Rage PS3 Hands-on: Dead to the World

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Rage PS3 Hands-on: Dead to the World

Last week, Jeff and I went hands-on with the PS3 version of Rage, id Software’s October-bound first-person shooter. All told, we experienced more than two hours of post-apocalyptic action, driving, and exploration in a shattered world of exquisite visual detail and startling violence.

Afterwards, we spoke with id Software President Todd Hollenshead to discuss what made the legendary DOOM developer shift gears to a story-driven, open-world playground — and to learn more about the mysteries lurking in that sprawling wasteland.

Todd Hollenshead, President, id Software: “You have to sort of experience it, it’s very difficult to explain. The megatextures allow us to make the entire world unique. It’s all painted and modeled and because we’re streaming the textures, we’re not really constrained by system memory. We can have completely unique elements throughout the world without costing us performance.”

Sid Shuman, PlayStation.Blog: Any hands-on discussion of Rage must begin with its stunning visuals. Rage is easily among the best-looking first-person shooters I’ve seen this console generation — suddenly, Carmack’s Tweet about players mistaking the PS3 version for a high-end PC doesn’t sound so crazy. The sheer detail is staggering, with the shattered environments positively dripping detail: In my two hours of play I saw whirlwind of tribal etchings, battered street signs, skulls. Despite the visual fidelity and the large scale of the outdoor environments, Rage miraculously runs at 60 frames per second with no screen tearing. That’s an impressive graphical accomplishment.

Jeff Rubenstein, PlayStation.Blog: We’ve seen no shortage of end-of-days gunplay in recent years – Fallout 3 and Borderlands spring immediately to mind – but Rage establishes its own visual style from the opening moments. Considering the fact that a good chunk of Rage takes place in a devastated wasteland, the game is quite colorful: The outdoor sections are brightly lit and set beneath a brilliant blue sky. It’s evident that id Software took extreme care in crafting this detailed world. Everything wears the patina of age, looking grimy and worn-in. Like you said, it all scrolls by incredibly smoothly, which is especially important when the gameplay relies on aiming, shooting, and high-speed driving.


Todd Hollenshead: “You hear about The Authority early in the game, but you don’t know what it is. But they’re making high-tech weapons, energy weapons…my favorite weapon is the rocket launcher. It’s a staple of id weapons, but this one has a subtle little feature that you won’t see unless you get distracted for a while. If you let your aiming screen idle, it goes into a DOOM screen.”

Sid: id Software’s games have hardly pushed the boundaries of storytelling. But with Rage, it feels like the developer is out to dispel that reputation once and for all. During the opening credits, the asteroid Aphophis screams towards a fatal collision course with Earth. You are part of an elite group tasked with resurrecting humanity once the devastation subsides, and your group sleeps the decades away buried in a high-tech sarcophagus — an Ark. When you finally wake up, you find the Ark lies in ruin and your comrades are dessicated corpses. You exit the Ark, stumble into the blinding light…and are promptly attacked by roving mutants. Luckily, you get a helping hand from a passing wastelands traveler named Dan Hagar…who sounded a lot like John Goodman, didn’t you think?

Jeff: Turns out that it is John Goodman! Dan Hagar rescues you out of kindness, but he knows that an able-bodied Ark survivor is a useful asset for his rag-tag outpost. He presents you with a handgun and some coin, then sends you back into the breach to clear out the mutants who saw you escape. Since we were playing alongside each other, I noticed you jumped right onto an ATV and headed back out into the wastes, but I stayed behind to poke around Hagar’s makeshift town and speak with the townsfolk. A local woman trained me in the art of the Wingstick – a silent, lethal boomerang weapon – and gave me five of them as a reward. Next, I dropped by the local merchant’s hovel, where I picked up some grenades and a monocular, which turns your piddly hand cannon into an accurate, long-range firearm. By this point I was eager to try out the ordnance, and sped off towards the mutant den. How’d you fare with the default loadout?


Todd Hollenshead: “We didn’t feel like a deathmatch-style multiplayer mode fit with what we were doing. We wanted the multiplayer to be as unique as the single-player…doing deathmatch like DOOM or Quake would feel like we’re giving up a little bit, creatively. For multiplayer we have the vehicular Road Rage mode. We also have a cooperative mode that runs parallel to — but not on top of — the single-player experience. It’s a bit like Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops: same game, familiar environments, but remixed for co-op experiences.”

