Rage PS3 Hands-On: Dead To The World

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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 nuke-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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  • Don’t have any questions but RAGE looks mindblowing!

    I like that the multiplayer has a different angle & has gone for vehicle combat etc.

    This title is a must for me & i’ve already preordered the Anarchy Edition!

  • I not sure to get excited by this or not?

    If its anything like Fallout 3, then im in

    If its anything like Borderlands, then see ya later…

  • @KAP It’s a shooter with RPG elements, it’s not an RPG.

    So what’s Playstation’s official view on the fact that the PS3 version isn’t working properly and that textures are popping everywhere?

  • @AndyBeans

    I did read something similar too, and if the releaser is Bethesda, they dont have quality bar very high… just look fallout 3 / New Vegas PS3 versions.

    I might get this, AFTER reading reviews.

  • sorry i no this is completely off topic but i need this answered. right i just went on PS STORE to buy the assassins creed avatars & only 8 of the 10 r there ?? & u get enzio & the other one if u buy brotherhood on PS STORE tht is completely unfair considering the game came out last november & every1 probz played it and got it & 23 quid WOW really so i have to pay 23 quid to get 2 avatars LOL not happening coz ive still got da game will they be able 2 buy on there own?? sorry if i commented on the PS STORE UPDATE this wouldn’t of got answered coz it would be on page 4 or sumthink & they only reply to the first 2 pages probz wont even get a reply now.

  • ohhhhh whait i just saw the assassins creed post and them to will be avalible from ps plus lol sorry my bad didnt see it sorry lol

  • This and Battlefield 3 are definitely my most anticipated shooters now that Killzone 3 is out of the way.. Excited for Bioshock Infinite and Deus Ex too

  • wasn’t really excited about rage before. But I am big on graphics and the story sounds like it has potential. You’ve convinced me to play it.

  • I couldn’t help but notice that in the first status you mentioned it was an October bound release. Everywhere I’ve read it is due for September 16th, which is also the release date in many stores such as Argos, Shopto.net, Blockbusters and so on. The game does look amazing though, not getting Fifa 12 on release because of this£

  • Was going to mention the same texture loading issues as AndyBeans.Seems the other versions are fine.

    I was interested in this a few years ago,but it’s been shown off so many times,so many interviews,I just dont care anymore.
    Another thing I found a bit shocking was a hatch in the ground some 15 min into the game.The preview said you had to buy DLC for it :) absolute joke.I’ve always liked id,but thats bad.

  • Looks likke a ripoff of Fallout 3

  • @ 19


    They have stated that it’s unfortunately an October release & I presume it’s to iron out those bugs etc!

  • @ 11

    Wouldn’t say it’s a ripoff pf Fallout 3.

    It doesn’t have outdated graphics for one!

    Need to wait to see if it’s riddled with bugs & glitches then I would say it’s a ripoff! LOL

    Honestly though this looks amazing & it’s developed by ID Software, so I have every faith in them to deliver an amazing game ;)

  • Will wait on reviews for this one. To many games coming out

  • super fedt at høre mere om rage. Men der mangler nogle ps3 gameplay af rage.

  • I am really excited for this game as it is exactly my type of game! I just wish we could see some actual screen shots from the PS3 version. The ones you are showing here are clearly from the PC version. Unless of course the PS3 can do graphics that stunning at 2560 x 1600? Which I doubt very much as my PS3 struggles to look that good at 720p let alone 2560 x 1600! Only my new gaming PC can handle those resolutions!

  • What game would you say most closely resembles the movement and feel of rage. I find movement to be a big factor in a FPS

  • @12 – So its now due for October 7th. I would rather pay £45 for a game that got held back for 2 weeks to fix everything, opposed to a game that is rushed and full of glitches.

    @17 – I personally believe that movement will be like all Bethesda games, fluid and unique (not counting Brink).

  • Preorderd it after the trailer with the Mark Lanegan song. Only for that choice of music I’ve got to buy this game. That it looks like a blast too is all the better :-)

    Any news if the song (or more of them) is featured in the game too?

  • Looks like a possible purchase for me too. Looking great. The iPad version is probably my favourite iPad game – though it’s on rails, so the PS3 version should be a lot, lot better and more immersive/longer. Bring it on!

  • @18…. I never actually played brink as I was told the game is too short but I read somewhere that brink is based on rage and the gameplay would be more or less the same. Having said that I was also told that the way you could move through the environment in brink was awesome. Either way rage is definitely a must have for me along with dead island and battlefield 3

    @16 if you think the graphics are that bad on ps3 why not jus get rid and play everything on your pc. I personally agree pc graphics these days are better but I don’t think you get the same level of emersion in the game if you have to use a mouse and keyboard etc…… For me ps3 leads the way in gaming by a country mile. Keep it up lads

  • @21

    With Brink it isn’t the campaign being short that is the main problem, the AI is. Your team mates are useless, but the enemy is great team work, its unbalanced. Brinks movement is a good idea, just badly designed. RAGE seems to be what Brink is based on, but the way I see it is Brink was used as a beta so Bethesda could find faults in the game engine and gameplay aspects so that RAGE would be a better game than the devs first expected.

  • @22

    Yeah I will second that theory. I will jus add IM SOOOOOO EXCITED lol

  • This got epic sauce all over it.. Easily fits in with the big boys.. This, bf3, resistance 3, deus ex, bioshock,.. The end of the year is gonna be good on us shooterlovers..

  • RAGE is at the top of must must-buy list. The game looks epic, and so does the latest trailer at the rage.com website.

    For me personally, this will no doubt be game of the year.

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