Rubgy 18 or What Is Going On?

Posted in Hands On with tags , on October 31, 2017 by Rabidgames

So imagine you like watching Rugby. And now there’s a rugby game, so why not get it? So you go out and buy Rugby 18 only to realise there is only a bares-bone tutorial explaining a few things and then you can read about rugby. No videos, no audio, just text. Ouch.

But come on, how hard can it be? Well, perhaps Rabidgames is lacking talent or any kind of understanding for rugby. But after 3 matches of Rugby 18, the score was 0-0. Yep, 0-0! Defending comes relatively natural, so no, defending isn’t a big issue. But going forward only works at snail’s pace, if at all, so what to do? You keep on playing, you try new things, but not much really happens until you finally score a try. Mind you, that’s on the easiest difficulty setting of Rugby 18. You get the ball, you pass, you get tackled, you get the ball, you pass, you get tackled, rinse and repeat. Rucks and scrums are presented by mini-games, and if that’s better thought out then the core gameplay of passing and running, you know what you need to now about the sorry state of the game.

There also a career mode, but there is hardly any presentation whatsoever but a few extra menus where you can loan players or check your finances, making the career even more boring than the rest of the game. The rather boring menus in PES look like fucking Oxford Street a week before christmas compared to Rugby 18

The commentary in Rugby 18 is also, well, it seems random. And when the teams are introduced, there are even audible pauses, that you can hear during matches at times, too.

What can one say about Rugby 18? You know some games include grinding, but if grinding is part of the gameplay itself, you’re in for an awful treat. And that is exactly what Rugby 18 is – an awful game plagued by boring gameplay, and even more boring presentation and then some technical issues. But hey, at least the graphics look nice!

Rabidgames needs an energy drink: Hands down, Rugby 18 is one of the most boring games ever. If you’re a big massive fan of rugby or an insomniac, you might want to give it a try. Everyone else should just avoid it.

 

 

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Assassin’s Creed’s Timeline or Full Circle

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2017 by Rabidgames

With Assassin’s Creed Origins just out, why not take a look at the history of the series? For this purpose, we’ll only look at the main games (Liberations not included as it is considerably smaller), and if they’re worth visiting again. For this purpose, Rabidgames has played each game for at least 5 hours.

Assassin’s Creed

The Setting: Medieval Middle East during the Third Crusade. We can explore three cities, Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus, as well as the hub and assassin hub of Masyaf. And we meet a real life Templar leader …

The Story: Pretty much just killing Templars to obtain the Apple of Eden, a powerful artifact (it’s a long story). In present times, we are introduced to Desmond, Lucy and Abstergo, the modern-day Templars.

The Gameplay: Repetitive. The first Assassin’s Creed is 9 assassinations – the good thing is you can do them however you please (to a degree), the bad news is you have to repeat the very same steps leading towards the assassination 9 times. Oh, and you better enjoy gathering a million flags …

The Verdict: Hard to get into now. Essentially a tech demo.

 

Assassin’s Creed 2

The Setting: Renaissance Venice, Florence, the family hub of Monteriggioni and a few more locations. You get to meet folk such as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Bartolomeo d’Alviano, Lorenzo de Medici, the villainous Borgia and uncle Mario.

The Story: Experience how Ezio turns from spoilt playboy to feared Assassin leader who takes on the corrupt pope and meets members of the first civilisation (who created the Apple from AC1 and lived on earth before humanity). In present day, Desmond meets a few more Assassins.

The Gameplay: More varied, more counters, more tools. If you’re into puzzles, you can explore caverns and tombs, or you can solve glyph puzzles that give you some insight into the world of Assassin’s Creed.

The Verdict: The story is still great, the gameplay feels a bit bare-bone now though. Still worth experiencing though.

 

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

The Setting: Renaissance Rome, including all points of interests and the outskirts. Also, you can explore present-day Monteriggioni. Most of the cast from AC2 appear again. Desmond gets a bit stabby at the end of the game.

The Story: Monteriggioni is attacked. A wounded Ezio arrives in Rome to take revenge. And take revenge he does …

The Gameplay: Well, mostly a refined version of AC2. Plus you can now recruit and command assassins and send them on missions. We learn more of the perennial bad girl Juno. For whatever idiotic reason, multiplayer gets introduced. Who asked for this?

The Verdict: Commanding your brotherhood never gets old. Still fun to mess around with.

 

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

The Setting: Istanbul/Constantinople. The city looks and feels different from the previous games.

The Story: Ezio travels to Istanbul/Constantinople to discover an important secret. Also, we get to know more about Altair. Desmond is stuck in the Animus.

The Gameplay: More of the same, but with bombs and more mobility. Sadly, no more glyphs but a poor Tower Defense mini-game. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: This game has a same old, same old feeling sadly. Lots of extra stuff not worth your while.

 

Assassin’s Creed III

The Setting: The American Revolution. Set in the wilderness, protagonist Connor’s homestead and rather rural looking Boston and New York. A stellar cast, including Franklin, Washington, Jefferson and many more.

The Story: The American Revolution. However, the game deviates from its predecessors by telling the story in different shades of grey. We also get a bit of a Vader/Luke situation. Also, the end of Desmond’s story and Juno’s release.

The Gameplay: A few changes, but mostly just redefined from previous games. A hint of naval battles and trekking through the wilderness – a highlight in deep snow – as well as hunting gave AC3 a different feeling though. There are also quite a few segments in present day with Desmond. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Tough one. The story is great, the gameplay can be fun, but it is a few chapters too long and the crafting and economic system are mostly useless. Still, Ubisoft dared to touch this sensitive topic and delivered a game neither neglecting the will for freedom nor how the freedom was exploited quickly.