Sid: I was eager to dive into combat…perhaps a little too eager. Once I found the den of evil, I trudged through the gloom and picked off bandits using my low-powered Settler’s Pistol. The firefights were classic id: vivid, visceral, and deeply immersive. It didn’t take long before I learned how to revive myself upon death by solving a brief coordination puzzle; the better my performance, the more health I earn and the bigger the shockwave I released upon reviving. Inside the hotel, the Ghost Clan foes I encountered moved expressively, clutching at their wounds when shot, scrabbling across obstacles, and lunging at me with ferocious kicks. At one point I gut-shot a bandit and he dropped like a rock, then squirmed on the ground while defiantly squeezing off a few more shots. I also noted the game’s skin-crawling audio design: ghouls hissed “over there!” and “I see him!” while I tried to slink through the shadows. The entire experience was unsettling and deeply primal.

Jeff: And they conversed with such charming Cockney accents! But if the mutants sounded like English punters, they moved in a more simian fashion, closing in for the kill through a combination of tumbles and dives… one even swung along the ceiling. In many ways, I was reminded of BioShock’s Splicers: acrobatic and dangerous – and this is before I started running into another clan that was armed with assault rifles. These “muties” weren’t as nimble, but they were tough. It took more than one headshot to ship them off to dreamland. Later, I acquired powerful “Fat Boy” slugs, which turned the basic Settler Pistol into a one-hit kill cannon. Once the hotel floor was littered with corpses, I made the rounds, looting money, ammunition, and scrap items from the fallen. Though broadly reminiscent of Fallout 3, the inventory system in Rage is significantly streamlined; there’s no concern over hitting a weight limit. As the game progressed, I learned how to craft useless junk into useful tools like first-aid bandages and lock grinders. The whole process is simple and straight to the point – about what you’d expect from id’s first inventory system.

Sid: You definitely won’t be confusing Rage with a stat-heavy RPG, that’s for sure. But the open-world mission structure and detailed fictional universe give Rage a heft that’s rarely felt in first-person shooter campaigns. In addition to the main single-player quest, the final game will ship with racing challenges and optional side quests, while a vehicle-based competitive mode and a series of cooperative-tailored missions called “Legends of the Wasteland” round out the online multiplayer options.

Have questions about our experiences with Rage? Drop them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!

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20 Author Replies

  • Man I’m psyched for this game.

  • Gamesradar have also had a hands-on and say the PS3 version is nigh-on broken as the texturing is popping all the time. id have also stated that the controllers have too much lag/latency. What’s the official Playstation view on this?

    • You will notice some texture shifting — the game is good at hiding it, but it’s there — but the total package looks breathtaking. It’s especially impressive given the ultra-high framerate, lighting detail, animation, and massive environment size. It looks like nothing I’ve seen on a console.

  • It’s a Bethesda title… That is enough for me to “not” purchase the title alone. Bethesda since even before leaving Zenimax studios (which is recent) has been doing anything, but dropping “quality” titles. It seems like ever since their major sucess in the early turn of the 2000’s (2002 actually) with Elder Scroll III: Morrowind they just haven’t been trying. Don’t anyone give me that crap with Elder Scroll IV: Obvlivion. The only thing abundant in that title was bugs, glitches, hang-ups, “bloom” and the color brown. Don’t even get me started on what they did to literally |2/-\p3 Fallout. You can literally hear the unyeilding rage of the hardcore fans still to this day.

    So, here is my question and I’ll keep it simple.

    So, why did an amazing team such as “id” waste their talent and game developing souls to Bethesda? Such a waste. I can only imagine what Bethesda has done to this game. I see 4kids all over again (just with video games.)

  • yea #3
    ok this game looks cool

  • @3 I agree. Is Skyrim using the same buggy engine as Oblicion and Fallout? If it is I will have to pass.

  • on this day one plus i want borderlans 2

  • I hope to god this game is good on the PS3, I can understand it being better on PC due to many reasons..
    If I hear reports that the PS3 version is a fail, you can bet im going to cancel my preorder.

    @Get2daachoppaaaa… haven’t you heard? Skyrim is using the new “creation” engine, hopefully less buggy :)

  • I REALLY hope this game comes out good. It seems like they’ve been touting the graphics as being the best on consoles since it was first announced.
    DISCLAIMER: I’m gonna get a little off topic here SORRY!!!

