E3 Preview: RAGE (Multi)
While we have seen a lot of RAGE in screens and conceptual art sketches, we had yet to actually see the game running on a platform. Sure there have been some events for big press, but I have been curious about how well the game would run on console hardware, and if the rumors of the Xbox 360 being a technical issue for idTech 5 were true. Well, thanks to the good folks in Bethesda’s PR department, I was lucky enough to get in on the RAGE presentation and, well, what can I say. It was easily the best looking game at E3 and my pick for the game of the show. I mean, RAGE just looks amazing, and the demo we saw was running on Xbox 360 hardware. Want to read more? Hit the jump below to get the full preview.
Tom Willis was giving us our 15-20 minute demo for RAGE, and we started with a little back story on the RAGE universe. When it is discovered that an asteroid is going to hit Earth, people look to build giant Arks that will survive the devestation and allow society to rebuild itself from the ashes. However, things never go as planned when it comes to the post-apocalyptic future, and your ark has malfunctioned, leaving you as the only survivor. You enter into the world to find that things have not been rebuilt, as was imagined with the ark program. Instead, you find a world of mutants, gangs and the last remnants of a society, all cobbled together trying to forge an existance.
Our demo of RAGE started a few hours after this intro. We started in a canyon, and the first thing you could see was just how amazing the new idTech 5 engine looks. The demo was running on the Xbox 360, and there was absolultely no slowdown, no frame stutter, just a smooth 60 fps. As a matter of fact, the game is currently running at 60 fps on all three platforms. We are also introduced into the other technology that id Software has been working on – Megatextures. Megatextures allow the graphic artists at id Software to paint each pixel individually, allowing for for every environment to be uniquely detailed. No longer will we see the same texture palettes used over and over again.
After taking a look around the environment, we notice a little shack, which we decided to investigate. An old man comes out, and explains to us that we have to watch out for the mutants that roam the land. The mutants are what appeared to be humans that were turned into abominations due to being exposed to the destruction from the asteroid. They are smart, and highly dangerous, causing a lot of damage to people if left unchecked. Of course, we have some guns at our disposal, which makes quick work of the mutants. It should be noted that all the characters and enemies we have run into look absolutely fantastic. Again, all of this combat and what not was running at a full 60 fps.
At this point, we got into our vehicle, which is the first time that we are getting to see the vehicle combat. The car seems to use standard customer controls, and the shooting is pretty fluid. Just aim your car at what you want to shoot and push the button. We killed a few mutants and then killed a few gang cars on the way to the closest town, which was Wellspring.
Towns in RAGE seem to work similarly to the way they work in other Bethesda titles. You can go and have conversations with NPCs, walk into buildings, buy items, find quests and so much more. And Wellspring will be kind of our hub town for RAGE, as it is a popular settlement. It appears that there is a functioning well in Wellspring that pumps out fresh, uncontaminated water, which is very popular in this desolate wasteland. You can find other neat touches, like mini-games, people going from place to place, and of course, a huge inflatable gorilla marking the Wellspring racetrack.
Our trip to Wellspring is not uneventful. We are asked by a water maintenance person to go to the bottom of the water pump to stop the Ghost clan from poisoning the well. The Ghost clan are interesting, as they can travel around using any surface. Be it walls, ceiling or even standard floors, they will come at you from all directions. As we start to encounter the Ghost clan, it should be noted that they do use some coordinated attacks, flanking and feigning to hopefully get you in the open. Adding to the small details, RAGE also uses a new dynamic animation system for locational damage. What this means is that when you shoot someone in the leg, they stumble a bit as they try to recover from the wound. We get to the end of the level where we encounter a ceremonial room, where the Ghost clan keep mementos of their prior victories. This is a very sacred place for the Ghost clan and when we attack it, we have to be ready for a large force.
Before we see the end of the level, we are transitioned to another clan battle, this time with the Wasted clan. Tim tells us that the Wasted clan is probably the funniest clan of the enemies that we will encounter. They have a lot of discussions that are very humorous while patroling their hideout. The Wasted clan are full of car crazy members and because of it, all of their battles feature items dealing wtih cars. We also get a sense of how environmental weapons will work, as we shot a propane tank to continue through a passage that was blocked. It opened the obstructed door, and lit up a few Wasted clan members along the way.
Finally, we have another transition, this time to a husk of a former downtown metropolis. This place is called the Dead City. It is a place that has been overrun by mutants. We have been sent here to find some documents that discuss the plans of The Authority. The Authority have become the de facto law enforcement in the post asteroid wasteland, and they have done a good job of keeping things in check, but there is something that seems a little fishy about how they came into power. As we fight through several waves of mutants, a new foe busts out of an office building. He is a little bigger than the foes we have encountered up to this point, and he packs a mean rocket launcher. However, we are pretty skilled and we do manage to take down the foe.
At this point, we start to see our entire landscape slowly shake. There are spaces and gaps in the shaking, as if someone is approaching. But what could make an entire city area shake so violently with each step? We would briefly get the answer to that question, as a huge mutant, that had to be at least 20 stories tall, came into view. The mutant screamed at me, ready to do battle, when the screen faded to white and we saw the RAGE title and logo on the screen.
With the presentation concluded, I sat back and took stock of what I had watched over the 20 or so minutes. It was as if the best parts of the id Software and Bethesda Softworks departments mind-melded into one cohesive unit to create a great game. It was like the best parts of Fallout 3 came together to mix with the best parts of Quake and Doom, while sprinkling in some great Burnout with guns car sections. It looked fantastic, sounded fantastic, and looks like it could be the breakout hit for 2011 at this point.Tags: auto parts, bethesda, cars, dead city, e3 2010, fps, ghost clan, id software, inventory system, mini games, mutants, npc, quests, racing, rage, seemless transition, shooter, vehicle combat, wasted clan, wellspring