 

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

The Setting: The Caribbean. Pirates. Ships. Your ship. Three major cities; Kingston, Havana and Nassau, a multitude of little islands and your very own hideout island. You meet quite a few famous pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard.

The Story: A pirate (father/grandfather of the protagonists of AC3) turns Templar turns Assassin (and stays there). The story actually spans 3 different times, and present day is narrated from the eyes of an Abstergo employee. Juno says hello, and the Sages are introduced.

The Gameplay: On land, not much changed. Except for awful tailing missions, the low point of Black Flag. The naval battles are an absolute highlight though. You are an Abstergo employee in present day – anonymous and clueless. Unfortunately, multiplayer is still in.

The Verdict: Great and different. Sailing the seas and sinking ships never gets old.

 

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

The Setting: The Atlantic Ocean near the Northern American coast, a smaller map with more islands, New York. And your ship. Not much happens in present day.

The Story: You play as an Assassin turned Templar! Nice change, eh?

The Gameplay: Same as Black Flag, plus a few extras here or there. Thankfully, minus multiplayer.

The Verdict: The story ties together the American saga ACs (although the beginning of Unity is related, too). It’s a bit short in terms of story, but again – sailing and sinking. Oh, and fighting Assassins, of course.

 

Assassin’s Creed Unity

The Setting: Paris during the revolution (the French one in case you’re wondering). A very lively and nicely looking Paris full of details and atmosphere. You get to meet characters including Napoleon, Marquis de Sade and Robespierre.

The Story: Entirely forgettable. Not much happens in present day either.

The Gameplay: A few new systems, but fighting was way too clumsy and not intuitive. Co-op missions are in for whatever reason, another thing no one ever asked for. Speaking of shit no one ever asked for – locked chests you could only open with a companion app – a low point.

The Verdict: Broken at release, now Paris is a joy to explore, but a chore to play through. Boring protagonist and the revolution just happens around you.

 

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The Setting: London in Victorian times, including the Buckingham Palace, the Tower and Big Ben. And a bit of London during World War 1. Your base is a moving train. You get to meet the likes of Marx, Dickens, Darwin, Florence Nightingale, a young Arthur Conan Doyle and Winston Churchill.

The Story: Two twins take over gangs and take down a Templar conspiracy in London while London oozes Victorian and proto-capitalist (poisonous) air. Something very important happens in present day. And the Assassins save the queen. Obviously.

The Gameplay: Sleek and refined. There are also Hitman-style assassinations and you can develop both characters differently. Diverse and rewarding side missions make sure there’s always something to do in London. Oh, and no more fucking mutiplayer, yay!

The Verdict: The best gameplay, hands down. And a great protagonist (Evie, not Jacob) make the game a joy to play and mess around with gangsters and cops.

 

To sum it up, while Unity can very easily be called the weakest game due to its forgettable story and nothing important really happening (even if we forget about the technical issues at start), it’s difficult to name ONE game to be the best Assassin’s Creed game – story-wise, Assassin’s Creed 2 wins. Brotherhood has the best feeling of being an Assassin leader, while Black Flag’s offer to be a pirate is hard to refuse. And then we have Syndicate with the most fluent and refined gameplay.

Rabidgames ponders: Perhaps Origins really is the best game in the series. That would decide it easily without thinking too hard about the best Assassin’s Creed …

An Obituary for Visceral Games

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , on October 18, 2017 by Rabidgames

FUCK YOU, EA!

That pretty much sums it up now, doesn’t it? The biggest fucking assholes of the gaming world, Electronic Ass, did it again. They fuckers closed yet another studio. Westwood, Origin, Bullfrog, Pandemic and countless others are dead, Bioware is dying, and now the cunts shot Visceral Games in the back – while still developing a mysterious Star Wars game! Fuck EA!

Why did EA close the studio? Fuck knows. Could be that EA’s Frostbyte engine seems to shitty as fuck – rumours are one of the reasons Andromeda is what it is because the engine simply is ill-suited for RPGs but works better with online shooters, could be that EA needs a “new direction” for the game – knowing the shitheads, it probably means loot boxes, always-online and shooting shit on  galleries, or it could be something entirely different. Who cares? Fuck EA!

Bastards! Anyway, in case you don’t know, Visceral worked on games such as Dante’s Inferno, the Dead Space series, some Lord of the Rings games, some Battlefield games, and most notably, for Rabidgames at least, they developed the widely underestimated Godfather games. But see for yourself:

Yes, as was the case with Saboteur and Mercenaries, the controls and animations are clunky, and by today’s standards, the games feel hard to play. But hey, that’s the charm of the lost art of AA games, isn’t it?

The first Godfather was a tough RPG where you ended up dead quickly in the beginning, and had you rising to the top of the Corleone family, with all the famous faces around – except for Michael, because he needed a different face for some reasons. Taking over the city with stealth, shoot-outs and satisfyingly brutal executions was always fun, and you had to be careful not to start a mob war.

Godfather 2 expanded the story from New York to Miami and Havana, and also introduced a crew running around with you as well as a tactical map where you needed to defend your businesses or attack others’. To no one’s surprise, part 2 also introduced a mostly useless multiplayer, and after that, the Godfather disappeared into nothingness.

Rabidgames shakes an angry fist: Again, fuck EA! Fuck off! Their rotten business policy seems to be buy and burn! And to make matters worse, we can safely assume Bioware will be next to rot in an unmarked grave in the desert of EA’s cemetery of the forsaken.

 

5 Reasons Why Dragon’s Dogma Is Still One of the Best Games Ever

Posted in Commentary, Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , on October 17, 2017 by Rabidgames

Do you think this sounds a bit much? Well, it doesn’t. No one knows hoe Capcom of all people ended up producing such an innovative, deep and lovingly created gem such as Dragon’s Dogma, but they did.