    I remember Crysis 2 developers yapping their mouths and saying the same thing. “Crysis 2 will have the best graphics yada yada yada”. Crysis 2 ended up having the WORST multiplatform graphics I’ve seen in a long time. Was it me or did the frame rate always drop below 20 fps everytime I had cloak engaged. It was a pixelated mess. Horrible AI. Screen tearing. It was so irritating! It ruined the experience for me. It was kinda sad to see all this graphics hype for a game overshadow a masterpiece like Killzone 3, which also come out around the same time.

    So anyway, thats where i’m at right now. I just hope its not the same thing with RAGE. It has an awesome sci fi feel to it. It has exploration, adventure, upgrade elements and more. id Software pull through for us man! Good luck to you and yours :D

    • Crysis 2 was a good looking game, but Rage doesn’t have any of the issues you mention. 60 frames per second, no screen tearing (I looked!).

  • This game looks cool, but i think i’ll get Resistance 3 instead. There are so many fps games coming out

  • Is it just me or does this game look like Borderlands 3.0? These graphics make my eyes bleed every time I see them.

  • @ #2, actually a fanboy on a 360 site wrote about how the PS3 version had less fps and worse graphics and all this crap. But Carmack said this was false, and also that the PS3 version was actually graphically superior with a higher frame rate than 360 sometime around E3. Like he tweeted, even people at E3 thought it was a PC. Oh and I really want your avatar how did you get it!!!!

    But on my end, money money money is the reason I won’t be getting this game. There’s just way too many games this year. I’m sure it will be awesome but I have to make sacrifices and skip games for others since they’re $60. Hopefully it’ll drop in price at or after Christmas.

  • This looks great but I am feeling FPS Burn. Will this have some RPGish elements so that I feel like I am accomplishing something? Or that the character is mine?

    • The RPG elements are more in the storytelling and the weapon mods. You won’t be collecting longsword +1 or beefing up skill trees, but it’s a *lot* deeper than most FPS games.

  • ….sigh add deathmatch dont not add something to be like everyone else add deathmatch and then add the unique stuff i wanna kill others in this

    and why dont people get what we want out of co-op we dont want to play a on the side co-op (its ok to have its own co-op story) but most people want to play through the “single player” campaign with a friend or at least have the option…shesh..

    • There are tradeoffs to every approach. Co-op is a tricky thing to implement for many games, which is why you tend to see the best co-op experiences focus on a side mode (Nazi Zombies) or a special co-op campaign or the like.

  • I love Fallout 3, New Vegas and Oblivion but I completely understand what alot of you guys are saying. Bethesda really should have improved or built a new engine for New Vegas instead of using the same busted engine they used in FO3, which was really cheap and lazy on their part.
    This is Id Software developing the game though and with a new engine and I really believe they can and will make a truly amazing game. As long as the story and gameplay are equally as impressive as the graphics are, it will be an epic game.

  • @AndyBeans

    You forgot the part of the hands on about the PS3 where he said, “Obviously this was unfinished preview code I was playing, and is currently being bug-checked before the finalised version is sent, so things may well be fine by the time Rage releases in October.”

  • Hopefully this will stack up well against the PC version. I’ll have to read this article later at work if its a slow day. Thanks for posting on this PSB :-D

  • You guys should have gotten some actual game footage to show us. All this talk doesn’t mean anything until we see the game in motion.

  • Are these screens from the ps3 version or just promo shots?


    From what Bethesda has released about this title it’s a mixture of yes, and no (or he said; she said.) Let me explain it’s a bit like the situation involving Fallout: New Vegas. Bethesda touted that it was a new engine, “but” based on the original. Just “improved” (as Bethesda literally put it.) However, we all know what happened there.

    My problem is that Bethesda is too inept (or incapable) of fixing their problems. All too often now it feels like Bethesda just seems to create more problems then anything. Especially considering that just a few months ago this year they released a patch for Fallout: New Vegas and instead of fixing problems it actually prevented people from “saving” after they downloaded the patch.

