Five Days until Rage 2

Anxious trepidation comes to mind when I see the flashy and almost painfully in your face aesthetic of Rage 2. This game could not be further from the original look and feel, all that and the gameplay seems to has gotten a facelift as well. All this is so enticing, almost too enticing.

Rage one was a little cumbersome in more ways than one, everything was weighty and had a sense of force behind it. Its cumbersome-ness wasn’t a detriment, though it was overlooked when it was released, there were a lot of things Rage did well. It had strong gunplay, it wasn’t the best but it wasn’t poor by any means but it was strangely distinct in that Id Software way. The world was interesting despite the sea of post-apocalyptic settings in pop culture and gaming back then let alone how many there are today, somehow they’ve managed to revamp that unique feel and style without it being too foreign or unfamiliar.

Some things that Rage 2 seems to improve upon is the overall sandbox. Earlier I stated the world was interesting, and it is, but the visuals of that world are bland as all hell. Everything looked the same and was so drab from the first disc to the last. Everything I’ve seen thus far of the open world seems not only vast but varied as well. Swampy bogs, expansive deserts, city ruins, rocky canyons, and probably some more we haven’t been shown. On the optimization side there better only be one disc in that damn case, that triple disc nonsense is just that. It’s definitely more of a minor grievance but I did want to speak on it.

Rage 1 had a pretty baller cast voice acting wise, I was kind of floored by it upon revisiting the game more recently. It was nice but to me, it doesn’t really add all that much to the overall experience, I feel like such a stellar cast can’t be cheap and that money could go to other real voice actors and other avenues in the game’s development but that’s just me.

There are some preorder shenanigans going on with a slew of items and cosmetics that are up for grabs should the buyer upgrade to the more pricey editions. Armor skins, weapons (one of them being the famous BFG), missions and other items are all available for twenty more dollars. I’m avoiding that but honestly, I don’t blame anyone that goes for it, there is a lot of content for the money asked. Whether or not that content should even be for sale is a whole other conversation.

This looks like the kind of single-player power fantasy that I haven’t really gotten to experience in a FPS since Doom, Shadow Warrior or Wolfenstein. I understand those are all recent but dammit they don’t happen often enough and though they are coming back into style one title at a time, I want al my high octane shooty bang bases covered and I’ve got my eye on Rage 2. Hopefully, Bethesda doesn’t fuck this one up and lets the studios do their thing.

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Killing Floor 2 a personal fav

Okay, so around 2015 I saw a youtube video featuring upcoming games. One of these games was the titular game as you may have guessed. This peaked my interest, a multiplayer based horde mode with PvP option. My friends and I played CoD zombies in high school and it was fun to always have that to come back to. Play for an hour or two and move on to something else or be satiated of gaming entirely. I haven’t cared quite enough to dive back into CoD since Black Ops so I was more than open to a shakeup on an old favorite. I love Killing Floor 2 for what it is, a quick and sweaty romp of mindless violence with just enough strategy to allow the player to mix up their play style every single time. It started out with its issues but overall, and especially nowadays, Killing Floor is better than it has ever been. I just wanted to shine a little light on this diamond in the rough.

No story? No problem 

There is no campaign in Killing Floor 2 which from my understanding is routine for the series. Normally I’d roll my eyes at the concept but actually getting your hands on the game and engaging in online play is thrilling. Fast-paced and tilted towards difficulty, up to 6 players can fend off waves of either 4, 7, 9, and now infinite. 10 “Perks” or classes each with 25 levels that grant skills as you kill your way up the ladder. As you gain perks, some more personal and others more team focussed, the ways in which you contribute become more meaningful. Support skills include giving your team more ammo, decreasing the spread on your guns, and other useful options. All while this is going on, you’re getting pieces of the universe in every map as well as backstories on the playable avatars. Though I’d be really interested to see what Trip Wire would do with a full campaign mode but it’s the important stories that come from the actual gameplay itself.