And console gamers can now play Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen – all DLCs included – for 20 quid in a better version than last gen. Sure, the 60 FPS support from PC didn’t make it over for some reason, but the game now runs like it should have been years ago. But in case you wonder what makes this game so great, well, you’ll find 5 solid reasons below:

 

5. The night is dark and full of terrors

The first night out is not a great experience for most in Dragon’s Dogma – at night, there are more and deadlier enemies about, and if you are foolish enough to forget your lantern and some oil, you won’t even see them coming. Bear in mind though that the lantern only shines light on your immediate surroundings – many an Arisen have fallen prey to dragon attacks from out of the sky in certain parts of Gransys. And then there’s the ever dark dungeon from Dark Arisen, where Death haunts you – literally.

 

4. The sheer depth of customisation

For many, GTA or Saints Row are the holy grail of customisation, but Dragon’s Dogma has lots to offer in this regard – and since you’re creating both your Arisen AND your Pawn, you’ll have twice the fun. From hobbits to lumbering giants, from Danny Trejo’s Machete or Gandalf to Sandor Clegane or Lara Croft, you can create them all. And even more, height and weight also have an effect on your stamina, and rumour has it that there are some holes only very tiny Arisen can enter …

Oh, and equipment? The fact there is a trophy for having obtained 350 pieces of weapons and armour says all about that – and that trophy hails from pre-Dark Arisen days …

 

3. The diversity of the vocations

Speaking of equipment – it makes sense there’s lots of them as your Arisen can choose from 9 different vocations (the classes in Dragon’s Dogma) while your Pawn chooses from 6; do you like fighting with sword and shield or a twohanded hammer? Or do you prefer nimble attacks with daggers? What about sneak attacks with bow and arrow from afar? Or are you a sorcerer at heart who prefers to have comets rain down from the skies or a massive whirlwind tearing through enemies? Well, you can do all of the above, and you can also mix arrows and magic!

While you don’t have to invest into each and every vocation on the road to level 200, you still should play each one for a bit as you unlock useful augments (passive skills) that can afterwards be bought and equipped regardless of your vocation. Oh, and of course, you and your Pawn level up both so you can decide on a completely different path for your Pawn.

 

2. Epic battles

Remember when you confront Alduin, the World Eater (not to be confused with the wrestler Bray Wyatt, the Eater of Worlds), in Skyrim? Man, that battle turned out to be lame. Dragon’s Dogma is one hell of a different story here! Remember dragons attacking out of the blue? This can happen. Or a Chimera is lurking behind the corner and you think “uh-oh” before lightning hits you! How epic battles can be? Well, that’s entirely up to you. There’s a fine line between being underleveled and shredded to bits and having a challenging, long fight, but when you hit the sweet spot in Dragon’s Dogma, you can have epic battles! Imagine fighting that damn dragon from before for 90 long minutes, including reviving your Pawns, frantically searching the surrounding area for healing items because you’re knocking at death’s door, before you manage to bring the beast down! And that is just an ordinary dragon, not the final boss or the Ur Dragon, a massive and dangerous super boss that all players worldwide tackle together, everyone helping to bring its hitpoints down.

And that’s not the end of the epicness! How about you crawl onto the dragon while it takes flight, knowing falling will kill you so you punch it in the heart until it crashes back down to earth? Or how about conjuring the right spell at the right time, bringing down half a health bar in seconds?

 

1. Pawns

Your trusty A.I. comrades should be hailed a revolution in gaming, but it seems no one who hasn’t played Dragon’s Dogma even noticed how the great the system can be – if properly understood. You see, the thing with Pawns is you have to raise them properly – they learn in many ways – by mirroring your behaviour, by following commands, by being rented by others and gaining knowledge there and by drinking potions that change their inclination (the name for their character traits in Dragon’s Dogma). So if you start playing the game with your Pawn being pretty useless, and if the two Pawns you rent are useless as well (there can be numerous reasons for it), the game will suck. But if you get the party combination right, sometimes all you need to do is watch your Pawns tear apart the opposition.

Knowledge plays a major role for Pawns in Dragon’s Dogma as Pawns can learn how to fight enemies – sure, you can burn an enemy who’s weak to fire, but if he is doused in oil, he’ll burn more. And guess what, show it to your Pawns, and they will remember! If you’re stuck on a quest, rented Pawns or maybe your Pawn have done the quest before, and they will give you often useful advice on how to proceed.

And of course, there’s Pawn banter: From useful tips such as “wolves hunt in packs” or “to tis weak to fire”, and quips such as “even in numbers, a weakling is a weakling still” or the kind of contradictory “strength in numbers, Arisen”, to unforgettable lines like “it bears the head of a cock” or “it seems all roads lead to Gran Soren” (sometimes said when in the middle of nowhere with no road in sight), there are plenty of funny one-liners. You want to hear less? Tell your Pawn.

Rabidgames goes back to Gransys: What’s more to say? Dragon’s Dogma is one of those precious games that is so much more than its parts, it is unique and fun once you’ve really understood how the systems work together.So without further ado, go play it! See you on the perilous roads of Gransys!

Of Lootboxes, Micro-Transactions and Ads Telling the Truth for Once

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , on October 12, 2017 by Rabidgames

Oh boy, we’ve come a long way. It started with the now oh-so-innocent Oblivion horse armour, continued with  pre-order DLC, season passes and micro-transactions, and now we’ve come full circle with lootbox micro-transactions and an ad telling the truth for once about pre-order shit. Ironic.