    Simple point is that Bethesda is and has been riding their own coat-tails for too long now, and as for “id” I just hope that this veteran team managed to keep most of their rights when they decided to team up with Bethesda as a publisher. Obsidian (original team behind Fallout) had to step-in on Fallout: New Vegas, and you can see how, far that got them. I do, “hope” though that I am wrong, but look at Brink and Brink’s, cover and then down at the Bethesda wate-seal.

  • John Carmack stikes again w/a new and elaborate engine..Add me if you like :)

  • Looking forward to this game. I have it preordered.

    Just hope it lives up to expectations

  • I’m gonna be buying this, because I’m a huge id fan, and it looks cool, but I just can’t help shake the feeling that PS3 really is gonna get the shaft here, despite everything saying otherwise.

  • Any PlayStation Move support with this one?

    I can hold my own in third person games like Uncharted on dualshock (I love having analog camera controls), but I stuggle to play really well with dualshock in first person shooters.

    In the absence of mouse/keyboard, I found from Killzone 3 that I’m quite good with PS Move FPS controls :) I hope it’s included here too.

  • This and Skyrim. They, look, amazing.

  • this game looks so bad ass i cant waint for the release

  • Texture popping? I thought John Carmack was some sort of self proclaimed genus? Maybe he was ten to fifteen years ago, but not no more. Wasn’t that interested in buying the game but it won’t even be on my rent list! Keep living off the success of your old ass Wolfenstein and Doom franchises, John! You’re the washed up old guy who can no longer keep up with the younger talent.

    • Nah, it’s a worthy tradeoff for the game’s insane framerate and overall visual quality. It didn’t bother me in the slightest.

  • I think id knows a thing or two about shooters, they practically created the FPS genre, and as far as Bethesda Game Studios, they create the best RPGs around. Yes Bethesda needs to patch their games better than they currently do, but a few bugs don’t ruin the experience for me.

    Overall i’m very impressed with the new engine, 60 Hz with a good amount of detail… on 512mb or RAM.

  • this game will be awesome…I’m already sold…and thank god its not an RPG…this game would be GOTY FPS if Killzone3 had not been released this year.

  • This game looks awesome I just hope there is no issues with it

  • Is the co-op local split screen, and if so does it split horizontally or vertically? If not, then would I be guessing correctly that co-op would be online only, or will it support network cables? Also, how many players do co-op support? It sounds like only 2 so far.

  • I’m stoked for this game! Can’t wait for October. :)

  • @Sid:

    I never once said that “id” was not developing this game. However, Bethesda is the publishing company and I am garunteeing that Bethesda has shoved more then one greedy finger into this game. A game is only as good as it’s publisher. In most cases (but, not exlusive to all) the publisher is always on what I call “higher ground”. They usually are reserved more rights and influence to a game then the developing team is, and usually will have more then one final say. I was pointing out though that Bethesda’s track record is filled with more then some heavy pitted pot holes. Also Doom: III is not really the best example of “id’s” best work.

    Now, regarding the statement of Bethesda producing some of the “best” RPG’s. Not really and that is just your opinion. As much as I love the “Elder Scroll” series that is really their best and only work they are famous for and only more so, here in the western culture. Personally Atlus while a smaller publisher from the east I find produces much more solid games and content then most publishers or developers.

  • Hi Sid do you have any idea on roughly how long Rage will be.

    thanks :)

  • Hey there Jeff and Sid!
    I just wanna say thank you for doing these “hands-on reports” and trying to be as truthful as possible without being slimy biased journalists. I like how you guys just share your experience and enthusiasm for the games you cover.

    I really appreciate it <3

    I didnt mean to sound like a dirty fanboy. I love my PS3 and its awesome plethora of exclusives AND multiplatform titles. I appreciate the hard work, talent, and skill required to make games. So I'd just like to say that the work you guys and developers do to keep this industry thriving does not go unnoticed by me. God bless.

  • YES!!! No screen tearing!! I love you guys! Everyone!

  • I think this blog is about Rage & id, & maybe it’s unfair to blame them for who publishes, but I think I’ve only played 2 Bethesda games, a Star Trek & Oblivion. As a lifelong ST fan, the kind of geek who had cosplayed @ various cons, I take my Trek seriously & I’m holding a grudge for how hard that game sucked. But I loved Oblivion. I don’t remember bugs, it’s been awhile, but I do remember the hundreds of hours I lived happily lived & stealth killed in that world, so Skyrim is an absolute day 1 must for me. I might even pause in my U3 play to live in Skyrim. Luckily I have 2 PS3’s so I won’t commit the near heresy of ejecting the U3 disc.

