Is anyone still playing Rage anymore? It's a fun game overall, albeit a short excursion into a bug-ridden landscape that desperately needs to be fleshed out. It's also been eclipsed by newer titles, like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Batman: Arkham City, and other recent titles. But hey, if you're still rocking Rage and own an AMD Radeon HD graphics card, there's a new preview driver available that's supposed to further smooth out game play.
I remember 1994 well. OJ Simpson debuted a new kind of TV show running 24/7 on every network. Ace of Base proved that Swedish musical artistry didn’t die with ABBA. And Id Software released its last game that didn’t disappoint me.
I’m not saying that Doom II was Id’s last game of any value, but that it was its last game that met expectations. Everything since then has marked Id's gradual slide into game design mediocrity—a slide that reaches its nadir with Rage.
AMD has released another performance driver (yes, again) for its Catalyst 11.11 package. And once again, improved performance in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim takes center stage. New in Catalyst 11.11c is better CrossFireX performance scaling for AMD Radeon HD 5000/6000 series cards in Skyrim, 2-7 percent better performance in single GPU configurations, and a resolved corruption issue when enabling MSAA on Radeon HD 6970 cards.
Before Rage was released there were a lot of unanswered questions floating around. Could Id make another genre-defining shooter? Would the six-plus years of development and the much-touted Id Tech 5 engine yield a sufficiently impressive result? While these are certainly appropriate questions for both reviewers and gamers to be curious about, we found ourselves haunted by another, seemingly trivial, question: What does the title Rage mean? Only after playing completely through could we truly understand.
Try chanting, "At least it's not Duke Nukem Forever" the next time you fire up Rage and notice any graphical glitches. Screen tearing, popping, texture corruption, and other ugly problems have plagued Rage's release on the PC, but hey, it's more fun to play than DNF, has prettier graphics, and you didn't sit around a decade-and-a-half waiting for it, so there all that going for it. There are also driver updates that are supposed to smooth things out, including AMD's new Catalyst 11.10 Version 3 Preview Driver.
With all the bugs and graphical glitches plaguing the release of Rage, it’s no surprise to hear that John Carmack’s getting frustrated. On the other hand, the console versions of the game don’t rely on updated Nvidia and AMD drivers and they’ve had a remarkably smooth ride. Maybe Carmack was thinking of that when he recently said that iD, the classic PC developers responsible for the paradigm-shifting Doom and Quake series, will be creating games with a console-first focus going into the future.
Rage: more than a game, it’s the emotion that many gamers felt when they got their hands on iD’s long-awaited shooter. There have been a bunch of complaints leveled at the game – some of which iD claims is the fault of graphics drivers – but one thing bugging early adopters is the lack of graphics configuration options. iD left them out because Rage is supposed to automatically adjust detail levels to create the perfect blend of gameplay and “Oooh, pretty.” Unfortunately, many gamers say that’s buggered too, but Nvidia has posted a workaround to unlock those awesome, high-res visuals – and it should work for Radeon rockers, too.
Over the course of millions of years of evolution, the human race has come quite a long way. We've created mountains of sophisticated literature, skyscraping architecture, and the collected works of King Crimson. Sometimes, though, we can't help but slip into Old Ways. Which is all to say, “Ooooo, pretty picture!” That's pretty much how we felt looking at screenshots of id Software's megatexture masterwork RAGE. Sadly, the game in motion tells an entirely different story – at least, on PC.
What happened to you, The Apocalypse? You used to be so fresh and fun. You'd tear everything I knew and loved to pieces and rearrange it into some hideous tapestry of my greatest fears, and I'd be like “Oh, you. You're such a prankster.” Or you'd spew zombies into all kinds of zany places (The mall! The circus! Outer space!), and I'd beat them to death while screaming and crying. We had such good times. Now, though, it's old hat. Your abandoned landscapes – once ripe with the pungent odor of adventure – have grown gray and same-y. I used to mow down your menagerie of mutants, robots, and zombies with all the glee of a Hollywood director at a Beloved (And Infinitely Ruinable) Childhood Memories convention, but now each one is just another bump in the road.
We've grown apart, is what I'm saying. But that doesn't mean we can't have a horrifying, dystopic future together. A couple recent games have given me hope that this whole “fiery end to all normal life” thing isn't just a passing fad.
It all started with a recent oft-repeated quote from id Software's Tim Willits. Addressing the issue of precisely why fans won't mind RAGE's vehicle-heavy shift away from id's typical fare, he said, "I think that they will find that it's a refreshing change from anything we've done in the past, and honestly I think that people have modern combat fatigue." Which is certainly a valid point, Pay attention to comment threads involving his game, though, and you'll unearth a second ticking time bomb nearly as large as the first.
Ask a PC gamer about Diablo III's recently announced “always connected” requirement, and they're liable to start hurling old CRT monitors at you and barking furiously. Yeah. To say that Blizzard's decision was an unpopular one is a bit of an understatement. So then, united we stand, divided we find creative new uses for our old monitors, right? Not entirely, it seems. RAGE creative director Tim Willits isn't just putting up with Diablo's potentially diabolical DRM; he's embracing it.