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RAGE's Lack Of Identity Generates Reviewer Negativity

id Software's new effort is averaging somewhere around a mid-8, based on average review scores at GameRankings and Metacritic. We scored it significantly higher.

And in searching all the reviews, you will find quite the discrepancy; a definite lack of parity. A 6.5 and a 7 there, a 9.5 and a 9.6 there. Usually, this doesn't happen. So what's causing this rift? Well, after reading a great many reviews, it has occurred to me that we're really not sure what RAGE is. FPS? Not quite. It has RPG elements but they're definitely RPG Lite. Then there's the driving and racing.

This lack of identity seems to be causing a problem. Some are docking the game for a lack of story focus, while others are saying the elements outside the shooting aspect don't stand up to scrutiny. Still others say the landscape outside the cities is too barren. So what are we really looking for? What if RAGE doesn't fit in any one given category? Why can't it adopt various traits of other genres and still be a fantastic game? It's as if critics are trying to jam it into a particular mold, and it just doesn't fit. We don't really have a mold for this game.

The strange part is that indeed, RAGE doesn't really do anything new. Perhaps some were expecting some sort of revolution, so they're disappointed. But at the same time, if you consider the entire scope of the experience, along with each individual element of the gameplay, it's difficult to find glaring flaws. It's because essentially, there aren't any. I think it all comes down to expectation and what you think RAGE should be. If you're seeing a few of those RPG elements and thinking it should've included more, you're trying to say it's an action/RPG.

If you say the driving elements shouldn't be there, you want a straight FPS. But if we simply let the game breathe; let it just embrace us with its great assembly of mechanics, we'll be happy. Above all else, there's one common trend in the negative reviews: they admit that not much is "wrong," per se, but that the game succeeds in other areas while floundering in others. ...that sounds contradictory to me, and it also proves that too many people are trying to categorize RAGE. Let's not do that, shall we?

Related Game(s): RAGE

Tags: rage, id software, rage reviews

10/4/2011 9:14:55 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

Underdog15
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 9:50:06 PM
Reply

Hmm, interesting points, Ben. I haven't played it yet, (will eventually) so I can't comment too much on various review's accuracy. But you do draw attention to a trend that is starting to affect a few games in the market that maybe aren't quite what the majority are looking for.

I'm ok with people fitting games into certain categories. I mean... what category did people put Heavy Rain into on average? Surly it can't be in EVERYONE's list as the ONLY interactive drama...

But you have a good point. If being unable to pick a genre to put a game into is what causes a game to be docked points... something is wrong.

There are some objective measurements that can be measured... such as graphics, sound quality and control. That's fine, and we need professionals to make objective observations on those elements.

But everything else is subjective. Beyond that, shouldn't a game be measured by what it is supposed to be? After that, it's up to the reviewer to know who to recommend it to.

And don't tell me only highly popular genres should be 9+. God of War and Gran Turismo 5 are both 9+ scoring games. But I have a distaste for GoW's setting, and racing games aren't my cup of tea. It doesn't matter how amazing a Gran Turismo is or how excellent it's score... I'm not going to invest much time into it. (For the record, I still say both games are incredible. I'm not foolish enough to say they aren't just because I don't like them. My loss, no?)

So, just as it's stupid to rank a game low just because it doesn't appeal to the core demographic, shouldn't it also be silly to rate a game low just because the individual features, like RPG stuff and racing, don't match up to full on RPG's and Racing games?

Beyond the technical and into the subjective realm, you just CAN'T demerit a game simply because of tastes. That mentality will only lead to a lack of diversity from developers... The last thing we need is more of the same.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/4/2011 9:50:55 PM

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Russell Burrows
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 9:51:22 PM
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The main problem is a lot of folks expected some ground breaking elements but instead what was produced was adequate but fails to stick out in any area??

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PasteNuggs
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 9:52:07 PM
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Well I say if the game infused all those elements well than it should score high.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 10:03:32 PM
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The gameplay for RAGE has been awesome and it's anything I want for an FPS, grapchis, smooth frame rate, variety of weapons and enemies, large open world etc.
And most importantly, the game looks FUN to me.
Though current financial problem is preventing me from buying any new games for the last 2 months and it's going to continue at least until the year is over.

And yet we see CoD getting averaging 9 every year for having little improvements.
If anything I'd say most gaming sites and critics are Activision's b****.

