Nothing short of breathtaking

Wolfenstein, Shmolfenstein

Rage, id Software's new flagship title, is the first new intellectual property from the company in ten years. Given that this is the same developer that ignited my passion for gaming as a child with the Nazi stomping wonder that was Wolfenstein 3D, it is needless to say that I do hold some bias toward the Dallas developer. However, I managed to keep my emotions in check when Bethesda and ZeniMax were kind enough to allow me to come by Tuesday afternoon of E3 2010 and view the game. Well, most of my emotions. After witnessing the gameplay first hand, it was hard not to feel overwhelming excitement for a new IP that could put id Software back on the map as the king of first person shooters.

A New Wasteland

Set in the not too distant future, Rage begins with Apophis, a real life asteroid, bearing down towards Earth with no hope of escape for the citizens of the planet. With all other plans failing, the governments of the planet unite in a last ditch effort to ensure the survival of the human race. They creating the Ark series, networks of automated subterranean vaults, and place the best candidates from every corner of the globe in them in a state of suspended animation. Once the smoke has cleared and life is capable of continuing on, these lucky souls should be able to reestablish civilization. That’s the idea, anyway - like any governmental plan, it doesn’t quite work as planned.

You awaken years after Apophis has taken its toll on the planet and long after humanity has begun to rebuild. Stumbling out of the malfunctioning Ark, you find all of your roommates dead, never having even seen the light of day. Leaving the Ark, you enter a vast wasteland that nature is still trying to fix. While the overall goal of Rage's story has yet to be revealed, your will determine the fate of those who live in the wasteland.

The Remains

Rage's demo lasted thirty minutes and consisted of four different sections of gameplay and environments to explore, a selection that we were told shows a balanced taste of the Rage experience. The first area shown was the wasteland proper and the home of Crazy Joe, a drifter whose intelligence (and sanity) was questionable. Still, Joe was hardly a threat when compared to the mutants that attacked the demonstrator after he left Joe’s hut.

One of several factions present in the world of Rage, the mutants are not of the friendly X-men variety. These unfortunate souls are the remnants of those who survived the fall of Apophis but succumbed to the strong radiation that engulfed the world afterwards. The mutants are nothing more than dangerous animals now, their humanity long gone, and they now serve as one of the primary threats to the remaining survivors that litter the wasteland. While the demonstrator was able to dispatch them with a pistol and assault rifle, he took his time to demonstrate the power of a thrown weapon known as the wingstick, a bladed version of your typical boomerang. One thing was made clear in this quick combat demonstration: the threat of mutants hunting in packs establishes them as a force you don't want to go against without plenty of ammo.