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Review: Rage 2 is pure ecstasy for shooter lovers

Rage is a game not many people ever expected to get a sequel. It didn’t sell super well, it got somewhat decent reviews, but it was by no means a smash hit. That said, Bethesda reassessed the IP and made Rage 2, one of the best shooters out there right now.
id Software and Avalanche have combined forces to make one hell of an explosive gameplay experience. But sadly, that may be all Rage 2 has to offer and depending on the kind of person you are, that could be good or bad.
Rage 2 is very short, if you beeline it to the end, you can wrap it all up in about 5 hours as there are less than 10 missions in the game and they’re all brief. The game still has plenty of side content that’ll keep you entertained but the story is lackluster. If you’re craving a new narrative delight from Bethesda, you’re going to be left with an ultimately hallow experience.

You play as Walker, a Ranger of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. After a traumatic event at the start of the story, Walker is tasked with cleaning up the wasteland by wiping out mutants and a hostile force that is trying to ultimately halt anyone from bringing the planet back to its former glory.

Rage 2

The story isn’t particularly great as it lacks interesting characters, memorable setpieces, and frequently grinds the otherwise fast as lightning action to a screeching halt with cutscenes/talking heads. Usually, I like to really dive deep into a story when writing a review but… there’s so little to actually talk about that I can’t muster that many paragraphs for it.
All in all, it feels like Rage 2’s story serves only to provide reasons for some of the upgrades and gameplay mechanics in the game and nothing else. Thankfully, the gameplay is absolutely incredible and plays like a dream. Part of that is due in part to id using Doom (2016)’s gunplay and gameplay as the foundation.
Familiar yet refreshing, euphoric gunplay that satisfies the senses

When you play Rage 2, you’ll feel similarities to Doom but it builds upon the acclaimed shooter’s systems to be its own entity. It borrows much of the game’s fast and frantic mobility, meaning you’ll be blazing through small arenas and corridors, jumping all over the place like a kid in an inflatable bounce house, and much more but it mixes in other layers such as powers.
With the Ranger suit, you have access to different abilities such as hovering in mid-air to shoot people from above, high-impact ground pounds, and even magical little hand gestures that strip armor and repulse enemies off their feet.

Rage 2
id’s ability to give you exhilarating power fantasies like Doom and Rage 2 is second to none. On top of the superhero-esque array of powers, they give you oodles of weapons ranging from rocket launchers to ARs to shotguns to razor-sharp boomerangs and a pistol that shoots darts that combust into flames.
While you can easily go through this FPS using one or two guns, they all feel fantastic and there’s really no reason why you should restrict yourself to just the AR or shotgun. They all pack an incredible punch and the use of hitmarkers/satisfying sound design all meld together to make all gunfights feel incredibly euphoric.
There’s a trend online where people watch these weird “satisfying videos” (see the example below) and it makes people feel all tingly when they watch them. Some of these are ASMR, some are videos of cutting bread perfectly, shaving off materials, and other oddly mundane stuff. I personally never got this desired feeling until Rage 2.

Rage 2’s gunplay gives me that strangely fulfilling and pleasurable feeling that words can hardly convey. id knows how to make a game feel addicting and really get under your skin to create something that unleashes even the most primal sections of the human brain.
Mad Max: Fury Road meets The Dark Knight Trilogy’s Tumbler vehicular combat
On the other side of the action, we have vehicular combat. Using their Mad Max game roots, Avalanche has fleshed out the on-wheels portions of Rage 2. As you traverse the open world, you’ll find yourself encountering Convoys, groups of armored vehicles that serve as motorized bosses.

Rage 2

As you upgrade your car, you’ll get weapons and perks that help make you feel like you’re driving the Tumbler out of the Christopher Nolan Batman films. At first, they might not seem as engaging but once you invest in that bad boy, it becomes a hell of a lot of fun.
You can ram your car into others, causing firey roadside demises, shoot mini-guns and rockets, or even eject yourself out of the driver’s seat, whip out your personal rocket launcher, and deliver an explosive killing blow to an 18-wheeler going 100 MPH through the wasteland.

It still lacks some of the depth that Mad Max had with using spears and hooks to rip parts off cars among other things that made it very layered and calculated but given car combat isn’t the focus here, it’s not a significant issue.
A somewhat lifeless open-world with plenty of things to kill
Rage 2’s open-world is a bit barren, to say the least. You won’t find super engaging side missions with their own narrative arcs and the towns/hubs you can roam through all feel too similar or don’t do enough to make you want to visit them when you don’t have to.

Rage 2

The typical city trip is, go in, get a mission, maybe buy ammo, then dip. When you’re out roaming the wasteland, there’s nothing very dynamic about the world. It’s incredibly static, there are no random encounters. Everything you do is a marker on the map, including Convoys except those do move around.
Occasionally, there are three or four bandits on the side of the road you can turn into tomato sauce by hitting them at full force but no interesting battles. It’s a true tragedy, it would be more interesting if there were cars that attacked you, people in need of saving, or literally anything that added a sense of life to the world you’re in.

There are plenty of things to unload your bullets into so if the gameplay has you hooked, you won’t feel like you didn’t get enough time to bask in it. Rage 2 knows where it strives and that’s in its action but everywhere else? It doesn’t always hit the spot

Rage 2

The Verdict

Even with its shortcomings, Rage 2 is super fun. If you’re excited for Doom Eternal, Rage 2 will be the perfect appetizer as you wait for that game. It’s like someone mixed a bunch of powerful drugs together with what can only be described as FPS porn and said: “Inject this into your veins”. It’s endlessly gratifying to play but may lack the substance some gamers require in a AAA game released in 2019 via story and open-world longevity.

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