I had heard whisperings and mutterings of Rage 2 a fast-paced first-person shooter from Bethesda and while roaming around PAX Australia it appeared, almost as if it was dragging me in.
Headphones on and controller in hand, the tutorial was started, and despite feeling like a pretty vanilla shooter, with the same reload, fire, ADS and melee as other games of the genre. The real fun begins with the introduction of the Nanotrites. A returning feature, the Nanotrites give players special and devastating powers, with which they can create a hail of carnage in every direction possible.
Three Nanotrite abilities were provided, each offering paths to the most destructive plays possible. Our Ranger, a nanotech-infused hero of the wasteland was provided with three abilities during this demo. Dash is fairly self-explanatory, launching you in any given direction albeit with decisive aggression. Combat in Rage 2 is rapid, and when combined with the dirty post-post-apocalyptic setting makes the Dash so essential. I was ducking through storage containers only to burst out with a not-so-carefully-timed Dash getting me close enough to shotgun foes in the face.
Shatter is next up, a nanotech-powered close-range blast that sends hostiles ragdolling in the most delightful of ways. This one wasn’t as utilised in my playthrough, as I kept misjudging distances and wasting the opportunity, so I stuck to my weaponry and the third ability. Known as Slam, this sends your Ranger sky-high before coming back down with an impressive AOE, sending enemies flying and turning lower level foes into post-apocalyptic mincemeat. Oh, how I used Slam liberally and would do so again.
Now, my favourite part. The part I spoke about for a good half an hour after was the Wingstick. Having not played Rage this was my first encounter with the three-sided boomerang and by Anubis, it was a fun one. Locking onto foes, especially those trying to hide on the upper levels of buildings and letting loose the spinning blades of death and dismemberment was a singular joy for me. I don’t know why more games don’t have modified boomerangs in them.
The setting of Rage 2 is in a world that is recovering from the effects of an asteroid impact that has mutantified the world. In fact, at a panel I attended at PAX Australia entitled Utopia/Dystopia: Environment Driven Storytelling Tim Willits of id Software referred to Rage 2 as post-post-apocalyptic (as above) in that the world is trying to recover and rebuild.
That being said, insanity is rife and high-tech weaponry is the only cure in the wasteland. Also Wingsticks.