Mass Effect Andromeda or Bioware’s (Titan)Fall?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , on February 25, 2017 by Rabidgames

The more news come in about the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, the less Rabidgames likes it. Coming from someone who has the collectors edition of the entire Mass Effect trilogy, it says a lot.

Take this Eurogamer article for example: It’s all about dynamic fighting, jumping and quick and painless exploration now it seems. Even worse, EA (Bioware seems only remotely responsible for Andromeda) even removed the power wheel!

So what’s left? A fast-paced, potentially brainless shooter with small and probably linear areas, and sex with aliens because that’s what Mass Effect is all about, right? Fucking hell, Bioware, be at least decent enough to call this game “Sexy Aliens & Titanfall’s Effect“!

From the looks of it, Andromeda could still well be an interesting and good game, but rather a good shooter than a good RPG. After all, what’s left that made Mass Effect 1 great? Not much it seems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 already went down Shooter Lane anyway. It really seems Inquisition was Bioware’s farewell, and mind you, even Inquisition is just a mere shadow compared to the gleaming success and deep RPG mechanics of The Witcher 3 now.

Rabidgames puts the money back in this pocket: Relationships evolve. Bioware devolves. Maybe Andromeda manages to define itself in the new direction of the studio, but new directions have destroyed many relationships. Comes end of March, we’ll see if there are still enough sparks left to rekindle the fire in our hearts.

The Insane March Gaming Crunch of 2017

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by Rabidgames

Usually, we see tons of games released from October to December. But this year, Match seems to be the new November, with quite a few promising titles lined up on the grid. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

March will start with the PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn where set in the future, fighting robot animals and mechanic dinosaurs to survive is humanity’s task. Scope and depth are hard to judge for now, but the future past (or past future?) is surely an interesting setting as you can see for yourself.

One week later, Ghost Recon: Wildlands will hit the stores. As Rabidgames has pointed out, Wildlands will be a day 1 purchase because of the beta impressions, so no need to go into detail about the symbiosis of Phantom Pain, Mercenaries, Just Cause and Narcos. Chances are there will also be an open beta shortly before launch!

A few days later, Nier: Automata will arrive. The demo you should totally play promised quite a few interesting things, and the mix of RPG, 2D and 3D brawling and shooting coupled with typical Japanese storytelling surely is intriguing. If for whatever reason (like maybe you don’t have a PS4) you can’t play the demo, that’s what it looks like:

You’re still hungry for games? Well, how about some RPG action, or more precisely, Mass Effect Andromeda? Now we don’t know much about exploring our neighbour galaxy yet apart from our squad, the bad guys and a vague story, and it could well be that Andromeda is more shine than substance, but hey, who can say to have no interest in another Mass Effect? Although the interests of some people are rather weird

For completeness’ sake, Dark Souls 3’s add-on The Ringed City should also be mentioned here. After all, there might be a few of you masochistic souls out there who want to die many times once more.

If you’re in for some delicious swearing, better have South Park: The Fractured But Whole on your radar! If you pre-order, you can also get the hilarious successor The Stick of Truth. But be careful, some retailers give it to you in the box so you get it only by release, not as a download code as soon as you pre-order!

Technically not Match any more, but on 4 April, Persona 5 will ask you to revisit school, but as usual, there will be quite a few extracurricular activities of the RPG realm type. If there’s some time or money left …

Rabidgames wonders: Not only are these plenty of games, no, they all are time-consuming games as well! It’s probably one of the biggest first world problem injustices; either you’re a student and have plenty of time but hardly the money to buy the games you want to play, or you have the cash to buy them but never enough time to play them.

Where are the damn GOTY Awards?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , on February 8, 2017 by Rabidgames

Some of you might have wondered what’s going on with Rabidgames’ 2016 Game of the Year Awards, the annual personal hitlist and shitlist of what’s great and what’s crap. Or perhaps not. Anyway, it’ll take a bit because of a simple reason.

Remember the hate Hitman got for its episodic content shenanigans? And rightly so? Well, Rabidgames has just bought the physical and complete version of the game, as it is indeed a good game and worthy to be included in the GOTY Awards. Spoilers: The fucking unnecessary, unreasonable and stupid forced “you MUST be online to unlock shit” will be mentioned.

Another spoiler – if you’re looking for Overwatch in the Awards, look no further. The game won’t be there. At all. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad game, but there are games that hold exactly zero interest for Rabidgames, and Overwatch is one of them. It happens. It got enough awards somewhere else anyway. The same goes for games like Dark Souls 3 and Titanfall 2, just to name a few.

Rabidgames digresses: Enough spoilers already! There should be some suspense left. Stay tuned, folks. The Awards will be there soon!

Ghost Recon: Wildlands or Of Just Causes, Mercenaries and Narcos

Posted in The Latest on February 6, 2017 by Rabidgames

After Rabidgames was still a bit sceptical about Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the invitation to the Closed Beta was very welcome indeed. And after just a few minutes in, it’s already clear that Wildlands might not be the deepest tactical Ghost Recon game, but that it is still a decent open world game, and a big one at that.

If asked how to describe Wildlands, the easiest way would be to say we have a massive world with different climates (e.g. desert, farmlands and snow, the latter sadly not in the beta) just like in the Just Cause series, the recon and stealth approach closer to Phantom Pain than to Ghost Recon games of old, gathering resources and the structure of the cartel both remind one of Mercenaries and especially the pack of cards of the first Mercenaries, and finally, the story seems quite heavily “inspired” by the TV show Narcos. Oh, and you should totally watch Narcos!

Well, change Colombia to Bolivia, or a rather fictional version of Bolivia, as the town names and province names cannot really be found on a map of real world Bolivia, which feels kind of odd. Anyway, the world of Wildlands is nicely diverse and pretty massive – next to the 11 different climate zones, there are animals roaming the countryside (no non-human predators so far though), and the world looks pretty and graphically very impressive when it rains. At night, flying high over Bolivia summons thoughts of Just Cause once more when marvelling at the lights in the distance. While some buildings are a bit copy/pastey, it’s not as bad as Mass Effect 1 felt thankfully with the same Ikea base across the entire galaxy. Exploring the map is always worth it because you can find weapons or weapon parts, resources to upgrade your skills, skill points themselves, information about the region and the cartel bosses there, or if you’re lazy, you quickly go find intel which reveals all of the above.

Anyway, what should you expect gameplay-wise? If you expect a Ghost Recon experience with detailed planning, extensive scouting and perfect stealth, well, it is still there, but this time, if things go wrong, you can now perfectly shoot your way out of the situation. Don’t be disappointed by the low difficulty though – we’ve only seen the “tutorial province” of Wildlands so far, and it is safe to assume things will get harder soon. Then again, you can die quickly in fire fights (dying after two shots happens on Normal), and while you can get revived once per battle, you still need to be careful.

So, while Wildlands does not seem to be tactically as deep as expected, it still offers the pretty cool sync shot feature where your A.I. or human squad takes aim at up to 3 targets and they either fire if you tell them to or if you shoot another enemy. Just don’t shoot at an already tagged enemy. You can also give a few basic controls to your squad – which is important though. If you’re discovered by the sicarios and you hesitate, they won’t be of much help, but send them in and they do a decent job of cleaning up the mess you created. … There are also a few options to call for rebel support – from providing a car or fighters to mortar fire to liven up the experience!

So, who exactly is Ghost Recon: Wildlands for now? Sure, certainly not for those who think open worlds are too much for them, and also not for those who think Ubisoft makes the same game over and over again (how Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Watch Dogs 2 can be the same game is beyond Rabidgames though). Wildlands might not even be a game for Ghost Recon fans, as there is less focus on the tactical approach, and some have already called it dumbed down (then again, everything is called dumbed down these days). If you can’t see past Skyrim-like bad, stiff character movement or past bad and partially unresponsive vehicle controls, Wildland might also not be your game.

No, Wildlands is for fans of Just Cause or Metal Gear Solid who like a bit more tactical approach. It also follows the Ubisoft formula in the way that you have many options to choose from. You can tackle most situations in Wildlands with different means, and the open world helps here with the chance to scout around the perimeter or perhaps to go find all the weapons and skills points before starting the next mission. Plus, you get quickly drawn in if you’ve just watched Narcos!

