It’s not going to tug on any heartstrings or change the world, but I like what I’ve seen of Rage 2. Bethesda have just released nine fresh minutes of lightly-cut footage from the Avalanche/Id collaboration shooter, and it’s reminding me a lot of both Avalanche’s Mad Max and Bulletstorm. We get to see the player acquiring (and tutorial-ing) a new super-power, getting sidetracked on a side-quest, taking a sightseeing trip on a hover-bike and picking a fight with a mech made out of junk. There’s also a lot of things that go boom. Take a look for yourself in the video below.
The new footage focuses mostly on the on-foot action, giving us a look at how very deadly post-apocalyptic traffic appears to pedestrians. The player rapidly cycles through an arsenal of attacks, including a shockwave mode for the shotgun that seems very good at launching bandits from their cliffside hideouts. It’s like Force Push, but in gun form. Oddly enough, the move that looks more like a Force Push sometimes makes baddies explode into a cloud of meat. So does the jumping punch attack the player unlocks. So does a lot of other things. There’s a lot of gibs in this game.
There’s some other neat stuff in there. While some of the enemy grunts seem a little more death-resistant, it appears to be down to the segmented armour plating they’re wearing, which flies off in chunks as you do damage to them, reminding me of Binary Domain. I also got a chuckle at the player accidentally destroying their own car with a slam attack at one point. There also seems to be some kind of magnetic gun – plug the enemy, then launch them towards an anchor, which the player tries to send an enemy airborne with, but smears them into the ceiling in the attempt.
Few enemies in the footage seem to last longer than a second or two, up until the player tussles with a bit stompy junk-bot piloted by a hooting and hollering swamp-raider. The mech appears to be a big dumb bullet sponge, but with a nice range of attacks and locational damage. Before the player unloads into its obvious glowing weak-point, they sever both of its weapon arms, and each vulnerable part of its body flashes with a red outline when damaged. It’s a nice way to show what parts you should be pummelling without it being visually overwhelming.
A good chunk of the middle of the video is dedicated to the player just taking a gentle ride on a seemingly unarmed hover-bike, dodging gunfire as they weave past enemy convoys. Birds-eye view aside, it reminds me a huge amount of Mad Max, which made tussling with multi-vehicle convoys a lot of fun. If they can repeat that trick while making moment-to-moment shooting consistently rewarding, I can see this one being a good time. My only worry is that (as with many open-world shooters) enemy encounters may fall into two main categories: Scripted and linear or wave survival.
Rage 2 launches on May 14th, and the digital version looks to be exclusive to Bethesda’s own store. The regular edition will cost £39.99/€59.99/$59.99, and the deluxe edition (including Doom’s BFG and an expansion later on) costs £59.99/€79.99/$79.99. Pre-ordering gets owners of either version one extra side-quest to shut down a mutant cult worshipping the player character from the first game., and claim their armour and pistol.