In defense of Rage 2

by casualphoenix2. Posted on May 23, 2020    5    39


There's been a hugely popular post on r/pcgaming describing how Bethesda's games announced at E3 2018 have failed. For Rage 2 they mention:

>Rage 2 flopped. Unfortunately this is probably the least exciting flop of them all. It was just one very confusing design decision after another, a genuinely decent shooter designed to maximize the time spent doing anything other than shooting.

I realize nostalgia and the subjectivity of gaming means I could be in the minority here, which is totally fine, but I'd like to take a moment to argue that Rage 2 wasn't a flop or a failure:

  • Rage had a limited, not-very-open world. Yes, you could roam, but the areas were pretty controlled. Rage 2 has a huge world with tons going on. Speaking of which:
  • While random enemies could be found around Rage, Rage 2 has multiple types of random encounters that you find very frequently: enemies fighting along the side of the road, Authority occasionally dropping in, enemy vehicles chasing friendly vehicles, and enemy convoys.
  • Rage had some core story and random side missions, but Rage 2 has an insane variety in what you can do: core story, side missions (including bounties), and sooooo many locations to check out (random abandoned locations, bandit dens, mutant dens, power pylons to activate, gas stations to clear, etc.).
  • I remember some of the Rage DLC and it was okay, but nothing as extensive as the Rage 2 DLC (I should say I've only played part of the Ghosts DLC and none of the Terrormania DLC yet; just got back into Rage 2 after taking a break from Destiny 2). Overgrown City is huge and a solid DLC space with extra Projects and a weapon, as well as a new enemy that's slightly challenging.
  • There is a lot of variety with what you can do with abilities (four key ones with options on how to use them and upgrade them), weapons (secondary usage as well as a decent variety of weapons, some pretty random and fun to use), and vehicles (downside is you can only upgrade the Phoenix, but it does have a few different attack choices).
  • The gunplay is a ton of fun and gets ratcheted up to 11 in Rage 2 with how crazy Overdrive feels with the intense action and colors. You feel like you're as nuts as the environment.
  • The environment as a whole is great - you definitely get the feel that you're living in a post-apocalyptic world, with a decent variety in what you experience (you're not fighting just mutants, for example).

Specifically for the criticism "a genuinely decent shooter designed to maximize the time spent doing anything other than shooting," I think that misses everything I've mentioned above about the variety of things you can do. You can use guns against any of the random enemies in any of the locations I mentioned, you can use abilities if you want, you can use your car to an extent as well. You're not limited to one of those, you simply have options in what you want to do. Want to use weapons without Overdive? Do it! Want to use weapons until Overdrive fills and then go on a gib-fest? Do it! Want to use almost exclusively abilities? Do it!

And that really misses how this game structures nearly all the missions. Pretty much every single mission, side mission, and bounty requires you to kill enemies. It does the typical, interesting way of it for some missions where you have to do X objective and enemies are either attacking you before or during that objective. But you're able to use weapons against all of them. So I just don't understand how the game is having you maximize your time doing things besides shooting? Is it because you can craft things, or improve your abilities, or improve your vehicle? (Keep in mind you get to improve your guns as well.) Because A) that makes things more interesting and RPG-eque; and B) you have to kill things to complete objectives to get enough items to improve those abilities, and you're going to be doing that with whatever gun you want (or ability; cf. above). The core way to get anything in the game is through killing, so I'm just confused why it's seen as a flop or failure because of that or not weapon-centric.

(Side note: you have to have something besides killing, otherwise the world isn't fleshed-out like you want open-world games to be. You have to kill to complete bounties to get rewards from the trade towns, you have to kill to level yourself up with major stakeholders so you unlock more from them, you have to kill to get money to buy items that help level yourself up, etc. It makes the world more realistic and fleshed-out when you have rewards after killing things, not just killing with no end-goal. (Although technically you can go the whole game killing with no end goal, if you wanted to.) Every RPG is like this, this doesn't make Rage 2 a bad game at all.)