So, first, lootboxes and micro-transactions. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War uses them in its fourth act Shadow Wars (how playful, eh?), a series of 20 attacks on 4 fortresses – without story or anything else attached to the grind fest it seems. And the enemies WILL be stronger than your Orcs, pardon, Uruk army so you will have to grind. And grind. And grind more. And keep grinding. To see the “real” ending of the game. Or you buy lootboxes with real money to make it considerably quicker and easier. Well, that is simply fucked up. For Rabidgames, that move alone moves (how playful, eh?) Shadow of War from must-have to probably-later-when-cheaper, although that disgusting behaviour where WB pretends to be oh-so-charitable has also played a part in this decision to be honest. And how a spider “bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts” can become a hot chick … well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And now this; here’s the story of an ad for Assassin’s Creed Origins from Gamestop (US) that might have gone wrong:

This is really unfuckingbelievable. In a fucking ad, they tell you that the “bonus mission” is “blocked”. Probably by accident, we hear the truth about pre-order “bonuses” – that they are cut out of the game because some fucking asshole in a fucking suit decided that’s the way to go fucking forward. It’s nothing new publishers and retailers feast together on the bloody chunks cut out of embryonic games, but wow is it weird to see it ADVERTISED! It might be coincidence AC Origins is the game where a retailer slipped up, but it tells you a lot about the disdain those fucking suits have for us.

Sure, a pre-order mission locked away mostly and merely equals the missions locked away but unlockable once you buy the game new, but this strike against the second hand market is still fucking stupid behaviour. We’ll see what happens now after Gamestop inadvertently told us the truth about this shit. Just don’t expect any of the shit to change.

Oh, you know what? Let’s talk about micro-transactions while we’re at it. There are two kinds: Games like Assassin’s Creed or Ghost Recon: Wildlands come with “time-saving” unlockables (for things you can easily get in the game), you know also known as fucking shit for lazy bums, and then some cosmetic stuff – not great but you can enjoy the games without it entirely, no problem. Other games though, like Shadow of War and most notoriously GTA Online, design the game with tons of grinding on purpose so they can grind you down to make you buy the shit. Fuck, try to buy something in GTA Online and you can imagine how long earning money to purchase it will take naturally. And yet, Rockstar gets away with this shit (and let’s better not think about what this might mean for Red Dead Redemption 2) while Shadow of War is getting attacked by layers of carpet bombing metacritic user reviews – rightfully so, mind you. But it is interesting, isn’t it?

Let’s face it: This is what gaming has become – a fucking predatory capitalist bullshitting industry where there are too many fucking rich idiots around who buy time-consuming games and then buy time-savers so they don’t have to play them … seriously, think about this for a second. WHAT THE FUCK? And by doing so, these morons fuck up games for the rest of us, too.

Rabidgames sighs: At the end of the day, who is to blame: The greed publishers or the stupid consumers? Spoilers: It’s consumers. Without hordes of braindead drones buying all the shitty micro-transactions, this fucking trend would stop quickly. But don’t get your hopes up – after all, we live in an age where even Idiocracy begins to look like an utopia …

A Word About nazis in Gaming, Please!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest on October 6, 2017 by Rabidgames

Remember the time when we grew up? Back in the day, there was a time when everyone agreed that nazis and racists were scum. Despicable scum, vile shit to be flushed down the sewage pipes of history. It was simple. Nazis and racists were bad. But at some point, things changed.

It doesn’t matter when. Or if it was precisely Trump, Brexit or Syrian refugees opening the floodgates for the nightmares of the past to haunt us again. Here and now, we have woken up to a world where racism – and even fucking assholes parading around waving around fucking nazi flags are tolerated. Fuck, not just tolerated, they’re being endorsed by the fucking president of the supposedly free world!

(Disclaimer: Sure, in the US, they are legally allowed to parade around waving nazi flags under the freedom of speech, and that is fine. But remember, it is also fine to despise this scum and to speak out against them.)

So it is no wonder gaming is also infected by the viral disease that is racism, that gaming sites and forums are also full of fucking right-wing trolls and true believers of this shit. We’ve heard it all when a certain youtube toddler celebrity with probably a lower IQ than your usual church mouse yelled “nigger” at someone, and then tried using the incredibly idiotic “I tried to come up with the worst word” defense. We’ve heard it all when an old World of Warcraft sign that got “hijacked” by nazis was defended as “inconsequential evidence” and that there are zero similarities to nazi flags. We’ve heard excuses, tales of relativism and tons of apologetic bullshit before!

And now, this:

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And this for good measure:

So, what the fuck is wrong with these brainless fucking idiots? What on earth? Do they not even know what kind of disgusting ideology they are defending? Do they even know what the flying fuck Wolfenstein is all about? It shouldn’t be a surprise really, but oh well, human stupidity IS truly infinite …

But hey, what’s the point you ask? Well, the point fucking is that we have come to a fucking point where racists are tolerated and nazis, motherfucking nazis, are on the verge of being tolerated again as well! And fucking hell, we can’t fucking have that! Think about it for a minute.

We need to step out of our gaming bubble, we need to leave escapism behind for a few minutes, and we need to tell the fucking racist shitheads and the fucking nazi scum to fuck off! We need to let them know we don’t want them, we don’t tolerate them and that we are sick of them. Say it loud clear: Fuck nazis! Fuck racists! Fuck supremacists! Fuck ’em all!

Rabidgames sighs: It really seems we’re slipping back in time. All the talk about “never again” and “lesson learnt” – bullshit! Reality is proving we have learnt nothing. We – each and everyone one of us – is responsible for voicing our disgust and disapproval towards that scum to make sure they fuck off. Or do we want another time, another place, another scenario when we look at each other and say “had we paid attention, we could have seen it coming”?

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana or How About A JRPG Holiday?

