Drive, shoot, jump and hit. Rage 2 has arrived a little less than a week: has it succeeded where its predecessor has failed? I remind you that the version of the game tested is the one for Xbox One; but let's not stop talking and see how Rage 2 looks.
Let's start from the principle, that is from the Authority. The goal of the Authority is to eliminate every human presence to supplant it with its own enhanced mutants, since for them only the strongest is worth living and humanity has lost its right. Rage 2 starts like this, with a quick recap on the events of the first title and then catapult us directly into action.
The prologue opens in the Vineland outpost, where between sections of gameplay and some cinematic, we catapult into the new wasteland. The first thing we choose started the game is the sex of our character, a decision that does not determine anything in particular apart from the appearance of the same. Thus we know the various main characters we are dealing with during our adventure, first of all Walker, our protagonist. Orphaned of both parents, Walker is raised under the guidance of the Ranger Prowley to prepare for the return of the Authority's forces and to save what little humanity remained through the Daga project.
WALKER WASTELAND RANGER
Ah the wasteland, destroyed houses, outposts of bandits and lost arks, a dream for resource hunters and old-world memorabilia, too bad all is not so brilliant.
Once we leave the Vineland area, the game leaves us the freedom to roam the world without pushing ourselves to complete the main plot.
If from a certain point of view this is a good thing for those who love to explore, one cannot help but notice a certain scarcity of life within the game map.
Don't get me wrong, enemy outposts, checkpoints, not-so-friendly convoys and sentinels that we encounter while traveling, are fun to deal with, but there is still a sense of constant loneliness that is only mitigated during the fighting, real point of strength of the title.
Eye though: despite the solitude of travel, Rage's world is full of activities, collectibles to collect and places to discover. Another positive side is the size of the map, not too large and with well-positioned objectives and events.
KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE
If we decide to follow the main mission, let's quickly get to know the three allies that we must convince to carry out the Daga project, defeat Cross and his Authority: John Marshal of Gunbarrel, Dr. Kvasir, an old acquaintance for those who played the first chapter and Loosum Hagar, the mayor of Weelsprings.
Each of these three characters is in a distinct region and each of them, by leveling up, allows us to get new projects to build. Of course, side quests are not lacking, obtainable from the inhabitants of the cities together with indications for new places or possible clues to be used in places we have already discovered.
Unfortunately the main story fails to get the right attention, thanks to a banal writing and moments that are not exactly memorable. Fighting remains the driving force of the game and the only source of real satisfaction.
SHOOT EVERYTHING, ALL THE PICKETS
The most successful part of Rage 2 is precisely the combat. Whenever we encounter enemies, it is difficult to resist the desire to ruin their day. Accomplice to our carnage are our weapons and ranger powers, perfect for bringing order with firmness and madness.
If you played the last Doom, playing Rage 2 you will feel at home, as the combat system takes most of its features. Expect therefore close and funny collisions, where we can take advantage of the amusing shotgun and the abilities that our ranger armor allows us to use.
The fights are experienced as a dance, between a machine-gun fire, a boomerang throw and the use of our skills.
Life is not regenerated in the CoD style, but is recharged by the felte cells released by the enemies at each killing, a bit like in Doom with demons, it is therefore important to keep moving by eliminating enemies.
Unlike the Doom Guy, our Ranger is slower and does not boast the use of brutal glory kill, something that is lacking but does not diminish the shooting phases, reinforcing Rage's different identity.
BABY SHOCK WAVES!
So let's talk about the skills to use while fighting, really useful and satisfying to use and each with its own tree of skills to unlock and upgrade, thus having at its disposal a discharge of devastation worthy of Skyrim's best Fus Ro Dah.
We can create singularities to make enemies stay in the air or make us jump as the most lethal of Mass Effect biotics, use concentration to blow up barrels of gasoline or, even better, use the overload to get stronger and faster while our life recharges.
In case of unfortunate death, once the internal defibrillator is unlocked, we can even stand up again with a fair percentage of energy and more.
Turning to weapons, each of our guns is satisfactory in its use, whether it's the sidewinder gun available from the beginning, whether it's the gravity dart spear, a weapon that I think holds the essence of Rage's madness 2, as long as you have maximized it.
Last part to consider is the combo system. The indicator serves mainly to keep track of how many enemies we are able to kill consecutively, so as to be able to recharge the overload indicator and receive more feltrites to recharge our lives, as well as unlocking new skill levels.
Obviously the combo counter can also be upgraded to raise the limit of the aforementioned and related bonuses.
GUIDE, GUARANTEE AND NUCLEARIZE
Vehicles play a key part of our wanderings around the devastated area. When it is not possible to travel quickly between one city and another, moving in the car or with hybrids between tanks and cars becomes an important part of exploring the game world, without, however, renouncing firepower.
Almost all means of transport are armed with machine guns, guided missiles, nuclear mines and more. Yes, that's right, even vehicles can be upgraded with new weapons and abilities, and the ability to release an emp shock wave to blow up enemy shields is very useful, to reveal any weak points in the convoys and so on.
