Infused with the DNA of iD Software’s Doom and Avalanche Studios’ Mad Max, we have the first-person open-world shooter Rage 2. Set in the year 2165 (30 years after the original outing), players take control of sole survivor Ranger Walker who must traverse the apocalyptic wasteland to form alliances with three survivor leaders, so that together they can take down the ruthless military known as the Authority.
Heading up the rogue forces is the warmongering General Cross who, after seemingly being killed at the end of the first game, returns in a new robotic body ready to unleash his legion of mutants and destroy all that oppose him – you know, that traditional bad guy mantra.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Time played: 18 hours
The cast of characters met in the completely single-player outing are entertaining throughout, bringing their own brief backstory but never outstaying their welcome. Neil Ross’s performance as Dr. Kvasir in particular is both hilarious and disturbing. It would have been great to see more from Walker’s best friend Lily Prowley, as after her memorable introduction she barely makes an appearance. When compared with Walker’s one note behavior and blasé approach to every situation, I’d be lying if there wasn’t a part of us that wanted to see Lily in the lead role.
Zaniness turned up to 11
The world itself is home to an unusual bunch of miscreants that wouldn’t be out of place in the likes of Fallout or Far Cry. Although, for a lot of these lunatics, the zaniness has been turned up to 11, which is fantastic as each encounter feels fresh and madder than the last. It’s just a shame as these meetings are unlikely to take place outside of specific towns and neighboring zones.
Having been destroyed by asteroid 99942 Apophis in the year 2029, some 136 years later, civilization has begun to rebuild itself. Regions are split into six territories giving slight altercation on the apocalyptic look. Of these, you can expect the swamp-like Sekreto Wetlands and jungle-inspired Wilds, which help change things up from open plains of desert and stretching canyons.
Wasteland by name, wasteland by nature. Yes, the map is heavily baron at times, with vehicles a must if players want any hope of getting anywhere in good time. Thankfully, this is where Rage shines as its combination of gunplay and set of souped-up automobiles create some of the smoothest and most outrageous combat available.
When set out into the bleak planet, Walker is gifted the Phoenix, the main combat vehicle of the Vineland rangers. Along with the RPG upgrade mechanics built into it, the four-by-four arrives with its own sassy satnav, turning every adventure into an episode of Knight Rider. What more could you want?
Saying this, once the gyrocopter (known as Icarus) is unlocked, opting for anything else in terms of travel felt lesser. Competitive races were a surprising heart-pulsing delight that could have been pulled from a MotorStorm title, if not for a tweak or two.
Of the nine weapons, none felt as gratifying as the Combat Shotgun. Enhancing this mutant killing machine helped rain down destruction on anyone foolish enough to step up. Racking up combos became a breeze before launching into Overdrive, turning Walker into an unstoppable army of one ever so briefly. Lessons learned from id Software’s Doom were clearly a big part of the mechanics and for that we’re thankful.
- Rage 2 cheats: how to find the Wasteland Wizard and purchase cheat codes
Alongside the extensive arsenal of weapons, Walker can gain access to Nanotrites, effectively giving him/her superpowers. All of these can be found in Arks spread out across the planet. From super speed to kinetic blasts to vortexes, each is inventive while never giving the player too much of an advantage.
Slam and Shatter specifically give the biggest oomph because of how combat rewards anarchy instead of the often found ‘firing and ducking for cover’ method seen in many shooters. Another ability worth investing in is Defibrillation, allowing players to recover from death for a second-chance swing at the action. It’s also handy not returning to checkpoints constantly.
Rolling credits will take approximately 12 hours if users stick to the story. At this point, we had acquired 10 out of 11 Nanotrites but only four of the weapons. One of these was the Smart Rocket Launcher that made boss battles effortless, resorting in a higher difficulty choice being opted for to keep things interesting. Those that love a challenge will revel at the Nightmare setting, pushing player’s skills to the absolute limit.
Repetitive side missions
Once the main story is done and dusted, apart from gathering all of the remaining power ups and weapons, there’s little on offer to keep players returning. Nearly 20 hours in and regrettably side missions have become awfully monotonous in what is essentially fetch quests with killing. The story is reasonably guilty of this too but change the dynamic enough to keep us invested. Funnily enough, Walker made reference to the similarity of his missions in a conversation with Dr. Kvasir, suggesting the developers are fully aware.
Music comes in dribs and drabs making impact with rock riffs in vehicle combat chases or shooting sprees, though for the most part resides in the background of the wilderness. A special mention has to be given to the Danny Dyer commentary voice pack, still we’re not sure if it’s ridiculous or brilliant – probably the latter.
There are also a few minor gripes that need to be brought up. Fast travel is limited to three Trade Towns and players must be stood exactly next to a vehicle to access this. The UI is sluggish and the camera can sporadically become quite disorienting (vehicles more than anything else, suffer from this) presenting a warning for those who struggle with motion sickness. None of these were continual in the playthrough, yet it’s worthy of a mention.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t take away from what an enjoyable and solid experience Rage 2 is. It’s also a testament that possessing no knowledge of the first game, works in the follow ups benefit. Every new Nanotrite introduced shakes up combat, while every new weapon adds another dosage of extreme action that carries right through the conclusion. All of this combined, made smashing the teeth out of every raving Wastelander damn enjoyable.
