Yesterday iD Software launched Rage 2 which has been one of my most anticipated games coming out this year. I solidly boarded the hype train devouring all the trailers and early reviews and I can honestly say that it wasn't for naught, Rage 2 is a whole lot of fun.

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!

https://www.ign.com/wikis/rage-2/Things_to_Do_First_in_Rage_2

jdodson   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/16/2019 at 05:42am

Right now, none of the extra DLC seems to matter in Rage 2. I got the pre-order DLC which is a settler pistol, armor and a truck skin. I have the truck skin but no truck to use it with so I can't yet comment if that's cool. The pre-order DLC comes with a exclusive "Cult of the Death God" mission where you get the pistol and armor except I haven't played it yet. Could be cool, not sure yet. The digital deluxe DLC was some cheat codes which I haven't used and not sure I will along with the BFG 9000. This gun comes with 3 bullets and each other bullet costs $1k and you can't find any more in game anywhere. Seems like an odd choice and I haven't used the gun yet but it seems ultra overpowered so I haven't used it. The other cool bit of the digital deluxe is the first DLC pack included and since that's not out yet I can't comment.

I'm early still but so far, the pre-order DLC and digital deluxe stuff seem like a wash. I have high hopes for the Cult of the Death God mission but the pistol and armor don't seem like a hard requirement to play the game.

jdodson   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/16/2019 at 05:44am

I don't mind paying a bit more to iD as I really liked the original Rage game but I'm not sure any of the DLC to this point has been super critical. That said, when I experience that stuff more i'll come back and let you know how it goes.

Travis   Admin   Member wrote on 05/17/2019 at 03:10am

I'm also about five hours in and my experience has been mixed. This is not the fault of the game, though. Some games give me motion sickness and this is one of them, unfortunately. I can usually eliminate it with some settings changes but I haven't gotten there yet with Rage 2. So I'm not playing nearly as much as I want to. I've read that bright colors can cause stronger symptoms and that may be at play here because there is a TON of fuchsia. I love the look of it but maybe my eyes/stomach/head/etc do not.

But more to the point:

I love the campy plot, it feels like a throwback to late 90s/early 2000s FPS sensibilities in terms of plot and I love that. But it's much prettier than those games. The id engine always shines and it's definitely great here. The cheesy as hell intro kinda says "hey this isn't a serious shooter, have fun and turn off your brain" and I respect that.

Jon you're spot on with it feeling more like Rage than any other game. You can feel influences from elsewhere, and the powers you unlock even give me a Mass Effect vibe, but this has its own identity. If you liked the shooting mechanics from Doom or any other recent id game you'll feel right at home, but you can't play it the same way. To really get the best out of this game you have to play it tactically-- and it helps that the tactics involve some pretty badass powers and a lot of pew pew.

It's just pure fun.

It's not perfect though. Driving was my least favorite part about the first game, and that holds true for the sequel. It's a little dull. I had hoped that they would learn a few things from Borderlands (and I'm not even really a fan of driving in Borderlands).

Sometimes the various upgrade paths are vague until you understand it. I recommend reading guides like the one Jon posted. You aren't really going to spoil much plot because the plot is fairly thin (to the game's credit, honestly).

From what I have read, it seems like the average gamer will probably get 25-30 hours out of this and that feels perfect. They could have tightened it up and made it feel a little more active by shrinking the map a bit so travel time wasn't as much of a factor but that's a minor complaint.

Overall I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 20-25 hours have to offer.

jdodson   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/17/2019 at 03:48am

Rage 2 community goals are up. Seems like if we all get a certain number of kills on a theme we get a skin. Cool idea.

https://bethesda.net/en/article/2WoZ1SERuSMriqtaEzLxHV/rage-2-may-wasteland-challenges

jdodson   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 06/19/2019 at 12:50am

New patch out: https://steamcommunity.com/games/548570/announcements/detail/1609388832806702098

"Bandit Camps are now replayable! Open your map and select any previously cleared bandit camp to replay them as much as you'd like -- and get rewarded. "

Cool.

"Wasteland Wizard now only travels to 3 different locations instead of 15."

Cool but I haven't found him at all yet. Not that I'm looking, I'm not. The cheats sound interesting and I have some but I haven't tried them.

Travis   Admin   Member wrote on 06/19/2019 at 03:06am

I've stumbled upon the Wasteland Wizard a couple times but decided to ignore him because I never felt the need to cheat actually.

jdodson   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 06/19/2019 at 04:14pm

Yeah. I've found that after you get quite a few powers, level up your abilities and have a decent FPS count the game isn't too hard. Then again I'm on normal so I've never felt the need to cheat. But I did do a quest earlier than I should have and needed the BFG but .... I prob won't do that next time smile

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