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , on September 18, 2017 by Rabidgames

First of all, what the fuck is wrong with Japanese companies and their otherworldly game titles? Dissidia Duodecim or Star Ocean’s nonsensical Integrity and Faithlessness were weird enough, but using the game title, the number and a subtitle all makes together is weird – and with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana it’s not even easy to abbreviate it – YsLoD sounds pretty bad now, doesn’t it?

So anyway, YsDan8 (okay, that doesn’t work either) is a different kind of JRPG – not as epic as Final Fantasy XV, not as snarky as Tales of Berseria, and not as weird as Nier Automata. Instead, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana feels more like an old-fashioned JRPG with traditional storytelling, engaging but light-hearted dialogues and music (from calm village tracks to fast-paced rock tracks) and the real-time action RPG battles fans of the series will be familiar with. And of course, the quirky and somewhat cutesy atmosphere JPRGs have been known for.

But the premise is a different one this time – after a short introduction to the characters and the systems, you’re stranded on an island and your first tasks are finding more survivors and fortifying your hideout that slowly turns into a village. By means of being able to open blocked paths once you’ve found enough people, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana opens up the secrets of its big but not massive world slowly but surely. So in a way, there is a certain Lost feeling as you gather the castaways trying to build and strengthen your village.

But it also feels strangely directionless for a JRPG at times. It can happen that you will need to scour everywhere you’ve been to before because you missed an essential conversation in the corner of the map, or that you didn’t spot another area with a NPC waiting for you. That’s not necessarily bad as Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana gives you plenty of experience to level up and plenty of ingredients to craft new, better stuff, and let’s face it, exploring should mean you have to explore thoroughly.

The fighting system of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is very action-oriented and rewards timing and accuracy, but if it’s more your thing, you can hack away, too, at least on lower difficulties. To be fair though, the fighting is fun but not really a highlight of the game as there is less suspense and more forgiveness than in Nier Automata and there is less tactical thinking required than in Tales of Berseria. But on the plus side, it’s a more accessible system so you can just walk around and casually kill monsters if you feel like it – isn’t that we all usually do during our holidays after all?

Apart from fighting, exploring and all the while gathering stuff you can go back to your base, trade or craft your gathered materials, do some side quest to make everyone like you better or play some kind of village defence mini-game where you kill of waves of enemies until you get goodies, and of course, everyone likes you more. Here, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana doesn’t go the extra mile, but you won’t miss more as the exploration part keeps you busy anyway. Besides getting that fucking call to defend the village while you’re knee-deep in a dungeon is just plain annoying! And there’s fishing. Well. Fishing. It nets you items and you can feed a bird with your fishes, but well, fishing just isn’t that exciting. For most of us at least.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s story can be split into the daily survival and exploration of the Seiren Islands, and then there are the nocturnal dreams where we follow the story of the eponymous Dana, a mysterious destined for mysterious greatness. Both are bound to combine at some point, but for the first 30 hours played, they are only connected by dreams (more on that later). For whatever reason the two big nations in the game are called Romun Empire and

But in one department, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is simply too Japanese – the gender stereotypes and generally the clichés are just a bit too much. Sure, it is just a JRPG and we kind of expect it, but after Tales of Berseria gave us interesting characters and a sarcastic heroine, Ys VIII (better, but still not a great abbreviation) pretty much just gives a box of talking stereotypes. It seems like a wasted opportunity, but oh well.

And then, there’s the DLC problem – do we really need goddessdamn 25 pieces of minor, “unfree” DLC at launch (and that’s just the PS4 version, the PS Vita one has different DLC!)? No, we don’t. The Witcher 3 and Yakuza Kiwami actually prove we don’t! So for fuck’s sake, publishers, stop this shit already!

Oh yeah, Dana might be the heroine who gives Ys LacriDana (okay, no) the title, but you won’t see much of her for the first 20 or 30 hours of the game, but be warned the beginning chapters of the game take that long, too. So it will take a while until you get to see what the story is really about. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a long, mostly entertaining and also forgiving game that you can always pop in during a rainy autumn day. If you have become a bit weary of all the angst and impending doom (or of the bro-talk) in FF 15, Tales of Berseria or Nier: Automata, you can always pop in Ys Dana (there we go!), sit back and start playing without philosophy or despair wearing your adventures down if you want to enjoy an interesting but not too thought-provoking story.

Rabidgames reminiscences: In some ways, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana reminds one of the simple times of JRPGs; you need a simple story, simple characters (aka stereotypes), simple battles of the easy to learn, hard to master type, and then you go ahead and simply grind.

 

Yakuza Kiwami or Majima’s Paradise in the Far East

Posted in Hands On with tags , , on September 6, 2017 by Rabidgames

If you happen to be a Yakuza fan, Sony has kinda spoilt you recently, right? Yakuza 4 and 5 on PSN+, Yakuza 0 a few months ago, and now the first game is remastered as Yakuza Kiwami (kiwami meaning ultimate or extreme, which makes sense as you’ll see).

And what a remaster it is! It looks considerably better (well, obviously), the UI and the gameplay mechanics have been updated (you can now save whenever and wherever you want for instance), the story of Yakuza has been enhanced and smoothed, and you can now choose between 4 different fighting styles, from balanced to lightning-quick but relatively weak to slow but strong. Plus, there’s going to be 4 different DLC packs to be released in the weeks following the launch of the game.

The fighting in Yakuza Kiwami is ironically the biggest strength as well as the biggest weakness of the game – it is fun, but boy, does it get repetitive! The fun part is combining fighting styles and showing of brutal finishers, expanding your repertoire, grabbing weapons – either lying around or from your inventory, and generally punishing assholes standing in your way.

