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A battle-scarred wasteland, mutants, and an evil shadow government; cry as we might for originality in all forms of entertainment, postapocalyptic themes are more pervasive in nerd culture than black, plastic-frame glasses. Following in this great tradition comes id Software’s Rage (ported to Mac by Aspyr Media), a gorgeously rendered game that plucks liberally from the vine of similar titles--and goes nowhere with it.
Nearly everything about Rage inspires a connection to some other franchise. There are quest assignments in dusty, wasteland towns (Fallout 3), plus the vehicular combat between those towns (Borderlands). Yet, the game never manages to evolve those borrowed elements in any meaningful way. So, while Rage occasionally concocts some seemingly new idea--you’re playing as a survivor from a failed ark experiment--for 10 to 12 hours, the sense of shallow familiarity never wanes. Well, until the game ends in a heinously anticlimactic manner, that is.
Enemies attack with both melee and ranged weapons.
Thankfully, Rage’s combat is solid: a first-person shooter skillfully hitting its marks under the ultra-experienced hands of id Software. A decent variety of guns fills your inventory throughout the game, and moving from mission to mission usually unveils some new ordnance. While most of the weapons are standard fare--assault rifles, a rocket launcher, and grenades--unique armaments like a mind-controlling crossbow bolt are truly satisfying, especially when that possessed enemy ruptures into a mist of gore.
Beyond the multitude of guns, your wasteland survivor has the ability to engineer items and ammo from stuff looted out in the wastes. While it’s even possible to craft protective sentry ’bots and turrets, they rarely feel practical. In fact, just running and gunning with a shotgun works for the majority of the game, so utilizing fancy ammo and weaponry becomes an issue only during the rare occasion when you face off against some heavily armored baddie.
Rage’s characters look great, but you’ll barely remember them.
Unfortunately, the Mac version of Rage doesn’t offer multiplayer, but when you’re not gunning down mutants and bandits, Rage does include some noncampaign gameplay. There’s a racetrack in each of the game’s two biggest towns, where you earn tickets to exchange for better car equipment. The races are enjoyable enough, but outside of a few required face-offs to proceed with the story, there’s not much reason to return.
The bottom line. Rage won’t capture the hearts of gamers looking for an original, deep experience, but it’s still a decent first-person shooter.
Intel Processor (2.4GHz Dual-Core), Mac OS 10.7.2 or later, 4GB RAM, 256MB VRAM
Mac App Store age rating: 17+
Gorgeous visuals. Great core first-person shooter gunplay.
Serious lack of depth. Forgettable characters. Miserably anticlimactic story.