Building up Rage
When the first details about id Software’s Rage came out last year, I admit that I was underwhelmed. Nothing about the title stood out: the gameplay seemed standard–it seemed like Doom 3 or any other shooter out there– and the setting wasn’t unique given that Fallout 3 had already done the wasteland theme spectacularly. The one aspect of the game that stood out was the game engine, which was beautiful . . . IF your pc could run it, or if you decided to get it on a console.
However, ever since E3, when more gameplay footage came out, and the quest structure was actually visible, I can’t help but feel a bit more excited about it. Is the gameplay and setting all of a sudden fresh? Nope; it’s pretty much the same as what was described in 2010. What has changed is the amount of polish that the game radiates.
This is the same kind of argument that made Doom 3 such a hit years ago. Nothing was fundamentally different about the game outside of its graphics and the spooky atmosphere. Still, the way everything came together so cohesively is what added to the game’s value. A game developer doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel with every game in order to make it worth playing; the little things, such as how your character saunters from location to location, or how there’s not a pop-up or jagged texture in sight, or even how fluidly the enemy moves when it tries to kill you–they all draw you into the game’s world and make it . . . believable.
To me, that’s what polish is: all of the nuts and bolts of the game come together in such a way that I can get lost in the story and escape from reality for a bit. It’s just like a good book: when an author has command over the English language, you don’t consciously think of what he’s saying or how he’s saying it. You’re invested in finding out what happens next in the story. But, imagine if there were typos and the wrong words were used in different spots: you would be pulled out of the experience, and you would begin to see the author as an amateur.
What Rage does well is that it immerses you in its world and remains consistent in its presentation. This is why I’ve become excited about picking it up when it comes out on October 4th. I may have shotgunned a mutant to death already in Fallout 3, but when a mutant is killed in Rage, everything comes together to make it so believable. Now to decide on what platform to get it on. PC does sound like the best choice . . .
What do you think? Is Rage just another FPS, or is there something under the surface that makes it worthwhile? To help you decide, check out the latest and final gameplay footage.