Eight years after its predecessor arrived in 2011, Rage 2 is now finally upon us. While the trailers and promo footage seemed to promise an erratic game of energetic excess, let’s pop Rage 2 open and take a look under the hood of this long-gestating sequel to see whether this is a game worth adding to your collection or simply a case of bonkers and crazed style over substance.
In terms of plot, Rage 2 picks up the action 30 years after the events of the first game. This is a desolate, gone-to-the-dogs world in which the landscape is a Mad Max-esque wasteland polluted by mutants and various other no-good sorts. And what’s that on the horizon? Oh, it’s the re-emergence of the nefarious Authority from the first game. As such, it’s down to you as Walker, the last of the Rangers, to scour the vast world with the aim of bringing the old gang back together in order to take down the Authority once and for all.
As premises and stories go, Rage 2 isn’t anything particularly special. All-powerful bad guys? Check. Seek out old and new faces, who will then give you tasks to complete? Check. Bash and blast your way through a glut of disposal bad guys in the hopes of saving the day? Triple check. We guess it’s a testament to Rage 2’s action, then, that the game is still a hugely enjoyable affair. Key to this is the game’s unquestionably excellent combat system. The battles and brutality that you’ll experience across this open-world realm are so much fun, with Walker and his ever-expanding array of weaponry getting to cause all kinds of chaos and carnage that never feels stale and overplayed.
It really is quite impressive how id Software and Avalanche manage to make what is essentially a bunch of similar battles always feel fresh and fun. And if nothing else, Rage 2 is never anything less than fun. Where Rage 2 starts to fall down, however, is away from the primary missions. Plentiful previous open-world offerings have made every inch of their vast universe engaging and genuinely intriguing to explore, yet Rage 2’s undoubtedly stunning to look at world offers very little away from its core mission and story. Quite simply, bar hunting out perks for your Ranger suit and arsenal, there’s very little to do other than formulaic and brief fights with mutants. Similarly, some players may also be disappointed at the lack of any multiplayer or co-op options for Rage 2.
When it comes down to a final verdict, as mentioned previously, Rage 2 is a whole load of fun. The story isn’t anything particularly ground-breaking, the vastness of the open-world may at times feel dull and soulless, but the battles involved in the main narrative of the game feature some of the most exciting and enjoyable combat to have been seen in a long while.
RAGE 2 / DEVELOPER: id SOFTWARE, AVALANCHE STUDIOS / PUBLISHER: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS / PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX ONE, PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW