The weapons themselves in RAGE are an interesting beast. You’ve got your standard pistol, machine gun, and shotgun going on, but the ammo system is truly unique. There’s a crossbow that can be equipped with things like electrical arrows or mind control darts. Other weapons offer alternate types of ammo which can be changed on the fly. A pistol can be outfitted with heavy duty bullets, the shotgun with plasma bursts, and the machine gun has armor piercing rounds. As awesome as all this firepower it is, id made the design decision to limit ammunition. No one likes counting rounds in a FPS. This is only the beginning of the many flaws present in RAGE.
While most shooters have no problem providing ample ammo, RAGE tries to make the resource scarce. Even looting the corpses of fallen enemies rarely yields any significant ammo (usually you’ll just find cash), instead you are forced to “stock up” before each mission at a store. Forget to stock up and you could be SOL, forcing yourself to take a five minute trek back to the nearest outpost. To make matters worse, the shooting never feels quite right in RAGE. You never feel like your guns are actually doing some significant damage. You know, when you have a bad dream and you need to shoot the bad guy, but the gun never works, it’s kind of like that. You’re never quite sure if you hit an enemy. Sure, there are times when a shotgun blast to a mutant sends them flying in a satisfying way, but most of the time I felt like I was shooting animatronic wax figures.
These dungeon (shooting) sections of RAGE are broken up by driving elements and mini-games. There’s dune buggy races in the towns where you can earn certificates to upgrade your vehicle. These upgrades are useful when driving through the Wastelands to combat roving bandits in their vehicles. The driving and races are fun in their own right, but at times, feels a bit out of place. There are other mini-games available like the five finger knife game from Aliens and a really in-depth collectible card game that’s a bit like Magic: The Gathering.
The biggest problem that RAGE has though, is a completely busted save system. It’s not that saving the game doesn’t work, it’s that it’s based on a philosophy of saving from the 1990s. Checkpoints seem to occur at random times, and the game forces you to constantly remember to bring up the pause menu and then save. It’s so bad in fact, one of the loading screens says - “remember to save often.” How...bout...no. We’ve moved past this. There were numerous times I had to play an entire 15-20 minute sequence over because I simply forget to pause and save.