Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: RAGE: The Scorchers

It’s been more than a year since id Software’s RAGE was unfairly cast aside, prematurely thrown into the bargain bin at retailers and criticised by those who simply refused to acknowledge the bold statements the videogame made about the state of the first-person shooter (FPS). […]
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It’s been more than a year since id Software’s RAGE was unfairly cast aside, prematurely thrown into the bargain bin at retailers and criticised by those who simply refused to acknowledge the bold statements the videogame made about the state of the first-person shooter (FPS). RAGE promised a bold new future of open worlds and less po-faced military drudgery, and yet in the year that has passed few have reflected upon this. The Scorchers, RAGE’s late arriving downloadable content (DLC), is another chance to rectify this, then.

Before even beginning to play the DLC, Electronic Theatre is happy to acknowledge that the delivery of The Scorchers is exactly that which we’d all hoped for when the current-generation arrived with promises of adventurous new DLC for our existing titles. It’s a reason to return to a loved videogame a year later, not a simple continuation of the same experience a month after release with an additional expense required for entry. It’s classic id Software in that it bears all the hallmarks of boxed PC expansions from the 1990’s given a modern touch, just as RAGE itself was familiar yet unwaveringly forward looking. Before taking those first few steps in this new content, id Software (and by association Bethesda Softworks) has earned respect for continuing to support a videogame that may not have achieved it’s goals at retail in a fashion that’s unlikely to spur any further fandom outside of that which already exists.

Of course, none of this commendable commercial approach counts for anything if The Scorchers doesn’t live up to the standard of the original title. Upon booting the videogame for the first time after downloading the DLC, continuing with your existing save data, The Scorchers inserts itself into the world immediately, with a notice popping up telling you where to go in order to access the new area and missions. Your immediate destination will be familiar to anyone who’s played the videogame for even just an hour, and what you find when you get there will surprise you in more ways than one.

The DLC plays as a series of interconnected linear challenges, with players completing each mission to gain access to the next as part of a typical rigid storyline. The Scorchers takes players across the map, revisiting locations that make up part of the original campaign and adding new content directly to them, for example, the Mutant Bash TV receives a new combat run, while the Jackpot in Wellspring becomes a hub of new activity.

The addition of the Scorchers enemy type is nicely explained in the storyline – as of course, players won’t see these enemies elsewhere in the videogame – and the vicious nature of their armoured troops creates some suitably tense encounters. The Scorchers does descend into ‘kill everything to progress’ territory a few too many times, weakening the overall lasting impression of the DLC, but in reality it’s a measure made to allow players to experiment with the new weaponry. The multi-function nail gun is an impressive addition, with the slow and heavy rebar function being a devastatingly aggressive attack in the right hands.

Ultimately, The Scorchers is a well structured affair that adds new enemies and suitably impressive looking locations, but doesn’t rewrite the already progressive RAGE rulebook. It’s more of the same, which will undoubtedly immediately bring a smile to those who understood what RAGE was all about, but in terms of expanding an audience The Scorchers is not the DLC that was needed. RAGE remains a fantastic piece of entertainment software, but The Scorchers is never going to convince those many naysayers of that.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

 

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