Arts

Games: Rage 2's day-glo anarchy packed with pillar-to-post explosions

Rage 2 doles out upgrades and superpowers like bloodstained confetti
Neil McGreevy

Rage 2 (Multi)
By: Bethesda

RELEASED back in 2011, Rage brought some day-glo anarchy to a military brown genre as the creators of Doom planted players on a post-apocalyptic wasteland awash with mutant foul-mouths ripe for the slaughter.

A campier affair than the developers' own Doom and Quake, Rage's gossamer-thin narrative and empty world couldn't detract from its tight firefights and a bodycount that made rivals look like Bambi. Even still, fans were surprised that it shifted enough discs to warrant a sequel.

Picking up 30 years later, generic grunt Nicholas Raine emerges from cryo sleep to set an asteroid-ravaged world to rights, meting out justice with id's patented polish. Keeping the narrative and stat-juggling to a minimum, Rage 2 just wants to party. No portentous blethering here – simply PTSD-inducing fireworks and a bodycount in the thousands, with gloriously nippy combat that'll induce heavy Doom flashbacks.

Rage 2 doles out upgrades and superpowers like bloodstained confetti – practically everything you do is another rung on the ladder of awesome until you're an ability-jacked harbinger of doom, taking out cockney, neon-haired punks with Rambo-grade hardware.

One cheat code even unlocks the King of The Cockneys, Danny Dyer, to lend a running commentary. Giving a big, bloody middle finger to its more chin-stroking, plot-heavy bedfellows, there's something oddly comforting about Rage 2's frill-free fundamentals.

A genre that revels in fat to chew on has been stripped to the bone in service of where id are most comfortable – lining up horrors in your crosshairs and yanking the trigger.

Vehicle combat returns, with a range of buggies, monster trucks and even gyrocopters to carouse its lands in, though the handling is still ramshackle. And while its gunplay is unrivalled, Rage 2 still doesn't quite know what to do with all the acreage afforded it.

Rather than elegantly weaving its optional quests into the narrative as with Fallout, Bioshock or even Sony's recent Days Gone, there's little reason to go off-piste here. Worse still, some of those virgin lands are locked beyond a DLC chastity belt.

New vehicles, skins and enemies are being loaded into the digital pipe as we speak, though we'll have to wait until August to see how much greener the grass is over there, when some meaty story content lands.

Even if anarchic Mad Max-style shooting and driving has been done before in games like, well, Mad Max, every second of Rage 2's 12 hour campaign is, to misquote Point Break, young, dumb and full of guns.

A valentine to violence with pillar-to-post explosions, Rage 2 is an open world landscape at its most ludicrous.

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