Rage 2 review – sparkling combat is let down by a hollow open world

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For all its promise of anarchic mayhem and its striking punk palette, Rage 2 is a surprisingly vanilla experience. Though on paper it delivers a lot of the contemporary triple-A features we’ve come to expect – meaty combat, open-world exploration, sassy (if occasionally grossly stereotypical) NPCs that offer secrets and side missions, unlockable fast travel, and a perfectly serviceable, if somewhat derivative, post-apocalyptic story – it sometimes feels as though these disparate parts are pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite mesh together as a whole. Despite its deliciously decadent violence and unapologetic gore, Rage 2 is trying to be all things to all people, and its own identity just might have been lost in the shuffle.

While this sequel includes a handful of subtle, hat-tipped references to its predecessor, you can safely embark on this adventure without having jumped into the last. You play as one of the last remaining Rangers, an almost unique symbol of virtue and citizenship in an otherwise lawless, impoverished society rife with bandits, mutants, and ne’er-do-wells.

You can select either a female or male Ranger and they’re fully-voiced and fully-realised, complete with an intriguing-if-not-particularly-unique backstory that drives much of the main campaign’s impetus. Consequently, your foes are numerous, ranging from mutants who have been physically and intellectually scarred by experimentation, lawless bandits – including the oh-so-colourful punks you’ve seen adorning the marketing materials – and the military might of the Authority, a technologically-savvy army led by General Cross. It’s the latter that is the most formidable, and it’s those battles that are likely to be the most challenging, too.

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