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Rage 2 Preview: Unexpected, but welcome

It’s probably a game that not a lot of people ever expected would get a sequel. But here we are with Rage 2. While the original game was id Software’s first new IP in a long time, it released back in 2011 and didn’t have a big impact like their other historic franchises such as Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein.

That hasn’t stopped id Software’s Studio Director Tim Willits’ vision of wanting to continue to explore the world of Rage, so the developer is doing just that, teaming up with Avalanche Studios, the creators of Just Cause, theHunter and Mad Max. Rage 2 is taking id Software’s iconic first person shooter gameplay and pairing it with Avalanche Studios’ ability to create emergent open worlds – a marriage between two studios which is promising to be a lot of fun. Stevivor had the chance to check out Rage 2 and get some hands on time with the game, and so far it’s looking like this collaboration between id Sofware and Avalanche Studios is a step in the right direction.

Rage 2 will take place 30 years after the original game, and while that game did end on a bit of a cliffhanger, we were assured that the questions left lingering will be answered. In this post-post apocalyptic world you play a character named Walker, a Ranger who is trying to find out who is responsible for destroying the settlement they live in. It turns out that The Authority — the main antagonists from the original Rage who were thought to have been destroyed in the end conflict — have in-fact returned.

As you’re out exploring in this world you’ll come across missions that will drive the story. The unique factor about this though is that Rage 2 is a non-linear story. The missions and places that you go to can be done in any order. This is being driven by having the game guide you to specific characters in the world and provide you with tasks to complete. These characters will be the pillars of the story Avalanche Studios and id Software are trying to tell.

The mission we played introduced us to Dr Kvasir, a returning character who was instrumental in helping The Authority with mutant experiments, until he left to fight against them with the resistance. After a conversation with Dr Kvasir; the main character now talks – you set off to locate the Eden Space Center. Because this is an open world you’ll find vehicles that will allow you to get around a bit quicker, but with that comes The Authority trying to stop you from having your fun. Vehicle combat will be an important aspect of Rage 2 and Avalanche Studios is taking the lessons learned from the car combat that they developed in Mad Max. Along the way one thing that stood out was that the world of Rage is no longer just shades of brown – there’s now colour pallet to brighten things up.

When you arrive at the Eden Space Center it has been taken over by one of the many factions in the game, this one in particular is known as the Goon Squad. Rage 2 is trying to use Doom’s push forward combat but put it’s own spin on it. When you engage enemies you’ll collect feltrite energy based off of a kill streak system when they are downed – this is used to power your weapons and activate the overdrive ability. Once in overdrive your weapons deal more damage, your movement speed increases and you’ll heal quicker from attacks. It’s a smart system that encourages fast paced combat and attempts to get you to engage more often. The combat also feels really solid and fun to play which is great considering it’s Avalanche Studios’ first real action shooter.

After making your way through the Eden Space Center Walker calls down an ark from outer space using one of the consoles. These arks contain new life which are used to create lush and diverse biomes around the world. But they also hold nanotrites that can be infused with the player to give them unique abilities. Some of the abilities we saw were Shatter; a heavy dealing melee attack – and also Slam; a jump and ground pound ability that launches enemies into the air.

The demo ended with a boss battle against a giant mutant called Digg the Masher, by trying to defeat him by using all of the new abilities that you’ve learned. There’s a lot to like in Avalanche Studio’s and id Software’s take on this sequel to Rage. They’re bringing fun and interesting mechanics from their previous games and attempting to give the world of Rage another chance. Rage 2 might not have been a sequel many people expected, but after everything we’ve seen so far it’s it’s definitely a game a lot of people are going to be excited to play.

Rage 2 heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 in 2019. Read all we know about the game here.

Luke Lawrie traveled to Stockholm, Sweden as a guest of Bethesda.

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About the author

Luke Lawrie

Writing and producing content about video games for over a decade. Host of Australia's longest running video game podcast The GAP found at TheGAPodcast.com. Find me on Twitter at @lukelawrie