Rage Against The Game Designers

Bought Rage in the Steam sale, mostly because I wanted to take a look at the graphics and for $5 or so it was worth a go.

After ‘Press Enter’ to start, I was subjected to a long and boring unskippable video which is apparently supposed to explain why I’m where I am at the start of the game.

I don’t care.

Really, honestly, I don’t give a damn.

I certainly don’t want to have to sit there for two or three minutes just because you’re determined to make me watch this video that you spent billions of dollars on.

All I need to know is, where the bad guys are. Story? If I wanted story, I’d read a book.

My first thought on entering the game was ‘hey, this is Borderlands, isn’t it?’ My second thought was ‘what the hell is this gibberish on the screen all the time? Press A to Accept? I pressed A, it does nothing?’

Ah, OK, when it says to press A, it means A on the gamepad if you were playing on a console. But, being a PC game and all, you’d almost think they’d know I’m going to be using a keyboard and mouse. I finally figure out that I can click on the things with the mouse and now I can get on with the actual game.

Or not. There’s a door, and I can’t open it until I wait for the computer to say stuff that doesn’t matter to me at all.

I started this game to play a game, not to be stuck in a room so you can force me to listen to pointless audio. Just tell me where the bad guys are so I know who to shoot, OK?

So finally the game lets me out the door. My first thought outside is ‘wow, look at those textures flickering as the game loads them in!’ I’d configured it with a large texture cache, I’m running the 64-bit version on a machine with 32GB of RAM and 2GB of VRAM, and it can’t even hold all the textures for a tiny little view of a small chunk of ground. I turn left, the textures on the left of the screen flicker in. I turn right, the textures I was just looking at on the right of the screen flicker in.

Damn, that’s ugly.

But still, if I keep looking in one direction it seems OK. So I walk down and, lo, I’m knocked down by a scripted cut-scene with no chance to avoid it. Now, I’m lying on the ground unable to do anything when all I want to do is shoot some bad guys.

Tedium continues as some NPC turns up and shoots them and tells me to get in his car.

I don’t want to get in his car.

I don’t care about the NPC, I don’t want to be carried around the game as a spectator.

I want to play it.

But, there’s no choice other than to get in the car. I wait as he drives around the scenery and eventually parks in a garage.

Can I walk out and find stuff to do?

Of course not. The garage door is closed and I have to follow him in. There’s a door out, but I’m magically unable to use it until I stand there and listen to him explain why I have to help the Happy Fluffy Bunny People collect rat tails for the Weasel Horde.

Or something. I really don’t care.

I wander off and see if there’s anything else in the building while he yatters on. I come back, expecting him to have finished so I can get on and maybe do something interesting.


While I was away, he stopped talking. I literally have to stand there and listen to this claptrap, when, after a minute or two of rambling monologue, it all comes down to ‘Go here and kill bandits’.

Why is that so hard? Why can’t the game just say ‘Go here and kill bandits?’ Why is listening to a monologue instead? How is that supposed to be fun?

I won’t go on much longer. I’ll have to mention the incredibly annoying popups, which tell me useful things like ‘Press S to go backwards’, as though it’s not THE SAME AS ALMOST EVERY DAMN GAME I’VE PLAYED IN THE LAST DECADE. Do they think I’m a moron? Do they think I’ve forgotten?

Not only do these things pop up all over the place, but on occasions they actually stop the flow of the game, freezing it until I press a key to say ‘yes, I read that crap, but I really want to, you know, play a game, not be reading crap’. At times, they pop up half a dozen of them in a row, so when I just want to be shooting bad guys I’m having to repeatedly press keys to say ‘yeah, I did read that crap, but I couldn’t give a damn’.

Then there’s saving. One good thing is that the game does actually have a proper save system. You can actually save in most places, not have to wait for a retarded checkpoint. But it’s slower than Duke Nukem saving to a floppy disk. Most of the games I played in the 90s would save in a split second, now I have a computer that’s a hundred times faster and it takes more like five seconds to save.

Worse, get this: while saving it actually says ‘Please do not turn off your computer.’

Am I a retarded monkey? Am I going to press the power button and turn off my computer in the middle of playing a game? Is there anyone, anywhere on the planet who would ever actually do that and have to be warned not to?

id Software used to make good games. They used to understand that when I start up a game, I want to play it. Wolfenstein and Doom threw you straight into the action. Rage… does not.

Which is a shame, because the actual shooter parts aren’t bad, other than the AI continually shouting the same things and showing little intelligence other than running straight at you. If they’d dropped all the tedious story stuff and fixed the texture popping and horrible interface, it wouldn’t be bad. And, when the textures aren’t popping, it looks pretty good.

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