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Rage PS3 Hands-on: Dead to the World

Sid Shuman's Avatar + Posted by Sid Shuman on Aug 03, 2011 // Social Media Manager

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.

RageRage

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?

Rage

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!

//Add Your Own

80 Comments   21 Replies

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51

+ DemoniOtaku on August 3rd, 2011 at 5:55 pm said:

I OWN A PS3! And if I’m gonna buy a game on PS3 I’ll compare it to others PS3s games… so asking if on PC or even 360 this or any other game look better or run smoother is just losing time… I’m not gonna buy a 360 to play 3 frames faster a game nor buy a 350$graphic card to play it with mouse and keyboard…

Sorry dudes, but PS3 have now most of the best games, so I just wanna earn some trophies…;)

PD: I don’t like so much the FPS, but on PS3 I have played two of the best FPS series, Killzone and Resistance…

PD2: This article could have be wellcomed with a gameplay video… with that less questions remain to be asked…


52

+ marlyt on August 3rd, 2011 at 6:25 pm said:

This is my #1 game to buy this year. Looking so forward to this I mighthave to wrap my head with duct tape to prevent explosion. This game is nada like Borderlands. Go check out some traiilers. The art style is similar with the black outlining accents, but the similarity stops there, well, except for there’s guns, enemies and a buggy of some sort. Borderlands is kick booty in it’s own way. And you can’t blame id for what Bethesda has published by other studios. That’s like saying “Everything Codemasters makes is Damnation”, which is by the way THE WORST most UNPLAYABLE game I’ve ever played. It’s a false generalization. Sort of like digital racism or prejudice or whatever. Just say “No” to hate.


53

+ prof_hockenberry on August 3rd, 2011 at 6:25 pm said:

Will it be 3D? I haven’t upgraded to it yet but every game that comes out in 3D makes it more tempting…


54

+ marlyt on August 3rd, 2011 at 6:27 pm said:

@ 51

You don’t have to apologize for loving your PS3 above all other platforms. That’s why we’re here :-)!!!!


55

+ elias820 on August 3rd, 2011 at 8:39 pm said:

cool ps + icon next 2 avatar now all we need is cross game voice chat


56

+ Voidance on August 3rd, 2011 at 8:45 pm said:

I echo the sentiment that these hands-on previews are a great way to spark interest within the Playstation community about upcoming games. I also enjoy the honesty taken with legitimate problems (even if they get edited out after the post has been published). If there’s one thing Sony does that baffles me is that, generally speaking, they seem to under-market their hit games. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect every exclusive to have its own Mountain Dew flavor, but little things like this preview post and maybe some commercials during sports events, etc. would go along way in promoting a huge investment. Anyway, to come full circle, I really like what you’ve done here, but have one suggestion – please include gameplay videos when possible. I know developers and publishers like controlling assets before the ship date, but a gameplay video showing just how good the PS3 version looks in its current state would be tremendous.


57

+ Ryuhza on August 3rd, 2011 at 9:07 pm said:

Egh…

The lack of separation people seem to have between “Developer” and “Publisher” on page 1 hurts.


58

+ Solid-Snake-Eyes on August 3rd, 2011 at 11:11 pm said:

Press shots. Translation: PC version.


59

+ MadMeat001 on August 3rd, 2011 at 11:52 pm said:

isn`t that a bit shameful to call it FALLOUT + BORDERLAND ?


60

+ MadMeat001 on August 4th, 2011 at 1:00 am said:

Hi, I know that is off topic but, since Dille’s departure, Kevin Butler seems to be dead as we don’t hear much of his appearance :(


61

+ AfroSamuraiBlak on August 4th, 2011 at 4:25 am said:

I just got my PS3 Completely switched from the Xbox, This system is awesome, some many games i haven’t played!… Excited about this game too!


62

+ Bareda89 on August 4th, 2011 at 4:52 am said:

I’ve been anticipating this game for a while now. I hope it plays as good as it looks.


63

+ Hooligantuan on August 4th, 2011 at 5:39 am said:

Texture Streaming … is that kinda like how Borderlands areas start off blurry and then fill out?


64

+ magikally123 on August 4th, 2011 at 9:44 am said:

I’m looking forward to this – I’m probably going to be playing this and dead island thru 2011. I will never finish (if it’s even possible) red dead redemption or la noire.


65

+ marlyt on August 4th, 2011 at 1:57 pm said:

@ AfroSamuraiBlk

Welcome to the good side of the force. I’ve been a PS only person since my falling out with Dreamcast and I’m never tempted to go elsewhere. Hope you enjoy your stay. =]


66

+ xRedxViolence on August 4th, 2011 at 5:48 pm said:

great another first person game to flood the market


67

+ WastelandDan on August 4th, 2011 at 10:11 pm said:

This looks like my kind of game!


68

+ papolatte on August 4th, 2011 at 11:21 pm said:

Pre-order now and get content that we should have included in the game. This is starting to get sad and is the reason why I refuse to pre-order games like this and Dead Island.

Catherine did it right by offering an art book and soundtrack for pre-ordering. This game did it wrong by offering in game content and upgrades (whatever it means by that, obviously it is something in game that gives a semi-unfair advantage).

