Rage - Weapon and Ammo Choices
Rage is a fairly old school FPS, which means that you have an entire arsenal on your back, some of which is completely ridiculous in its power. If you'd like to learn more about when to use which of your killing implements, just look for some tips below.
The Settler Pistol
This will be your first real weapon. Dan Hagar will hand it over when you agree to kill the Ghost Bandits.
Overall, it's actually a fairly useful weapon. In the early game, you'll find that it has a fair amount of stopping power. A few shots to the chest will put any unarmored bandit down, and it's just as effective with headshots as any other weapon. It's accurate as long as you aren't trying to snipe with it, and if you get the monocular upgrade, then you can even do all right at long-range. The only weakness is that you'll be a little short on ammo. A few missed shots can leave you very vulnerable to attack while you reload.
Its real power is in the versatility though. If you move on to the better ammo types, it will continue to be useful for the rest of the game.
After a few quests, you'll receive your first ammo recipe. Fatboy rounds are incredibly useful all the way up to the end of the game. They have great armor penetration and one or two headshots with them will put any non-mutant enemy in the game down for the count. They're quite cheap too, so always remember to keep a few dozen on hand.
Fat Mammas are the upgrade for Fatboys, and you should be able to pick up the schematic for them from either Halek or Coffer in Wellspring. Once you have the recipe, you can upgrade your Fatboy rounds with an explosive pack to give them a lot more punch. Fat Mammas do twice as much damage as Fatboys, and they can keep going after hitting a target. This isn't that useful, but there will be times when enemies will line up nicely for you down a hallway. Nothing feels better than dropping three melee rushers with one bullet. Since you can buy explosive packs cheaply, these are also a surprisingly economical ammo choice.
Killbursts are actually not that useful. Despite the "bullet in a bullet" angle, you're left far too vulnerable after each shot. Yes, it's nice to be able to put six rounds into a target at once, but having to do a long reload after each shot makes this fairly worthless for most of the fights in the game. Of course, since it's a one shot weapon, if you miss, you're completely out of luck.
These are very useful weapons, but they're a little pricey for what you get.
You can unlock wingsticks by passing Loosum Hagar's test at the start of the game. Wingsticks are easy to throw and are able to partially home in on an enemy. One hit is usually enough to kill most targets, especially since the wingstick tends to decapitate with a solid hit. If you're in a wide open area, there's also a decent chance that it will come back to you.
The downside is that you really need some room to throw a wingstick. If you have a wall to the left or right of you, then it will just smash before it hits the target. They also aren't cheap to make, at least compared to similarly priced special ammo, and the stealth aspect isn't that useful. While at times it's nice to be able to quietly kill an enemy at the start of the level, you won't remain unnoticed for long.
After some time has passed, you will be able to upgrade to Advanced Wingsticks through a schematic. These are practically game breaking. They can hit multiple targets, they do more damage, and they home in better. They're still of questionable use in tight spaces, but if you bring a few with you, you'll be able to cut through heavily armored foes.
The Combat Shotgun
It's a shotgun; I really shouldn't have to say much more. This is an incredible weapon for aggressive players. Most human targets will die in a burst or two of buckshot. Even armored targets will die if you can manage to fire into them at close range. It's the ideal weapon for killing mutants. Just let them run at you and fire a burst into their chest.
The reload process is long, but it can be interrupted if you just need a few more shells to finish a fight. There shouldn't be too many battles when the ammo limitation is a real problem though. If it is, you can also get an upgrade from Coffer in Wellspring. This will switch the ammo over to a magazine for quicker reloads.
Of course, there's also some special ammo on hand.
Pulse ammo doesn't seem all that useful. While it will do more damage to armored targets and machines, you won't face many machines and most armored targets die just fine with normal buckshot.
Pop rockets, on the other hand, are spectacular. They won't show up until you start facing some fairly advanced enemies, but when they do, make sure that you buy the schematics and stock up. You should also be able to buy them from Jane in Subway Town. They are incredibly useful against the heavily armored targets that you'll start seeing toward the end of the game. A few pop rockets will kill just about anything. They're a little expensive, so don't waste them, but they're well worth the cost for harder targets.