Rabdigames is counting the cash: While Wildlands might not be a perfect game, it still could well be a hidden gem of a game with dozens of hours of fun to be had in its playground. After the beta, it is now a guaranteed day 1 purchase! Mind you, not every game must be perfect, sometimes the sum of all parts just comes together to create a great experience. No one would say Just Cause 2 was perfect in the way it handled shooting or driving, but many still get lost in Panau to this day. Also, it’s a shame Bolo Santosi and the Reapers won’t make it to Bolivia …

 

 

 

A New Year’s Rant: Is gaming DOOMed?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags on January 4, 2017 by Rabidgames

It might be a bit unfair to take this rant out on DOOM. It is a great, fast-paced, brutal and no-nonsense shooter which doesn’t gives a Demon’s rancid ass about story or any kind of correctness. But DOOM also highlights everything wrong with the gaming industry and this generation especially. And post-2016, we now know life ain’t fair anyway, right?

First, the game itself comes with whopping 50GB on the disc. Make that 70 or something as the PS4 always needs more space on your hard drive. Okay, okay, space cleaned up, let’s install the game now. Oh, what’s that? More space? For more than fucking 30GB of updates? Yeah, you read that right, DOOM needs a demonfucking 30GB update!

How comes? Well, it seems that DOOM’s 3 MP add-ons are all patched into the game. Yep, you read that correctly, you HAVE to download them even if you don’t care about the multiplayer … Who fucking thought that would be a bloody damn great idea?

So in total, DOOM takes up almost 80GB – pretty bad on a 500GB hard drive, right? And where the hell does the space even go? Mind you, Grand Theft Auto V takes up 60GB, and you can see where that’s coming from, the massive open world and the countless patches updating the world especially for GTA Online and such. But DOOM? We’re most likely talking poor optimisation here, folks.

Anyway, DOOM is still a fucking great game – more on that later. And yet, the future of gaming looks annoying, to say the least. Let’s see how it is these days – first we install the game itself on our hard drive (or make space beforehand), then we get to watch the in-game installation (DOOM takes 10 minutes here as well), and then we wait for 5-10GB (if we’re lucky) updates to be downloaded, while Sony still hasn’t done shit to improve the snail’s speed on their notoriously fucked servers.

But imagine gaming in 5 or 10 years – we’ll probably need massive hard drives, patience, a good internet connection to download the small 100GB day-one patches, and oh, more patience. How hard can it be to ship a finished game, how hard can it be to make optional multiplayer content not part of mandatory patches?

Mind you, DOOM isn’t the only culprit – look at Mafia 3 (adding outfits and races via patches), Dishonored 2 (new game+ and level select), or Final Fantasy XV (patching the story itself!). That’s just the few last months! This is a trend that fucking sucks!

Rabidgames wonders: Why bothering with consoles again? What happened to “buy, put the disc into the console and play”? There’s hardly any difference between PC and consoles any more, except that PCs offer the best gameplay experience. Give us finished games, MS and Sony, otherwise consoles will become pretty useless soon.

Nintendo can’t find the On-Switch

Posted in The Latest on January 3, 2017 by Rabidgames

True, Rabidgames isn’t the greatest Nintendo fan, but the presentation of a new console and new games can be interesting nonetheless. It can be. This was a failure though, and actually cringe-worthy at times.

First of all, the Switch is a total failure in terms of power. Competing with the PS4 or the Xbox One was out of question, sure, we’ve known that and expected it, but from the looks of it, it’s hardly improved compared to the WiiU, which had already been outdated at its inception. And that’s just the TV screen part of the console, not the hand-held version. It’s 2017, and the games look from the mid-360 generation. There is no excuse for this.

Where else to continue? With the steep price for the console – to be sold without even a single bundle? With the fact that Zelda might cost up to 60 pounds? 60!!! Or with the absurdly overpriced accessories? Or with the amazing number of 5, yes five games available at launch, most of them rather shovel ware?

