No gaming company adores the post-apocalyptic setting like Bethesda Softworks, which is responsible for wasteland-themed games like the outstanding "Fallout" franchise, "Brink" and now "Rage."
Bethesda dwells in this landscape better than just about anyone else. In "Rage," you awake to find the world a barren den of human existence. Quickly indebted to some of the surviving locals, your job is to drive, kill and fetch your way to survival. It won't be easy, but it will be fun.
Besides providing stunning landscapes of outposts lingering among jagged rock faces and decrepit makeshift towns, the game succeeds by setting some limits. Ammo and weapons are hard to come by, but what's available is highly effective, creating tense shootouts and a heightened sense of survival. Packs of thieves and unruly gangs aren't your typical combat dunces; they find cover well and will corner you for a quick kill if you're not nimble.
When shooting is not on the menu, "Rage" throws you behind the wheel of numerous vehicles for battles or racing. Typically seen as a wasted attempt to mix up the gameplay in lesser games, here it succeeds by keeping things simple and concise.
Drawbacks pop up in the form of relatively few autosave points and some repetition with fetch quests. The "Road Rage" and "Legends of the Wasteland" multiplayer options feel tacked on, but few campaign-centric games bother offering them, so it's a nice long-term bonus.
The visuals and effective gameplay of "Rage" will be long remembered by those who wisely add this game to their library.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
ESRB Rating: M, for Mature
Grade: 4 stars
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