It’s been a few days since Rage was released and I am not anywhere near finished with it, so a review won’t be coming until next week in all probability. Even so, I wanted to get out some of the initial impressions I have had with the game, as well as alert readers to some of the significant problems present on the PC version of the game.
First and foremost, the game looks gorgeous. I am playing it on my Windows 7 (64 bit) PC, with a GTX 580, a Core i7 2600k cpu, and 16 gigs of RAM. Despite the lack of display options in game (seriously, you get to choose your resolution and that’s about it), this is easily the best looking game I have ever seen. Beauty, however, comes at a price.
First off, and most alarmingly, there are significant display problems on the PC with texture pop-up and screen tearing. It appears that the way id is rendering these sumptuous graphics is by loading them in based on what the player is looking at presently. This means that by turning away from a wall, for instance, that wall’s textures may go away. This becomes extremely evidence when you stand still and look around a room. Details will appear and disappear most disconcertingly. Also, the screen tearing is frankly awful. At times the top and the bottom of the screen just can’t seem to agree where they should be, so they will fight it out for 10-30 seconds leaving the game entirely unplayable during this process. In playing the game for about four hours, I encountered this bug about six times. The latest reports indicate that id is aware of the issue and is working with AMD and NVidia to fix the issue with driver updates, but this is an inauspicious beginning to id’s return to the PC gaming world.
Second, the world is very pretty, but it is almost entirely non-interactive. Whereas most modern PC shooters have moved in the direction of environmental destructibility, id’s latest creation is starkly sterile in its environments’ ability to withstand even the heaviest of firepower. Put another way, most of the stuff in the game doesn’t do anything if you shoot it. This feels remarkably old-fashioned and backwards looking considering how advanced the game is graphically.
Finally, the game is clearly not optimized for a mouse and keyboard. The way that items are used and vehicles are controlled make using a keyboard and mouse very uncomfortable and inconvenient. It’s pretty obvious that id would just rather you use a controller. This is kind of shocking, considering id’s legacy as king of the PC FPS, but I suppose the times they are a changing.
More information will be forthcoming in the review, but for now I will leave you with this: the game is very clearly an id FPS. The action is quick and brutal, and when the game works well, it works really well. Let’s hope they get some of these issues ironed out soon.