Cooperation in Chaos

As stated earlier, this is a zombie horde game that has a PvE multiplayer focus.  Mic’d or not, players cooperate through violence and a wheel of text templates that in tandem work miraculously well enough. Nothing says “follow me” like blowing a hole in a crowd of “Zeds” thusly clearing the way. The Perks system mentioned makes everyone pick a role, a selection of guns and skills that really change up your arsenal. This is something CoD zombies lacked because it was more open-ended arcadey fun. Where everyone gets every gun and the points don’t matter. In assigning yourself a role, there is now a code of conduct; a certain playstyle and thought process to aid the team in overcoming the horde. Sharpshooters sit back and pick off stragglers and cap off the wounded. Commandos can see the health of the Zeds which can come in handy when the team needs to focus fire on a big bad that’s about to go down. Firebugs frolic through the madness sprinkling their pixie dust and igniting everything in their path with their inferno.

“Guuuuuns, Guuuuns, Guuuns”

I swear I’ll never make a Motley Crew reference again and you have my sincerest apologies. Jokes aside, the weaponry is hand-curated and gives every Perk a real sense of identity. Support perk is given a litany of shotguns that range from close to mid-range. Semi, full auto, and special guns with abilities like a shotgun with a secondary fire that shoots a healing shot when aimed at allies. Berserkers are special, they only use melee weapons and utilize parrying and a constant flurry of slices with everything from katanas to rocket-propelled hammers. Every option gives you so many guns that you can’t really know them in one or two go-arounds, you need to first get all your skills unlocked to truly feel the power but just getting a high-rank gun for the first time can really turn you on to the whole experience. The actual gunplay and controls themselves are really some of the best outside of games like Destiny and Call of Duty. Tight controls that have some give for newcomers but allows the sharpshooters and other gunslingers to really place shots with precision and accuracy.

“Maaaaps, Maaaaaps, Maaaaps”

Nineteen maps with six of them coming out as free additional content. All of them with their own series of open spaces and narrows. All of them with a little bit more story to help piece together the overall narrative of the world. From the burning streets of Paris, Prison yards in ruins, some twisted kind of carnival, and even a journey to the lair of Krampus. One of the things that all the maps have in common is how they’ll end up looking by the end of your playthrough. Explosions damage and destroy various props and elements of the environment. Blood is strewn and flows to the point where the pristine and sometimes calm setting turns into the canvas for you carnage artists to express yourself on.

True Tech Support

Free updates that include weapons, maps, and avatars are arguably the best feature of this game. There is no season pass, no paid dlc. Every couple months you’ll turn on your system and see an update downloading with gameplay tweaks and various additions. It was almost a year after release before they totally revamped the reward system giving players something to chase with objectives and ways to full your Dosh vault with that sweet cash to unlock a free loot box. Which brings me to my next topic.

Not Without Fault

At its release, a lot of the game’s cosmetic items could really only be earned via purchasing loot box keys. At 3 bucks a pop, these things weren’t cheap especially given the number of items that were locked away and how often players would earn them. Server issues were rampant, my friends and I suffered from a bug that kept us from joining each other’s parties. Even with these issues, the game devs adapt and change to better the game. What a concept. They kept the cosmetic loot boxes but now the money we earn our vaults through gameplay will unlock free cosmetics. The server issues are practically nonexistent and party glitches also seem fixed as well. This game is not without fault but what matters most is the fact that the devs at Trip Wire are constantly working to make sure this game is not only functional but fun.

In Conclusion

At launch, Killing Floor 2 isn’t worth the full price of today’s games. As fun and engaging as the entire game is, the actual depth of it as far as variety is concerned is not it’s forte. However, now that it’s thirty bucks and on its way to being even cheaper; I can’t help but suggest this game. It’s actually quite nice to just tune out and lay waste to everything in sight in a fully cooperative and semi-realistic setting. Check out some gameplay, it might just scratch the same itch for you that it did for me.