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Rage 2 by Thomas Bender It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since the original Rage was released. The long-coming sequel arrived in May, and it’s one of the most fun shooters to come to consoles in a long time. This time around, Mad Max developers Avalanche joined the minds behind 2016’s Doom (id Software) to produce a beautiful, destructive, rampaging baby. If you don’t recall the original Rage, have no fear, as Rage 2 stands on its own very well. To be fair, you hardly need to pay attention to the plot points underlying Rage 2 either, as it is just serviceable enough to get you out into the open world killing goons and blowing up everything else that moves. An evil villain wants to kill off the remaining of human civilization after an asteroid apocalypse… it provides the requisite framework and motivation for your non-stop murderous activities, but little else. And that’s okay. Avalanche and id Software are pretty heavy-handed in making sure the player is having fun, immersive story be damned. Everyone in the world of Rage 2 seems to be packing heat. Friendly or non-combative NPCs are few and far between. Most of the time you’ll be shooting anyone or anything you see. Three of those NPCs stand as the main mission distributors, which will have you running through the main campaign in about 15 hours. This being an open world game, however, there is a ton to keep you busy and playing for many hours beyond that. Most of the objectives require you to eliminate all goons, so while the goals aren’t all that inspiring, they are still fun as hell, as unique locations and non-stop action keep your heart beating quickly whenever engaged in combat. The lackluster mission design and the somewhat empty open world quickly take a back seat once you start shooting. The frenetic action and fast-paced combat never stops being enjoyable. The shooting feels great, while moving around the map is quick, including several movement-based special abilities like double jumps and ground pounds. It’s 2019, so of course all of the guns have an alternate fire mode, which leads to a lot of intriguing gunplay. On top of that, an Overdrive ability grants you temporary super-powers and neon-amped visuals to wreak destruction even more effectively. The combat is a blast. At normal difficulty levels, experimentation is fun, combos are insane, and the rewards are tactile. At slightly higher difficulty, however, employing all your abilities and using some real tactical play is required to remain alive. Rage 2 encourages players to get up close and personal. A cover shooter this is not. Rewards are left by enemies when they are destroyed, which both provide currency and also heal the player, providing a double incentive to follow up your bullets. You’ll inevitably be entering the fray and putting yourself in danger to do so, leading to

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