experience.

I would love to see a sequel on the next gen hardware, as this game is so much fun and a little crazy. I suppose the story does let it down and some people might see some monotony set in as a result, unless you are like me and almost forget about the weak narrative and just enjoyed the mayhem and hunting down all the collectibles at each location.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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