But there’s also a downside to fighting …

When you just want or need to get from A to B, but enemies C to Z are in your way, it can become a bit tiresome. Plus boss fights … they are a chore. Not only can’t you grab most of them (meaning no grappling finishers), some will never fall down (again, no finishers), they have absurd amounts of health and enjoy regenerating their health for an extra measure of annoyance. Most of the time, you just attack a boss with the same attack pattern while you defend his attacks with the same pattern – and that can go on for up to 5 minutes. Provided you carry plenty of healing items – and in Yakuza Kiwami, you should ALWAYS carry of healing items around – there is hardly any challenge in boss fights, it’s just battles of attrition.

And then Majima … oh yes, he’s one of the coolest characters in Yakuza, and sure, it makes sense to give such a cool character a bigger role, but THAT big and omnipresent? Remember the random battles – well, random goons go down quickly, but imagine you fight Majima, a pretty tough boss battle, 3 times within 5 minutes, completely randomly. He packs a punch, and he has tons of health, too, obviously. The only thing making those fights bearable in Yakuza Kiwami is the fact that the more you beat him, the more you unlock of your legendary and devastating dragon style.

So, lots of fighting to do, eh? But don’t worry, there are countless mini-games to distract you or waste some time, something the Yakuza series is famous for, and the remake of the first game obviously is no exception; you can play a very strange card game with women dressed as bugs (don’t ask), you can race toy cars, play golf or bowling, sing karaoke (if you insist, it is boring as always), you can gamble in a secret casino, and you also can play mah-jong. And more.

And last but definitely not least, there is the excellent and dark crime story about murder, revenge, betrayal, stolen money and a little girl, with quite a few twists and turns and broken bones and friendships along the bumpy road. It’s best to experience it yourselves, so the less said here, the better. The dialogues is now also entirely in Japanese audio, to immerse you deeper into the world of Yakuza, so be warned you need to read. A lot. Sadly, not all dialogues are voiced, which alongside some archaic UI systems makes you aware of the age of Yakuza Kiwami.

So, how great is it? Objectively speaking, Yakuza Kiwami is a good, maybe even a very good game (if we take the age of the game into account). But … there is tiny bit too much of Majima in the game, and while it is always fun in small games, the repetitive, random and constant fighting around every corner can become a bit too much after an hour. On the other hand, Yakuza can also be described as a mix of Shenmue and GTA, and this remake does a great job of serving as a great way to get introduced to the series and to the sometimes weird world of Japanese daily living – and dying in its underworld, of course!

Rabidgames fights: Yakuza Kiwami can best be described as a fight – with the enemies, with the system to throw Majima in your way way too often or fighting the random thugs who become an annoying waste of time after 10 hours, but then again, it’s a price worth paying to jump into the twisted world of Yakuza – and there’s no shame playing on easy if you want to bring the story forwards instead of breaking your thumbs fighting the not so good fight!

F1 2017 or More Real Than the Real Thing?

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , on August 29, 2017 by Rabidgames

In a nutshell, F1 2017 takes all the good stuff from last year’s F1 2016, gives us a bit more of it and then adds some stuff. The game boasts of being the most complete F1 game to date, and for once, that PR statement is actually true.

Not only is the career mode of F1 2017 deeper and more detailed than last year – you can now develop your driver and your car over 10 seasons, and grid penalties for engine failures are sadly also included (this being of the dumbest FIA ideas ever), but generally speaking, you’ll need to put more work into it. But there are more rewards than merely becoming world champion; you’ll get invited to some events where you can race classic F1 cars from the past, including Ayrton Senna’s iconic McLaren from 1988 (sadly it’s pre-order only for now, which is obviously a dick move), and then some more McLarens, Ferraris, Renaults and Red Bulls from over 2 decades.

What’s kinda odd is that the older cars in F1 2017 tend to fall apart quicker and easier – maybe not too unrealistic one might think, but still it seems to be a weird design decision. Then again, let’s face it – crashing cars in racing games has always been fun!

Obviously, the cars have no DRS and the cockpits look pretty different as well, but they also drive and sound differently (one could say they sound like any damn F1 car should sound). Besides the invitational events in the career, you can play any race with the classic car. It’s a shame though that F1 2017 doesn’t give us classic drivers as well. You race random names when sitting in a classic car, which seems a missed opportunity.

And F1 2017 doesn’t stop here – you can also find a variety of diverse championships in the new championships mode, where you can race shorter or linger seasons, either a full weekend with training, qualifying and race, just the race, or some other combinations, e.g. a sprint race followed by a normal race. Additionally, there is an Event mode where Codemasters asks us to complete a challenging race, e.g. winning a race with a broken front wing.

The amount of detail in F1 2017 is definitely breath taking – each car seems to have been rebuilt to look like the real-life cars, the tracks look stunning – especially in the rain or the newly added Monaco night-race are something to behold (although you should probably rather focus on the track in wet conditions). Oh, and there are also 4 shorter versions of the circuits there for your entertainment, too …

So far, everything sounds great. Well, the devil is a bit in the detail with F1 2017: Sometimes, the first corner is quite chaotic, and then you get hit out of nowhere. And then, you get a penalty for getting hit! Sure, this has only happened a few times, and it might be a realistic portrayal of the arbitrary penalties the FIA dishes out in the real F1, but it can be quite annoying. At the same time, there is no apparent logic to the penalties – from a caution to a +3 second penalty to nothing, everything can happen if you hit a car – sometimes you get even different results after rewinding and hitting the car again …

And then, there’s last year’s dilemma, too – the game is pretty much a simulation for rather casual racers like yours truly, while simulation racers might think it is lacking a bit in that respect. But even if an entire championship seems to much for you, F1 2017 is pretty much worth it for every F1 fan who happens to at least like racing games – you can either relive the full weekend, you can enjoy a shorter campaign with sprint races without the hassle of a career, or you can just get to know the track of the weekend via Time Trial – F1 2017 has lots to offer for every kind of racer.