There are a couple areas where I think Rage 2 failed, but in ways that don't overshadow all the good above:

  • The story is pretty basic. I'm not sure that it ends as quickly as Rage, but it's definitely not as nuanced and interesting as some other games. It doesn't suck, it's just not as great as it could be. But to be fair, I'm not really playing this game for the story - I'm in it for the gunplay, environment, and variety of things to do. I'm a completionist, and I'm having fun clearing out all the areas and I'm not bored yet. But others may enjoy it more with a better story.
  • You have to watch out for bugs. I encountered essentially game-breaking bugs related to the Ghosts DLC - the defined areas of Overgrown City were blank, NPCs weren't talking to me, all the Data Pad and mission info was blank, and the only way I could tell I was in Overgrown City was by the name of the save. I was a bit dumb and didn't realize it was the DLC area until I saw the save name because it was so broken. However, a simple, clean reinstall solved this for me and everything appears fine now.
  • EDIT: One other thing that was pointed out to me that I will completely agree with is the vehicles. While I think the Phoenix has a lot of fun combat options and the game has a decent variety of vehicle options, the driving sucks, especially for the bikes. On the main roads most vehicles are fine, but if you hit dirt it takes forever to correct yourself. And I mostly avoid the bikes because they're just not fun to use. Something about the camera angle just feels off (I do need to see if there's options for that). Definitely improvements needed here.

TL;DR: Yes, Rage 2 has some issues, but personally I think the positive greatly outweighs the negative, especially when you consider where it's come from the original Rage.

EDIT: Thanks so much for the silver, kind stranger, my first ever! I started thinking the post was a mistake but you've at least changed my mind! :)


Comments

ContrarianBarSteward

You enjoy it, good for you. Take off your "critique" hat, get back to playing it, you aren't going to convince me it's a good game because my experience with Rage 2 is one of total boredom. It's fine that you like a game that many others don't, you don't need to explain yourself.

  casualphoenix2 7

Sounds like you need to convince me it sucks. :) I seriously can't see how anyone would think it's boring, at least until you finish the DLC and get through most of the map. Maybe then? But come on, you freakin' yell when you turn on Overdrive and enjoy blasting things for a bit, there's a solid variety of things to do, and the abilities are varied and fun. If it's not your cup of tea that's fine, but Rage 2 is definitely not boring. You could call Civilization boring, but not Rage 2.

And who says I can't defend it? The original poster with a gazillion upvotes didn't give nearly as much detail as to why they hated Rage 2, so why can't I give a detailed post as to why I think it deserves more credit than it got?

HeroicMe

>at least until you finish the DLC and get through most of the map.

So, in other words you're saying "you need to play for HOURS before game actually starts to be fun". Yeah, when there's dozen other games that are fun from the start, what you are saying is definition of boring.

  casualphoenix2 4

Nope, what I said was I don't see how you can say it's boring until you've gone through all the DLC and most of the map. At that point if you said, "You know what, I've done all this kind of stuff before, I want to do something different," at least that would make sense. But saying it's boring up until that point is what doesn't make sense to me.

In other words, I'm saying it's fun all the way through that point. To be 100% clear, I'm saying it's fun from the beginning until you at least get through the DLC and most of the map.

BigLeft_Testicle

I can't take anyone who thought Rage 2 seriously was decent.

It was a garbage game that fell flat on its face with .. Everything. It was nothing extravagant, or new, or interesting. They hyped it up quite a lot with different biomes, different factions, and a whole lotta shit going on. When you get into the world, it's empty, bland, garbage, and full of cancer 'go here' fetch quests.

[deleted] 1

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DillaMX 2

That's because you went in with a different expectation. If you just want to shoot around with solid gunplay in a open-world game, this is a good match. Set the difficulty to Nightmare or Ultra Nightmare, learn to use the abilities and you'll be blasting. To me, the gunplay is better than Doom 2016.

The biggest turn-off is that everything is locked or limited and it takes a while to get going for too much stuff and I understand that. But once you do get rolling it is superb.

joder666 1

Of course he and many others did, that's what "hype" is for and why buyers remorse is a thing.
I can't blame anyone for getting hyped by marketing thats the goal after all and then saying the game is bad due to it not delivering on the hype.
Rage 2 falls square into this.
To me is not garbage but the epitome of mediocre AAA game.

DillaMX 2

Well, that's always your fault if you fall for the hype, it doesn't matter what game you're talking about. If you couldn't do the research and find out what the flaws of the game were before buying it, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Like I said, if you went in with the expectation of a rich story, vehicle combat, interesting characters and subplots, you played yourself. Rage 2 delivers in a certain way that makes you feel like a badass in the wasteland.

I don't say that because I desperately want it to be. It is.

The double jumping and dashing are there from DOOM. But this game also has excellent sound effects and visual cues, you know when you're hitting armour, flesh or a headshot. There is a ton of explosive barrels and such. Not every weapon is as exciting but the shotgun is an absolute blast.

