Rage is the latest first person shooter from id software. That statement alone should make any self respecting FPS fan click ‘download’ on the App Store, after all, when you consider that this is the company that brought us Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, practically inventing the modern first person shooter single handed, the latest big franchise must surely be an instant classic, right?
That may very well be true on the big consoles such as PS3 and Xbox 360, and first impressions for the iPhone version are astounding. The game looks stunning for a mobile game, with graphics easily on a par with many console games. The environments are richly detailed with great textures, and the enemies are sharp and have fantastic animation, especially when they are crawling up walls or dropping from the ceiling.
If you are running it on a Retina device, the graphics are even better, and the ‘HD’ iPad version is a stunner.
The game is a clear step up, at least in a graphical sense, from id’s previous iPhone shooter, Doom: Resurrection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a step up from Resurrection’s gameplay, in that this is not a true first person shooter, instead this is essentially an on rails gallery shooting game.
Like Resurrection, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all the game lets you look around the screen edges, and the dodge elements are well handled. The set pieces are decent, and you will have quite a good ride through the levels.
The game has a great set up. You are taking part in a game show called Mutant Bash T.V, with the aim to kill as many of the wastelands resident mutants as possible. Each level has its own CGI intro, which adds to the atmosphere, and then the ride starts with you having an unlimited ammo pistol, a slow reloading but powerful shotgun and a machine gun. You can build up chains to boost your score and collect ‘bash boxes’ and shoot targets scattered throughout the game.
The key to getting a good score lies in knowing when to use each weapon and learning the layout of the level so you know where enemies and pick ups are going to be.
It’s just a shame it all feels so restrictive. With this fantastic engine id have created, you just find yourself desperate to run around and explore these fantastic environments. It’s especially apparent when one of the enemies is standing in front of you, punching you in the face and you are trying to reload your gun the need to back off or to circle strafe your way out of trouble is just a massive reminder of how limited it all is.
Yes, you can do a quick dodge to alleviate the pressure, but this again only highlights the artificial restraints.
In many ways this game doesn’t actually work as well as Resurrection, as that game, although just as restrictive as Rage, was slower paced and had a survival horror feel that suited the direction that id took.
Here, with Rage, we have a game that really feels and look like an amazing first person shooter, but instead we merely have a great looking, fast paced, on rails, and basically solid, gallery shooting game.