I need to pipe in as I felt the reviews from the gaming press have been a little unfair. As with most people, I was waiting patiently for the reviews to start pouring in before I made the ultimate choice to buy the game but I'm very happy I pulled the trigger and bought it, cause this game rocks. I was literally at Game Stop, Rage anarchy edition in one hand, Dark souls in the other, conflicted, because most of the reviews I read for RAGE pretty much were a rinse and repeat of "Amazing graphics, gameplay sucks and the story is fatally flawed"...however I went with my gut and happy I did, because these reviews were either too harsh or simply just not true.
Honestly, the only reason why I gave the game 4 stars instead of 5 is that the game does give a gratuitous amount of hints at a deeper story without ever actually realizing it, like they dangle the carrot right out in front of you, always just out of reach...it leaves you with the who/what/when/where/why never actually realizing its full potential. That IMO, is a legitimate grievance to ID, "Hey guys, if you're going to do something, do it." With Doom, the simple story arch merely served to set the tone, this they can get a way with since the game was ultimately about some fool opening up the gates of hell and you're there to stop it, return to castle wolfenstein played exactly the same way, which is fine. However, the world of RAGE is deeper and nuanced, with a lot more things going on...was it an EPIC fail, HELL NO! They have so much to work with on future iterations to make this another long standing gem of an IP hopefully. But, if they nail down that one gripe, this game can easily go from very good to excellent!!
If you can get past that one caveat, this game certainly has everything else, the graphics and game play are all top notch and this game sports some of the best character animations I have EVER seen...i thought uncharted 2 and red dead redemption had the best animations and they're still awesome, but RAGE took it a step further...you cant help to be amazed at what youre looking at, every NPC has their own personality and unique facial expressions and the frame rate is impeccable.
Also Ive seen a lot of comparisons to Borderlands and Fallout3, I love both of those games for very different reasons. If you look at RAGE from a birds eye view, its more like Borderlands in terms of story, in that, there is one, its there, albeit vague and never fully realized and really just ends up being second to the actual game play. But, did that totally detract from Borderlands being a great game? Its 2 years old and I'm still grinding away at it with my friends because it was just plain fun to play...RAGE is also just plain fun to play.
So, at the end of the day, its all about what you want to play right? Do you want something youre not going to put much thought into, but want all the FPS awesomeness and great graphics? If so, RAGE is for you and you will have fun!
The AI is challenging, there are shades of Aliens 2 (or just ALIENS lol) where you'll be scavenging around a derelict hospital or subway station, you'll see mutants scurrying around, you know youre not alone and then mutants will start appearing out of nowhere, climbing on ledges, swing off rafters, busting down through drop ceilings, they'll be running around, jumping off pillars, dodging your bullets...theyre hard to target, the gun play is frantic and its difficult to predict where theyre going to come from next. It does get creepy at times, and like Doom, you can be confident in the fact you're going to get ambushed...often. It should also be noted that the human AI is considerably easier to predict since theyre more likely to duck and cover though they have more tactical advantages, they'll talk to each other and if your not careful, they will try to surround and flank you. Of course, a well placed turret will help you in these types of situations :)
But on the flip side, if story is your thing over game play and you want something thats going to have a deep intriguing experience like Fallout, this game isnt for you, because youre probably going to get annoyed at the gaps the game leaves in the story.
**I also want to note I did give this game a 5 star FUN rating, because with the exception of the deeper story, ID's bread and butter is and always has been FPS plain and simple, and the game plays out exactly what I've come to expect from ID over the years. The story is no after thought and its obvious ID is trying to do something new and branch out and start developing games with deeper more satisfying story archs. i really hope they nail that one down eventually, but they've never let me down in the fun department. From Doom 1 to Doom with the Simpsons mod to RTCW to RAGE, their games and tech get better with time!