You're entering into strange territory with Rage, so take this guide along with you in order to survive. Fans at long last get to immerse themselves in the dusty, post-apocalyptic Earth created by id Software for Rage. You quickly learn when stepping into the game that our decimated planet is a rough place to eke out an existence. It seems familiar at first -- shades of Borderlands and Fallout are immediately evident -- but make no mistake: Rage is a very different sort of experience, one built on the philosophies that have characterized id releases since the days of Wolfenstein 3D.
This getting started guide will help you get acquainted with the landscape and general flow of Rage. Combat strategies, resource management, methods for getting ahead in this latest dystopian Earthscape... find guidance on all of that and more below.
Taking Out The Trash
There are two very general types of enemies that you'll encounter in Rage and, for the most part, each one requires a very different strategy. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, and most of the ones you encounter who don't like you have one thing in common: a firearm. Damage accumulates very quickly in Rage, and while a hefty supply of bandages offers a quick-heal alternative to the game's regenerating health system, your best bet with human foes is to keep your distance and stick to cover.
Fortunately for you, your human foes will helpfully shout out comments that indicate the size of the force you're dealing with. If you hear someone start crying about how all of his fellow soldiers are down, whip out your shotgun and rush his position.
Note that downed human enemies can be searched for cash, ammo and other prizes. The bodies won't disappear, but they can be obliterated by an errant grenade, robbing you of your chance to steal their sweet, sweet Stuff. Be careful with your explosives if you're hoping to gather resources on the battlefield, and get clear of any corpses if any other foes are chucking grenades in your direction.
You can also expect to encounter a sizable number of mutants as the game progresses. While some of them come packing ranged attacks, they'll almost always try to get in close for a melee kill.
Always stay on the move when there are mutants about. The shotgun is your best friend. One or two point-blank bursts is all it takes to put the basic grunts down, and you'll be seeing a lot of them. The corpses of those basic muties disappear quickly and can't be searched. There are tougher mutants that hurl green liquid at you, and their corpses can be searched.
There are also a couple of larger mutant types: one wielding a grenade launcher the other more of a close range fighter with a tentacle attack that blinds you briefly. Circle-strafing is your best tactic for bringing these guys down quickly. A full shotgun clip unloaded at close range should do the job nicely.
Preparing For Battle
Your first stop before setting off on any mission should be the local storekeeper. While there's ammo to be found on corpses and in various containers, by and large you'll want to stock up before leaving rather than depending on your scavenging skills.
Most ammo types can be purchased from stores, though you'll rarely want to buy anything other than a weapon's standard ammo, at least in the early part of the game. Later on you'll start seeing more armored enemy types, which are more easily brought down with things like the assault rifle's armor-piercing Feltrite rounds, but the standard stuff should work fine for the first 10 or so hours of Rage.
Also be sure to stock up on minigun ammo and rockets for your vehicle, so you can defend yourself against bandit attacks as you make your way to your destination. There are a variety of quick-use vehicle power-ups as well, though the most useful of those by far is the Armor Restore, which fully repairs your vehicle at the press of a button.
Cash is mostly earned from clearing missions, though dedicated scavengers will also build up a large supply of junk that can be sold for a tidy sum. In your inventory you'll see that there's an icon accompanying each item which denotes what sort of use it has. You can sell anything other than your weapons, but anything marked with a "$" icon is only useful as sellable junk. So get to selling!
Whenever you visit a shop, look first for the most expensive items to see if there are any weapons, weapon upgrades or engineering schematics available for you to buy. Also make sure to stock up on hardware kits, electrical kits and gears, as these three components are necessary to build Lock Grinders. Engineering schematic allow you to build a number of useful items, but Lock Grinders -- which open locked doors scattered throughout the game -- are by far the most useful, as locked rooms generally contain the best loot a particular area has to offer.
Pimp Your Ride
Vehicular combat is a very large component in Rage and there are a few things you can do to give your ride an edge out in the wild. Various upgrades are available for each vehicles, things like improved engines and tires, weapons and even reinforced grilles. The quick-use vehicle items can be purchased using money, but the more permanent upgrades require you to earn racing certificates.
Players have two options on that front. First, in each of the game's towns you'll find an area devoted to competitive racing. You can earn five, 10 or 15 certificates for placing in third, second or first (respectively) in any of these competitions. Some require you to use different vehicle types, some allow/disallow the use of weapons and some simply ask you to hit a par time without any other drivers on the course.
Those who don't care for racing thankfully have another options. Each of the major towns in Rage is home to a bar, and the bartender in each one has an ongoing mission for you: every enemy vehicle destroyed out in the wasteland will net you $10 and one racing certificate. These can accrue quickly if you like to cruise around the world looking for trouble. Just be sure to stock up on chaingun ammo and (more importantly) rockets for your vehicle before setting out.
Save Early, Save Often
The autosave system in Rage, frankly, sucks. You can get most of the way through a mission, only to be taken down by a boss and whisked back to the very beginning of that mission if you're not careful. Thankfully, the game allows you to manually save your game in any location at any time, regardless of what's going on around you.
Be aggressive about saving your game. Just finished a particularly tough fight? Save. Getting the sense there might be a big fight coming soon? Save. Wandered around for 20 minutes, decimating any opposition without having to save your game? Save. Seriously: Save early. Save often. Save yourself from needless frustration.
Adam Rosenberg is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, NY and living at the whims of his lovable chow, Loki. You can find his work plastered all over the Internet, or just follow him on Twitter @geminibros for daily doses of his crazed, nonsensical ramblings.