E3 2010: Rage (Impressions)

by: John -
iD’s newest tech/game was shown off in the Bethesda booth as Rage was one of the highlights of my visit to their space. Rage is a different approach for iD, whose best known for close, fast combat. There’s still that in Rage but there’s also huge outdoor areas with vehicular combat as well.

The engine driving Rage is Id Tech 5. It’s the next iteration by John Carmack and the iD team and it does look pretty spectacular. I can see the comparisons to Borderlands or Fallout 3 but the engine really shines in producing high quality models and textures with great speed in both open areas and closed in areas. The wasteland on top of the world looks gorgeous with large collapsed buildings and rolling hills. The very impressive visuals all run at a solid 60 fps on all platforms so that’s a feat in itself.

The story takes place after an asteroid has crashed onto the surface of Earth wiping out almost everything. Before that happened, there were these series of pods that were built and sent underground to salvage some of the population. After a certain time frame, the pods emerged to the surface and you are one of those survivors coming up to see the world now. Now, the after effects of the asteroid collision has had some strange mutating affects on those that have survived so you’ll be encountering mutants of various shapes and sizes along the way.

iD has strived for diversity between the areas you visit by offering up different types of enemies, environments, and NPCs. I was shown one area where the mutants have a paler skin from not being outside much but were very agile with doing flips and running on the rails to get to you. They seemed very feral so no tactics were used and they just seemed to think of one thing: get to you as fast as they can and kill you. Moving to a different location where the enemies are more grunts and mechanics, they dressed differently, talked differently, and attacked in a more brute force manor with some taking cover. The town which these guys lived in looked different as well. Let’s hope there are plenty of varieties to last you throughout the game as I really dislike games that repeat their content too much.

One gameplay aspects lets you build various items through schematics that you can find. One shown was this bomb on a car that can wheel into position and take out a group of enemies behind cover. Weapons can also be created from these schematics as well such as this glaive like knife that flies and spins and can decapitate enemies with ease.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to drive vehicles and one that was shown was a dune buggy. When you get one for the first time, it’s pretty vulnerable but it’ll get you from point A to point B quicker and a little bit safer than walking. Later on as you go, you can start to outfit the dune buggy with such things as guns and armor. It’ll be interesting to see how iD handles vehicular combat as that’s such new territory for them.

Rage’s showing left me with a hopeful impression that this new iP might have some legs for iD. The demo showed off some impressive visual effects but gameplay is what counts and in the past, iD’s been a little soft in that department. But, seeing it for the first time up close, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the final product to see if iD can deliver.

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