Partner to Francesca and father to Finley. I'm an Engineer and built the video game site Cheerful Ghost.
A few details about me. I don't play a ton of shooter games anymore. Besides the occasional Fortnite and dabbling with the latest free to play battle arena for a few minutes, I play single player shooters every couple of years. Wanted to get that out of the way because my thoughts aren't from the point of view of a FPS connoisseur, if that's a thing.
The Day Santa Delivered Rage 2
Travis and I both pre-ordered Rage 2 on Amazon. We both are Dinosaurs and enjoy physical boxes of games that will really only be played digitally and even if the box really is just a thin wrapper over a game key. I just like putting a thing on my shelf and if the price is the same, why not? The day Rage 2 came was a lot like Christmas except Amazon let me see where Santa was the day my present arrived. Fun fact, Travis got his copy of Rage 2 first and he went in to pick it up from UPS and mine was delivered, no joke, 1 minute later. If you want to buy Rage 2 on PC in the box you might be interested to know that it's a fairly typical PC game case but doesn't actually contain a DVD install disc. Where the DVD install disc would go is a cardboard DVD-like disc that contains the Rage 2 game code you can redeem on bethesda.net (not Steam, more on that later). The Amazon pre-order also came with a Rage 2 XBox controller skin and a two page Rage 2 mini-booklet with the PC controls printed on it. Since I bought the deluxe version it also came with an insert for that DLC and Amazon emailed me my pre-order DLC. All told the game came with 3 codes and I was able to redeem them on bethesda.net and download the game on the Beth launcher with zero issues.
My First Hour of Rage 2
I knew Rage 2 wouldn't run to it's fullest extent on my ASUS ROG gaming laptop with a Nvidia 960M. It's a fairly powerful laptop with 16G of RAM and a full SSD drive but Rage 2's max specs blow my laptop out of the water. Still, I fit solidly in the minimum spec camp I just didn't know how well it would work. The first hour was rough as the graphical settings Rage 2 set me up with were really horrible looking. There was a pretty game here but I couldn't see it and spent quite a bit of time tweaking this and that to make it work to no avail.
How To Get Rage 2 To Run Better On a Laptop
I think running PC games on a PC laptop is a great idea because you can play all the games on PC with all the portability of a laptop. That said, your video card can't be upgraded which is a huge downside. Still, I like the flexibility but that doesn't always mean games work well with your laptop video card. One trick laptop manufacturers pull to get more battery life from your machine is have two video cards running. One card when your in battery mode and use another for plugged in that provides much more power to your graphically intensive applications such as games. My ASUS ROG has an Intel integrated card and a NVidia 960M. Windows 10 does a good job of autodetecting which to use but not always so and in the case of Rage 2 I had to tell Windows 10 to ALWAYS run it in high performance mode.
To do this click the Windows Bar / Settings / Gaming / Game Mode / Graphics Settings. Then select "Classic App" and then browse for the Rage 2.exe file. Then select options and always have Rage 2 set to High Performance. This forces Windows to always use the better video card and make Rage 2 look and play better than a Potato.
Uh, So Like Fine But What About the Game?
Right away Rage 2 starts out with an ultra campy intro cinematic where "General Angry Guy With A Human Head And Robot Body" wants to destroy mankind. He gives the campiest speech to a bunch of muscle marine looking guys that seem to soak up each of his insanely ridiculous words with super energetic grunts. The whole time General Angry guy was talking I noted how fun his speech was but also terrible, because I like being a person and don't want a robot body. Because, y'all, General Angry Guy wants to destroy mankind and turn us all into cyborgs. Cool campy concept but I actually like being human. I also realized later that General Angry Guy was asking a room full of muscle dudes to basically chop everything off dicks and all and they were all so very happy about it. I'm not saying making those kinds of choices are always bad, and feel free if that's for you, no judgement, but it just seemed odd to me so many people were super amped to never have human arms or legs again. Then again, this isn't supposed to be taken seriously and I loved the camp of it all I just took it seriously for a second and it was disturbing. Good thing Rage 2 will let me blow General Angry Guys head off before he forces us all to be worse for the wear.
Right away Rage 2 gets you going in a very "let me teach you the game" kinda mode. It's not very fun and it was compounded with it looking like a potato on my laptop. I guess if there was a part of the game that needed to suck graphically it's the first part and it wasn't that fun. Once the into part is all over and the game world opens up Rage 2 really gets it's wind and it's a blast.