  • @lisatsunami:

    You mean – “Star Trek: Encounters”? I thought I was the only Star Trek fan roped into buying that title too? Talk about hardcore raging. I think I almost could, William Shatner’s, famous scream through space when I played twenty minutes of that title. I swear I heard someone screaming – “Khan!” – as I just stared at my screen at what was probably one of the most unplayable titles of the last generation (because, nothing will every trump “Steak”.)

  • So my question is the ps3 version a lower quality than the xbox or pc versions? I have read that they had a hard time codeing this game for the ps3 so does that mean our version will not be as good as the others? Do the graphics look better or similar or worse compared to the other versions,is it more buggy, do we have the same reaction time when we lets say start to run or shoot, is the ps3 version inferior in any way?

  • @Rorek, I can’t remember the full title, but it was Bethesda. In fact, it was before I bought Oblivion, & hesitated because how mad I was & still am, but the reviews on Oblivion were so good & it was cheap on Amazon when I got it.

    This new ST game that Jack T mentioned @ E3 better not suck or I’m going on a blog rage then, :-).

  • Small thing but the article starts with a statement: “…and exploration in a nuke-shattered world of exquisite visual detail and startling violence” That is a pretty bad error, it is important to note that this is NOT another post nuclear war world. The Earth was hit by a giant asteroid that actually exists (but will miss earth…so they say). This is a big distinction as the devastation from that and nuclear war are very different.

    Also for the people asking versions and which is better this tweet from Carmack says it best:

    For Rage data streaming, PC HD full install > 360 HD full install > PS3 partial install > 360 HD cache > 360 DVD

    He has also stated that the 360 full install and PS3 partial install (only option) are equal for quality and that the experience on the PS3 will be better (in some ways) because they had to compress less textures thanks to Blu-ray. The 360 still does some things natively better, but Carmack and co got them looking equally amazing thanks to hardwork and the idTech 5 engine being designed for Multiplatform (no porting required).

    • Thanks, caught that opening goof! And thanks for sharing Carmack’s thoughts, I remember seeing that somewhere.

  • @lisatsunami:

    Well, Bethesda released two Star Trek titles towards the end of the PlayStation2 era and both were very horrible, and not worth purchasing, renting or much less having actually been put into even limited production. I agree though about the new Star Trek game. I have been keeping simple tabs on it, and hopefully it will commit and end up being a decent follow up from the movie.

  • Oh and I saw this game with my own eyes at PAX East (2nd row with a 20 foot screen in front of me), it was running on a console and looked unbelievable…smooth as silk too.

  • Remember, they said they WERE having a hard time with the PS3. They aren’t anymore. Carmack went on and said “well I guess I need to learn to program for the PS3”, and he did. And now the game looks better than the 360 build.

    The screenshots for this game aren’t that impressive, it’s the videos that are.

  • So there will only be online co-op? No local?

  • Is very good

  • Wow the game looks amazing, but it really seems to take pages from Borderlands’ book… hopefully there will be a demo before release.

    • Aside from the vehicles and the post-apocalyptic premise, there’s very little similarity to BLs. No XP grinding, no random weapon configs, etc. It’s a hard game to describe in some ways. Guess you’ll have to play it! ^_^

  • game looks amazing

  • looks really cool, as far as texture popping thats something i found not to be a big deal a few games (Alice madnesss returns) has this happen too but it quickly goes away and never really bothered me, dont let it be a deciding factor in buying the game if it plays good and looks good otherwise who cares?

    • Let me say this: There is texture popping but the graphics *still* look phenomenal. Seriously, wait til you see it in motion.

  • Dang I like co-op but sometimes it tends to ruin a game for me. The graphics tend to take a hit and the balancing issues of the enemies is always terrible. Another thing is you (usually) cant pause the game with co-op. How annoying! Iam so glad skyrim isnt co-op. Anywho Iam starting to take interesting in this game and theres a good chance I will get it even though it has vehicles.

  • This game look awesome, hey if Bethesda ever want a developer that can do the next Fallout game, maybe Id Software (IF Bethesda can also get Gearbox Software to get involved, I would like it too since Borderlands reminded me of Fallout a lot). I could imagine Fallout with Id tech engine.

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