Rabidgames : For two years in a row now, Codemasters delivers a strong racing game. It might be somewhat in the middle between casual racing and unforgiving simulation, but for F1 fans who like to hear that nice old sound while also trying their hands on different cars from different eras, it’s perfect. 

Dear EA, Sincerely Fuck You!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News, The Latest with tags , , , , on August 26, 2017 by Rabidgames

You might have heard EA is essentially pulling the plug on Mass Effect Andromeda, which means no more DLC and especially no more patches for the single player part of the game. You know, the part that was consciously released unfinished. It pretty much tells us EA doesn’t give a shit about releasing alpha versions of games, and when challenged as to why an unfinished game such as Andromeda is released, EA abandons the product. Classy.

But wait! It wouldn’t be EA to just kick a an innocent being. Oh no, they rather gut shoot it and leave it out bleed dry just because they are EA! So no more single player hist, right? But hold on, the bastards instead keep serving the micro-transactions wielding MP of Andromeda (which is considerably worse than Mass Effect 3’s MP anyway), but that isn’t the end of that, oh no, just when they said to pull the lug on Andromeda these wankers release some fucking multiplayer DLC packs!

It’s been said before, after the Andromeda disaster, it’s time to say R.I.P. Bioware. EA might be dragging your carcass along for a ride, hell, you might be even end up as a trophy on some asshole-in-a-suit’s living room, but Bioware is dead.

Rabidgames says this: Fuck you EA! And fuck off!

What the Fuck is Purrfect Date?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , on August 17, 2017 by Rabidgames

Imagine you’re dating cats while also solving a mystery on some island somewhere. “Hold on, what?” you might ask. Yes, that’s the summary of a weird upcoming game called “Purrfect date”. And it doesn’t stop there.

Imagine a trailer that announces “come for the pussy, stay for the tale” …

Seriously though, “tale”, not “tail”? What a missed opurrtunity there.

Rabidgames is speechless : Sorry, no more puns. Just plain and simple WHAT THE FUCK!?! again.

The Welcome Onslaught of Strategy Games on Consoles

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2017 by Rabidgames

Now, strategy game ain’t usually something one associates with consoles, but it’s nothing unheard of – after all, there were quite a few great games such as Supreme Commander series (the spiritual successors of the best RTS game ever, Total Annihilation), a few well-ported Command & Conquer or the underrated R.U.S.E. on last generation’s consoles, and this generation has already seen a few.

After all, a game like Tropico 5 has been out for a while if you feel like a revolutionary, we could manage entire kingdoms in the likes of Grand Ages:Medieval or Nobunaga’s Ambition, or we could fight aliens in XCOM, and the ingeniously evil Plague Inc. has enabled us to eradicate mankind for a while now. Ah, the fun in that …

But in 2017, things have sped up: there’s the ob simulation Constructor, the alien world explorer and manager Aven Colony, there’s Shadow Tactics: Blades of Shogun, that wonderfully reminds one of Commandos, and if you’ve played hundreds of hours of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, a game such as Industry Giant 2 looks very familiar …

Chocobo INC., 4. Jan 2004

Final Fantasy VII’s Midgard in Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

But that’s not all, the two arguably biggest strategy hits are yet about to come onto consoles: Sudden Strike, the renowned real-time strategy series, has just returned with Sudden Strike 4, and the game one could call Sim City without the EA bullshit, Cities: Skyline is soon to follow.

Sure, some of these games are not exactly new, and traditionally, strategy games have led a rather quiet and overlooked life on consoles, but with a bit of luck, that’s about to change now.

Rabidgames sighs: So many games, never enough time. First world gaming problems, true. But if there’s a genre that eats time (even more so than RPGs), it’s strategy games. It’s going to be tough to pick the best ones, that’s for sure.

Dragons Dogma Will Arise on 3 October!

Posted in News, The Latest with tags , on August 10, 2017 by Rabidgames

Finally, we have an official release date for one of the most-awaited remasters of one of the best games ever. Objectively speaking, of course.

Anyway, we will finally be able to delve into the world of Gransys on our next-gen systems on 3 October, when Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen finally returns!

If you can’t wait like yours truly, here’s a new little Dragon’s Dogma video to watch – it helps just a bit, but better than naught:

Rabidgames looks anxiously at the calendar: So many days, too many days left till we will explore the world of Dragon’s Dogma once more! So let’s not forget there’s “strength in numbers, Arisen”!

Diablo 3’s Necromancer – Overpriced Body-Stripping or Bone-ripping Fun?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Played & Explained, The Latest with tags , , on July 30, 2017 by Rabidgames

Well, if the Necromancer has just been the class you’ve been waiting for in Diablo 3 and you enjoy nothing more than tearing a screen full of enemies to shreds with exploding bodies, it’s hard to answer that question objectively of course.

Sure, 15€/12£ for one character sounds fucking expensive, but it’s nothing unheard of – look at all the fighting games or shooters where you shell out 10 quid for a map or two. Just as an example, there are DLC characters in Injustice 2, each costing 5 quid. Any outrage there? But to be fair to Blizzard, it’s not just the Necromancer, his character models and animation, balancing and voice overs being implemented into Diablo 3, it’s also the unique sets and set dungeons that come into play.

Besides, Blizzard has been very generous since abandoning their failed auction house and always-online shenanigans of the failed launch of Diablo 3 – from the PS4’s launch onwards, there have been quite a few free updates giving us bonus dungeons, Greater Rifts and now Challenge Rifts, the Horadric artefact Kanai’s Cube, seasons and more. Always for free.

