First, my message to every-day gamers who play games for fun and don't critique games based on company pedigree or comparison to better games... Rage is a gorgeous game and quite a bit of fun. The weapons look and feel good (always helpful for an FPS) and the three varieties of enemies (bandits, mutants, Authority) keep things interesting most of the time.
However, Rage is also very linear and God only knows what happened during the development cycle to result in the terrible final level and embarrassingly bad ending. It's painfully obvious that the game was cut short and/or truncated quite a bit to either meet a deadline or because Id's publisher wouldn't let them ship more than three DVDs in the XBOX version of the game package.
From a pure price perspective, Rage is worth $30 - $40 in my mind. If I could go back in time I'd wait for it to drop down from its $60 price point (or rent it).
Now, on to a more detailed critique from the perspective of someone who has played every Id game starting with DOOM shareware (though I'm more of a casual family-man gamer now)...
Rage has a few major issues, but I'll focus on three:
One, of course, is the terrible final level and ending. Like I said... it's obvious that Id cut down on the amount of content per area as you get further into the game. The first wasteland around Wellspring is quite large and interesting, with sewers, mailboxes, Mutant TV, etc. all to explore. The second wasteland around Subway town is smaller and less interesting. And then it seems as if there's going to be a third area (or third act, if you want to call it that) which never occurs. Instead, you get one final level that's so bland and linear that I actually feel embarrassed for the designers at Id that I imagine put a lot of heart into this game's design.
The second problem with Rage is that it can't decide what type of game it is and it does not succeed particularly well in any specific type of game-play. Was I playing an action game with racing elements? And RPG with action elements? Borderlands and Fallout 3 already did post-apoc action-RPG, and they both did it better. Id needs to get their pure, hardcore action-game mojo back, plain and simple, before branching out to other areas.
Third issue... I hate to sound like a consolized gamer, but why no auto-saving check-points? PC games have quick-save, which would be fine for Rage if I were playing it on PC. You can't publicly state that the consoles are your primary market and then not include auto-save... no one with half a brain likes punching out to the main menu repeatedly to save their game.
All in all, I feel like I bought an unfinished product. Also, this game had to beat out Red Faction: Armageddon to win my `biggest letdown of 2011' award.