… In a good way.

Last night at an event at the Sydney Opera House, id Software had shown off their upcoming shooter RAGE. Leading the event was the games lead designer Tim Willits, who had come prepared with a slideshow and the Xbox 360 build of the game.

Tim talked for around twenty minutes on the background of id, their philosophy, the influence that he’s had over games internal to the company, how he got his start from being a simple modder and about the certain generations of games. Very briefly, the generations are as follows (in a non all-encompassing manner) – the Grandfather of FPS’ is Wolfenstein 3D, the Father of FPS’ is DOOM, the Grandfather of Awesome was Quake, the first actual 3D shooter was Quake II, Quake III Arena was [is] Awesome; and so on.

Sadly, nobody cheered for the QuakeLive shoutout. :'(

After the slideshow presentation, we were shown a trailer (trailer 2) of the game while he got the Xbox 360 set up on stage. The event was about RAGE, and RAGE left me raging for reasons that will be discussed below.

The first thing that I noticed, and said out loud, was that RAGE was a very pretty title. I don’t mean it in a way that the forest in AVATAR was pretty for the first half of the movie with all glowy stuff and exotic animal life, I mean it in more of a graphical sense. Like, those rocky cliffs felt real, we could have been actually walking through a valley, it was only that it was accompanied by a HUD that we knew it wasn’t real.

While the background textures in RAGE were amazing, sadly, on the XBOX 360 version at least, the character models were not of the same quality. Yes they worked, yes they looked cool, but they were not as realistic as the background world. I’m hoping that for the PC version this isn’t the case, it could just be a limitation on the Xbox 360’s architecture.

RAGE is a 60hz game, which means that it designed to run at 60FPS at all times. I’m assuming that this is in regards to the consoles, as different PC hardware configuration would yield different results. As Tim suggested, anyone who has played Quake III Arena, or QuakeLive will know exactly what this means. Fluidity, nice, easy fluidity. And from what we had seen of the game, this was definitely the case.

This game is in many ways a throwback to the classic id formula and Anyone who has played a past id game will know what I’m talking about. Basically, you get a bunch of cool guns, you stick a player into this world and get him to kill lots of cool stuff. RAGE takes this formula further with the addition of a bunch of cool gadgets that players get to use, such as sentry guns, robot sentry guns, other awesome gadgets and the like. Players will also get a variety of different ammunition to use over the course of the game, such as a crossbow bolt that allows to to take control of enemy units and, of course, BFG ammunition.

During the playthrough of the game, I was unable to determine if RAGE had regenerating health or not. I certainly didn’t see any medpacks during the first mission, but there were bandages which could be applied during combat. Though, there is a cool dynamic during combat in regards to death. Basically there’s a defibrillator mechanic, where, upon being killed,  you can get a chance to resurrect yourself using the defibrillator. If you complete this challenge, you will be brought back to life. Depending on how well you did during the challenge, you can come back in different levels of health. For instance, it if you did badly, you’d be low on health, the opposite is true for doing well. The defibrillator can also kill all enemies around you upon awakening.

The last thing that I’m going to talk about is that, in RAGE, there are numerous amounts of fun areas and easter eggs to be found. From what we were told, there was a hidden area for each of id’s franchises, as well as a few areas/ nods to the TV show Breaking Bad. So be sure to keep an eye out for those.

Good news for the modding community, RAGE will have an SDK available for players and professional designers to play with and design additional content for the game. As explained on the night, id have always had a large modding community, and it looks like this will continue that lineage. The SDK is coming in two flavours, 32bit and 64bit.

While RAGE certainly looks like it has all the ingredients of the next big FPS, we will still have to see a final product to make that decision. Overall though, it is definitely a must have game and will certainly entertain for hours on end.

Gaming for as long as my memory serves me, probably longer.

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