During the first few minutes of Rage 2, I’ve decapitated three baddies, reduced a handful to a bloody mess and blown off a spiky-haired assailant’s legs.
By the end of the play-through, which lasted around 15 minutes, I’ve killed more people than John Rambo.
Not that Rage 2 is your average corridor first-person shooter. Far from it, in fact.
ID Software, best known for their brilliant FPS Doom, have teamed up with Avalanche – the developer behind the eccentric, open-world Just Cause series.
The result is exactly what you’d expect – a vast world, that’s free to explore, backed up with ID’s tight, frenetic and fast-paced shooting mechanics.
So, what makes Rage 2 such a blast?
As well as host of guns, from shotguns to assault rifles and machine guns, there are a handful of abilities that help keep the action feeling fresh.
These range from being able to ‘force push’ enemies out of the way or rush them down with a superhuman dash.
Our favourite, ‘Overdrive’, acts much like Doom’s Quad-Damage perk, causing devastation to anyone nearby.
There’s also the Wingstick – which, when thrown correctly, can instantly decapitate a foe.
Should it make decent-enough contact, it’ll stick to them, spin around menacingly, before exploding – reducing an enemy to small, crimson chunks.
Thankfully, enemy AI is up to the task – and will regularly suss you out if you keep attacking the same way.
There’s a clear emphasis on pushing forward, much like Doom, but in Rage 2, you’re not punished for taking your time and planning your attack – largely helped by clever, multi-tiered level design.
Obviously, none of this would matter if Rage 2 didn’t look the part. But thanks to the Apex engine, it certainly does.
While the 2010 original was visually striking, and used ‘megatextures’ to increase realism, the world was grey and drab.
In Rage 2 there’s a much more vibrant colour palette (weirdly, the colour scheme is similar to Forza Horizon).
There are bright purple flares, beautiful sunsets, forests, swamps – there’s even a day and night cycle. Avalanche’s influence here is clear – and most welcome.
Thankfully, you won’t need to traverse the world by foot – there are a number of vehicles you’re able to commandeer.
These are customisable and can be tweaked depending on playstyle.
One of the best parts of the brilliant Mad Max game was vehicle combat – and this is a huge part of Rage 2.
Avalanche, here, are clearly in the driving seat – with simple but stunning driving mechanics making for some incredible car chases.
Whilst we didn’t get to play one, a hands-off demo went some way to show exactly what we could expect – and we were very excited.
There’s no such thing as the perfect game, but if ID and Avalanche pull this off, Rage 2 could well be it.
Rage II is out June 2019 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC
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