- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2011

An exciting adventure bursts out of a three-disc set in Rage: Anarchy Edition (Bethesda Softworks and id Software, reviewed for Xbox 360, rated M for mature, $59.99).

Gamers in love with “The Road Warrior” mentality become part of a grungy, postapocalyptic world that mixes first-person shooting, driving, vehicular combat and role-play.

What’s the story: When an asteroid hits Earth in 2029, a small fraction of special humans and researchers survive in underground cryogenic arks, preserved so they can rebuild the planet. Those chosen (who happen to live) emerge years after the impact only to find a wasteland ruled by groups of crazed bandits, mutants and the mysterious Authority, a militarized group that is looking to capture Ark survivors.

Play the role: Built by the developers responsible for Quake and Doom, Rage’s action escalates quickly as a player assumes the role of a male member of the Ark initiative.

After a player emerges from his chamber in 2035, he immediately begins to help, as well as get help, from tribes of humans as he explores a nearly open-ended battleground. Our hero walks and drives around friendly and hostile settlements on missions and sub-missions, often fighting for his life.

Vehicle combat shines in the video game Rage: Anarchy Edition.
Vehicle combat shines in the video game Rage: Anarchy Edition. more >

Those missions might include delivering packages, visiting a scientist to examine a piece of rock, talking to a local about using a wingsticks (a slick boomerang weapon) or fighting off members of the Ghost Clan threatening a settlement.

While in the midst of the epic, I really appreciated the minor aspect role-playing had in the fun. Not having to spend an hour creating a character or engaging in long-winded, branching conversations, I simply could complete linear tasks, get some information out of a character and build up my arsenal for some juicy combat.

With an easy-to-use resource management system, I ransacked recently deceased enemies’ bodies and collected or stole stuff (ranging from a can of corn to a Vault Boy bobble head) to sell for cash or build extreme items. Better yet, the action even incorporates some grandiose minigames to help our hero pad his bankroll and progress in the story.

The challenges were so memorable that’s it’s worth mentioning a few favorites:

* Mutant Bash TV — It’s five levels of killing mutants in this reality television extravaganza run by the bloated, creepy J.K. Styles. The player works through arenas in a not-so-fun house to win cash and a certificate for a really nasty vehicle.

* Rage Frenzy — This collectible, turn-based card game gives players a reason to meticulously search for cards hidden throughout environments. The challenge requires buying and then building a deck to compete against a couple of slick sharks at either friendly settlement. It’s just like a micro version of Magic the Gathering.

* Mutant Dice (that’s what I’m calling it) — A really cool but simplistic holographic board game that requires placing a bet and rolling dice while four mutants move one space at a time at a pistol-wielding warrior. Roll more bull’s-eye icons (watch him kill a mutant) than skull icons (the mutants move closer) to win and collect the cash.

Get to the action: As far as first-person shooters go, Rage stands out — not for the creative bloodletting, but for the unrelenting selection of enemies, hard-core weaponry and intuitive menus used to swap items easily.

The player is rewarded for doing a good job with firepower such as a pistol, shotguns, rocket launcher, machine gun and sniper rifle that each have multiple munition types.

Story Continues →