I’m a few months late to the party, but I have just completed RAGE, and I don’t think I have ever felt quite so let down by a game ending. I am really disappointed with how iD Software approached the ending of the game, it feels like they just gave up when they got to that last level. Spoilers abound after the jump.
RAGE does many things right for me, the slow burn on the story is one that I quite enjoyed, providing a nice change in pace from louder, brasher titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield. While the story isn’t a masterpiece, it keeps you interested enough to see what the evil Authority is up to. When they take control of Subway Town, you feel like the story is building to a strong conclusion. At the very least, you expect it to deliver the same big moment feeling as you get in Dead City, what in hindsight is probably the highlight of the game.
The build up to Dead City is similar to the way the story leads you to Capital Prime, characters drop hints about the location, talking about the threat you will face from the mutants or the Authority and eventually you receive a mission to enter the area. Your visits to Dead City show off the scale of the game, with some awesome views across the devastated city, capped off on your first visit with a mighty showdown against a Giant Mutant. The build to this moment is developed really well, the whole sequence revolving around Dead City clicks and the payoff works.
Sadly, while the build to the last mission is effective, everything from the moment you enter Capital Prime falls flat on its face. The head of the resistance, Captain Marshall boldly states the importance of your mission in taking down the Authority and provides grave warnings of the dangerous threats you will face in the home of the Authority. With memories of the epic scale of Dead City still in my mind, I was looking forward to seeing what I would face.
Which wasn’t much of anything, a new weapon in the Pulse Rifle and a slightly more powerful mutant. Oh, and some buttons that needed pressing at the top of a high-tech tower which raise the remaining Arks around the world. The contrast to Dead City, and the majority of the game, is striking. From a world ruined by an apocalypse filled with run down environments and disparate gangs, to a sterile, bland tower, it feels like an entirely different game.
The build to the final chapter raises your expectations of a brilliant final mission, what RAGE actually delivers is a damp squib, a major let down compared to what we see elsewhere in the game. iD dropped the ball here big time, rather than giving a well worked payoff as seen in Dead City, you are left feeling let down and disappointed. This wasn’t the way to end a really enjoyable game, it casts a shadow on what went before.