In addition to seeing Prey 2 (preview here) and Skyrim at E3, we were able to check out Bethesda’s other big budget game in development and soon-to-be blockbuster title, RAGE. We were unable to check out RAGE at last year’s show, but if we were to, I’m sure it would have stolen the show and been our Most Anticipated Game of E3 2010.
The hands-on demo I got with RAGE was a very unique experience. Usually when previewing an upcoming title, the developers will give you a sneak peak from a certain part of one of the more exciting levels you can expect to see in the full version of the game. Id Software decided to do things a little differently with RAGE at this year’s show and had the demo set up where you could select between seven different parts of the game to play, all varying in style of play. There was the standard mission in which you travel through a map scouring parts to build a car, similar to other RPG games like Fallout. But then there were more unique levels like one that put you in an evil funhouse game show and pitted you against different enemies in different challenges.
But the final mode I got to check out was the most diverse of all and featured sand dune multiplayer racing that played like a big boy Mario Kart with power-ups and projectile weapons. When looking at a serious action shooter like RAGE, the last thing you expect to see is Mario Kart-style car combat, but it surprisingly works well and, of course, looks stunning just like the rest of the game.
The actual gameplay is very smooth and plays just like id Software’s previous games Doom and Quake, but with far improved graphics, animations, and enemy A.I. that take id’s Tech 5 engine to the next level of realism. But the similar shooter mechanics aren’t what make RAGE so impressive, it’s the stunning graphics combined with the new RPG element that make RAGE a game changer.
It seems like a common theme amongst developers in the Bethesda family is to use certain concepts from other games under the publisher’s umbrella to make their own games better. Just like how Prey 2 (preview here) uses a similar player movement style as Brink, RAGE uses a similar free-world, item collection/making style as Fallout. One of the levels I got to play had me searching through the game to find parts for a mechanic who could build a dune buggy for me once I collected all the pieces he needed. Throughout different areas of the level there were locked doors that in order to open, required me to collect parts scattered throughout rooms and put said parts together to create devices to break the door locks. Other items I found throughout the map helped improve my firepower, like harder hitting ammo and electric-charged arrows for my bow gun. I could even use parts I found to build items like exploding remote control cars and spider turrets to help aid me in combat.
After finally getting my hands on RAGE, it seems like the game is trying to do a little bit of everything by combining FPS gameplay with an RPG storyline and collectible items, and even introducing modes like multiplayer combat racing that you would never think to see in a serious shooter. But RAGE doesn’t do “a little” of everything, and id’s latest blockbuster title really is a jack of all trades. We can’t wait to get out hands on it again when it’s released on September 13, 2011.