The Assault Rifle
This fairly standard weapon is on sale at Halek's shop for $275. You should be able to pull the money together after a few missions. You can usually find a fair amount of ammo for this from your enemies' bodies, since it's one of the more common weapons in the game. If you use it as your weapon though, you'll be losing a fair bit of money. While the ammo may not seem that expensive, you'll go through a lot of it during the average battle.
This is especially true when you're fighting mutants. While firing from the hip is quite nice for taking out mutant hordes, you're better off sticking to shotguns or special pistol rounds.
The assault rifle actually gets far more useful around the middle of the game. When you start facing armored targets, you can switch to special feltrite rounds. They're a little expensive, but they'll tear apart heavily armored enemies. Around this time, you'll also start facing more lightly armored enemies. They're a little too tough to comfortably take out with a shotgun or pistol, so you may find it better to use the assault rifle to clear them out using your basic ammo.
Note that Coffer offers a few upgrades for this. You can buy them to reduce the spread of your shots and recoil.
The Bonus Weapons - Fists of Rage and Double-Barrelled Shotgun
Rage, in an effort to make me more cynical, offered a number of bonuses for ordering the game early or getting the special Anarchy Edition. Unfortunately, instead of being fairly cosmetic items, they tend to be straight upgrades.
The double-barreled shotgun is one of the few cosmetic ones. It's technically different, but it isn't that special. It's incredibly powerful, and fires two of any type of shotgun ammo at once. This will obviously obliterate most single targets. Unfortunately, this means that you have to reload it after every single shot. Since you will usually be facing groups of enemies, this makes it fairly useless. There really aren't that many situations where it would be better than a combat shotgun. That's not to say that it isn't a bit fun to use. It's a great novelty weapon, especially for close range fights. Don't feel bad about not getting it.
Unlike the Fist of Rage, which is a straight upgrade if you have the special edition, your fists will have several blades strapped to them. This will let you kill most enemies by punching them in the face. Just about every normal enemy can be killed with one or two hits, if you can land it on their head without being shot up too bad. Note that if you just have your normal fists, then they're pretty much worthless.
I'm sure any FPS player knows what grenades are.
HE grenades are useful for small groups of enemies or heavily armored targets. Remember that holding down the throw button for about two seconds will cook the grenade so that it explodes right about the time that it lands. This makes it far more effective, since enemies won't be able to run. Just don't blow yourself up with it.
You'll get EMP grenades after your first encounter with the Authority. These aren't that useful in combat, since you won't face many machines and it's usually easier to just gun down Authority shield carriers. If you have a surplus, then remember to toss them out to shake your enemies up a bit.
This is exactly what it says on the tin. You'll get this from Dan before he sends you out to destroy the blockade.
It's a fairly standard sniper rifle. You can zoom in further by hitting "E" and the shots from it are quite powerful. Most unarmored enemies will die in a single hit, especially if you can land a headshot. If you need some practice with your aiming, there are several sniper missions that you can take in Wellspring. Taking one of these side quests has the added benefit of securing you a free upgrade for the rifle: the auto-loader. With this, you'll be able to fire all five shots in a row without the bolt-action delay.
That said, this isn't a particularly useful weapon. You'll rarely be fighting enemies at a long range, the scope shakes a lot if you're hit, and once you start seeing enemies with the helmet, it becomes a little worthless. Any enemy with sufficient head armor will take two headshots to kill, which is fairly inefficient. It'll still come in handy when facing machine gunners and snipers, so keep a little ammo on hand, but don't expect to use it a lot.
You'll get this one from Dan after your supply run to Wellspring.
It's a nice weapon that does a lot of damage. The silent aspect of the weapon doesn't seem very useful. It's very rare to have stealth as a genuine option. Without that as a perk, the basic weapon becomes a little lackluster. It's an accurate choice, but slow to fire and reload.
The main use for it is the special ammo.
Electro-bolts will come in handy for one level, in which you can shoot pools of water to electrify massive numbers of enemies. They are also occasionally useful for opening up secret rooms. Shooting yellow breaker boxes can open doors and clear paths.