What makes this game stand out for me is the abilities, particularly the overdrive, the force push and the slam dunk. You're rewarded for moving around, the AI is pretty decent and it is quite challenging on Nightmare. Here's a video demonstrating most of what's possible. Maybe you don't care about all this too much I can understand that, but my point is that people who are really into DOOM will enjoy the gunplay of this game, I guarantee it.

I think this game has the right foundation in the gunplay for an improved sequel or different game. If you're too worried about getting the most out of your dollars, then yeah just stick with safe choices. Just buy DOOM and DOOM Eternal for example.

joder666 1

> If you couldn't do the research and find out what the flaws of the game were before buying it, you have no one to blame but yourself.

You see the problem with people arguing this is that you assume all games are "good" from start to finish or that at any given point you start disliking it to the point you say is garbage for whatever reason.
Ok, you like it, but don't go around telling people they need to do some "indeepth" research which may "spoil" the game for some, or watch a full play through of it when you shouldn't in the 1st place because a couple of gameplay trailer should suffice.

> Like I said, if you went in with the expectation of a rich story, vehicle combat, interesting characters and subplots, you played yourself.

Did not expetect none of that yet i considered the game mediocre.

> I think this game has the right foundation in the gunplay for an improved sequel or different game.

This is one of the reasons i say is a mediocre game, it could have been way better but it just isn't.

DillaMX 2

For the record, the person I responded to said that it wasn't close to a decent game. I agree with you it is mediocre overall. But that implies that there are some redeeming factors with this game. The person said everything fell flat in this game, that is just not true.

> This is one of the reasons i say is a mediocre game, it could have been way better but it just isn't.

While I agree with it, my point is that this conclusion is very dismissive since it doesn't paint the full picture. It has a BIG redeeming factor for a certain demographic. It isn't just another Ubisoft open world look-a-like, meaning it's uninspired and has no new fresh ideas. This game is the opposite, it does have solid foundation for a open-world DOOM game, a fresh idea. So I'm inclined to recommend this game IF you like DOOM, because I would think it's impossible not to like the gunplay, it's the worth the price of admission on its own. If you deny this, then you just have bad taste.

> Ok, you like it, but don't go around telling people they need to do some "indeepth" research which may "spoil" the game for some, or watch a full play through of it when you shouldn't in the 1st place because a couple of gameplay trailer should suffice.

That's ridiculous. Just watch a spoiler-free review or watch some gameplay of the early levels yourself. I don't expect you to research every flaw, but you should know what you like and don't like. And if one of those flaws are in the game, you shouldn't be surprised it is after buying it. I wouldn't rely on trailers at all, that is just marketing crap to "hype" you up, that is again your own fault for falling for it.

  casualphoenix2 5

We must've played very different games. :) Rage 2 is definitely not empty, especially when compared with Rage. But even if you don't compare it, you take a 60-second drive in the Phoenix down any road and you'll run across 2-3 random fights happening along the side of the road with at least 2 different factions, a chance at the Authority dropping in, a chance at a meteor coming in, just about a guarantee to see either a convoy or someone wanting to race, and guaranteed multiple locations to check out. Maybe you don't like those types of activities and that's fine, but you can't say it's empty.

I would also disagree on "bland" - as I mentioned above, there's a ton of different activities to do, different weapons, abilities, and vehicles, which leads to a lot of ways to use combat against whatever enemy.

And almost nobody creates a truly changing world RPG (i.e. a quest that truly alters the world itself, not just the story), so pretty much every RPG out there uses some form of "go here" quests, some with more significant story or rewards, but "go here" quests nonetheless. Rage 2 is no different - super-easy quests that involve clearing out a low-level nest or hideout or just activating an airdrop, to harder story quests that involve dealing with enemies or bosses you haven't had to before. At least you get a lot of different areas for those quests, and with much more action than you'd get in say a Fallout game.

(EDITED to clarify some things above.)

BigLeft_Testicle

ok

RampagingViking 1

I had a lot of fun playing it. I felt the combat was satisfying. The open world aspect is what really keeps this game from reaching greatness.

I felt I was wasting time by playing hide and seek for the side stuff (collecting fel rite, data pads). It’s not interesting or fun.

I felt the game was at its best during the linear campaign missions. There were unique varying objectives, and a lot of the combat situations didn’t feel as copied and pasted.

cdiganon 2

Bugs and campaign ruined it for me. Both at inexcusable levels.

Bugs messed up with audio, made me unable to use overdrive the entire game, softlocked after the ending and all the post ending stuff and I was at the beginning of final boss after restarting, and bunch of other things.