Not buying anymore games that do that. Go back to the real rewards for pre-ordering, not these [DELETED] little in game bonuses that will be released 4 months later for a monetary value anyways. There is nothing special about that..

I will probably get bashed for making this comment, but after the whole BC3 fiasco, you would think game developers would start doing this right.

Use Catherine as an example.


69

+ FightThePower99 on August 4th, 2011 at 11:33 pm said:

Damn i wonder if it is a sandbox game!!! :D

I hope it is so that it would be like some kind of gta or something :D


70

+ AndyBeans on August 5th, 2011 at 2:01 am said:

@11 The “Bad Cole” avatar is a standard download off the store, “Good Cole” is PS+ only I think. I’m in the UK so I may have different store items to you.

@Sid Cheers for the response mate!


71

+ gamereck on August 5th, 2011 at 5:57 am said:

Was planing on getting this game but not now. I think this game will have frame rate issues on PS3.


72

+ Buchi1324 on August 5th, 2011 at 7:28 am said:

Sid ill have to respectfully disagree with you while i dont know about the development side of things games that do a co-op on the side like nazi zombies yes many people enjoy it but its not like a co-op campaign or being able to run through a game with a friend (in my opinion zombies is ok spec ops sucked, and theres very few oh heres a wave of enemies now you get to fight through them with a friend that i see a reason to play…) no story no reason just shot pointless AI

since I’m an mp kind of guy the story really have to hook me in for me to play it for longer then learning the controls and getting past the first 3 missions or areas. While its nice to play single player most of the time when i get a game i want to run through that game with a friend and if i had that option id finish more single player campaigns

I like running through a story with a friend not just waves of enemies by the sounds of the article its like specs ops which sucks because really it didnt have much of a story and i really didnt like it

But it would still be nice to run through the single player campaign with a friend online just many games dont seem to do it (alot times i hear because it doesnt fit into the story..which i wont even comment)


73

+ Buchi1324 on August 5th, 2011 at 7:30 am said:

papolatte…what doesnt it matter when there isnt really a competitive mp (or at least not really)


74

+ Buchi1324 on August 5th, 2011 at 7:31 am said:

why not just preorder whats the point of not…it doesnt cost you any extra..its an insentive to preorder nothing more nothing less…


75

+ BOSTONJOHN32 on August 5th, 2011 at 9:39 am said:

cant wait ! i hate the summer time for ps3 releases, always been lacking compared to fall and winter.. been waiting for this one and i find myself trying to stay occupied in the meantime, im an old school gaming junkie and im in withdrawl.. at first it seems like bad marketing but its brilliant because i find myself spending on games i dont even want, lol.. and have been in the ps3 store splurging.. deus ex hurry up :) but yes this game looks nice. and it def reminds me of borderlands (especially seeing the cars/buggys) which is a good thing but if this is going to be a polished, crisp and more fluid borderland type game then im all in . thnx 4 posting the video


76

+ papolatte on August 5th, 2011 at 9:43 am said:

Yes, but pre-ordering a game prior to reviews and general consensus is a bad idea usually. You won’t know if the story is terrible, or if the gameplay is bad. Trailers can be quite misleading.

I just find it extremely disheartening that this is what they offer for pre-ordering. A better incentive, would be something physical, worth substance. Pre-ordering locks you in on a game that you don’t know much about. Remember Assassin’s Creed II? When it was released, the only way to get 100% synchronization was by buying the super expensive special deluxe editions, or wait a year to spend and additional 15 dollars for the extra content? That was content that came out day 1, but in order to make more money, they essentially rip off more consumers.

Sure I don’t know that if by waiting to see if the game sucks or is good, if this pre-order bonus is actually worth something, but for all you know, it might be a requirement to unlock something amazing in the game. Would it be the first time that a game developer had done this.

My only point was, instead of seeing in game items given to me, I’d much rather see physical content.


77

+ papolatte on August 5th, 2011 at 9:43 am said:

That said, I’m not stingy to the point of “trying to single handedly make a difference.” I mean, I currently own about 70 ps3 games, and I love most of them, it’s just after the past few years of this, I’m starting to get sick of seeing it.


78

+ sdnmfps on August 7th, 2011 at 12:06 am said:

I’ll probably be getting it for PC. Patches come out sooner. And as we’ve seen with Oblivion, more add-on content is available.


79

+ Jack1982cp on August 7th, 2011 at 8:27 am said:

I pre-ordered this a while back and until I saw this latest trailer, I didn’t realize it had such a strong sci-fi story. Makes me TWICE as glad I pre-ordered it!


80

+ Hard_CORE_Gmr on August 7th, 2011 at 9:11 am said:

There is only one good reason not to buy this game day one, and that is time. With Batttlefield 3 releasing 21 days after this, Resistence 3 on September 6th, Deus Ex on August 23rd, Uncharted 3 November 1st, Skyrim on November 11th, 3 HD collections and the usual content that gets added to the store I won’t have time for this game til the end of January (thats the earliest I could purchase and play this game). Maybe by then *hint, hint, wink, wink* Sony will be offering its competion to something like Steam and I’ll be able to download this one from the store.


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