Plus, the Necromancer is one of the best classes to quickly rise through levels and to quickly raze enemy hordes. It is deadly early on and you can easily switch to Torment from level 50 onwards. It is also one of the most versatile classes in Diablo 3; you can play it as the lord of the undead, telling your minions who to attack – and here’s the big difference to the Witch Doctor, who cannot order his minions around – you walk around dressed in a Bone Armour throwing around Bone Spears or you spend your own life force to create deadly explosions while you replenish your HP by devouring corpses (every slain enemy leaves a corpse). Oh, and you can also temporarily raise up to 10 Skeleton Mages attacking enemies …

But the real beauty is what you do with corpses (not THAT, you perv!) – will you devour them or revive them? Or detonate them? You can. But the most fun is having sharp bones ripped out of corpses flying and destroying everything on screen in a heartbeat! Corpse Lance is surely one of the best skills in Diablo 3 – if there wasn’t a problem on higher difficulties: Sometimes, there are no corpses lying around, and they’re never enough. Until you get skills that create corpses for you or an item that makes sure your golem shits a corpse each second … well, it doesn’t say it literally …

So, is the Necromancer worth it? Let’s have a look at it from this angle: For speed-runs, be it in a season or (Greater) Rifts, they’re very viable characters with the right skill set and items. Even without that, reaching level 70 is a breeze as especially the first 40 or so levels can be slow grinding with other classes, e.g. monks, whereas the Necromancer can summon an army early on. So objectively, the Necromancer is a decent addition to Diablo 3. Subjectively though, well, who knows? Read about the class or watch some videos. Some classes might not be for you, others are perfect for you. But hell, who doesn’t like exploding bodies across the screen, right?

Rabidgames raises his thumb: Right off the bat, the Necromancer is now Rabidgames’ 2nd favourite class. Wizard is still running supreme, especially after finding that awesome Firedbird’s Finery set that makes everything burn within seconds, especially bosses! Oh, anyway, Necromancer is already a close second though! At least here, it was 12 pounds well spent for .

Why the Success of GTA Online is Actually Bad News

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , on July 26, 2017 by Rabidgames

First of all, this is the perspective of a disgruntled long-term Rockstar fanboy. GTA Online is fun for many, sure. It can be fun, and that’s all fair and square if it’s your cup of tea. But unfortunately, it’s also a giant money machine. Which is also the biggest problem if you don’t give a flying fuck about it. Because post-launch, GTA Online is all there is while once the campaign is completed, there is nothing but a few consolation outfits, weapons or vehicles.

For GTA Online however, we have heists, stunt tracks (to be fair, these are really cool), businesses to make you some money, property to buy, and so on. For some inexplicable reason though, everything is that absurdly overpriced so you have to grind for a decade to be able to afford the good shit … or you just give Rockstar some cash and you’re set. Great, eh?

Somehow however, Rockstar forgot its roots. The company forgot about the GTA V singleplayer part of the game, the part that used to be the meat and the reason to play Grand Theft Auto. What happened to it? Blinded by the easy cash of GTA Online? Too lazy to come up with a story and/or characters for a DLC campaign? To be fair, the GTA V campaign has its moments, but it has been missing something, as if the developers decided to start there and then focussed on something else rather than flesh it out completely with … you know, aliens or post-story heists. Something else meaning a certain online component …

Whatever the reasons for the decay of the campaign, it is bad news for us old-school single-player Grand Theft Auto fans. And not just that – can you imagine the focus will now NOT be on the multiplayer of Red Dead Redemption 2? Sure, Rockstar has made a shitload of money with GTA Online, but who gives a fuck? Apart from JRPGs and the glory of The Witcher, where are the big open worlds with compelling stories and satire (we can always go back to Just Cause, Saints Row (after 2) or Wildlands, but well, their stories are not their strong suits)? Where is the stuff that once made Rockstar great, where has their DNA been in recent years? Has Rockstar smelled easy money and lost its ways? Well, Red Dead Redemption 2 will soon tell us if Rockstar still follows their legacy or if they sell out for quick cash. Fingers crossed!

Rabidgames sighs: Let’s hope Rockstar won’t be remembered as yet another company that shits on their past and instead delivers soulless chunks of game that might look pretty but is devoid of substance. Looking at you, Dragon Age 2 and Destiny …

 

 

Destiny 2 Beta … More of the Same, Less Story

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , on July 22, 2017 by Rabidgames

Remember the original Destiny Beta? Great gunplay, a bit to explore, a nice teaser for a story. Shame 99% of the story was in the beta though …

With the Destiny 2 Beta, we get even less story: The tower and the traveller are being attacked, you flee, you die. That’s it. Everything’s also very linear and it is exactly Destiny – not more, not less – the same three classes, great gunplay, alien bullet sponges, a few tweaks, but that’s it. No interesting cliffhanger at the end of the Beta, no really new elements, no exploration. Destiny 2 is playing its Beta safe – you get what you expect, but nothing more. Actually, it’s even a bit less without even a bit of exploration, without finding new loot and without levelling.

Sure, there’s also a Strike in a more open environment that has a cool boss encounter where you fall through the floor repeatedly. Well, that’s the interesting part, as the boss requires nothing but emptying magazine after magazine while you try to stay alive.

But story-wise, it seems Destiny 2 is either hiding a great story or there isn’t one. Judging from the first game, one should be rather cautious than expect an epic narrative. This bare-bones Beta with a bare-bones story string won’t convince anyone who got disappointed by the first game. Bungie wasted a good opportunity here, that’s for sure.

Rabidgames yawns: This Beta only shows that Destiny is still the same old – if that means good or bad, that’s for us to decide. Pre-ordering the game on the merit of the gameplay alone might work for fans, but Rabidgames rather waits for the reviews to see if Destiny 2 is more than endlessly running through the same environments slaughtering the same alien sponges without anything really happening – again.