Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rage Hands-On Preview - Diary of an Ark Survivor

Dear Diary,
It's the little things you miss most in the postapocalypse. Government, laws, small bits of your humanity--you learn to adapt quickly without those luxuries to survive. But toilet paper…now that's a whole other story. I've done some things that I'm not too proud of to get a roll of that stuff. It's basically gold by today's standards. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets start with how I came to be stranded on this ruined planet--a waking nightmare from which I doubt I'll ever be free.
Here's some free advice: Never let yourself get put into suspended animation. You've all seen those movies, right? Guy goes to sleep in some pod only to wake up years later and finds that the whole world has gone crazy. Turns out that actually happens. Waking up in a sterile room surrounded by malfunctioned pods filled with corpses, I almost considered myself lucky. That is, right up until the bandits attacked. While the Ark's computer prattled on with some useless automated message, two short, gaunt figures were sizing me up in the doorway. A few bullets sent their brains spraying across the room.
My savior went by the name of Dan Hager, a burly man and no doubt a native to these parts. He started talking up a storm about how happy he was to have found me, mentioned something about a group called The Authority, and then said something about my Ark suit, but I could little more than gawk at the scenery around me. There was nothing but cliffs, rocks, and ruined city streets as far as the eye could see. What had happened here? Before I could ask, Hager motioned me to keep quiet as we passed a checkpoint manned by more of those things that had almost gutted me earlier. Sometimes, I almost wish they had.
After a short drive, we were parked in Hager's settlement. This makeshift village was built around a converted gas station and housed about a half-dozen survivors. Skipping any introductions, Hager led me into his office and got straight to business. By rescuing me, he had put the whole settlement at risk, he explained. The bandits would be coming once they discovered the bodies of their dead friends, and they would want blood. Hager didn't want that to happen. He wanted me to kill them first. This was heavy stuff. I had just been brought into this world, and now I was being asked to take others out. Did I even have the stomach for such a thing?
I opened my mouth to protest, but Hager shoved a monstrous pistol into my hands. Holding the weapon felt familiar somehow, and I shut my mouth. I figured this is how the world works now, kill or be killed, and who was I to stand against it? Plus, the old man did say there was something "special" about us Ark folks. And those bandits did try to kill me first, so this was just aggressive self-defense. To get back to the bandits' hideout, I was given a beat-up 4-wheeler to drive. Poor thing didn't look like much, but a little button labeled "boost" sent me back down that dusty road in a big hurry.
Once the bullets started flying, I got the feeling Hager oversold this whole "bandit threat" issue just a bit. They had numbers, but these pale, little freaks were armed with nothing more than knives and bats. And the way they charged straight at me suggested they'd never encountered a gun before. Two or three shots to the body, or one to head, was enough to drop one. And when I did get hit, I could either wait for my health to recover on its own (more on that later) or slap on one of the bandages Hager had included for a quick fix. The mass murder was going really well until I stepped into a noose trap that hoisted me into the air. One of the little creatures then strolled over and ordered that I be "taken to the kill room."

I died in that filthy little pit. Amid the piles of gore and the stink of who-knows-what, one of those little monsters slid a blade right between my ribs and left me to rot. Hardly seems fair, right? I guess fate agreed with me because that's when the nanomachines kicked into action. By playing a little game in my head where I mimicked certain motions, I was able to kick start my heart and get back on my feet. The more motions I could mimic, the healthier I felt upon waking. This defibrillator also sent out a shock wave that damaged all nearby foes. However, the device had its limits and took time to recharge in between each use. Needless to say, my would-be murderers never saw it coming.
After shooting my way out of the bandits' hideout, I took a zip line back down to where the 4-wheeler was parked. Despite a few bumps, bruises, and a quick brush with death, it was job well done. Back at Hager's settlement, my employer was inclined to agree. Adrenaline still pumping in my veins, I didn't even flinch when he asked me to pay a visit to a local settlement up north to see about collecting some medical supplies. Before heading out, I took a moment to stop and chat with a few of the locals. One scantly clad woman caught my eye and taught me how to throw a wingstick--a sort of weaponized boomerang. A fast-talking merchant was more than eager to buy up all the spray cans, as well as the other crap I had collected during my brief travels, and sold me some bandages in exchange.
To make a long story short, I'll just say the neighboring village fell under the guidance of an old woman with a robotic arm. In an world were people seem hard-pressed to get an old buggy up and running, it was surprising to see this level of technology out in the wild. What else could be out there, and how much of it has been lost forever? In exchange for the requested medical supplies, the old woman tasked me with finding out what happened to someone named Juno, a local who had gone missing some time ago. In this environment, I could venture a guess, but I kept my mouth shut and agreed to help.
I stumbled upon Juno's remains while running for my life from a pack of mad gearheads with thick, British accents. These blokes were well armed and well fortified within an old radio tower. Thanks to my soft spot for helping desperate villagers, I agreed to investigate this area and realign the radio transmitter to help boost their signal. At that moment, the only thing I had time to realign was some greaser's head from his shoulders. Wingsticks worked well for this, as did grenades. I managed to drop one particularly beefy brute that had a light machine gun with some special, high-powered fat-boy slugs fired from my pistol.
My unfortunate news about Juno didn't brighten the elderly woman's day once I returned from my mission. Even so, she did hand over the recipe for crafting healing cloths, so that should solve Hager's medical crisis. The other local who tasked me with fixing the radio tower was much more pleased to learn that it had been taken care of--so much so that he dropped a shotgun in my hands. But the errands don't stop there. As I write this, propped against the side of someone else's 4-wheeler, armed with someone else's shotgun, in someone else's world, I'm not sure what to make of all this. Maybe I'm dead and this is some form of hyperaggressive purgatory. Whatever the case, there are good people here who need a helping hand. Perhaps we'll find a way out of this together.

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