Rage 2’s main storyline is an enjoyable and chaotic experience full out madcap characters and fast-paced combat but, outside of this, the first person shooter struggles with replayability and doesn’t offer the player much in terms of side missions and challenges to keep things interesting.
(Image credits: id Software)
Ready to grab the wasteland by the horns? Well, now that Avalanche Studios’ combined effort with id Software is available globally, it can be tempting to roll full steam ahead into the vast apocalyptic world of Rage 2.
However, with so many games on the market, we want to make sure you use every second of your spare time to its optimum. That’s why after numerous hours of exploring what Rage 2 has to offer, we’ve put together this list of nine essential beginners tips that are worth knowing before starting.
First things first …
From the get-go, protagonist Walker is given the Focus ability as his/her first Nanotrite. It’s easy enough to use, giving players view of hidden nearby enemies and noteworthy objects such as vehicles.
Above all of this, there are lots of additional perks like being able to repair the Phoenix vehicle, as well as the opportunity to absorb any Feltrite (health/resource) left behind by fallen enemies. Upgrading this perk will then allow Focus to set alight any explosives, making for a wicked combination used to take down groups of unsuspecting foes.
Click through for the complete Beginner’s guide to Rage 2.
Guide: Easter Eggs
Taking a moment away from blasting the innings out of every insane inhabitant that resides in the world of Rage 2, and you might be surprised to find some shocking, nostalgic and downright hysterical Easter Eggs.
We’ve explored the furthest reaches of Avalanche Studios and iD Software’s newest release to bring you the most interesting references and secrets, featuring the likes of Doom, WWE and Pokémon.
Fair warning, although none of the Easter Eggs contain huge spoilers for Rage 2 and its campaign, there may be some minor ones to be aware of. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to it…
That’s right, everyone’s favorite tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has multiple references throughout Rage 2.
The first Musk reference can be found in the Eden Space Center as part of Dr. Kvasir’s Ground Control objective. By making your way up to the second floor and walking halfway down the office block, you will find a framed poster on the left-hand side wall with a bald man pointing at the planet Mars. Sprawled across the image is a quote stating “Dare To Dream” from a man known as Elton Tusk, clearly a nod to the eccentric Tesla-owner.
Furthermore, by completing this mission players earn access to a secret bunker in the south-east side of the Torn Plains. Within the undisclosed property, more intel is shared about Elton Tusk, however we don’t want to ruin the surprise of what the developers cooked up. Let’s just say it’s quite mind-boggling.
For a slew of additional Easter Eggs, check out the full guide here.
Guide: Cheat codes
Remember cheat codes? You know, like the ones you used to have to punch into a game to make cars fly, or inflate the heads of your NPC brethren? Well, they’re back! In a roundabout manner, Rage 2 has cheat codes, and they range from useful to completely absurd.
Unfortunately, the route to unlock them is dark and full of terrors. Fortunately for you though, we’ve put together a guide to help smooth out the process. Get nostalgic with us as we list the Rage 2 cheat codes we know of so far, and lead you through the peculiar process to unlock them.
First, find the Wasteland Wizard
This is where it gets fairly tricky. To unlock and activate cheat codes, you first have to find the Wasteland Wizard. His name is Mangoo the Unborn, and he rides around in a vessel suspended by three balloons. Also, he can be in a variety of locations on the game map and will never just stay in one place.
Mangoo is incredibly difficult to pin down, and worst of all, there’s no rhyme or reason to his movements. All we had to work with was hearsay from other players, and even then, it took some time to find him. Yet, even when we found him, he wasn’t even exactly placed where we was told to look, so it appears to be a total mystery as of right now.
We found Mangoo the Unborn just west of the Eden Space Centre, where one of the game’s main missions takes place. It’s the staging post for Dr Kvasir’s first quest so it won’t be long until you find it on your map.
Want more? See our complete guide to Rage 2 cheats!
Guide: All the Rage 2 arks
Playing Rage 2 without seeking out the Arks would be a deeply foolish decision. These bunkers contain the game’s most potent weapons and upgrades, affording you an arsenal of abilities that will enhance your experience and force you away from the reliable but boring Assault Rifle.
It’s a bit daft that it’s not so obvious how important they are early on (especially considering the length of the story,) but if you’re switched on and want to get the most out of your playtime, you’ll follow our guide as we show you where to head and what to grab so you can start smashing up wastelanders with supercharged wombo combos.
Junkers Pass Ark
Weapon: Charged Pulse Cannon
This Ark requires a little bit more work than usual. First, it’s down in the bottom right corner of the Dune Sea. Second, to unlock the door you have to reroute the power at some nearby substations. This involves lengthy jaunts into conflict-heavy reactor beds. Hit the button at the Ark location to be shown where they are on the map.
Once there, you have to use your focus to pull the bolts off of the machines and then shoot the three blue nodes to blow them up. Do this twice then head back to the Ark and make mincemeat of the Shroud enemies inside the unlocked door.
Once you open the Ark you’ll be able to access the Charged Pulse Cannon, which gains more power as you fire. Just be sure to cool it off every so often so it doesn’t overheat and you’ll be well on your way to mastering this dangerous weapon.
Want more? Check out our complete guide to Rage 2 Arks.