A reader lists the reasons he chose not to get Rage 2 and complains about the lack of originality and imagination in AAA games.
Before I start this I’m going to admit that I haven’t played Rage 2. The reason I haven’t played it though is because its reviews have confirmed everything I assumed about it from the moment it was announced. Not its quality necessarily, which was essentially irrelevant to my purchasing decision, but how it failed to do anything new and made just about every wrong – or rather lazy – design decision it could.
What I have played is Mad Max, the previous open world post-apocalyptic game by the same developer. The fact that there already is a Mad Max game, by the same people, should set off alarm bells as it is. Especially when you consider how many other post-apocalyptic games there’ve been lately. In case you’ve forgotten a short list of games released in just the last year or so includes Fallout 76, Metro 2033, State Of Decay 2, Far Cry: New Dawn, The Division 2, The Last Of Us Remastered, and, of course Days Gone.
The reason for the apocalypses, and the length of time since they happened, varies but they all involve walking amongst the decayed ruins of the modern world, scavenging weapons and equipment, and fighting whatever marauders their particular brand of Armageddon has brought about. It’s painfully unoriginal and whatever shock value there was in seeing a destroyed world laid out before you has long since disappeared, to be replaced with déjà vu and boredom.
But back to Rage 2 specifically, where you might say the first problem is the fact that it’s a sequel in the first place. I played the original and it was a very ordinary first person shooter, whose world was highly derivative even back then and which I have no desire to see any more of.
Nobody cares about it and while the name is fairly cool why not just remake it as a completely different game, like Bethesda did with Prey? Especially as Borderlands came out in the meantime and while that’s not technically post-apocalyptic (I don’t think, I don’t really remember what the story was) it looks like it, and it’s full of punk/2000 AD-looking characters and relies a lot on comedy. Was Rage 2 going for some kind of record, for the number of other games it would end up looking like?
It really seems that way, because it also has Mad Max style car chases, which actually looked like the best bit from the trailers but judging from the reviews even they’re not even that great. Instead, apparently, the first person combat is really good, which I hadn’t really counted on, but that seems to be about the only positive.
So okay, Bethesda wants to make a sequel to a game nobody cares about, which is post-apocalyptic (done to death, including by Bethesda), is heavily influenced by Mad Max (done to done, including by the same developer), has a very similar look and feel to Borderlands (at the first time in seven years that there’s been any sign of a new Borderlands game), and is open world (done to death by seemingly every game ever).
All it needed to do was have zombies in it and it I think it would’ve ticked every single box as the most unoriginal video game ever made. Especially as one of the major game worlds is the boring open world, which looks just as derivative as everything else and seems to be filled with those boring ‘wipe out the enemy camp’ missions that all bad developers resort to when they can’t think up anything interesting to do.
I specifically avoided Rage 2 because it’s derivative and predictable and the same as a dozen other games from just the last 12 months. I think it’s important to let companies know why their games didn’t get bought. You’d think it must be obvious but I don’t see how any of the things I listed could’ve have possibly seemed like good ideas to anyone.
For heaven’s sake games companies, just try to do something different! When Rage 2 flops, as I’m sure it will, don’t waste thousands trying to work out why, know that it was because it looked boring and unimaginative from the very first instant and people, some people at least, are sick of it.
By reader Carlton
The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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