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ZettaiSeigi
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 10:35:36 PM
Reply

You just can't figure out "critics" nowadays. It's like they have a bone to pick with anything. If a game is playing too safe, they score it low for being so. But if one tries to try something else, they'd say it lacks identity. Seriously, what's with these people? Why can't they just review games for what they are?

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Jawknee
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 @ 11:31:28 PM
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I was looking for a game that is like Fallout and Boarderlands but top shelf quality stuff and this is it. It's certainly more diverse than Fallout and Boarderlands in my opinion and has way better graphics and performance. If it weren't for a few small draw backs like the texture loading and lack of a compelling story, this game would certainly get a 9.5 from me.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:57:34 AM

"more diverse than Fallout"? Really? In what way?

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:29:44 AM

more diverse than fallout 3? i don't know about that. especially if you compare it to fallout 3 goty edition that includes the dlc. rage does have vehicle sections so maybe that's what jawk is talking about. rage is nice but it feels a little empty to me when compared to fallout3. the story is definitely nowhere nearly as captivating in rage, the characters aren't as deep, and the side quests aren't nearly as deep or involved. it's definitely way lighter on rpg elements. for me fallout 3 is absolute magic and i have seen few games even come close to matching its personality and charm. that includes fallout new vegas.

i'd try to be careful with the fallout 3 comparisons, becuase that game was a super deep game you could easily spend a 100 hrs with and still not have done everything. i am not seeing the same depth here with rage. the fallout 3 comparisons bug me a little bit becuase i heard dead island compared to fallout 3 with terms like fallout 3 with zombies. then i played dead island and almost laughed. fallout 3 with zombies, huh? apparently a lot of people have not played fallout 3.

rage is great, but in different ways than fallout 3. if you go in expecting fallout 3 with better graphics you might walk away a little dissapointed.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:42:07 AM

"rage is nice but it feels a little empty to me when compared to fallout3. the story is definitely nowhere nearly as captivating in rage, the characters aren't as deep, and the side quests aren't nearly as deep or involved."

Okay, I can't yet draw comparisons as I've not yet played RAGE, but seriously... what?

Wait... what? Since when was the story of Fallout 3 "captivating". I played about half a dozen missions of it and promptly forgot about it to waltz about the countryside instead. Similarly, I remember all of three characters from what I played of the main campaign of FO3, Amata, The Overseer and Dad. And they certainly had little depth, let alone all of the ancillary characters. Maybe if you threw a whole bunch of characters together... The sidequests and whatnot were fun though.

Basically, what I take from your comment, Excelsior, is that RAGE is pretty bloody empty when it comes to anything even remotely resembling a narrative. That just... kills any desire I had to play this game. :(

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 5:41:06 AM

for some reason i really dug fallout 3's story. maybe it was becuase of the rich characters or the interesting places the story took me along the way. i really did not notice how much i liked fallout 3's story until i played fallout new vegas. much of fallout3's magic seems to have been lost in new vegas. a big part of that is becuase i just did not care for its story or characters as much.

on reflection describing the story as captivating is probably a reach. it's really the characters and the whole world of fallout 3 that make it a captivating experience. SPOILER ALERT!!! i was just thinking about the mission on point look out where that crazy old ghoul sends you to investigate the church. you end up at the great fruit tree and end up going on a lsd induced trip eventually waking up only to learn part of your brain has been removed. by the nice boat captian of all people. stuff like that was very memorable for me. a lot of the side quests were a blast like reilly's rangers. searching for the declaration of independence. encountering a clan of blood drinking freaky people. the pitt, and mothership zeta were fun. i could go on, but wow what a great game.

you are partly right in what you take away from my comments. i would not go as far to say it's bloody empty though. i like some of the characters, and the voice work is good. it's a very good game and i suggest you check it out. rage a very impressive game on its own merits. it's definitely an impressive technical production, the gameplay is tight and smooth, it's a very fun game as well.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 10/5/2011 6:10:56 AM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 9:39:57 AM

"rage does have vehicle sections so maybe that's what jawk is talking about."

