Developer: Avalanche StudiosPublisher: Bethesda The first RAGE came out in 2011. The followup came out in 2019. That’s an abnormally long space between games, especially when the first one was a commercial success. RAGE 2 hones the formula from the first game, and made the world much brighter and more colorful. The combat is excellent with a satisfying thump of your guns felt through rumbles in the controller. As the main character, Walker, you gain access to an arsenal of weapons as you progress through the game. Special ‘nanotrite’ powers can be upgraded with experience that give that extra edge of super-powers this game likes to throw around. After progressing into the game, gearing up, and getting the feel for your nanotrite powers, combat becomes a sweet ballet of death and gore. Some balance issues exist where you are sent on missions early on that you are woefully unequipped in that stage of the game. There is a sandworm in the ‘Dune Sea’ (get it?) that will smoke you repeatedly if you try and take it down before you are ready. The character acting is OK at best, with your character Walker turning in the least impressive performance. Three other main characters push the narrative (with only one, Dr. Anton Kvasir, being something special to behold). But the story was ‘meh’. Not much in the way of being invested in the adventure past an excuse to go mow down mutants and The Authority. If you were to avoid the side missions, the main story would take you a couple hours tops. But chances are it would be extremely difficult without leveling up and opening additional powers. The game slaps you with that reality as you first venture out into the open world and encounter areas with enemies far too numerous and powerful for you to handle. Thankfully, each encounter area comes with a difficulty rating, so you can better judge the chances of a successful raid. But the combat makes the game worth your play time. Avalanche Studios partnered with id Software and they brought their excellent game physics displayed in Just Cause 3 over into RAGE 2. It doesn’t take long for repetition to set in though, more could have been done with variety of encounters and enemies. The main antagonist, General Cross, provides the standard evil nemesis that is more machine than man. The environment is very ‘Mad Max’ as the story takes place in the aftermath of the apocalypse featured in the first game. Even the city of Wellspring makes a return appearance. Final verdict, is it worth playing: Hell yeah. It’s little misses that bring down the overall grade on a game like this, but it still manages to be visceral and bloody… the way combat should be. Any gripes about the story line can easily be forgotten among the explosions and rain of bullets. It keeps a lot of what made the first RAGE fun, and adds a more updated take on the wasteland massacre. . . . .