"RAGE 2" and the Necessity of Linearity

Updated on April 2, 2020
John A Roberts profile image

Roberts has been a games enthusiast since 1997, a reviewer since 2009 and a cynic since 2014. He's still raging to this day.


Against the Machine

I had to stop playing RAGE 2 before I'd really done much of anything, so irritating was it that I was forgetting that games are meant to be fun. RAGE 2 tries to insist it is fun with its art style, music and mechanics, but the volume and proximity to your eyes and ears is so painfully loud and close it's hard to tell. Its attempts at being wacky are an assault on the senses, so the best thing to do is play the game like any of developer id's other shooters (I say other; id worked in collaboration with Avalanche on this, as they'd made the first RAGE). But then staying back and sniping at foes from a distance isn't fun for a number of reasons, mostly because you're fully aware you're not playing how the game wants you to. It wants you to get up close and personal, but I refuse when it just wants to throw colourful static at me upon approach.

I suppose the game has to do this when it doesn't have the hallmarks of a good open world, which Avalanche Studios have very rarely done well to say it's their supposed forte. Where Just Cause (2006) was a harbinger of things yet to come for gaming as a whole, the Swedish development house's quality has been up and down since. Their best title that I can think of, barring the first JC, was Mad Max (2015), which borrowed heavily from the then tired "Batman Arkham" combat. Even though Avalanche have a history of tight character and vehicle controls RAGE 2 lacks even this as racing is a large - and once favourable - part of the intellectual property.


Although the first game in this series was open world, there was very little to do in it. Most of the gameplay took place in pockets of civilisation or dungeon-like instances where linearity and corridor shooting would take place. The open world didn't do much for the original RAGE, and lessons have not been learnt here besides "adding more stuff", which begs the question - why? RAGE 2's world is larger and more densely packed, but suffers the same problems: when the shooting stops the fun stops, and you're doing what you can do in any other Avalanche or Ubisoft or Bethesda Game Studios title. And yet they mostly offer meaty combat, if trading the gristle of RAGE 2 for soft fat.

If the open world is to remain a part of RAGE 2 it must have better environmental hazards than falls (and the game is very liberal with fall damage and instant kills) and explosive barrels, because it depends entirely on the player and their arsenal to make things more interesting than skill and observation. The community's stories of badass kills are far and few between compared to something like People Can Fly (now Epic Games Studio)'s Bulletstorm because there's only so many ways you can make the game fun on your own.

Bulletstorm is absolutely the game to watch here for tight level design and enemy AI. The game encouraged killing lavishly rather than pragmatically, as lassoing and booting enemies into spiked walls among many other things was far more encouraged than popping heads from a distance, secure in the knowledge that the distance alone will keep you covered. If you didn't do this you didn't get paid, and not being paid meant you couldn't buy your upgrades to have even more fun. RAGE 2 on the other hand cares only about screaming at the top of its lungs about how great it is, too distracted by its own ego to notice that you've robbed its uninspired bandit camps and repetitive boss encounters of what little they're worth.


The reason Bulletstorm can achieve all of this with the same juvenile use of curse words and style is because of its linearity. Enemy placement and pathing, level design and mechanics can be more carefully crafted to guarantee certain ways of playing, and this goes for the first RAGE as well. A lot of the time you'll see people doing exactly the same thing at certain parts, the reason being linearity, something apparently unfashionable in Stockholm. Whereas in RAGE 2 and its ilk one has to hope those awesome - if encouraged (I can't say "scripted" as such) - moments occur because the zone has to be challenging from all angles. This was a major point with flight in MMOs, particularly World of Warcraft - where once you only saw the game from a certain point of view, extra work has to be made to ensure it looks good from wherever you are.

In a market so vastly saturated with open world shooters a bit of linearity would be welcome about now. Doom (2016) and Doom Eternal have seen overwhelmingly positive feedback, sandwiched between multiple modern Wolfenstein games, also mostly linear. Wolfenstein: Youngblood only goes to prove that sometimes a more open environment is less welcome, which changed combat and progression - as did RAGE 2 - to suit this style of play, rather than develop what the intellectual property did well and capitalise on that.

Not only is RAGE 2 exhausting, the game itself is exhausted. It takes deep breaths between its earsplitting tantrums and its fatigue shows, as you navigate featureless wastes in cars that don't feel good on roads littered with obstacles as if you're playing Spintires. In giving up on it, I've turned my attentions to another game that uses the engine and the open world better, and one by the same developer. theHunter: Call of the Wild is far more deserving of the code used to put it together, with its gorgeous art style, expansive landscapes where navigation is a reward unto itself, and features that same meaty gunplay that - hopefully - will bag you some meat for experience points and cash. Everything RAGE 2 does, Call of the Wild does better, with exceptions made to the neon and explosions.

It even has better camps and watchtowers. Why does RAGE 2 need to exist again, Avalanche?

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, levelskip.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)