I think RAGE looks fantastic. In fact, at last year's E3, it was my favourite game of the show - but if you pre-order RAGE now, you'll have access to four downloadable in-game items for free, and I can't help but get irritated by these special pre-order bonuses.
According to Bethesda the downloadable items are...
Double Barrel Shotgun Wasteland settler design and ingenuity! Features compact form factor with plenty of muscle to take out everything from mutants, bandits and maybe even a lone Authority Enforcer.
Crimson Elite Armour This is the most sought-after armour in the wasteland. Constructed of hardened plate armour, this gear was created specifically to withstand the toughest wasteland battles. It also features larger component storage, allowing you to carry more parts that will aid in the fabrication of advanced engineering items.
Fists of Rage A classic weapon for close quarters combat. When you’ve run out of ammunition and fists are the only option, these razor sharp knuckle blades will give you that combat edge.
Rat Rod Buggy Improve your odds of survival in the wasteland with this vehicle that comes equipped with a front smash guard and durable protection.
I can't exactly put my finger on precisely why I get so easily irritated by pre-order deals - it's at least partly to do with the fact I'm getting older and grumpier by the day - but I can't help but feel like these deals affect the internal integrity and consistency of the game themselves.
Part of me just hates the idea that some gamers, as a result of pre-ordering a specific game, on a specific platform, at a particular retailer, have an advantage in-game. Even if that advantage is purely for the single player campaign, it doesn't feel right to me.
Cosmetic upgrades (like armour upgrades in Halo: Reach) bug me less, but personally I don't really feel like I need to given arbitrary upgrades as a reward for buying a game in a specific way. I'd prefer to earn them in the game itself, the old fashioned way.
I understand the business reasons, and the need to drive pre-orders, but still - surely the internal consistency of the game itself is more important?