Rage: A new Id classic in the making?

Id came from the desert! But can the Doom daddies reinvent the shooter?

The problem with being Id is that, unfairly or not, you're immediately associated with either Doom or game engines.

That means demon imps, dark corridors and linear level design on the one hand, incredi-visuals but bland-o-shooting on the other.

Id being Id, it'd be some kind of blasphemy on the part of Carmack and his Dallas-based massive if Rage didn't outdo all other graphical pretenders - yet alongside all that graphical fidelity there's a different kind of game in here, too. Well, sort of.

So, Earth has been hit by a mega asteroid... the (cough) Apophis. Luckily, humanity knew all about the impending disaster, so handpicked the choicest members of its populace and bunged them in a ruddy great underground Ark.

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The plan? Genetic superfolk eventually emerge and rebuild the planet. But something unexplained went wrong, and that's where you - one of The Chosen - come in, with your thirst for answers and big guns which are, in an Id first, customisable with bolt-ons, crossbow electro bolts being our current fave.

Rage's use of 'megatextures' - tech that negates visual repetition - is Rage's use of 'megatextures' - tech that negates visual repetition - is so pretty that you'll need to get accustomed to the sweeping vistas, startling character models and uncannily seamless animations before you can turn your blown mind to more, well, important things.

Elements like a sprawling world hub that punctuates the more Doom-esque underground out of close-range blasting for more strategic incursions into freak territory via exploding RC cars and spider turrets.

Or the bunging in Duke Nukemalike buggy bits to mix up the pacing. Doom 3 took a pasting for its dodgy enemy AI, but - despite a penchant for brute force - there's a marked sense of self-preservation coming from these dozy-looking brutes as well. Put simply, they're more intelligent than they look.

Even in the face of gruesome cosmic horror, Id have always known how to have a bit of fun. In-between doing odd jobs for locals and saving the world, you can head to the power-uppacked Dusty 8 racetrack to sharpen your driving skills.

Or test yourself in a Thunderdome-like arena by racking up moolah murdering grunts and mega mutants like the tentacle-armed Kraken.

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So far our wanderings have been limited to the dusty Wellsprings (not to be confused with Goodsprings from Fallout New Vegas), so we're itching to discover whether Id are planning on shaking up the landscape further in.

But while it might not be clever, it'll be big - and it'll be brute-iful