Or should we talk about paid online services, following Microsoft’s and Sony’s questionable path? Similar to there, you get a “free” game a month – but only a NES or SNES game (sounds a bit like PSN+, doesn’t it?). But there’s a catch – you can only play the game for “free” in the given month, afterwards you have to shell out money to play it again. Makes total sense now, right? Or maybe Nintendo just messed up the communication, who knows? Speaking of communication, paying for an online chat that will take place on your phone must be something that has been lost in translation! No one can be that fucking daft!

Sure, the loyal Nintendo fan base will buy it. And there might be a good line-up and decent bundles coming down the line. But for the time being, the console is in the middle of nowhere – too expensive for casuals, too expensive for families, and not enough power and games on offer for hardcore gamers. Who exactly is supposed to buy the console in the first place? It was rather marketed as a home console, which was a massive mistake, as it can’t compete with its rivals, while the thought of a hand-held that can also be played on a TV would have certainly made more sense, especially when it comes to the substantial lack of power.

And last but not least, by the time the software reinforcements arrive, it could be too little, too late. The lacklustre PS Pro is out, and you might fancy PSVR. Let’s not forget Scorpio is waiting, too! Plus a strong line-up this year, from Horizon Zero Dawn, South Park Mass Effect Andromeda or Persona 5 to the GOTY contender Red Dead Redemption 2 – it seems unlikely any of these games will make it to the Switch, and many will no doubt rather think about buying these games – and more – than buying one expensive console for just one expensive game to look forward to.

Rabidgames thinks: It’s a miracle how this disaster was allowed to happen. Did anyone involved really think what’s on offer is great? Or do they live in a time bubble and think it’s still 2011? Whatever the reason, Nintendo will have to do tons of hard work to convince the gaming masses to buy and switch on their hybrid.

Farming Simulator 17 or Farm, Plough, Sow, Repeat

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on October 30, 2016 by Rabidgames

There are games we don’t get. For instance, Rabidgames sees hardly any appeal in the artificially tough and overly repetitive Dark Souls games and even less in the hectic Devil May Cry antics of Bloodbourne, while the majority, or perhaps a very loud minority, praises these games as a  the one and only true saviour of gaming. And then, there are games hardly anyone gets, games like Farming Simulator 17.

First, it is kind of hard to get into the game. There’s a bare-bones tutorial that covers the basics, and then you’re out in the world of farming, either in the US or in Russia, and it’s good luck to you from there on. But there’s more than mere farming, Farming Simulator 17 also offers logging wood or being a rancher if that’s more up your rural alley. And then there are mods. It’s mostly just new tractors or other farming equipment, but new maps should hopefully be up soon, too.

But be it crops, cattle or wood, it becomes crystal clear very quickly that you need a special mind for a game such as Farming Simulator 17: Not only is the game insanely repetitive as you get to drive up and down and down and up fields all day long (in-game and real life, if you play a long session), and nothing else happens. Well, it’s a simulation, so that’s to be expected, right? Sure, but the eternal cycle of sowing, fertilising, harvesting, ploughing, sowing and so on that needs to be repeated for several fields every in-game day feels tiresome after even one hour. Just have a look and remember – you do this over and over again:

You do all of the above to earn money you then can invest into – better equipment to do the same chores a bit more effectively. That’s it. Farming Simulator 17 does not offer anything more than what you can see in the first hours. So when you feel like giving this game a try, make sure you’re fully aware of the repetitive nature. Now, it seems quite some folks enjoy the rural virtual life, because Farming Simulator 17 is not even the only (bi)annual farming simulator available on PS4, as Professional Farmer 17 proves. To each their own …

The open world of Professional Farmer 17 is also pretty boring – you can find 100 gold nuggets per map, but otherwise it is not impressive, diverse or worth exploring. If you’re used to games of a more violent nature, it’s a natural instinct to take a vehicle and test the physics. Well, Farming Simulator 17 is pretty … basic if you give that a go; pedestrians are just ghosts without substance and if you ram a car, the tractor bounces back – the tractor, not the car! But if you want to, you can still have some fun with the physics as the video below shows:

Rabidgames sighs: It takes a special mind to enjoy farming simulators, and yours truly does not possess such a mind. Repetitiveness is fine when you can blow things up, but ploughing, sowing or harvesting is pretty much almost all there is to the game. But there must be an audience, as yet another other farming franchise on the PS4 proves …