Developed by:Avalanche Studios/id Software Published by:Bethesda Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 Release date:May 14, 2019 Reviewed on:PS4

    Rage 2

    Civilization is beginning to restart by Rage 2’s opening. It’s pedestrian post-apocalypse fiction, only later in the typical story. There’s structure forming after cataclysm. Cash holds value, for instance (American dollars of course). A reasonable assembly of towns dot the landscape, ramshackle, if functional. Plus, electricity powers lights, neon signs, and doors.

    Color sprouts, but in a regressive way. Where Rage was content with dust bowl hues, Rage 2 showers the scenery with emboldened pinks, day glo greens, and vibrant turquoise. It’s reminiscent of New York’s punk scene in the ‘80s, with layers of graffiti attributed to the era’s subways. Add mohawks and leather jackets (with spikes) and parts of Rage 2 fall back into a time of pop nostalgia, but for Rage 2’s world, at least one with an entrenched society.

    In another sign of social growth, there’s a TV studio. It airs one show apparently, a surreal combat game where imprisoned mutants drop onto the contestant awaiting or delivering slaughter. To gain a chance at fame, a contract needs signed. Lawyers exist. Maybe. In a twist of ego, it’s not clear who watches this primetime event: aside from an occasional bar, no one owns a TV. Oddly, bunch of functional computers still sit around though.

    Shattering those illusions of twisted normalcy is an authoritarian regime – not-so-casually referred to as The Authority. In that fight comes a lone, wandering hero pushed forward by distorted patriotism, raised on militaristic values and the sense of vengeful right. Opposing the hero is a maniacal, tyrannic general – ubsubtle and ubiquitous story fodder. Guns and attractive explosions ensue. Blood and giblets. Lots of fire, mounds of suffering, mental illness, mutations; bring a checklist of such derivatives.

    Social stability allows the hero leeway. Raids on outcast camps require their fuel sources be destroyed – not drained for use by less aggressive people, just blown up. Rage 2 has a way with these things. It’s teetering on cruel satire. While most games of this ilk deal in junk (of which local shops/traders relish), Rage 2 names these items. There’s a “crusty dirty sock.” Another is a useless box of fake mustaches. A nudie mag likely still has purpose though. Funny, and a little depressing to imagine the toll life took on people to make a hoard of crusty socks attractive to them.

    Midway through, Rage 2 introduces a half-villain of sorts. He’s a blonde, overweight, vain slob. His picture is plastered on posters around town. In his loft, he burns money to keep warm; the people below stay impoverished. More than a bland caricature, it’s learned his riches came from his father’s money, he’s trying out outwit an intelligent female incumbent, and places trust in an established dictator. Rage 2 isn’t afraid of setting a contemporary and relevant sardonic fire.

    So little of Rage 2 makes any of that a focus however. The mix is driving and blasting, unlocking and discovering, shooting and… shooting. Anything greater rarely rises above suggestion.

    Ultimately, the entirety of Rage 2 is endlessly glib. Monotony turns into an inevitability, the idea of grotesque violence sandwiched in a world awash with color, familiar as it is soon tiring. Bodies explode and heads pop, depressingly generic and an uncomfortable industry normal. So too is this true for opponents, a mix of malformed spinal conditions, facial deformities, and cybernetics. One particular set of misshapen, fleshy goons mimic those of Quake, no surprise given Quake’s developer id shares co-credit.

    When it aims to be, Rage 2 adores the speed of its shredding brutality. Most of that is separated by way of empty, open land, serving neither purpose or pacing. Rage 2 as a whole breaks down into a single segmented quest, collecting items to make one item capable of saving Earth. That’s the story, fueled by unremarkable people, all standing around while the local last-of-their-kind foot soldier plows through a rudimentary wasteland. Success comes in patches, glimmers of world building suggestive of provocative possibilities. Those pass, introducing another round of gunk-spewing combat, in lieu of enriching context.



    An open world that doesn’t need to be so open, made notable by way of flashy (and soon repetitive) gunplay.



    While not new, the colorful apocalypse draws the eye, blood effects wow with their physics, and fire is especially potent.



    Some voice acting wanes in credibility. A few soundtrack touches draw a smile, but the actual score recalls a number of other media properties.

    Replay Value:


    As per norm, once the story is over, it’s a matter of cleaning up the map of lingering icons. Although, the open world is so dry that there’s little reason to bring peace.

    Final Score:


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