Ahead of the launch, Rage 2 was hyped as one of this year’s major releases. The post-apocalyptic shooter had all the elements of a monumental title, from some of the best studios associated with the genre.
Rage 2 did top the UK charts at launch but in an admittedly mediocre week. With an eight-month-old FIFA 19 sitting just two places lower in third. It was also less than a quarter of the sales of the original Rage from 2011.
With a largely positive critical reception, we delve into the mystery of Rage 2 and where the game may have fallen short for players.
The Combination of Strength
As mentioned the respective teams and publishers behind Rage 2 made it an almost certain landmark title. Development was spearheaded by Avalanche Studio with support from id Software.
Avalanche Studios are the team behind the popular Just Cause series. Well known for its’ over-the-top shooter mechanics and ludicrous physics. They also developed the less successful but technically sound Mad Max game.
The Swedish developer blended those two titles to accentuate the assets of both. Developing a detailed post-apocalyptic landscape with complex vehicular customisation to provide refreshing traversal options.
They also implemented Just Cause’s chaotic physics into a series of unlockable abilities to hilariously launch enemies in close-up combat. Turning over the additional weapon and combat mechanics to id Software. The studio behind the Doom and Wolfenstein series’.
Combining id Software’s trademark frenetic gunplay with Avalanche Studios’ pedigree for fun open-world gameplay. And all published by Bethesda Softworks, who also have plenty of experience in post-apocalyptic RPG shooters with the Fallout series.
What Went Wrong For Rage 2
The end product was suitably enjoyable gameplay that was generally well received by critics. The big problem with Rage 2 was the implementation of that gameplay into a cohesive and enjoyable game.
For starters, the open world looked great but was a largely uninhabited wasteland. Which suited the premise of the game but doesn’t really encourage the player to explore. It was not a world you want to spend time in, which make traversal a slog.
That was combated with creative vehicle options but that again smacked of a missed opportunity. Your fully customisable vehicle is very rarely integral to gameplay so the time invested in earning upgrades is a little pointless.
A large portion of the game also relies far too heavily on killing all the enemies, then rinse and repeat. Like an uninspired horde mode. Which can be fun to chain combos in, but it eventually grows tiresome and repetitive.
There’s plenty of fun and polished mechanics for FPS fans, but the essence of the game does so little with them. With an understandably Saturday morning cartoon inspired plot. There’s just not enough to make people want to continue to play. Rage 2 is a relic of an outdated model of gaming.
That’s the big thing that’s proved difficult for games like Rage 2 or Crackdown 3, it’s not a model gamers want in the current market. FPS fans are swarming to battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Also accounting for the continued popularity of multiplayer shooters like Overwatch, the single-player mode is flailing in the current generation. Even Call Of Duty abandoned a single player campaign in the most recent instalment of the series.
The only current successful single-player games are huge scale releases with immersive storylines. Releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Plenty of popular shooter series’ have seen mediocre entries in the past year such as Metro Exodus, Far Cry 5 and of course Fallout 76. And it’s because the audience is limited for that kind of gameplay model.
If a game doesn’t excel, it ultimately flops regardless of how solid the core product is.
id Software will hopefully take precedent of the mistakes of Rage 2 ahead of their latest anticipated release, Doom Eternal. Following in the footsteps of the hugely successful Doom reboot, this could be another promising shooter to fall victim to a dying trend of gaming.