Archive for August, 2011

German media and video games

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest on August 24, 2011 by Rabidgames

Those Germans and video games … oh well, it is a long story that could easily fill a damn weighty tome …

In general, the German media have regarded video games either as mere kids’ toys no sane adult should ever touch (yes, it is 2011 in Germany, too) or as mind-numbing, brain-seducing and highly dangerous disease that fills the minds of toddlers and everybody else – in fact, even the German government treats each and every adult as a teething toddler by giving less than a shit about the pan European PEGI system.

How? Germany created a government shady agency whose one and only goal it is to rate video games. And if they don’t like it, they refuse a rating which results in a commercial embargo which basically means virtually no shop will sell the game. Even more, the very games that have been rated before (some games might have lost some of its violent or gory contents by then) can be completely banned later on.
Arbitrary insanity you ask?
For sure, at least from any thinking adult’s perspective.

The German media and their comrades, the Holy Protectors of the youth’s feeble minds, even coined the perilous term “killer games” (“Killerspiele” in German). Imagine a whole army of Jack Thompsons. Imagine prestigious news magazines which usually deal with politics telling you something about “that killer game GTA where you can rape and kill prostitutes” (to be fair, the kill part is true). Imagine a society where a lunatic organisation provides bins where you can get rid of your killer games.
Completely insane, aren’t they?

Anyway, Rabidgames proudly presents a new chapter:
During the Gamescom 2011, a nation-wide German TV channel called RTL (the equivalent to the UK’s ITV – in its shallow approach to satisfy the needs of a mysteriously stupid audience as well as in its denial to even give serious journalism a try) paid the Gamescom a visit. It should be added that the show that visited the Gamescom usually fishes in the roaring shallow waters of celebrity gossip and similar bollocks.

What happens if such a show tries to cover games? Well, you get the result: Gamers stink. Literally.
Yes, they mean it. They portray gamers as people who spend all their money on games which means your ordinary gamer
a) does not buy razors which means he never shaves
b) never cuts his hair
c) is too busy playing to ever take a shower.

Well, you might think it is a satirical approach – until a semi-bulimic model shows up who explains her excruciating agony and revulsion. That poor pure being had to suffer one day among those hordes of filthy animals who apparanently never speak to women! Poor girl. And she proves to be an expert of human nature since she is able to easily classify gamers: Either they are dirty freaks or they are filthy freaks. Some of them are just freaks … Alright, alright, we shouldn’t blame that poor girl for her innocent ignorance. She has clearly been misguided by years of misinformation and killer games hysteria, a disease which is highly contagious in people who have never laid hands onto a controller in their entire lives.

Rabidgames says: Thank you RTL, thank you very much for giving proof how retarded and obsolete your view actually is. If your point was to prove a new level of ignorance is always possible, congratulations, you succeeded. But don’t you worry, Rabidgames is absolutely positive you will be able to exceed all expectations again soon.

We demand a journalistic masterpiece on those killer games in the near future.

Due to the cowardice of that TV channel, all videos showing this piece of slander are subject of deletion regularly. Instead of giving one link, Rabidgames recommends searching for the tags “RTL” and “Gamescom 2011”. The only problem is you must be able to understand German.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel or Why did you leave the Western setting?

Posted in Played & Explained, The Latest on August 11, 2011 by Rabidgames

Call of Juarez: The Cartel leaves you there with many questions: Why does the game feel unfinished? Why was stuff removed we could witness in trailers (dual wielding Uzis, team commands) ? And why, for John Wayne’s sake, why did Techland abandon the Western setting?

First things first. It is possible Techland thought that any Western themed game might feel stale after Red Dead Redemption. Well, this thought is understandable. But if you think “hey, we shouldn’t compete with ONE game”, is it logical to compete with DOZENS – a year? And here’s the thing: Compared to the many, many other modern shooters, The Cartel falls flat on its reshaped face. Don’t get Rabidgames wrong, it is not a terrible game, and yes, it has some good ideas: The team entry is always fun (all members enter a room all guns blazing), the hidden agendas are a great idea (although the execution gets boring after two levels), the game is a decent coop experience and some shoot-outs are fun to play. Even the cliché-ridden story turns out to be entertaining.

But for one achievement, there are two drawbacks: The driving is abysmal (if you play the campaign alone, you are always forced to drive yourself while your A.I. buddies shoot holes in the sky rather than into your pursuers), the mandatory bullet time is ordinary and feels out of context, some levels ARE unfinished (from the inside of a house you walk into a desert and the town magically disappears). The settings are underwhelming, too: L.A. looks all the boring same (hoods and freeways), the national park and a cemetery are mere corridors – only the city of Juarez with its Mexican flair and the opulent villa near the end are well-chosen backdrops with some personality. But they are not more than empty backdrops: It seems the developers randomly decided which doors are functional – which adds to the unfinished sour feeling of this third incarnation of Call of Juarez.

The three protagonists of The Cartel are walking stereotype bombs: You have the old-fashioned (brutal but honest) justice seeking cop, the corrupt swaggering Latino DEA agent and the black female dodgy FBI officer with a hood past – it ain’t easy finding a character to identify with! If you want to get to know the whole story, good luck – you have to play the entire game three times. Most of the time, all three protagonists work closely together which means you’re bound to play the very same 90% of the game three times. Fun? It depends – some levels are alright but then again, there are the many ropy driving sequences …

And one more thing, Techland: If we play a team-based shooter, please, for fuck’s sake, give us some basic commands. Rabidgames doesn’t demand that much: take cover, attack, follow – that’s it. Remember Freedom Fighters? This addition alone would have made the game a whole lot more enjoyable than those moronic A.I. partners.

One word about the multiplayer: If you wait for 5 minutes and there are only 2 people waiting for the game to start, it can tell you two things: Either everyone is busy playing the campaign or no one bothered to buy the game at all. The multiplayer itself is fun only because of the partner system: Take care of your partner and assist him, and both of you will get more EXP. Apart from that good idea, it is generic.

Rabidgames says: Yes, Call of Juarez: The Cartel is fun sometimes. But if there is not one single element in the game which stands out and is more than just mediocre in comparison to top notch-shooters, there is just one thing left to say: Techland’s move to leave their niche and throw themselves into the shark tank of contemporary shooters was not an act of bravery. It was a suicide commando with the expected outcome – another promising series bombed.