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E3 2010: Rage Hands-On Impressions

It is really a shame that we couldn’t take any pictures or video of the game Rage. But then maybe that is understandable, since it would be hard to convey how impressive the game looks.

At E3 today, in a closed room in Bethesda Studio’s booth, we were treated to 30-minutes of id Software’s Rage gameplay. Unfortunately we were not allowed to film or take pics, but we were allowed to report everything we saw. And I am happy to report that it looks awesome.

The story is somewhat similar to the Fallout series. A catastrophe strikes Earth, but in this case it is an asteroid rather than a nuclear war, and it has forced humans to go underground to survive. You are the only remaining person of your “Ark” to survive a cryogenically induced sleep, and you awake to find that others have survived, and those that were left on the surface mutated into vicious creatures. The similarities to Fallout end there, though.

The demo we watched displayed the new mechanics of the game that uses the new id Tech 5 engine. Id, the originators of the first-person shooter in Wolfenstein all those years ago, have always been pioneers of the engines behind that genre of games. The Quake engine that id developed has become synonymous with solid first-person shooter mechanics, so the news that Rage is using a brand new id engine, should be enough to have fans of the genre drooling.

The game also looks amazing.  Graphically it borders on phenomenal.  So much so that we will have to see how the finished project looks on standard consoles and an average computer.  Think Crysis, and its amazing graphics that only a handful of computers int eh world could actually play.  But hopefully the results will manage to carry over the impressive glean of the world of Rage.

The settings we saw were based on a western theme, but the reps from id confirmed that there was another city in the game that was in a subway setting, and looked more like a cross between New York and Tokyo rather than the Old West. Regardless of the location, the detail was amazing. From the rust covered walls, to the water that leaked from pipes, it is obvious that a staggering level of detail went into the game. That concept is reinforced by the gameplay.

In the areas we saw, id showed off a variety of weapons, including a standard machine gun, shotgun, pistol with a scope, and a crossbow with changeable arrow types that included electric bolts capable of killing multiple enemies when they are standing in the water, similar to Bioshock’s electric plasmid attack. But they also showed off a placeable turret, a robotic spider-like sentinel, and id promised many, many more.

The levels displayed included a look at the Western set wasteland that led into town of Wellspring – an outpost city that survives through an underwater well. The second location was a gang’s hideout, but the real surprise came at the end when id showed us a location they called a dead city. The mutants ran rampant, and after a fierce firefight, a giant mutant with a grenade launcher appeared. A few shots from a rocket launcher and the mutant was toast. Then things got weird. The buildings began to shake as something big was coming. Something very big. The game did a great job of portraying the sense of anxiety, as suddenly a mutant several stories tall ripped through the debris and screamed…

To find out what happens next, we will have to wait until 2011, but id’s Rage is already on our list of most anticipated titles of 2011, and was one of the best looking games so far at E3.

Warning: This trailer may not be suitable for all ages.

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