Rage micro review

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By Daniel Murtha

I know, I know; I'm a little late to the table with this review, but I was a little late in playing the game as well. Rage suffered from a poorly selected release date. Its October 4th launch was sandwiched between Gears of War 3 and FIFA 12 on one side, shared the date with Dark Souls, and was just before Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3’s releases. Due to its proximity to these games, Rage was probably overlooked by a lot of FPS fans who saved their money and/or time for Battlefield and the new Call of Duty game. The point I want to get across is not why you missed out when it came out, but why you should play it now that it’s in the bargain bin at most places (Amazon.com has it for $25.94 on the XBOX and $18.90 for the PC at the time this was published).

I should start by repeating something I mentioned on the podcast for those that are listeners. Like a lot of people, I thought Rage would closely resemble Fallout, a game set in a post-apocalyptic world, heavy on the RPG elements and light on the shooter elements. Rage is in fact quite the opposite. Developed by id Software, whose games lineup includes Doom, Quake and the Wolfenstien series, Rage felt more like Bioshock: set in a ruined southwestern USA with the only similarity to Fallout being the desolate atmosphere and the fact that Bethesda published the game. After reading reviews and talking to other owners of Rage, I knew what I was getting into. I'm not going to bore everyone by writing a full review, as probably many have already read reviews or know about the game from others. So instead, I'm going to list my likes and dislikes for Rage in order to convince people to give it a try.

Likes:

-Graphics: The game looks gorgeous and probably sports the best graphics I've seen on the Xbox 360. Fluid animations, detailed environments, and the best character models I've seen in any videogame make this an impressive looking game in every way.

-Setting: The post-apocalyptic world is cobbled together both structurally and societally, making it feel very real and engaging. Remnants of the “old world” are dotted throughout the game reminding the player of what once was.

-Action: Intense gunplay coupled with sticky situations had me white-knuckling the controller on many occasions, trying to survive the onslaught of dangerous enemies.

-Vehicular Combat: Anyone (myself included) disappointed by the vehicles in Borderlands can breathe easy. Rage has a much deeper vehicular combat system and allows the player far more customization. There's even racing and combat mini-games in some of the cities where players can unlock more options for weapons, upgrades, etc. for their vehicles.

Dislikes:

-Save System: This is my primary complaint for the game, and a deal breaker for some. Auto-save points are very infrequent and happen seemingly at random, so save very often to avoid losing hours of progress.

-Ending: While I don’t necessarily dislike the ending itself, it does feel somewhat abrupt and short. I guess the game is more about the journey than the ending and you can take some solace in the fact that the ending feels like a setup for another game.

If I really want to be nitpicky, some of the death animations for enemies are pretty poor and look almost comical, like a bad 70's action flick. Overall though, Rage is a pretty solid game and a great new IP. With developers more and more rehashing and releasing older games with one or two new features (Call of Duty, Madden, I'm looking at you) and selling them as full priced games, a new franchise is most welcome. We as consumers have a responsibility to stand up to game-makers who repackage the same game over and over. But since that's probably not going to happen (Modern Warfare 3 grossed over $1 billion after 16 days) the least we can do is support the lesser known and new gaming franchises.

Score: 8.5

Episode 29: 5 Favorite Characters

In this week's episode, we list our 5 favorite videogame characters, the episode title says it all.  There are some more standard RPG characters that you would expect to be on list of favorites but also quite a few suprises.  Eric's list is a tad different from the rest, as he isn't as into RPG's (especially older ones) as Dan, Will and Corey.  There was also a brief interruption that we smoothed out with a little jingle written by our friend Kyle.  Here's the notes:

00:01:30 – News Quick Hits:

We touch on the best-selling console worldwide in 2011, who Skyrim predicts to win the Super Bowl, the Game of Thrones RPG release date, how many hours of content are in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and Zynga’s success thanks in part to Facebook.

00:07:05 – How Our Weeks Were:

00:13:20 – Music Break: “Short Blues” by Redmagik

00:14:50 – Main Segment: Our Top 5 Video Game Characters:

We count down our top five favorite video game characters of all time. From Pikachu to Solid Snake, and Garrus to Yoshi, with plenty of Final Fantasy love in between, we break down some of the best characterizations in video games.

01:03:10Music Break: “Garou-Blues” by JML

01:04:40 – Feedback

A shortened week equals shortened feedback! We discuss a listener’s favorite classic football video games, QB Club ‘98 and NFL 2k5.