Campaign had nothing to offer and was super short.

It's like they made the game mechanics and tested out bandit camp raiding which is fun but doesn't make a full game alone so they spent minimum amount of effort to add a campaign and an open world so it fills the AAA checkboxes.

  casualphoenix2 1

I had some insane bugs with the DLC but a reinstall fixed it 100%. No idea what would cause that but I can relate to the frustration at a whole segment being ruined. I had audio issues once or twice but a game restart fixed those.

Campaign was okay - it fit the post-apocalyptic theme with a typical trope ("Authority" villain), as well as a typical bad-guy trope. But I don't think it sucked, just wasn't anything meaningful.

Not sure - I think bandit camp raiding is one of the driving factors, but I think there's a lot going on in the world that's worth checking out. Meteors, convoys, racing (although that could've been better), random fighting, etc. Decent bit out there in my opinion.

LeftHandofGod1987 3

I liked Rage 2. Not as much as I liked Rage 1 one but I can certainly see where improvements have been made. The story was not one of them.

Avalanche managed to somehow craft a story that was far more forgettable than that of the original and not only that, but they were also incapable of creating a single character that you could give a shit about.

Not only that, but the writing and the character art tries soooooooo hard to ape Borderlands, that it becomes just too terrible to endure. The original Rage, while it had its humorous moments, took itself very seriously and didn't have all these silly stereotypes roaming the wastelands.

One of my major gripes with the story is how General Cross goes from this tyrannical leader, whose vision was to unite mankind under an iron fist and restore the prosperity of Earth to a pre-Apophis era, to this futuristic Robocop like retard that's somehow obsessed with replacing mankind with mutants. These mutants employed by the Authority in Rage 2, btw, are almost all of them less effective combatants that the Human authority soldiers from Rage 1, and also, at the end of Rage 1, the mutants fielded by the Authority were already better armored and more combat-capable than the majority of the ones seen in Rage 2.

Also, there's nothing to do besides killing things in Rage 2. All side missions are "go to this place and kill everything in it". On your way you'll find some lore blurbs but so many of them are blatant rip-offs from Borderlands's characterizations that they just make me cringe when reading them. The only ones really interesting are the ones left behind by fallen Rangers and the ones detailing the struggles of the Arkist settlers and the settlements of Gunbarrel and Wellspring.

Vehicular handling is also a step down from Rage 1 in every aspect. Every single vehicle in Rage 1 was a breeze to drive, plus they're design were far better and all of them felt like they would be right at home in a Mad Max movie. In Rage 2 every single bike, for instance, is useless. The Gyrocopter is..... there..... I guess, and that's it.

  casualphoenix2 1

They definitely could've done better with the story. It just went along with a bunch of tropes and didn't deliver anything different or especially exciting. I agree with forgettable. I think some of the fights were fine, but the story itself was lacking.

I think you're right in that the original Rage was a bit more serious, but I'm wondering if the "silliness" of Rage 2 was more-so because they were trying to make Rage 2 that much crazier. I mean, look at the trailers - they're just insane! And that does fit the game - the colors are bolder, Overdrive is dialed up, powers are nuts, etc. But maybe that bled over and went a little too far in the character department.

Yeeaaaaaah, I think they should've had a different villain for sure. I mean, the mutant experimentation was there in Rage so having more of that in Rage 2 makes sense, but I agree, switching the story to entirely that isn't as fun or interesting.

I'm starting to wonder if part of the insanity of the driving in Rage 2 is how they decided to do the camera angles. It's all over the place and constantly shifting and makes you feel like things are way more complicated than they need to be. But also the bikes, goodness the bikes are useless. What's funny is if you have the DLC and turn on autodrive, even the AI's autodrive can't handle the bikes! I was using that just yesterday and it was having a problem keeping it on the road. Haha, man, wished I captured a video of it, it was pretty bad. However, I am really glad that they kept vehicles in the game and at least gave us more variety in the ones we could drive. Running things over in the dumptruck is a load of fun (heh), the Gyrocopter was a great touch, and getting to drive around the crazy Wasteland seller truck is fun.

Isaacvithurston 4

I thought it was weird Rage 2 even got made when Rage 1 had a pretty lukewarm reception. I guess people forgot that Rage 1 wasn't that good either.

  casualphoenix2 1

I thought Rage was good for a short game, but I'm immensely glad they made Rage 2 and made it much more fleshed out.