If all this is not enough or our vehicle should be disarmed, we can always ram the unlucky guy and then see him end up astray. Otherwise, as the most classic of Fast and Furious, we can use nitro to make our pursuers eat dust.
Competitions could not be missed. Whether you decide to go to Chazcar Derby or look for some aspiring rival in the game world, races help break the pace of the game, although I found the driving system rather cumbersome, with the controls not always up to par for the maneuvers we should do.
GIVE ME MORE FELT!
We have finally come to talk about the advancement system of our Texa ... Wasteland Ranger, or the tree of nanotritic abilities. Each of the 8 abilities obtainable from Walker can be upgraded to make it even more lethal.
In order to unlock new abilities and perk, we must accumulate feltritis, the mineral you need to get the next level of skills but that's not enough to unlock them. This is why we need nanotrits boosts recovered from archaic cases, merchants or arks.
This choice of developers initially slows down the pace of our evolution, but after careful use of resources, we begin to feel the actual increase in power of our character. Thus we get bigger shock waves, a higher speed and other techniques very useful in combat.
In addition to the 8 unlockable active abilities, we also have 3 passive skills which are constitution, concentration and overload, also with relative levels to unlock and perk.
Last but not least, we also have the projects of our allied 3 available that, unlike the skills, we can achieve by completing different activities, such as gathering information through datapads, eliminating outposts and enemy bases or discovering new places.
DO NOT BREAK THE RHYTHM
One thing I have not digested since the start of the game: the post-mission and itutorial screens for using the powers.
In the prologue, where the action should reign supreme, we are stuck reading so many annoying tutorial screens that are useful. This does not help to get into the role of Walker, which is already not very interesting, nor to create interest in the main plot.
Once around the world, at the end of each event we are blocked to observe the umpteenth screen of recap and progress of the reputation of our allies. Not to mention tutorials related to powers, often annoying and almost useless given the simplicity of their use, at least for console controls.
WHERE ARE YOU? I DO NOT SEE YOU
If overall the game is solid in its mechanics, some bugs do not take long to appear. It happened to me during a game session that I no longer felt the voice of a character while he was still talking, or that he was unable to free an outpost because an enemy simply glittered inside a wall.
Not to mention supply cases, perhaps one of the most ridiculous elements of the whole game, since hitting them with the butt of a rifle has no effect unless they are hit by crouching. The most annoying bug is still inherent in the game menu.
The slowness of the menu when passing from one section to another makes the whole operation boring, moreover, every now and then I had to give a new input to go to the next menu.
Fortunately, many of the bugs in Rage 2 can be solved by using the quick trip, as the game reloads the map and the npc in the process.
AND I DO NOT FEEL YOU
If until now we talked about the plot, gameplay etc, now it's up to the artistic and sound side.
I prefer to start with what I did not appreciate, or rather the sound sector that has certainly not intrigued me with the first launch of the title. The soundtracks are not at Doom levels and I certainly didn't expect a hard rock or metal base, but I was certainly hoping for the same care.
Rage 2, on the other hand, has some forgettable traces, never managing to surprise us but giving just enough to keep us from falling into boredom or monotony. Unlike the main soundtrack, I appreciated the sound effects of weapons and powers; every weapon is satisfying to the hearing, especially the larger guns.
The various impacts, whether they are physical or of the doors that we will give to the marauders, are of excellent workmanship with credible sounds even for what concerns the roar of the vehicles. The dubbing is credible but not excellent, even with regard to enemies and NPCs around the cities like.
HAVE WE MET BEFORE?
It is not easy to create an original post apocalyptic world, but the guys at Id Software and Avalanche have managed to mix various "classic" elements of these environments with moderate success.
The cities, the various biomes and the outposts have a careful design and different with appropriate textures for the type of work. The note of shocking pink is decidedly satisfying even though it may cause some problems in the search for certain elements or cases since it is used very often. The glance is very good also for what concerns the most distant elements.
NPCs within cities are more than automatons put as a filler that real inhabitants of a town always on the go. Fortunately we are not at the levels of Fort Tarsis of Anthem, but more could have been done.
The weapons and vehicles do not tire from sight and the various skins obtainable by playing help to give the right glance. As for the game world, despite not shouting at originality, it does justice to the post-apocalyptic landscape, winking at productions like Mad Max or Borderlands.
WE PULL THE SUMS
Rage 2 in general is a good game and a good step forward compared to its predecessor, with precise and fun shooting mechanics, an excellent variety of enemies, firearms and some gadgets. It is a pity for the game world that, despite the good will of the Avalanche boys, fails to leave its mark on the players' minds for design and density of life.
If you are looking for a no-frills and fun-to-play shooter, then Rage 2 is your game; but if you are looking for an inspired plot and a living world, better move to other shores.
If the apocalyptic post is your bread, but Rage is not for you, take a look at how it is proposed Days Gone, maybe that's what look.