This. I can agree Fallout more depth as it is more RPGish but the level of RPGiness I Rage is just fine with me. I don't really look for RPG elements in shooters. I just downloaded Chrono Trigger for that. :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 10:49:32 AM

Excelsior: You illustrated my point perfectly. Why are you even trying to jam RAGE into the RPG mold? It can't compare to Fallout 3 because it's not an RPG. Of course it won't have the same depth, but it's not a fair comparison.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 11:34:56 AM

oh i wasn't trying to jam it into an rpg mold. i just wanted to warn people that expecting fallout 3 with better graphics might leave you dissapointed. i keep hearing those comparisons to fallout3 on the net. jawk said the gameplay is more diverse than fallout3. people keep referencing fallout3 which is why i said those comparisons bugged me. hell, i'm even guilty of comparing them, but i was trying to highlight their differences. they share the same post-apocolyptic settings but are really different types of games/experiences. i do stand by my comment that this game is not as deep as fallout3 on any level. oops, i just compared them again.

i think you are onto something when you say the lack of identity is hurting it in reviews. i read one review where they stated the game was just "there" and had no real sense of purpose. that kind of supports what you are getting at.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 10/5/2011 11:46:57 AM

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Shiva369
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:43:21 AM
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I was initially attracted to Rage months ago because it looked like a cross between a more serious (and much more polished) Borderlands and and a not quite so involved, but still atmospheric Fallout. It looks like I've got just what I wanted! Preordered, can't wait to get in to it.

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AshT
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:00:43 AM
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what bothers me is the lack of story as even you mentioned Ben.

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___________
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:35:15 AM
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what are you talking about?
this ALWAYS happens!
almost every game released this year has had review scores ranging from 9.5s to 6s!

all the reviews ive read the only thing they have complained about is the characters, dialogue and story is not exactly compelling.
i always say story is THE MOST important thing in a game, but seriously name 1 shooter that has a fantastic story!
resistance probably has the best story in a shooter this gen, but its still pretty lacklustre in comparison to other stories from other genres.
dissing RAGE because it has a poor story, boring characters and boring dialogue is just stupid!
yea they should be allot better but RAGE is a shooter, shooters never have fantastic stories and compelling characters.
put it this way your not going to go to ubisoft looking for a over the top open world shooter now are you?
so why the ^%$# would you go to id looking for a complex interesting story and characters?


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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 3:40:35 AM
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Reviewers can be bloody irritating. I mean, so what if a game is a mish-mash, or does nothing new? If it's good, it's good and that's all that matters. People just don't seem to get this, and although I firmly believe that personal opinion should play a small role in the final score, that does not denote a sway from what should be a 8-9 game down to 5-6 because it isn't what the reviewer enjoys.

And words are always more important, so if it's explained, then fair enough. If not, then they can go away. And I am so tempted to go off-topic and rave about something that I've been noticing more as I look around different gaming sites... but this is not the time or the place.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:35:33 AM

oh come on lawless don't tease us like that. go ahead speak your mind. you are among friends here. what is it that you notice on the other gaming sites?

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 4:44:58 AM

Off topic, I'll toss up a rant in the forums in a few days if I can find the time to write it out. But basically, the readers and reader comments. They disgust and infuriate me. It will be done, but I have work to do first. Goodnight one and all!

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Underdog15
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 1:23:33 PM

I think I have an idea where Lawless is going to go....

*hides*

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 8:21:18 AM
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To me RAGE is just another Fallout 3, while it might even techincally be better, it just doesnt bring anything new that interests me. The whole wasteland theme has been far over used in the psat 5 years, its just become stale.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 9:42:36 AM

I'm glad I didn't fully play any of those wasteland games. If I did, I too would probably find Rage to be uninteresting. But for me, those other games were just so bad from a technical standpoint, I couldn't get into them. Rage is my wasteland game. :)

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 9:52:01 AM
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While I haven't played it, the apparent lack of depth is kill-switch for me.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas are two of my favorite games this generation due how deep the game is with your character alone.

When I read that there are minimal RPG style systems in place, I decided to pass. Money is also tight for me, so a 10 hour game is not worth it to me unless its Uncharted 3.

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Roach721
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 @ 2:32:59 PM
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Great article Ben,kudos to you !!

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riptide8
Monday, October 31, 2011 @ 10:51:24 PM
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This game is fantatsic because the AI is better than playing real people online and watch closely for the kill anamations.Play it on at least hard.I dont care for the online portion...yet.

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