Never heard of Rage? Want to know what's going on with its sequel? Here's everything you need to know about Rage 2
No one expected a sequel to id Software's Rage, but publisher Bethesda had a few surprises up its sleeve this year. That is until Walmart Canada unintentionally decided to thwart it. Hey, at least marketing took it in stride. The Mad Max meets Fallout post-apocalyptic shooter originally released all the way back in 2011, and a continuation looked unlikely. Bethesda and id Software sure don't like to let an IP go to waste, though.
What is Rage 2?
Rage 2 is an open-world first-person shooter that takes that classic gritty post-apocalyptic atmosphere and throws in some dashes of Borderlands. If you're not familiar with Borderlands, it's a series from Gearbox Software that's known for its particular brand of dark and crude humor, self-referential jokes, and pop culture references along with a mix of memes. Rage 2 doesn't appear to be taking it quite that far, but rest assured the shooter aims to have an absurd personality of its own.
The story so far
A lot of post-apocalyptic media tends to rely on either nuclear war or a viral outbreak to create their settings, but Rage did things a little differently. In the year 2029, the asteroid 99942 Apophis strikes Earth, decimating the population and life as we know it. The remaining survivors that inhabited the wasteland banded together to protect themselves from the threat of bandits and mutants.
The first Rage picks up in the year 2135, when former U.S. Marine Lieutenant Nicholas Raine awakens from cryogenic stasis in an underground shelter called the Ark. Because Raine was part of a secret plan known as the Eden Project—a plan to preserve and rebuild humanity—he quickly finds himself hunted by the Authority, a group with advanced technological power and the desire to wield it with an iron first. Raine comes to find out that the reason the Authority is after him is due to the Nanotrites injected into his blood before going into stasis, which have granted him superhuman abilities.
Eventually, he joins forces with the Resistance, a group fighting against the Authority, and learns that the man in charge of the Eden Project actually sabotaged it before the asteroid struck, ensuring that only those loyal to him were awakened on-schedule. This group of loyal subjects is what would become the Authority.
The Resistance hopes to form an army to defeat the Authority by discovering the location of the rest of the Arks and activating them. The game ends with transmissions being sent out that activate the remaining Arks.
When Rage 2 picks up
Rage wasn't exactly praised for its story when it released, so id is looking to rectify that with its sequel. Rage 2, from what we know, takes place three decades after the original and follows Walker, the wasteland's last ranger and former member of a secluded enclave. Like Raine, Walker is on a mission to take down the Authority. At one point, Walker will be looking for a rare artifact to help him do so, but we do not know how large of a role this artifact will play. It was revealed that both new and existing characters would make appearances, however it's unclear at this time how closely the plot ties in with the first game. Id Software Studio Director Tim Willits has stated that you will not need to play the first Rage in order to jump into the second. All important and relevant information regarding Rage's events will be provided to you throughout Rage 2.
Like most open world games strive to do, the main questline will not be linear. Once you're let loose into the world, you can choose to follow several narrative threads that tie into the main story. Activities and other self-contained missions can be completed at your leisure.
Get ready to die: Gameplay
According to Avalanche Studios' Magnus Nedfors, Game Director on Rage 2, it will be "the most insane open world shooter you have ever played."
Players can utilize a trove of weapons straight out of their favorite sci-fi media. Id specializes in large, over-the-top weapons, giving players the sense of invincibility as they wield these deadly firearms. You get a taste of this in id's iconic DOOM series, and the studio appears to be doubling down on what it does best.
The action and gunplay is fast-paced, foregoing a quieter approach of strategically hiding behind cover and instead aiming for all-around mayhem, completely immersing you in its brutal fights. Movement is key for an id Software game, so you should never find yourself in a stationary position.
And in addition to your Nanotrite powers, Rage 2 will feature a new ability called Overdrive, meant to "push your guns beyond their mechanical limits." By maintaining a high kill streak, you'll gain more Overdrive points that fill up a meter. Once the meter is full, you can unleash your weapons' true potential while simultaneously regenerating all of your health.
The world as we know it may have ended, but that doesn't mean it's a completely desolate desert. There are certainly vast arid deserts you can explore, but Rage 2 offers a wide variety of biomes for you to visit, ranging from dense jungles and forests to wetlands and dank swamps. Friendly settlements, bandit camps, and abandoned facilities all litter the wasteland waiting for you to come across them.
The best part is that you can seamlessly travel to any of these areas, no loading screens required. Rage 2 is boasting that "if you see it, you can drive it," so any vehicle you come across can be controlled for your enjoyment. Get behind the wheel of a jerry-rigged buggy à la Mad Max or drive some more futuristic-looking tanks with heavy artillery. At one point in Rage 2's E3 demo, you can even see the player controlling a hovercraft of some sort. Just be careful when you run into roaming convoys, because you'll need to use every weapon at your disposal to take out their leaders.
You'll hear a lot about bandits called the Goon Squad, but Rage 2 contains various factions, each with their own unique combat style. On top of that, bandits won't be the only enemies you'll need to keep an eye out for. The world is full of mutants and monstrous creatures eager to make you their next meal.
A tag team like no other
Blending chaotic vehicular slaughter, a true open world that encourages interaction, and dynamic and emergent gameplay mechanics isn't as easy as it might seem, so id Software enlisted the help of developer Avalanche Studios, makers of Just Cause and, appropriately enough, the Mad Max video game from 2015. With id Software's combat experience and Avalanche's open world expertise, this tag team looks to be making something special.
The all-important question: Will it have loot boxes?
Simply put: No. Rage 2 will have live service elements so people will continue to play it longer, but it will not contain loot boxes of any kind.
When can you play it?
Bethesda has not yet revealed a firm release date for Rage 2, though we do know that it is expected to launch sometime in the window of Spring 2019. It is being developed for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
You can pre-order the Standard Edition for $59.99, which includes the base game and a few pre-order bonuses like an exclusive mission titled Cult of the Death God, Settlers Pistol, Nicholas Raine Armor, and an in-game Monster Truck.
You can pre-order the Deluxe Edition of Rage 2 for $79.99, which includes a host of content such as the Rise of the Ghosts Expansion, Doom BFG, Mutant Monster Truck Skin, Nicholas Raine Armor, Settler Pistol, Cult of the Death God Mission, Wasteland Wizard Cheat Codes, Progress Booster, and Battle Standard.
If neither of those are enough for you, go big and pre-order the Collector's Edition for $119.99. This contains all of the digital goodies and bonuses found in the Deluxe Edition plus a collector's poster, Steelbook, and Ruckus the Crusher Talking Head, a wall mount of a mutant in the game.