That said, it took me a while to sink into a groove with the controls and how all the systems worked together. There is a lot to track with Rage 2 but after a bit, it it's fairly easy to play.
Rage 2 Feels Like A Solid Follow Up To Rage
I see a lot of people comparing Rage 2 to Mad Max and I'm sure the comparison holds as Rage 2 and Mad Max were both made by the same studio. That said as a huge fan of the original Rage, Rage 2 feels like a massive love letter and sequel to Rage. I thought Rage 2 would really jettison most of the feel and look of Rage but Avalanche Studios made a proper sequel that doesn't hide the best parts of Rage. They bring more to bear for Rage 2 including power-ups that feel at home or in the spirit of Doom 2016 but the shooter aspects feel more like a proper follow up to Rage than Doom 2016. Oh and the best part of Rage 2 is the core shooter loop and how frantic you feel in the thick of things. As you progress and unlock more abilities and better guns and these options make the game more fun and a bit easier. At one point I found a very large bandit area that I tried to clear four times and could not. It wasn't a handful of bandits but contained at least 30 or so and a boss fight at the top that was way too difficult for where my character was at the time. I plan on coming back to take it on at a later stage in the game and I already feel i'd do better with a bunch of new powers and guns to make it a bit easier.
Rage 2 In Stride
Rage 2 is a fun game to play in bursts and I plan to do that over the next few weeks. Also, the story isn't so riveting as to require a binge play-though, which I respect. If you are looking for a new shooter to play that's fun and will keep you entertained for a few hours I'd give Rage 2 a shot. That said, even if you buy Rage 2 on Steam it does require Bethesda.net for some functionality. I don't care about installing another PC launcher to play a game but I know some people might so it was worth mentioning. I've been playing Rage 2 on PC on the Bethesda launcher and I've had no problems and got incredibly fast download speeds on launch day.
If you're playing Rage 2 let me know how it's going in the comments!
You can pair a MFI controller with Steam Link on your Apple device, Steam controller in bluetooth mode or use touch if you prefer. I was surprised to find touch isn't too bad and many games already have somewhat serviceable controller configurations for them. The touch controls are a bit janky but they work so if you are playing a very slow turn paced game you might be able to kick back and play it in bed or on the couch on your phone. That said, I was itching to try my Steam Controller and it worked perfectly. Steam in home streaming has also improved quite a lot such that even if both devices are on wifi things work fairly well with minimal lag. The video isn't always great but it works way better than when I tried it over a year ago on the same wifi hardware. Valve recommends at least one device plugged in to your wired network, but again, if both are in 5G wifi at least on my home ultra fast wifi things worked quite well. Hat tip to Valve here it seems they haven't stopped working on their in home streaming and it really shows. I've wanted to play Portal 2 again and on my couch in the living room using the new Steam Link app on my Apple TV seems like a really good plan.
There are a raft of other new features such as full day and night cycles that change up the levels quite a bit, as well as a new Super Mario 3D World themed level set! Many people noted that the Super Mario 3D World level set is under "Extra Game Styles" section leading many to think more styles could be on the way?
Nintendo has released a lot of game DLC for Switch games free for early adopters so I hope if they are releasing more levelsets that they are free for the early folk that bought the game.
Super Mario Maker 2 on Switch is a day one purchase for me, but then again if it was just Mario Maker on the Switch it would have been but these new features really make it much more compelling!
"DF Retro returns with a visual tour through the history of Tetris. From 1984 to 2018, John examines nearly 30 versions of Tetris across multiple generations of consoles!"
All that said, I wasn't sure if I was going to be interested in the MCU in a post Endgame world and it seems from this trailer, I am. I'm not sure if this is an opening night film, but something I will want to see in theaters for sure. What about you?
I'm not sure I'm going to see this film in theaters but to be fair to myself, I might. This movie could be a horrible train-wreck or something quite different and at this point I'm not entire sure which it will be. That said, a film that has the audacity to make Gangsters Paradise it's first trailer featured song is brave and I for that alone it gets my respect.
Graphically the game looks like Borderlands with a bit more resolution and detail and a higher frame rate. Rand Pitchford boasted that this is the biggest Borderlands game yet, but I didn't get a sense for how big that would be. Hopefully at some point they let us know, but as of now, this looks like a solid follow up to one of the best shooter games around.