If you bought the Prima Guide, you might recognise meteor-worshipping Scorchers. They were featured in there, which explains why the game felt so unfinished: it literally wasn't finished. Where The Scorchers were originally intended to go, we can't say. Here, they're a part of the opening chapters, running alongside your time at the Hagar settlement, and moving into Wellspring. It's a Disc 1 experience, in short. Which is fine by us - that was the good disc. Fighting the Scorchers, they mostly feel like a powered-up, fire-obsessed version of the Shrouded clan, who get their armoured units out much earlier.
The Scorchers have got their own brand of earnest, head-shaking dialogue. What sounds like random barks stitched into a comically nonsensical conversation, actually plays out the same way twice, if you retry an area. So it's not random - it's an actual script. I'm finding it really hard to justify the absurd happiness I get from that, without paraphrasing "so bad it's good". So I guess I'll just use the exact phrase, but put it in speech marks. It's a lazy way to distance yourself from a cliché, and I'm taking it.
The first mission opens a door into a cave network in the opening Hagar settlement. Inside, you'll meet Sarah, a gutsy kind of gal who'll hand you the DLC's new weapon - the nailgun. Like all the other weapons, it has multiple ammo types: nails are the default, and pretty underwhelming. They're weak, fast, and a waste of everyone's time on the tougher enemies. Worth having when you revisit JK Stiles for a new round of Mutant Bash, though.
The Rebar ammo slots in a thick tube of construction metal. This staggers the larger enemies, which is particularly useful with the heavily-armoured Scorcher Jets, who'll shrug off the nails as they pump far more damaging fireballs back at you. And while you'll instinctively try to aim for their gas tanks, don't bother - they're armoured, too. The Slug ammo turns it into a classic 90s railgun, in a nice touch of self-love.
You can't just dive into The Scorchers if you've lost your game save - you need access to Wellspring, which involves playing the first couple of hours of the game. After the third mission, you need access to the Wellsping Maintenance Tunnels, which comes even later. So use the Scorchers as a great reason to go back to RAGE and start it again from scratch. Maybe using the new Ultra-Nightmare difficulty, if you enjoy terrified quick-saving.
Why are Bethesda releasing this now, so long after release? It is, and I'm saying this in a French accent, un énigma. It almost certainly won't sell, even though it's great value. My most optimistic guess is that it's to put RAGE back in the spotlight, before announcing a next-gen sequel. That's infinitely preferable to Doom 4, a series which can never be what it once was, and shouldn't try. (Unless it uses Oculus Rift, in which case I'll try anything.)
RAGE left such a bitter taste in the mouth with its ending, that it's too easy to forget the first fifteen hours. The crafting, the exploration, the racing, the characterful weapons, the gadgets, and the ammo types that effectively turned each gun into four weapons. Damn, I wish they'd finished this brilliant game.
If you never played RAGE, buy it. Then buy this. Play it, love it, and when the "Insert Disc 2" prompt pops up, simply walk away, smiling.
Queue up your Scorchers download here for 400 MP, and let us know how you get on.
A inexplicable, well-priced gem that'll probably sink without trace
- An untimely reminder of RAGE's quality
- Arise, Sir Nailgun
- A welcome reason to go back
- Why were they removed from the original?
- This took 14 months?