Creative director Tim Willits is certainly not lying when he says: "when we set out to do a new IP, we knew we had to do it differently." As we're plopped into Rage's wide-open post-apocalyptic world, it's immediately apparent that legendary developer id Software's new game isn't going to be another Doom or Quake corridor shooter.
The first thing you should know is that Rage is more than just another FPS - it also packs a healthy dose of racing. The best way to navigate through the wasteland is by using the dune-buggy-esque cars, and as you speed from town to outpost, you'll encounter optional car-combat challenges, destroyable mini surveillance zeppelins belonging to the mysterious opposing 'Authority', and mini-games where you collect falling meteor-shower bits.
Our first mission is to look for parts for our buggy so it can be repaired. Naturally, a gang of bandits are hoarding what we need. We're armed with a shotgun, but waiting in our left hand - itching for us to press LB - is the Wingstick, a boomerang device with lethally sharp edges.
Our first fling finds a goon's left shoulder, and a second toss goes straight through a baddie's neck. We take aim at a third noggin, only to have him scamper behind cover to avoid death. We soon learn that Rage's enemies are packing impressive smarts.
Later on we're deposited at the door to Wellspring, one of Rage's two primary bustling towns. We head into the bar, where Sally the bartender offers up a side quest: killing bandits.
"Your reputation is everything here," she explains. "You've gotta earn your respect." She adds that she'll pay us for each bandit we kill. Next we visit Slim, who organises a quick race, then we're off to Bash TV, Rage's version of Running Man.
Bash TV host J.K. Stiles is an annoying douche - but if we can make it through his kill-or-be-killed gauntlet of mutants and earn him big ratings there's a nice payout waiting for us. The first few rooms are easy, but it's the final one that provides one of the day's best moments.
The gates seal us in the rectangular arena, and a blade-armed monkey prop robot spins viciously as it moves around on a track. As the mutants start swarming us, we put the non-sentient simian between us and our organic pursuers, and we're able to get many of them started on their second careers as mulch.
Once an unknown studio which rocked the game world with Doom in 1993, id Software now finds itself in an eerily similar situation: having to prove its talents to an audience unfamiliar with what it's capable of. Rage seems ready to live up to the studio's legacy. Will history repeat itself?