Earlier this week, I wasted no time in picking up a game I’d been waiting for since I heard about it during E3 last year. All the pre-release media looked good and all the preview coverage I’d read sounded very promising. I was certain that Rage 2 was going to be an excellent game, and I couldn’t wait to play it. That was a couple days and a few hours of in-game time ago now, and I can now say that I was…only partially right. Rage 2 is good, but it’s not great. There are issues holding it back, but nothing that ruins the experience. If this were a few years ago, I’d probably be very disappointed, but today I’m not. I’m actually fine with this.
Rage 2 is definitely not everything that I’d hoped it would be. I kind of thought I was going to get a non-stop action kind of experience, with all manner of things just kind of happening. That’s not really what was shown in the trailers, but the expectation took shape anyway. What Rage 2 actually is, is lots of exciting combat separated by long bouts of not much. There’s a bit too much collecting to do, and to much distance between fights. Put simply, this game has the content I wanted, but not the flow. This should be disappointing, but it oddly isn’t.
I could be a pessimist and say that it’s because I’ve grown used to big flashy games letting me down. It’s happened quite often over the years with the likes of Destiny 2, Anthem, and Mass Effect: Andromeda. Publishers and even developers have a tendency to over-promise, and I know it. I don’t think that’s really the case though. I’ve played too many excellent games over the past couple of years for that to be so.
Instead, I think it might be because Rage 2 still kind of works despite the issues caused by the open world. See, I tend to avoid open world games; they’re usually much more concerned with giving players busy work than they are with providing interesting gameplay. Rage 2 doesn’t have this problem. It’s combat is already really interesting, and improving it is kind of the point of all the collecting and wandering. I have a real reason to explore the game’s wasteland, and it really helps me feel like I’m earning this awesome power that puts every other character in the game to shame.
I was expecting something that basically boiled down to “DOOM if it were in the desert and had some comedy rolled in,” and that’s kind of what I got. It doesn’t have DOOM’s flow or awesome soundtrack, but the combat is still excellent and I’m constantly working towards improving it. I don’t necessarily like how the scavenging and driving disrupts the game’s flow, but I do appreciate how they make me feel like I’m really this lone “ranger” character patrolling the desert and growing stronger with every encounter. It’s a bit disappointing to be sure, but it’s not a bad kind of disappointment. It’s almost as if I got something I didn’t even know I wanted. It’s just not perfect is all
Have you ever gotten a game that didn’t quite live up to expectations? How about one that was fun, but not in the way you were expecting?
Lede image from Rage 2 Steam page.