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E3 2010: We get an updated look at Rage

id Software is known for taking its time on making their games. With the exception of their free-to-play shooter Quake Live the Dallas-based developer hasn't released a game made on their own since Doom III way back in 2004 (although they have helped with the making of games like Quake IV, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Wolfenstein that were primarily made at other developers). In 2007 id announced Rage, their first all-original game since the first Quake game in 1996. It's been a fairly slow development process for the post-apocalypse themed first person shooter since then; id only began to really give details on the game last August at QuakeCon.

Big Download got to see that live demo at QuakeCon last year but at E3 2010 last week the developer showed us some more live (but hands-off) gameplay at Bethesda Softworks' booth (running on an Xbox 360 dev kit but it's still coming out for the PC). Much of the demo was pretty similar to what we saw at QuakeCon but there were some new bits that were revealed.
As we have reported before Rage is set on a future version of Earth that's been hit by some kind of space object that in addition to creating lots of property destruction has also mutated lots of the human population. Your unnamed character comes from before the devastation but who has been locked in a pod that kept him in suspended animation until the start of the game.

The E3 2010 Rage demo began much like the QuakeCon 2009 started with one small exception; the conflict with the mutated creatures in Rage started much earlier as the attacks started just after our conversation with "Crazy Joe" in his shack. After the enemies were fought off we got to see some more of the vehicle driving and some combat which again were similar to what we saw at QuakeCon.

After that the demo entered the town of Wellspring where we got to see more of the game's inhabitants and also saw how your character can upgrade his weapons and items, get assignments and beef up his ride. We also saw something new; a mini-game that looked a little like that holographic game on board the Millennium Falcon in the first Star Wars movie. The game was being played by some of Wellspring's citizens and showed a holo-gangster shooting some enemies. You will be able to play mini-games like this to pick up some extra in-game cash.

There was some more combat that, again, was similar to what we got to see last year. The mission was to take out the members of the Ghost Clan who wanted to poison Wellspring's already limited water supply. The Ghost Clan enemies look pretty tricky to shoot; they can jump around and even flip and jump on and off walls. Luckily you came well prepared with guns, remote controlled vehicles and turrets and more.
The final part of the E3 2010 demo was in an area we had not seen played in a live demo of Rage before. The area, called Dead City, took place in the center of a once massive city with huge ruins of buildings all around. The demo showed a huge mutant, about three times the size of the ones we have seen previously, attacking the character. Rocket launchers were need to take this big guy down. At the very end of the demo huge rumblings in the city were shown and then the kicker came around; a truly massive mutant that looked about 50 feet tall and not in the best of moods. That's where the Rage demo ended, unfortunately.

Visually the game is still looking solid. id's in-house id Tech 5 graphics engine, introduced at the same time Rage was first announced, still has some highly detailed character models and animations compared to other shooter games. Indeed of all the games we saw at E3 2010 only Crysis 2 beat it in terms of overall looks. However we do worry that the art style of Rage too closely resembles Gearbox Software's 2009 shooter Borderlands. id still isn't talking much about the game's multiplayer modes although we assume that vehicle racing will still be in the mix.

Overall Rage's E3 2010 demo looks and plays pretty much like what we saw nearly a year ago and with the exception of the mini-game and the massive mutant at the end there's not much else we saw that we would consider new content. id's official stance of Rage's release date is still "when its done" and it's not clear how much more still needs to be done based on the demo. Hopefully id will shed some more light on Rage's status and show us more gameplay at QuakeCon 2010 in two months. We are also hoping to see some footage from the next Doom game which id announced over two years ago but that's a whole different can of worms.

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