Since 2004's DOOM 3 we've seen the likes of Half Life 2, Gears of War, and Modern Warfare stand up and take their place in gaming history. That's all very good and well, thank you very much, but it's a truth universally acknowledged that id Software will always know how to do the best video game shotguns.
It probably comes as no surprise to anybody that RAGE's boomstick is similar in heft and power to the ones seen in Quake and DOOM, the two-handed beast sneezing out great big wads of buckshot in impossibly wide arcs, with little to no reload required between blasts. The immense stopping power of the thing makes it effortless to put down packs of charging mutants, and if you're up against human foes you can just fire the thing a second time to get the job done. As far as virtual shotguns go, it really is a beautiful thing.
However, it's 2011 and id Software is not content with just making games that have excellent shotguns. Now the iconic studio wants to go and put out a new series set in a lah-dee-dah big open world, one that features an apocalypse-tinged narrative, a big cast of characters, and a multiplayer mode that has you racing weaponised buggies.
That's right, weaponised buggies.
The mode is called RAGE Combat Rally and it's a six-player affair (in various free for all and team-orientated guises) that mixes the studio's history in deathmatch with third-person vehicular racing. No, I'm really not making this up. The basic idea is that the lot of you rush towards random spots that light up on the map, scoring kills and being a complete meanie to other players on the way. Hit multiple goals in a row and you start racking up a multiplier, which can then be used to accrue those all-important points.
There are a few high concept features for the technical players. The next rally spot is always in the direction of the player who activates the previous one, for example, which effectively ups the tension of the chase; clever so-and-so's will throw pursuers off-kilter by hitting rally points at an angle with sharp handbrake turns.
Elsewhere there's a traditional system of perks, customisable loadouts, and upgrades for your precious buggy. This is thematically consistent with the single-player campaign, where you construct your vehicle out of scrap like rusty old pipes, ancient rocket launchers, and the odd discarded pie tray.