hellish dose of road rage.
So it's a surprise when the developer's long-awaited return to the fray not only presents you with an open world to traverse, but also encourages you to do so behind the wheel of a car.
Old school shooter fans needn't worry. Dig your nails beneath Rage's skin and you'll find the id studio's DNA running right through it.
The game opens with you being rescued from a damaged life-support facility and whisked off to a hellish post-apocalyptic wasteland that's full of bandits.
This Fallout-meets-Mad Max cocktail was cliched even when Borderlands revived it in 2009, and the RPG-lite framework that holds everything together is an uneasy marriage of fetch quests and over-complicated crafting.
But Rage has two things going for it.
The first is a graphics engine that renders the scorched earth exteriors and makeshift settlements in exquisite detail. This is a richly realised world that makes you want to explore.
The second is ID's innate understanding of the shoot-out. The missions you pick up in the single-player storyline invariably involve vintage showdowns with one of half a dozen enemy factions.
The layout of their lairs is predictable, but the challenges that wait within rarely are. From heavily armoured Gearheads to tomahawk throwing Jackals and mutants, each demands new tactics. Firefights are tightly-scripted tours de force that show ID can still surprise and scare with sadistic regularity.
There's little you won't have seen before, but much like the cobbled together cars you'll race, Rage is a riotous ride that's far more than the sum of its second-hand parts.
Wheels of death... you're in the driving seat
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|Title Annotation:||Features; Opinion, Column|
|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Oct 9, 2011|
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