The mind control darts aren't very useful either. They're expensive to make and only useful in very specific situations. They will come in handy against certain authority formations. If you see a tightly clustered group of soldiers, especially soldiers hiding behind shields, then mind control darts are your best friend. One shot into an unprotected soldier will let you blow up the entire group.
Dynamite bolts are the truly useful ones though, and it's a shame that you get them too late in the game to really appreciate them. When you're fighting heavily armored targets, like Authority soldiers or Jackal Bandits, then you'll want to have a few of these. One hit anywhere on a target is guaranteed to kill them and anyone dumb enough to stick around. Best of all, near misses can still kill enemies with the following explosion. Keep an eye out for the schematic in Subway Town.
Authority Machine Gun
There's something a bit karmic about this one. You can pick it up from Coffer in Wellspring for about $450. Just do a few of Stanley's delivery missions if you're a bit short.
This is an incredible weapon overall, and it will probably be your bread and butter for the latter half of the game. It's incredibly effective against armored targets (if you aim for the face and neck) and can tear up just about anything. Unfortunately, the ammo is a little expensive for how quickly you go through it. Thankfully, a lot of authority soldiers will drop some when they die. I suggest that unless you're fighting the Authority, you switch between the machine gun and the feltrite rounds for the assault rifle. This will make sure that you don't run out of ammo halfway through.
The special ammo is a straight upgrade, similar to the feltrite rounds. The pulse rounds will stun and shock opponents slightly, and they're just generally more effective against armored targets. If you can afford them, there's no reason not to use them.
These are a little expensive to build, unless you scavenge a lot of parts, but they can really make some fights easier.
Sentry turrets are completely useless. They're easy to knock over and they aren't able to move, which is a big negative when you're always forced to move around during a fight. Don't bother making them.
Sentry bots, on the other hand, can be quite useful. They're fairly hard to kill (especially if you get the upgrade) and they can put out a lot of firepower. They can also move around environments easily and engage new targets. They don't have a huge sense of self-preservation, so don't get too attached to your bots. For certain fights later in the game though, they can really open up a few new strategies if you're tired of the usual course of running around with a shotgun.
RC Bomb Cars
These are fairly uselss, except for the required puzzles in the Shrouded Bunker.
Theoretically, they allow you to sneak up to groups of enemies and get big group kills. In reality, it's very rare that this will ever be the case. The cars are usually spotted and easily destroyed, and in the end, they aren't any better than a well thrown grenade. Just sell any that you find. They aren't really worth the money.
This is another fairly self-explanatory weapon.
You'll get the rocket launcher right before the big boss fight on your first trip to Dead City. The rockets are fairly powerful, and even the most heavily armored enemy will die to a few hits. The rocket launcher can hold four rockets at once, which makes it fairly useful, even in some of the more hectic fights. Reloading isn't too long either, considering the power of each shot.
One thing to note is that while rockets are expensive, they aren't prohibitively expensive. Go ahead and keep a few on hand to make killing heavy machine gunners easier.
The special ammo is actually not used against normal enemies. The Viper rockets are special anti-vehicle rockets. They're very expensive and I don't believe I ever had to use them. Theoretically, they're useful if you are stranded in the wasteland, but for the most part, you should be able to keep your vehicle alive long enough to get you to shelter.
Authority Pulse Cannon
This minigun almost doesn't belong on the list. It's your reward for agreeing to assault Capital Prime. This is the final mission for the game, so this is basically just a fun weapon. It's a minigun with a large clip that will last you through most engagements. The shots do a lot of damage and penetrate armor well. You can go toe-to-toe with heavies and survive too.
The special ammo is the rare BFG cartridge. When you use this, a charged ball of energy will appear in front of you. Hold the trigger down for a few seconds and it will hit the required energy level and fire. Just about any enemy in the room with you will die, so it's fairly useful.
Hopefully this will get you off to a good start in Rage. As you can tell, most weapons are useful with the right ammo in the right situation. Plan accordingly and you should be fine.
If you disagree with any of these points or have your own tips and tricks to add, then feel free to leave a comment below.
All information based on a "Hard" difficulty playthrough of Rage
All screenshots from Rage