Doom's BFG-9000 makes an appearance in Rage 2 for owners of the Deluxe Edition, but normal players are left out in the cold. For years, pre-order culture and special editions have obfuscated the true price of a video game, to say nothing of DLC and microtransactions. Video games have cost $60 for well over a decade, but the true price of a game tends to be much higher.
It's becoming increasingly common for missions, weapons, and costumes to be locked behind pre-order incentives, but Rage 2 takes things to a whole new level with its pre-order weapon, the BFG-9000. The infamous "Big F****** Gun" from the Doom series, by id Software, is one of the most iconic weapons in all of gaming, and a cornerstone of the FPS genre.
The original Rage featured the Authority Pulse Cannon, which fired BFG rounds, a none-too-subtle nod to the legendary gun. For Rage 2, the BFG makes a proper appearance, but only for players who purchased the Rage 2 Deluxe Edition or the Collector's Edition, and then registered a Bethesda account, which can be done from the main menu. That's not good.
Upon completing the tutorial and entering the open world of Rage 2, players are treated to a message explaining the BFG's location in the world. It's right outside of the walls of Vineland, hidden inside a meteorite which crashes down to the surface. It's strangely contextualized, yet still completely random; thus, the BFG never truly feels like it belongs in the world of Rage 2.
For better and worse, the BFG is a cool gun in Rage 2. It's basically a mega-charged rocket launcher, capable of killing anything with no effort. It's outrageously over-powered and can clear out entire camps of enemies with a single charge. It's immensely satisfying to use, though one can't help but feel dirty, like they're cheating, whenever they use this premium weapon to instantly bypass enemy encounters in the game.
Developer Avalanche Studios attempts to balance the BFG by making ammunition for the weapon extremely expensive to purchase and completely unable to be found normally in the world. Money is generally better off being spent on items to upgrade weapons and skills, so it's not an ineffective method of balancing, but players can still invest in a few BFG charges here and there. It's still pretty unbalanced, but even worse, it's simply unfair to players of the Standard Edition of Rage 2.
Rage 2 has plenty of over-the-top weapons with which to dispatch zombies, but locking the single most powerful weapon behind the premium priced Deluxe Edition is simply unacceptable. Generally, pre-order weapons are balanced to give players a minor boost in the early game before being quickly outclassed by better weapons early on. Either that, or they're just palette-swapped versions of other weapons.
Using the iconic BFG as incentive to purchase a more expensive version of the game is a bridge too far. Making things worse, the BFG is an incredibly powerful weapon with game-altering potential. Rage 2 crosses a line by denying this tool to regular players. Practices like this set a dangerous precedent for video game publishers who will continue to seek increasingly audacious methods of squeezing more and more money from players.
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