Rage 2 is shamelessly Bethesda. It’s a thesis on how sound design and weapon feedback can pencil in an FPS experience that’s worth taking the red pill for and it’s also a gargantuan deep dive into the weird stuff that makes Pete Hines tick. There are giant laser turrets, televised horde modes, sentient off-road vehicles, and evildoers that look like the Super Mario Bros. goombas on a bad day – and it adds up to create an easygoing shooter that’s more about Saturdays than the ethics of socio-political events. It’s the perfect mashup of Avalanche’s Fury Road combat and id Software’s affinity for making heads pop with glee, so we put together a list of essential tips to help you stave off their new Hot Topic wasteland and its overgrown mutations.
1. Don’t rush the main story
Rage 2’s main campaign will only take you about 8-12 hours – which is on par with DOOM, Wolfenstein II, and the BioShock series – so do yourself a favour and explore. The wasteland is full of secrets, crates, meteorites, and Feltrite that can be hoarded and used to upgrade your different weapons and Nanotrite abilities. So, instead of using the GPS for every turn, kick the training wheels off after the first two hours and take on every side mission and question mark you come across. Tip: The yellow Mutant Bash balloons in the sky are full of MBTV goodies.
2. Prioritise finding Ark tek
Arks are what you think they are: they're intergalactic covens that offer wastelanders an eon’s worth of loot and they’re also home to the game’s best power-ups and weapons. Some of them can be found through the main campaign while other tek can only be discovered via exploration, with Junker’s Pass and the Dank Catacomb being home to Nanotrites and gunsmith gems, such as the Firestorm Revolver, Grav-Dart Launcher and Hyper-Cannon Railgun. Just make sure to explore each Ark carefully, as its walls are usually filled with junk that can be sold to merchants.
3. Always trust in pink
Pink is a prominent colour in Rage 2 that’s used to indicate interactable objects in the wasteland. Chests, ladders, valves, and door switches are all painted neon pink and keeping your eyes peeled for a hint of cerise can help when it comes to navigating side missions or checklisting camps and hideouts.
4. Get your hands dirty
Rage 2 isn’t a cover shooter. It can be treated like one, but like any new id Software title, it uses AI that’s equally intelligent and ruthless to dropkick you through a brick wall and out of your comfort zone. So instead, let hell loose. Chaining together the 11 different Nanotrite abilities (i.e. Slam, Shatter) and your Overdrive meter will put down enemy swarms and opposing forces with ease, while sticking to the sprint, slide, and dash can help you manoeuvre around environments. If the melee fails you, cook grenades and be aggressive. And don’t forget about Wingsticks.
5. Upgrade your damage
In other words, beef up your 'Search And Destroy' joyrides with stats. The cyber doc – aka Doc Karl – in Wellspring is capable of installing implants that allow you to ‘re-spec’ your Ranger and permanently upgrade your health, Overdrive, and universal damage. The cost is more valuable resources that can be hard to find, but increasing your damage output is priceless, as it allows you to take on crowds and overgrown mutants with ease and without changing the difficulty.
6. Buy every schematic
Crafting in Rage 2 is a bit of a convoluted mess. Materials such as Electronic Components and Explosive Components are needed for grenades, Wingsticks, and Health Infusions, but you also need their corresponding schematics in order to craft them. Luckily, they can be purchased from merchants and vendors across the wasteland and each time you do so, they will unlock a new crafting tier and automatically apply the tier’s different upgrades and benefits moving forward.
7. Become a vehicle hoarder
Similar to 2015’s Mad Max, the wasteland of Rage 2 allows you to steal any (working) vehicle you find to make it your own. Rollas, Nippas, Pulverizers and the like can be found on the side of the road or at Arks and bandit camps and all of the above can be stored in your garage and summoned via menu. When you find a vehicle, just drive it back to one of the hub cities – such as Wellspring, Gunbarrel, and Dreadwood – until you’re prompted to stash your new wheels.
8. Use cheat codes
Remember Game Genie? Avalanche and id Software sure do. Cheat codes can be bought and enabled via menu through an NPC known as Mangoo The Unborn – the Wasteland Wizard. His hut and three green balloons can be found in various locations in The Wilds, Broken Tract, and Sekreto Wetlands and his unlockables include allies, voice packs and more prominent boosts to Feltrite, Overdrive and the Wingstick. They temporarily disable trophies and achievements, but there’s no better feeling than hearing Danny Dyer (of EastEnders and Human Traffic fame) and the NBA Jam announcer call you a ‘muppet’ as you tear through hordes of wasteland mutants.