A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Rage is a first person shooter and violent action game with a lot of blood and gore. Using a wide variety of upgradeable weapons players can shoot enemies in the head, blow them up, drive over them, and hit them with their avatar's fists. Grenades and bombs cause enemies to explode in chunky red bits. Players can also touch dead enemies to search for money and other items. The game has strong profanity and the unrated online multiplayer modes include support for open voice chat, which means gamers can interact with strangers and hear profanity and other potentially inappropriate comments from others. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for pre-teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Legendary game development studio id Software, the company responsible for Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, is back with its most ambitious offering to date: RAGE. A cinematic opening sequence introduces the premise: In the near future, an asteroid pummels the planet and forces humankind to start all over again. In a desperate attempt to preserve the human race, you are one of a few important people cryogenically frozen to help rebuild earth after the fallout. Problem is, the "Ark" facility malfunctioned and you're the only survivor. You must band together with survivors of the impact in this post-apocalyptic world and become a key player in keeping the bandits and mutants at bay.
Unlike id Software's past games -- straightforward first-person shooters -- RAGE folds many other genres into the mix, such as racing (you'll acquire and upgrade dune buggies to navigate the desert Wasteland) and role-playing elements, which include an inventory system, weapon upgrades, stores where you can buy and sell items, and plenty of side jobs. Exploration is also encouraged, with many collectibles to find. Combat plays the most significant role, however. Players will wield many powerful weapons, ranging from guns, grenades, and crossbows to boomerang-like "wingsticks" and RC bomb cars that can detonate nearby enemies. You can also use stationary sentry turrets and crawling sentry bots that automatically fire at nearby baddies.
Is it any good?
Id's latest game fares very well, delivering a huge, exhilarating and gratifying adventure. That said, a few technical glitches and missing multiplayer modes prevent it from being a perfect pick. Along with the engaging, sometimes addictive solo campaign, Rage also houses many multiplayer options, including cooperative (co-op) and competitive game modes. This includes many vehicle-based games to play with friends online, such as the capture-the-flag-like "Meteor Rally," where you'll collect fallen meteors and drive them to capture zones to score. But many shooter fans may be disappointed to learn there's no deathmatch or team deathmatch options for traditional kill-or-be-killed, on-foot action.
Visually, the game looks phenomenal, with high-definition characters and expansive towns and desert patches; but this huge and near photorealistic world comes at a price: frequent and long load times. There are random graphical oddities, too. We saw a helmet that appeared to be floating off the ground after it was shot off an enemy's head. And why do fallen weapons disappear after two seconds when enemies stay on the ground? It doesn't make sense to spend so much effort to create a realistic world with incredible graphics when these little things break the immersion. Overall, however, Rage is an extraordinary adventure that surely won't disappoint demanding gamers. Given id Software's reputation and how long it took to release, there's a lot riding on this game. However, the developers have managed to pull it off with style, speed, and intensity.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lack of decisions and consequences in this game. Should the player have a choice regarding whether or not to kill a group of bandits or mutants they've never met? How does your avatar know the survivors who helped him out of the Ark are the "good guys" and not the others?
Families can also discuss the impact of violence when playing video games.