Nine years after releasing Rage, Bethesda has continued the franchise with Rage 2, which is proving to be a fun romp in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game has expanded a lot from the successful elements of the first game and introduced some new concepts to the sequel.
While the combat and progression is relatively straightforward, there are some things that beginners will need to keep in mind to get the most out of this game. There is a bit of a learning curve to understanding the menus and mechanics of the game, so here are some tips to get beginners started on the right foot in this violent world.
To put it crudely, Focus is essentially the magic system in Rage 2. At the beginning of the game, the player can use Focus to highlight enemies and things of interest. With some enhancement, Focus can be used for other things, such as repairing vehicles, scooping up Feltrite dropped by enemies, opening arks, and even triggering explosives.
It’s an adaptive tool that can provide clever solutions to complex problems. Players who invest in this skill will be rewarded for the rest of the game, so you'd be a fool to ignore it.
Arks are special vaults containing valuable loot that can turn the player into a killing machine, assuming they’ve taken out the faction guarding it and can open the thing. As a result, it’s in the player’s best interest to seek out and hunt down these precious hoards.
Finding them is a bit of a task in and of itself, as it requires chatting with locals and --in some cases-- a lot of wandering. Breaking in can be tough as well depending on who’s guarding them, but it’s always worth the effort and if the player finds one it should take priority over other pursuits, always.
Speaking of wandering, the world of Rage 2 is rather expansive and empty in a lot of places. This has generated some mixed feelings among the playerbase. This world is a literal wasteland at times and walking can get very, very boring.
You should always strive to have a functioning vehicle that can carry you around the map. Those brutal walks across the wasteland will become bearable drives that get you to the action sooner. The developers never intended the player to walk these vast expanses, so take the hint and make sure you have a ride.
Taking a page from its other RPGs, Bethesda made the entire world of Rage 2 open to players right from the start. There are no missions to open areas and no level requirements to access certain places. You can walk right into some of the most dangerous bandit camps from day one, if you want to.
It might seem like a bad idea to venture out into the hostile wilderness as a weak low level player, and there are areas that will mean certain death, but there are lots of places that reward players for being bold and striking out. Don’t be afraid to explore early on.
As you start exploring, you’ll notice two things: there are some areas of the game that will never, ever have anything interesting happen, and it’s very easy to get lost in some places. The best ways to combat this are to take advantage of the fast travel system and to create your own waypoints.
Fast travel is fairly straightforward: any time you discover a town or camp you can travel to that location instantly, bypassing empty expanses in an instant. If you are trying to get somewhere specific, you can hop in the map for a second and create waypoints that will generate arrows for your character to follow. Take some time to experiment with this and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.
Without spoiling too much, the player will be tasked early on to find three characters and assist them in order to progress the story and open up the skill trees of your character (referred to in-game as Projects). While all three characters are valuable, Dr. Kvasir is arguably the most important when it comes to making your life easier in the wastes.
Dr. Kvasir gives the player access to abilities like Storage Container Tracking, which will help the player locate containers. There’s also the incredibly useful gyrocopter, which will be explored further in the next entry. As stated before, all three characters are important, but Dr. Kvasir should be your priority to make your life more convenient.
When the player reaches level seven with Dr. Kvasir, the good doctor will grant the player access to the Icarus. The Icarus is a gyrocopter that will make cars all but obsolete for the rest of the game. It’s by no means a combat vehicle (and the player will find themselves a burning wreck in the wastes if they try to use it as such), but it is phenomenal for traversing the world.
Its control scheme is a little wonky for some players, but customizing the controls can easily fix this if you find yourself having problems. Once you get the hang of flying this baby you’ll never want to go back to cars.
As with any RPG, the player can chat with locals to obtain quests, receive hints to Ark locations, and other important information. What’s interesting about Rage 2, however, is that NPC’s aren’t just one-and-done social events, but mines of potential information that will open up as the game progresses.
Don’t think because you exhausted a person’s dialogue tree that they will never have anything new to say in the future. The game doesn’t make this obvious, but NPCs you once talked to can have new things to say. It’s a welcome bit of realism that makes NPCs more dynamic, but can get frustrating if you aren’t expecting it.
This specialized merchant is found in Wellspring and will be someone the player will visit a lot over the course of the game. The Cyber Doc sells permanent upgrades to the player’s damage, health, and Overdrive. Each upgrade purchased will raise the desired attribute by a generous 5%.
To purchase these upgrades the player will need to amass the right materials, which can be hard to find and very expensive in the marketplace. You'll definitely want to spend a little time grinding out these materials for these helpful upgrades, though. Also, the ability to reset your abilities should not be ignored.
Perhaps the number one criticism of Rage 2 is the surprisingly short campaign. Players focusing exclusively on the main quest can burn through the game in a matter of hours and be left feeling empty and cheated.
This game isn’t meant to be burned through, but savored. Our advice is to progress enough in the story to start helping the Dr. Kvasir and the other two characters, then dive into the side quests or just start exploring. You might find yourself so engrossed in the little side stories that you entirely forget what your main objective was, which is by no means a bad thing. Take your time and have fun before you save the world.