01:06:00 – News

Dan talks about potential games in the Mass Effect universe. A Mass Effect MMO or RTS headline the discussion.

Eventually the discussion turns to more Xbox vs. Playstation banter, with some discussion of each online service and their respective controllers, concluding with the origins of our console fanboyisms.

01:16:30

Corey exposes Oklahoma’s proposed “sin tax,” a tax on mature rated video games. Violent games discussion evolves into a road rage tangent.

1:24:15

Will discusses Xbox Live’s Stephen Toulouse’s departure and the banning/hacking circumstances that may be the culprit.

1:25:45

Eric reveals some bad science relating to “problem gaming.” As always, the conversation morphs into something else, tea bagging at an Alabama/LSU game.

01:30:16 – Music Break: “Hänschen, sei gut!” by Raulin de los Bosques

01:32:10 – What We Played:

Eric keeps rolling with Fifa.

1:34:00

Will touches on ten minutes of Batman: Arkham Asylum’s tutorial.

1:35:05

Corey revisits why FFVI “sucks.” Family Feud with Friends makes an appearance, including some glaring gameplay flaws. Eric chimes in about Temple Run. Corey rounds out his turn with a cooler opinion of FFXIII-2 thanks in no small part to a stuffy casino, Serendipity.

1:49:30

Dan likes Torchlight’s loot whoring mechanic and some excitement is expressed for Torchlight 2. Rage gets some more love and a couple slight criticisms.

02:01:40 – Human Interest

Our story this week turns somber; a 15 year old Vermont boy is struck by a passenger train while out getting video games from a friend’s house. We cheers in his honor.

 

We'd like to hear your lists for your 5 favorite videogame characters, which we will of course read on the podcast.  You can get the latest epiosde from iTunes/Zune/Stitcher or listen below!

 

 

 

Episode 28: Video Football

With the Super Bowl just a few short days away, we decided to tackle (bad pun, I know) the topic of football videogames.  We start with a few classics like Tecmo Super Bowl and NES Play Action Football as well as some that predate even those, and travel through the 90's early 2000's all the way to present day Madden 12.  More arcadey style football games like NFL Street and NFL Blitz are also touched on in this episode.  Show notes below:

00:00:35 – Quick Hits & Our Weeks:

23:47 – Music Break: Sea and Field – “Le Phare”

25:17 – Main Segment: Football in Video Games!

From 1979’s Football, to the current Madden monopoly, we break down the evolution of American football in video games then discuss what we’d like to see in future football video games.

1:27:30 – Music Break: Sea and Field – “Matelot”

1:29:00 – Feedback:

Eric’s wife plays Skyrim… a lot!

1:35:05

Gamerscore and JRPG talk. Average Gamerscore somewhere around 12,000?

1:38:59

Next generation games suggestions, and 2D games for girls.

1:43:30 News:

Japan has copied its own formula for Pokémon. Will brings to light the hypocrisy.

1:47:15

Opinion: Call of Duty is boring and needs to change. Eric discusses the IGN article that brings to light Call of Duty’s lack of innovation from title to title.

1:54:55

Corey discusses video game addiction, are video games like heroin, and how to recover from video game addiction.

2:04:35

Dan breaks down the black vs. white Racebowl, pitting the NFL’s best white football players vs. the best black football players. No racism whatsoever, “are we clear on that?”

2:12:52 Music Break: Dancing Willow – The Wind That Shakes the Barley

2:14:22 What We Played:

Will plays NHL 12’s be a pro mode, Dungeon Defenders local co-op, Madden 12’s online gameplay and smashes some heads in NFL Blitz.

Dan tries out the Diablo clone and dungeon crawler, Torchlight, and defends Bethesda’s (underrated?) Rage.

A little Kingdoms of Amalur finds its way into the discussion.

Eric discusses more Fifa, has a change of heart about Assassin’s Creed II and articulates his newbie perspective on Soul Calibur V.

Corey boots up the classic SNES RPG, Tales of Phantasia, the nothing like hockey-hockey game, Hit the Ice, and expresses why he thinks Final Fantasy XII-2 is a great game.

 

To end the episode, we had a brief story of some Lego employees who made the most of being stranded in an Alaska airport by getting in some gaming.  You can get this latest episode, along with all our other ones from iTunes/Zune Marketplace/Stitcher or listen on the flash player below.