Rage 2 Review – A Colorful Return to a Ravaged Land

The long awaited sequel to id Software’s and Bethesda’s 2011 Rage has finally been released upon the world. Is it worth your time or best left out in the wasteland?

Read on to find out.

Back in 2011 id Software and publisher Bethesda introduced gamers to the world of Rage. It was a post apocalyptic world that had been ravaged by the asteroid 99942 Apophis, with folks going underground to wait out the death and destruction in Arks with cryo sleep chambers. A century later, our protagonist emerges and finds a corrupt group of folks called The Authority had sabotaged these Arks so that only folks loyal to their leader would ever see the light of day again. It was up to him to help all the other Arks emerge and release their inhabitants, giving him an army to take down the bad guys. The army base of Vineland is established, and is the launching point for the Ark Rangers. The original game ended there, and we are left to assume that our guys completed the task of eliminating all of the folks of The Authority.

The Authority Survived

Rage 2 picks up 30 years after the end of the first game. It turns out that not only has The Authority survived, but even their leader emerges and attacks Vineland, destroying it with advanced weaponry and giant monsters that leave no rangers alive in their wake. Our new protagonist grabs a ranger suit from a fallen soldier and becomes the last ranger standing. It is up to him to find a way to take down the leader of The Authority, General Cross. Apparently his death was greatly exaggerated and he’s now even harder to kill due to what appears to be some sort of advanced cloning and body augmentation.

It is up to our Ranger to find a way to take down General Cross, and we are told about a previous plan called Project Dagger that would ensure his demise once and for all. We are then sent on our way into the open world where returning gamers will recognize the names of the settlements, but the passage of time has allowed the earth to start repairing itself. The Wasteland isn’t just a barren landscape anymore as you’ll come across areas where it has become jungle like, with water everywhere, as well as the desert like areas that we  came to know in Rage.

The Wasteland is Alive

Once you venture out into the Wasteland, you’ll find enemies everywhere, with several different clans to shoot at. These guys also shoot at each other, and the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy, so just go ahead and shoot everybody. Shoot first, ask questions later. The entire map is split up into 6 regions, with Goons, Hoggs, and Mutants spread out all overt the place. Killing these bad guys will net you filtrite, which is used to unlock upgrades for vehicles, weapons, and augmentations. The RPG system is pretty deep and takes a little time to understand, and upgrades require different items for different things. It can get a little confusing at times, but there’s plenty of notes in-game to help you understand it all.

The Wasteland also has plenty to do, other than just shooting bad guys. There are Arks scattered around the map that will unlock new super human abilities for you, each with their own tutorial once you’ve injected the nanotrites. You’ll be able to jump higher, smash through guys even when they are using a shield or armor, slam attack groups of bad guys, dash around with quick motions to keep from getting shot, and even get cool grenades that will send bad suspend bad guys up in the air, making them easier targets to shoot. Finding all of these Arks is paramount to becoming the best possible Ranger you could be. You’ll also need to keep an eye open for Ark Chests, which hold upgrade items you’ll need for various things.

Vehicle Combat is Pretty awesome

If you’re out and about and in need of a ride, you can either pay to summon a vehicle from your garage, or take the cheaper route and just jump in anything that has wheels and rolls.Some of these vehicles are armed and can do some serious damage. Motorcycles are cool and all, but i’d rather not try to ride and shoot with a handgun, so I’ll stick to my Phoenix which can have a full arsenal of weapons once fully upgraded. Gatling guns, cruise missiles, and mortars all come in handy, just make sure you unlock safe mode for it so it will never blow up with you in it.

All of the different types of vehicles can be added to your garage just by heading to the settlement Tradetown and parking it there. Well, not Xerxes III the Authority tank. You’ll have to progress through the story to unlock that bad boy, but it’s a beast of a machine. Personally I still prefer the faster and more agile Phoenix, but that tank has one helluva blast cannon. Vehicle combat is a fun way to spend some time in the Wasteland, and keep an eye out for race goons driving around. There’s money and filtrite to be earned if you can master the vehicles in the game. There are also gyrocopters if you are wanting to see what the wasteland looks like from above.

Rage 2, developed by Avalanche Studios in conjunction with id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks takes a nice step forward in the series and even leaves the story open for a sequel. While the story might be short and a little hard to follow at times, it still a welcome addition to the franchise. The shortness of the story shouldn’t make you think there isn’t a bunch of stuff to see and do, because the beautiful open world of the Wasteland is chocked full of bad guys to shoot and places to take down.


Rage 2 review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.