Graphics have become one of the strongest selling points for video games. As the technology gets more and more advanced, game companies are able to render hyper-realistic settings. Rage, the newest entry from id Software, makers of Doom and Quake, uses the post-apocalytpic genre as the background for a graphically rich first-person shooter adventure that draws the player in and doesn’t dissapoint with its action and gameplay.

As the player, you take control of a nameless, silent protagonist who wakes up from cryogenic sleep after an impact event turns Earth into a wasteland. You join up with some rebels fighting against the appropriately vague named ‘The Authority’, a group that seeks control over the new Earth. Unfortunately, that’s about it for the story, as is it very shallow and doesn’t get you invested enough to care about the characters. You’re just told that The Authority is ‘bad’, but given no reason other then they’re taking over, and plus the fact that they try to kill you. The characters have very basic personalities and are more abstract ideas, then solid people.

However, the lack of story is a minor flaw, as the rest of the game more then makes up for it. The aforementioned graphics are center stage. Driving through the canyons and dirt roads, everything is rendered incredible detail, from the side of a cliff to the broken down highways. What used to be a major city is now broken down, with buildings crumbling and half-standing. It couldn’t look better, as you explore run down hospital rooms and city plazas. The settlements that some people have settled into are also very detailed, including one that is made up of trains in the subway underneath a ruined city.

Rage is a first-person shooter, but it also has elements of role playing and action adventures games. You control the protagonist as he blasts his way through bandit hideouts, sewers and canyons. Although the weapons are standard, i.e. shotgun, sniper rifle, pistol, there are multiple types of ammo for each gun and since certain enemies are vulnerable to certain types, it adds an element of strategy to your encounters. Being able to use spare parts to assemble such items as a remote-controlled bomb car are another great touch that keeps the variety of action fresh. You’ll need them for myriad of enemies you encounter. From Authority soldiers that use cover to bandits that charge right at you, you never get complacent.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the game comes from traversing the wasteland in the various vehicles in the game. The thrill of engaging the boosters as you jump across a canyon never gets old and the vehicle-to-vehicle combat provides even more entertainment. If you want to take a brake from the maim action, there are a variety of races in each settlement and yo ucan use the winnings to upgrade your vehicles.

One of the most surprising aspects of the game is the way the sound dovetails with the setting. The environments are tense and you never know when an enemy will jump out at you and the music helps elevate the suspense. There are the usual musical buildups, but the expected payoff doesn’t happen right away sometimes. There’s a pause where you think you’re safe, but then enemies flood in and you frantically try to rid yourself of them. These two features could have been good on their own, but the way they mix together makes the game that much more enjoyable.

As rich as the game is, there are moments where you’re left expecting more. The story could’ve been fleshed out more as you never really get an idea of the wider conflict and the depth of its players. However, the variety of quests and the action they contain are enough to satisfy most players. The campaign is much longer then the typical FPS, but the improvements Rage adds only serve to make it a much more exciting adventure.