The post apocalypse is so hot right now. But if anyone's going to get you excited about mutants and mega guns again, it's id Software. Yes, the Doom creating, Quake making, writing-the-rule-book-on-shooters id Software.
Securing a place in the hearts of FPS fans way back in the 1990s with its classic corridor shooter, id has piled all of its new technology (a shiny new engine called id Tech 5) into a game that steps away from those dimly-lit corridors and instead moves out into an insanely rich world that's so pretty you can almost feel the irradiated dust itching at your skin.
So why all the ruined cities, bandits and mutated monsters? A pesky asteroid called Apophis has smashed into Earth, leaving behind bedraggled survivors, hideous monsters and a ruined world just ripe for exploring in heavily-armed vehicles. You survived thanks to a protective pod called the Ark, which kept you safe underground from the impact and made sure you were ready to battle freaks, drive like a maniac and discover who and what the omnipresent force called the Authority is.
But before we get to go anywhere near the Authority, we need to face the Shroud, one of the many clans of bandits wreaking havoc on the more civilised survivors. Each clan has its own special way of doing things. The Shroud likes to use cover, the Ghost clan likes to use acrobatic attacks and the Waste clan, well, it likes to use a lot of swears. Our specific mission when it comes to the Shroud is to blow up its explosive reserves.
Not with grenades... oh no, with remote controlled bomb cars. Once you deploy one you get a bomb-car's-eye-view of the layout so you can drive to your target, then BAM! Remote detonation. As for the shooting, well, these guys made Doom. Our loadout holds three guns (pistol, shotgun, machine gun) and a crossbow, and each one is just a peach to shoot. Heavy, punchy - and you can tailor different attacks with different types of ammo for each weapon.
Our favourite is the electro bolts for the crossbow. We use them as we explore the tunnels and waterways beneath a town called Well Springs, after the Ghost clan has threatened to poison the water supplies. That's right: water, electricity - suddenly you've got an exciting new way to turn your enemy into a human roast.
We blast our way through the level blasting water with electro bolts, taking out whole huddles of Ghosts with the minimum amount of shots. It's more satisfying than getting a roll of bubble wrap and cybernetic thumbs on the same day.
And when you're not blasting the dead-eyed mutants that roam the wastelands, doing missions for settlers or taking on the bandits, you can kill some time at the race track or in the arena. In such a big open world you need a little help getting around. And where there are wheels, there's racing.
We tried out the Dusty 8 which packed in jumps, killer corners and plenty of boost power-ups to keep things exciting. Or, if you prefer killing, there are Mad Bash TV arena-style challenges, where you earn cash for killing mutants quickly and accurately, as well as mastering slot machines, avoiding giant models of monkeys and taking down mega mutants - we faced a tentacle beast called the Kraken.
The whole experience was madder than a box of Lindsay Lohans but just as fun. Cars, guns, gadgets, mutants - it's hard to figure out what Rage doesn't have.