Harsher in Hindsight: School shootings happening in real life was one of the reasons why King pulled it out of print. He would later say that if Rage was published in later years, it would be certain that someone would describe him as "mentally ill."
Squick: The Cherokee Nose Job. A disturbing procedure where women who have cheated are forced to have their noses mutilated just to mark them for life as cheaters to everyone who ever sees their face.
Tear Jerker: Teds fate is very upsetting to read especially since hes the only character who sees Charlie as a murderer and is punished so cruelly by everyone including his own friends just for opposing Charlies games.
Anticlimax Boss: The Gearhead Boss is set up like a proper boss fight, health bar and all. In practice, he's marginally tougher reskin of the armored minigun enemies that walk at a snail's pace, can't follow a target to save their lives, and are so predictable that you can melee them to death with ease. The only difference with the Gearhead Boss is that you'll spend slightly longer abusing the same strategy.
Author's Saving Throw: The Scorchers DLC adds in features players wanted in the main game, primarily post-game free roaming.
The big heavily armored minigun guys that begin appearing about half way through the game. They steadily march toward your position spraying bullets if you spend more than a second out of cover and take a lot of hits to go down. Rarely do they appear completely alone and may even show up in pairs alongside the normal enemies. The saving grace is that, absent any backup, they are comically easily to melee to death just by strafing around them. On Ultra Nightmare, however, they won't approach until you've killed off their mooks, making it that much harder to stop them.
The Jackal clan sniper enemies. They shoot highly damaging rockets or fireballs at the player while their berserker buddies rush in with their highly damaging axes. On the higher difficulties these attacks can easily kill the player in just two hits by themselves!
The Authority mutants that (thankfully) only appear in the last level. They combine everything bad about a club mutant (see below) with decent armor and a powerful plasma cannon attack. Best hold down the trigger on that Authority Pulse Cannon if you hope to survive...
Disappointing Last Level: One of the most recurring reviewer complaints. By the time the player has reached Capitol Prime, they've fought a towering cyborg mutant colossus. For added difficulty, it is only vulnerable to the rocket launcher at certain times. If you've played the DLC, you can add a heavily armed airship to the list. So, for the final battle... the player fights several waves of normal-sized cyborg mutants, who, while tough in their own right, are utterly trivialized by the 11th-Hour Superpower that is the Authority Pulse Cannon.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Loosum Hagar, the woman that teaches you how to use a Wingstick and how to craft them for completing her challenge before you probably have even fired a bullet yet. She has just about no other role in the entirety of the game, staying in one spot for the Wingstick challenge, but her Ms. Fanservice design and giving you a means to make one of the handiest weapons in the game made her stick out compared to the rest of the cast. Consequently, the novelization made her an Ascended Extra, and the sequel made her a major cast member in the storyline, albeit Older and Wiser.
The Authority is desperately looking for Ark survivors and will go to any length to get its hands on them, because Ark survivors contain the nanomachines that the Authority needs for various operations. Except it's later revealed that The Authority was started by a conspiracy of Ark survivors who rigged their Arks to reactivate sooner, allowing them to curb stomp any other survivor with their superior technology. This means that, logically, the Authority is supposed to have more than enough nanomachines already!
Somewhat following the last point: how is it that the Authority has so many advanced weapons and technology? They couldn't have built all of this in the years after their rise to power since the backstory reveals that the entire reason they rose in the first place was that they awoke sooner, presumably with loads of weapons and technology! How can this be true, if, as repeatedly mentioned on this page, Arks were not buried with weapons in them?
Definitely a case of All There in the Manual; the novel explains that Cross and his men rode out the apocalypse inside a "Super Ark" that was designed to house hundreds of high-ranking government members (Cross' people ambushed them and stole the Super Ark for their own use), and which presumably was better stocked with supplies.
Once you get the schematics for the Advanced Wingsticks, you'll never shoot another bullet again. You don't even have to aim them. Just mash the button and three enemies at a time get instantly decapitated, and more often than not, you don't even lose the wingstick (that returns to your hand for another use). All it takes to build them is three extremely common and cheap ingredients, and you can make fifteen with every such batch. They lose some of their utility on higher difficulties, but they still kill at least one enemy pretty reliably.
The Scorchers DLC adds in the Jackpots casino, a smaller hub for the missions thereof, which naturally holds a roulette wheel and a poker machine. If you're any good at poker (or any good at Save Scumming), you can easily max out your money and buy all the things you want from the vendors, and just spam explosive weapons without fear of losing the loot drops.
Goddamn Bats: The basic club mutants. They have low health, no ranged attacks, and no special powers, but are extremely fast, agile, and most often attack in large groups. It doesn't help that the game likes to mix them with knife-throwers that are hard to tell apart in the melee.
Paranoia Fuel: The game takes place after an asteroid hits the Earth — a very real asteroid, that might actually hit us. Of course, the current probability of the asteroid hitting is currently 1 in 250,000, which are better odds than before when it was first discovered, and many believe that while it would bad if it hit, it wouldn't cause any long-term global damage. Still, it is a bit scary to think about. It turns out, however, that the asteroid isn't what caused the mutants. In an interesting Deconstruction of the post-apocalyptic videogame genre, it is revealed late into the game that the mutants are failed experiments of the Authority's various attempts to create nanotech powered supersoldiers.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: There are a wide variety of betting minigames and other distractions the player can engage in. Even worse, several achievements are tied to them and rely heavily on random chance to unlock. Hope you weren't doing anything important when you noticed the the new settlement you're visiting has a game you haven't tried yet...
"JACKPOT!", one of the luck-based achievements. It requires scoring four kills on your first roll at Tombstone, so start Save Scumming because the odds of getting four kills in one roll are 1 in 16.
The "Gotta Have Em' All" achievement is also a major pain to even attempt. To unlock it the player has to find every single trading card in the game in one playthrough. These cards are almost always extremely well hidden in the environment or stashed in locked rooms (hope you brought lots of lock grinders) that the player is likely to miss. As frustrating as this would be on its own, several cards become unobtainable if not picked up during the one chance the player has to pass through the area (although a patch later made missed one-time cards available from vendors... for a very steep price). Needless to say, getting this achievement without a guide or walkthrough of some sort is borderline impossible.
"Just a Flesh Wound" requires you to beat the final round of 5 Finger Filet. Sounds easy enough, but the game randomizes the final round each time you play it so you need quick reflexes to win. It's also twice as long as the other rounds. Note that the counterpart achievement, "Deliverance", is incredibly easy to cheese just by writing down the notes and repeating them.
That One Sidequest: If you're playing on Ultra Nightmare, time trial races become this. Ultra Nightmare increases the difficulty by cutting up to 20 seconds off the time needed to place, which is downright punishing on certain maps.
Visual Effects of Awesome: The visual aesthetics and detail are impressive, and the game boasts some truly convincing mo-cap work.