Rage 2 Review: Compelling shooting, repetitive looting

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The opening moments of Rage 2 provide a big starting point as many of the people your character has known all their life are falling by the wayside after an attack by the big bad on your home.

It could be the start of something truly memorable, but in the end, sets the stage for you to run around a vast open world, with minimal direction.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing as a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sets this up perfectly and provides a myriad of interesting content for you to go and explore. Rage 2 doesn’t have anywhere near as much interesting content to discover.

The majority of the open world gameplay consists of going around and finding different materials and currencies to use on upgrading your character. Most of the time, you’ll be met by some type of adversary trying to slow you down, but there’s rarely a feeling of danger.

Which is a shame because the gunplay in Rage 2 feels satisfying and polished far beyond the rest of what is on offer. All of the guns feel unique to each other and are extremely useful in certain situations.

The Shotgun is a particular favourite of mine and when aimed down the sights, shoots a precision slug while when shooting from the hip, sprays any adversary in your way.

For every bandit camps I came across, to the linear missions of the main story, I enjoyed mowing down anything in my path. This game feels at it’s best when utilising the skills of a ranger and pulling off some death-defying stunts.

A good variance in the types of enemies in front of you meant that picking the right weapon is essential to take them out as quickly as possible.

It’s just a shame that those enemies don’t feel like they are going to provide any meaningful danger. Something else that the game doesn’t offer is anything particularly interesting to look at. The first Rage game was criticised for having a bland beige aesthetic and Rage 2 attempts to combat this by adding splashes of pink everywhere.

It does little to improve the visuals, and I’d expect a game released in 2019 to look crisper and have better animations if it wants to have players part with their hard-earned cash.

For everything that Rage 2 falls short on in visuals and content, it somehow keeps itself interesting by feeling so good in the moments of combat.

The failings all fall to the wayside when just concentrating on the pointing and shooting. Time flies while in combat, enjoying what’s in front of you.

While the enemies may not be the smartest, it doesn’t change the fact that with all the abilities and weapons at your disposal, the possibilities to cause carnage are endless.

Mixing the right weapons, the right abilities and the overdrive mode mean you can create combat sequences that most action movie stars would be envious of.

It all feels good until the game highlights one of its weaker parts. Opening the menu just demonstrates the frustrations with the game when the game will freeze for seconds at a time when sliding between menu options.

It’s so jarring to see this happening even on a PS4 Pro, with the additional horsepower under the bonnet. Even once the menu loads and you can do what you want, it then demonstrates how convoluted the upgrade systems are when multiple currencies are required for different things.

It’s a pointless attempt at longing out the playtime of players when it could easily be one currency for everything and players utilise it how they choose.

In a vacuum, the combat in Rage 2 is some of the best out there. It’s cathartic and is truly the games saving grace. Ultimately it’s held back by visually unappealing graphics, meandering plot and performance issues. It’s by no means impossible to find joy while playing Rage 2; it just asks you to forgive many failings to do so.

REVIEW SCORE: 2.5/5

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