Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quakecon 2011: Hot Enough to Make You RAGE!

It's been about a Month since Quakecon 2011 happened here in Dallas, TX, but didn't exist at that time. So here I am to tell you about my fun trip to the biggest gathering of FPS enthusiasts of the year. This year's Quakecon happend smack in the middle of the hottest summer and longest drought in modern Texas history... and boy oh boy was it hot outside. Lucikly 99% of Quakecon takes place in a big, low lit, heavily air conditioned convention hall. There were lots of games to see, including RAGE of course, i.d. software's brand new IP and up coming FPS title, and there seems to be quite a bit of confusion revolving around just what type of game Rage is. Is it like Fallout 3? Is it like Borderlands? is it like Doom 3 or Quake 4? The answer is... sorta, kinda, yes, and no to all of these.

I had about an hour of combined hands on time with RAGE and the one thing I can tell you with certainty is that it is one slick FPS. It is open world, but also linear, it is highly interactive, but also very shooter based. There's lots of loot to grab, and gizmos to build, and baddies to shoot, and guns to shoot them with. I think the least well described portion of the game is the open worldness (that's totally a word). It isn't like Fallout 3 in the way that it is open, but you can go anywhere you want within the game at any time. So there is a set path for you, but you are not forced to follow it to a 'T'. There area also many deep characters to interact with and a very involving story arch like an RPG would have.

Rage's strongest features are however are the shooting mechanics, the a.i. and the graphics & frame rates. This is one beautiful hyper detailed game and always running at close to 60 fps. There was something about how the a.i. reacted in most situations that instantly made me forget that they were NPC's. The closest thing I can compare it to might would be Killzone 2 or 3, but better. When you are in some gang hideout and spotted by a group of 4 or 5 bad guys, they will work together and retreat together or apart like every man for them self like real people would depending on the situation. This is made even more impressive when you realize that there are many different types of gangs in the game ranging from militaristic, to thuggish, to crazy chew your face off mutants, all with unique personalities and behaviors. So just when you think you might have the a.i. figured out you may be in for a surprise.

Co-op has a bit of a Left 4 Dead feel to it, even though there are just two of you. If you or your buddy goes down, the other has to revive you, or be force to complete the objective on their own until a respawn is available. I was not completely clear on the story in co-op mode, but it appears to be more objective based than story oriented, which is the opposite of single player. I do know however that the story in co-op takes place before the events of the single player. And again, 60 fps the entire time, even on the consoles. That is pretty darn impressive considering the detail that Rage hold, especially in co-op mode.

Bottom line is there is a large duality when describing Rage and it's definitely something you have to play yourself to fully understand why it's so good. It's a throw back to the old school FPS games of the '90s, but also evolved into something new and that has never been done before. It has a familiar feel to it, but also has a level of creativity and genius buried deep inside that doesn't show up right away on the surface, and those are the things that make it truly stand out. Rage is set to be released this Fall, Oct. 7th.

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