Catch_022 2

Lack of fast travel and too-long distances to drive, combined with frustrating driving - in almost any other open world game I can just drive / ride towards the objective. When I tried this in Rage 2 I ended up the bottom of many, many cliffs.

I would like to try it again because the combat was fun - is there a mod or something that helps with travel / fast travel?

  casualphoenix2 1

Oh, and one thing that also helped me was to use the emergency break (Space) fairly liberally. Makes those tight turns muuuuch easier once you get used to it.

  casualphoenix2 1

FYI you can fast travel to any of the trade towns once you unlock them. There's about 5 or 6 of them, so it cuts down on a lot of the travel. Just keep in mind that you have to be outside in order to fast travel (that part is a bit of a bummer).

Yeah, the driving for bikes completely sucks and for some of the other vehicles. However, I've found it easier by disabling the rotating camera (in Settings), and by sticking to the Phoenix. :) Drives much better than most. You get used to it eventually. But yes, the driving could've been way better.

Catch_022 2

Thanks, I will give it a go (currently going through Borderlands 3 and Doom Eternal).

  casualphoenix2 1

Nice, I'm hitting up Borderlands 3 while doing Rage 2 as well.

-SammyP6- 2

rage 2 bieng better then rage 1 doesnt mean its a good game

  casualphoenix2 1

Sure, not inherently, but I think the fact that Rage 2 has what it has makes it a good game, definitely not the crap game most people think it is. It has issues and could've been better (story, vehicles, and bugs kept it from being what most people would call "great" or "amazing," I guess; although personally I still think it's great), but it's good, and especially good when you see where it's come from.

rXkenshin 4

I thought the gunplay is one of the weakest element in rage 2? Apart from shotgun, weapons in rage 2 are not satisfying to use. That's the biggest turn off for me. And somehow avalanche can't get vehicle combat right after nailing mad max in 2015.

  casualphoenix2 1

Now that is one thing I forgot that I should add to the bottom of the post - to me, the vehicular movement is extremely unforgiving once you get off a main road. I get that in a way it's realistic, but it's super annoying to try to turn back around if you get off course in the dirt. The vehicular combat itself I enjoyed, though - two guns, rockets, mortars, knocking vehicles to the side, that was fun. Oh, and running things over with the dump truck is just fun. :)

I'll have to disagree on the weapon aspect - I think almost all the weapons are fun to use. I might wish the sniping with the hyper cannon (is that the one?) was quicker, but it fits and it's fine.

Nightviz1on 1

We must have played different games, as I felt the gunplay in Rage 2 was incredibly satisfying. The rest of the game, not so much.

NotaBanEvasion12345 8

Gunplay was great idk what you're on about

zerGoot 8

Every time RAGE 2 is mentioned I feel like I'm the only person who actually enjoyed the hell outta that game. It obviously had no remarkable story, but the gameplay was so damn fun. Basically DOOM 2016 on steroids minus the glory kills

  casualphoenix2 2

Very true! But even without the glory kills it has a huge variety of ways to kill.

zerGoot 2

Absolutely, which is exactly what made it so fun. I really felt like that game had sooo much to offer if you were creative and actually good at it

  casualphoenix2 2

Couldn't agree more!

Kills_Alone 5

Three things that would have benefited Rage 2:

  • Co-op support, so obvious.

  • Better vehicle handling.

  • The weather tech from Mad Max & Just Cause 4.

    They screwed up the release in many ways such as:

  • Not a id-Tech engine.

  • Features & weapons withheld due to DLC, and the DLC was often reported as broken or otherwise missing.

  • Heavy handed forced tutorials.
  casualphoenix2 1

I own Mad Max but haven't played it yet, but now I'm curious about the weather tech. The only thing I remember from videos is dust storms rolling in every so often. Seemed pretty interesting, like a better version of what's in Guild Wars 2. :)

I definitely agree with the vehicle handling, it's not that fun. I think just about every game would be better with co-op but I don't think we can fault Rage 2 for that - Skyrim didn't have co-op, Fallout 4 didn't have co-op, etc. - lots of games in this genre don't, which is fine. I'm sure that would've added way too much complexity to ship with it.

Yeah, I hit the DLC bug - so much was missing, it was incredibly annoying. A reinstall fixed it, though. I'll trust you on the id-Tech engine (not familiar with it), but honestly I'm fine with how they did the tutorials - it's like the Arks were trying to teach you about what you just picked up before you went back out, which fit with the story. They weren't too long, and they showed you regular and alternate fires. I actually think they were pretty good.