I’ll pretty freely admit to being tired of the current slate of open world shooters on offer in the gaming world. So heading into Rage 2 at Bethesda Game Days at PAX East was exciting given how much it seems to change the formula. I’d played the game at E3 2018 and liked it quite a bit, but that was a more tailored demo. This was the open world, and it’s where the game could go very wrong for me. Thankfully it didn’t, delivering another set of action-packed and adrenaline fueled shooting missions.
It was like John Wick in the world of Max Max
The demo begins by pretty much dumping you into the large, expansive world of Rage 2. Touches of 2015’s Mad Max crop up over and over, and for good reason, since Avalanche is co-developer on Rage 2. Their work on that underappreciated title seems to have paid off for Bethesda and Id, with car combat that feels visceral and always entertaining, and an open world that’s chock full of things to do.
Hopping into your massive and powerful vehicle, you feel like you can take on the whole world, but you have to get out sometime. Looking at the map, there’s tons of points of interest to check out, so I pretty much just picked one and headed off. Once I arrived it became like Far Cry on steroids, with me being able to stealthily work my way close to the enemy camp then unleashing hell.
Rage 2 feels like an old school shooter that’s been totally revamped and upgraded for 2019. The shooting is blisteringly fast and smooth, and your multitude of quickly recharging abilities gives you at least three different ways to kill whoever is in front of you at every moment.
There’s the boomerang, the ground pound, and the charge attack, just to name a few. And when things get too dicey just trigger your Overdrive Mode to boost your health recharge and deliver tons of damage with every attack. There was almost never a moment of calm once combat had begun, and the action was so seamless in its flow that it was like John Wick in the world of Max Max.
Clearing out camps never felt so fast and fun, so the only question I have left is how this all ties together throughout the open world. Once I cleared the first camp I was pretty much left to find another and repeat the process. That’s probably just because this was a demo, but repetition is always a concern, so it’s something I’m anxious to see play out in the final build.
Aside from rushing into camps of raiders and demolishing everything in my way, there were roving merchants to interact with, caravans to attack using Avalanche’s stellar vehicle combat, and a massive and lush world to explore. How many secrets are there to find? Not sure, but I want to find out. There’s not long to wait on that, with Rage 2 hitting PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 14th.