Allow me to apologize to all of the Gears of War, Modern Warfare, Elder Scrolls and Batman fans out there: these games did rock. Hard. And quite honestly, my original pick for Game of the Year was Gears of War 3. But sometimes a big name and highly anticipated sequel steals all of the limelight and other games fall through the cracks. This year, I’m making a sleeper pick for a game of the year and encourage you to give it a shot after you’ve worn out the other games. The game I refer to is Rage.
Rage is a Bethesda Studios release, the studio better known for the mega-blockbuster Fallout 3 and arguably one of the best RPG game franchises in the Elder Scrolls. Once again, Bethesda releases another epic game in Rage. This game takes place in the future where a giant meteor threatens Earth, and your character takes to space in a ship called an ARK to survive the coming catastrophe (Who likes Biblical references??). For some reason, your ship crashes to Earth years later and all on board are killed except you. When you emerge you are disoriented and find yourself in the barren wasteland of Earth. You walk about three steps and you’re about to be killed by a wasteland gang (or mutants. I can’t remember. But more on them later) when you are saved by a character voiced by John Goodman! Sweet. Mr. Goodman’s character then takes you to his settlement where he enlists your help in solving some post-apocalyptic problems plaguing his semi-idyllic settlement. These missions end up bringing you to other settlements and abandoned cities where you do more missions to gain the trust of other Wastelanders. And so on.
Now I know what you’re thinking. This concept sounds strikingly similar to Fallout 3 and I would have to agree with you. There’s even a limited edition Vault-Tech bobble head you find in the game which you can sell to merchants. But the story, which admittedly is mediocre and ends kind of abruptly, isn’t what makes this game awesome; it’s everything else. The missions are long and action packed, you can ride around in customizable dune buggies and vehicles blasting away at wasteland gangs for monetary reward, and there’s a great selection of weapons. The most notable weapon is a wingstick, which is pretty much a boomerang with blades that you can throw to decapitate charging enemies. If it sticks in your enemy instead of returning to you, you even get a few seconds to retrieve it before it breaks apart. Also, the enemies are no slouches if you play on “Hard” or higher, most notably mutants. The mutants will attack from all sides and zigzag towards you making them hard to shoot. Nothing like a little challenge! And last but not least, Rage is by far one of the best looking games I have ever played. There is an insane amount of graphic detail in the landscape and interiors, and the facial animations are the most realistic and detailed I’ve seen in any game. I’ll fight you if you don’t agree! Not really, I’m a pacifist, but I’ll make Chris do it!
So give Rage a shot. You can pick up a used copy at GameStop for about 30 bucks. A great 3-disc game for a great value, Rage is by far the sleeper game of the year.