Analysis of RAGE 2 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC: the contradiction of the open world

It's been almost a decade since I arrived at the 'RAGE' shelves, a novelty first person post-apocalyptic experience. Developed by id Software and distributed by Bethesda, it turned out to be a very enjoyable work in all aspects, but unfortunately this was not reflected in the sales figures. With the passage of time RAGE has achieved a deserved recognition, reaping a large number of followers, but still nothing seemed to ensure the continuity of the franchise. Finally, at the E3 last year was announced the acclaimed second installment that would again run hand in hand with the American company, but this time with the help of specialists from the open world Avalanche Studios. The union of both developers promised an explosive combination between the accelerated action that we could see in the last 'DOOM' with a delirious open world and full of possibilities in the purest 'Mad Max' style.

Now, just a year later, we received RAGE 2, a title that aspires to be an FPS of extreme sensations and ardent seasoned with an overwhelming and enveloping open world component. Will it have achieved its purpose?

The story of Rage 2 takes place a few years after the events that we experienced in the original game, in the context of a post-apocalyptic world that is already beginning to recover from the devastation. However, the efforts to promote civilization are delayed when the Authority, a faction of mutants that play with genetics and seek the extermination of all that remains of the old society, manages to resurface stronger than before. With the reborn General Cross at the helm, The Authority launches a devastating attack on the headquarters of The Resistance in the city of Vineland, leaving the protagonist literally without partners or resources. Thus, with a strong purpose of revenge we will put ourselves in the shoes of Walker, the last living Ranger, on which rests the responsibility to seek help and collect the necessary technology to crush the Authority once and for all.

The premise is simple and direct. Just a pretext to, after some introductory missions, launch the player towards a furious exploration of the map of the game. This, a priori, would not have to be something negative, but the problem lies in that the main plot does not evolve and lacks intensity during its approximately twelve hours, so at no time do we feel that something is at stake. To this we add some uninspired dialogues that do not convince, the nonexistent growth in the characters and a few turns in the narrative that are excessively predictable. A cluster of nonsense that generate a campaign to forget.

Beyond the main missions, finding something to do in the wilderness is not a difficult task, since in the badly damaged world of RAGE 2 there is no peace for the survivors. The map is divided into several main sections, in which there are a total of three commercial cities. In them we make purchases, we discover secondary missions or we improve our armor with new increases. The rest of the scenario is completed with a number of activities and events, although not very varied. There are camps of bandits, Arcas in which to find new weapons, mutant nests to eliminate, races of fireballs to dispute … However, the open world component soon becomes extremely repetitive and with the passage of hours exploring the vacant lots of RAGE 2 becomes little stimulating. This is mainly due to the fact that the páramo feels depopulated and empty in itself. Lacking dynamism as a whole, the long roads are largely devoid of enemy activity and there are few types of secondary activities to perform.

The scenarios, as in most post-apocalyptic setting games, alternate between large sand deserts, rocky mountains, dirty and metallic cities or swamps full of garbage. However, in the graphic and sound section the artistic direction of RAGE 2 does an excellent job. The game chooses to combine the classic and dark gray tones with extreme color options, neon lights and fluorescent colors. A rosy punk aesthetic brightened with psychedelic sounds, which gives live and impressive framings and thanks to which an attractive and convincing context is created.

But it is when the space is squeezed when RAGE 2 brings out its maximum potential. The fight is, without a doubt, the main event of the title. The gunplay, inspired by the base of the last DOOM and seasoned with new devastating skills, it vibrates from the first moments of play. Details such as the muffled sound of a shot or impact, the ecstasy of running between enemy lines and the exultant sense of control and uncontrolle at the same time make shooting in RAGE 2 an extremely satisfying and addictive experience.

We have a remarkable variety of weapons, from the mythical combat shotgun or a Firestorm revolver, to a gravity dart gun or the delirious Wingstick. But in this sense, what really stands out is the work of characterization. Both its appearance and its functionality make each rifle unique and that to maximize its capabilities becomes a real pleasure.

To make matters worse, RAGE 2 incorporates a system of 'superpowers' for our protagonist. With the skills of Nanotritos ('Vapuleo', 'Carrera' or 'Despedazar' among others) we can dodge an attack to catch the enemies with gravity vortices or throw them against the elements of the stage using shock waves. And if we fill the indicator of rage we will sow absolute chaos by activating the 'Overload' mode. In addition, these skills can be used individually or combined to deal with different situations. A delight for the most creative players, who will be invited to experiment.

Another of the strengths of RAGE 2 is its complex and multifaceted system of improvements and character development. The money, the minerals and the objects that we find in our way allow us to unblock updates of various types and invest in improvements for the weapons, the qualities of the suit or the power of our vehicle. This makes us feel pushed and motivated to discover new locations to find materials with which to optimize our tools. Likewise, the skill tree blends perfectly with the course of the adventure, triggering a constant flow of bonus points that makes ascending our Ranger a rewarding task.

Our valuation

In RAGE 2, the originality of the arsenal; the protagonist's exaggerated abilities and an energetic rhythm and intensity of play create a visceral combat system. A tonic of de-stressing sensations with which to vent and feel powerful.

These virtues are opposed to a repetitive and not very demanding progression of their forgettable history; to an open world full of intentions, but noisy and weak. This makes us think that the title would have won whole subscribed to the linearity masked (but effective) of the first delivery.

From this moment on, it only remains to check how the product and the franchise are evolving. For now, Bethesda has revealed a post-launch roadmap with at least two narrative DLCs and a large amount of downloadable content.

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