Rage 2 is certainly a game that came out this year. The shooting mechanics were fun, there were some neat abilities, and enemies exploded into meaty chunks in a very satisfying way. There just isn't any reason to pick Rage 2 over any other action-packed title that released in 2019. With its generic post-apocalyptic setting, bland story, and open world that doesn't offer much beyond new areas to blow people up at, it was utterly disposable in every way.
So, does the newest DLC Rise Of The Ghosts expand on the game, and give us an experience that makes returning to Rage 2 worthwhile? Not so much. It's just more explosions.
Come Bust These Ghosts
Rise Of The Ghosts starts with Walker responding to a distress call that leads to a new Ark. Of course, as you'd likely suspect, it's a trap and she's whisked away to a new location called Overgrown City. There, a former ranger named Iris now leads a gang of super-powered mutants called The Ghosts, and she's looking to launch missiles that will turn the rest of humanity into new members of her collection of crazy weirdos. Along with the help of a hacker named Keenan Ford - who's just hilarious - you aim to stop her and the Ghosts, because they're the bad guys, you're the good guy, and that's just how this works.
I thought it couldn't be possible to offer a more anemic story than Rage 2 had, but Rise Of The Ghosts is somehow even more predictable and slight. Iris is your standard delusional baddie who wants to better mankind by pumping them full of magical chemicals, and she never develops much of a personality. She has a few moments that make her seem a little more interesting than the usual rote FPS antagonist, but overall if you were hoping that this DLC would inject a more captivating narrative into Rage 2, you'll feel nothing but disappointment.
A Brand New Place To Do The Same Old Shooting
As for the new zone, Rise Of The Ghosts takes Rage 2 away from the boring old post-apocalyptic desert and drags it to a boring old post-apocalyptic city instead. Dilapidated buildings, burnt-out cars, a subway tunnel re-purposed into a Metro-style underground shantytown, and just about any other cliche you can think up. The Ghosts themselves are just the same enemies as the base game, only now they have blue eyes and white paint, and some of them can teleport.
The gameplay is still fine, fun even. But the Overgrown City is no different than the other locations in Rage 2. It's another spot for you to liberate radio towers, collect loot, and shoot a whole bunch of cannon fodder. This really needed to be something more than an extra helping of Rage, because after a while it just becomes repetitive shooting the same guys over and over.
More Like Mild Irritation
Rise Of The Ghosts suffers from a surprising amount of bugs and glitches that kind of damper what is already a pretty lackluster effort. Enemies would get caught on walls, and sometimes their heads would clip right through the scenery, which just made things easier for me, as I was able to headshot them as a result. There was a lot of pop-in traveling around the map, and floor textures would be floating in the air. The music would start and stop suddenly, and some NPCs would be talking to me, but no dialogue would come out until halfway through the conversation.
I'm pretty sure some of these issues are holdovers from Rage 2 itself, but you'd think these kinds of hitches would have been fixed by now. Then again, considering how half-assed Rage 2 is in general, maybe it's not that shocking that they haven't put any effort into a patch.
I should also point out the rather asinine way you purchase this content. To obtain this DLC, you must please id Software and Bethesda by purchasing its own currency, Rage Coins. That's right, Rage 2 has its own money that you must buy to procure any of the extra goodies that the Rage store has in stock. So, to play Rise Of The Ghosts, I had to use my cash to buy Rage 2's fake cash in the denominations of 1,100 and 500 coins. Except this expansion cost 1,500 coins, so now my Rage 2 bank account has 100 Rage Coins sitting there never to be used. It's only fitting that a series as pointless as Rage would manage to make the process of playing more of it into an unnecessary chore.
Haunted By Mediocrity
Rage 2 is just a frustrating experience. The core mechanics do manage to milk some joy out of me, and blowing the head off some irradiated ghoul will always elicit a smile on my face. But when it comes down to it, there are a boatload of first-person shooters that provide an equal amount of action along with far more substance. Everything about the Rage franchise is the epitome of "been there, done that", and id Software has proven in the past that they can do much better than this. In fact, why even bother with Rise Of The Ghosts when Doom: Eternal is out this November? Sure, that's not exactly tomorrow, but if you want some FPS thrills, you'll more than likely be better served just waiting for the Doomslayer to return.
For those who crave more Rage 2, Rise Of The Ghosts is certainly that. For everyone else, there so many other games that are more deserving of your time. It's time to let the specter of Rage 2 fade away.
2.5 Out Of 5 Stars
A PS4 copy of Rage 2: Rise Of The Ghosts was purchased by TheGamer for this review. Rage 2: Rise Of The Ghosts is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.