Archive for November, 2011

Locations for Assassin’s Creed 3 – Aye or Nay?

Posted in News on November 29, 2011 by Rabidgames

Ubisoft decided to take a democratic turn and let the fans decide the location of Assassin’s Creed 3. Well, actually, it could be some other game after AC3, and it could be a marketing stunt. Anyway, Rabidgames will share his thoughts which locations would suit any Assassin’s Creed game – and which would not.

Here we go:

The violent conflicts of the Imperial Dynasties in Medieval China
Aye.
There are hardly any games who deal with this era of the Chinese history (except Dynasty Warriors). Plus, the short movie Assassin’s Creed Embers features the Chinese assassin Shao Jun. However, it is pretty unclear if Desmond has Chinese ancestors and the involvement of Westerners in this era would be minimal at best. While it sounds intriguing, Rabidgames deems it unlikely.

 
The advent of the mighty British Empire during Victorian England
Aye.
Just one question: Was Jack the Ripper an Assassin or a Templar? This one question alone would make the setting worthwhile. It could also explain the “Miles” in Desmond’s name. Maybe we would even learn why Desmond’s ancestors moved to the U.S. …

 

The culmination of the Pharaoh Reign in Ancient Egypt
Nay.
While Egypt would be a good setting in general, it would somehow feel like the original Assassin’s Creed once more. And it would be rather illogical to go back in time again.

 

The invasion of the Americas by the Spanish Conquistadors
Nay.
That’s a tough one. Truth is, the Conquistadors committed genocide on a massive scale. They clearly must be the Templars in this scenario. While it would be great to delve into Christian hypocrisy and the billions of crimes committed under the cover of holy Christ and noble kings, Ubisoft would have to go to hell and back by introducing this delicate scenario to its world wide audience. If they have the guts to do so, go on. If not, let it be. No one wants a game where genocidal imperialists are heroes.

 
The confrontation between British colonists and native Americans during The American Revolution
Nay.
Even tougher! This time, Ubisoft would have to show the mirror to its prime market. Does anyone really believe a global company would dare to make U.S. citizens aware of the fact their entire nation is built on the back bones of genocide and persecution? Actually, it would be commercial suicide. It will simply not happen – which is a shame.

 

The overthrow of the Tsar Empire by the Communists during the Russian Revolution
Nay.
Rabidgames would love to see it. But once more, Communists as the good guys? The tsar as the good guy? It’s all hard to imagine. But the setting itself feels promising. But one thing bothers Rabidgames: It would be too modern. Hidden blades against guns or artillery? Ubisoft would have to find a completely new way to integrate this setting into the AC universe … Another counter-argument: Politics, once more.

 

The Warlord Battles in Feudal Japan
Nay.
Japan is a really unique topic in the gaming world. Either you like the Japanese culture and games – or you hate all of it. Or you don’t give a shit. For a huge series like Assassin’s Creed, that risk would be way too big. Let’s be honest – the Japanese won’t like it anyway unless you “japanize” the game which in turn would alienate the Western fan base. It would be interesting to see Japan near the end of its isolation though.

 

The rise of Cesar’s Empire in Ancient Rome
Nay.
Rome? Again? We’ve already seen Rome – although it would be a different city, many iconic landmarks would still be the same. Also, why going back in time that much when it’s about the end of a trilogy?

 

Stunningly, there is one remarkable setting left out which would perfectly fit the Assassin’s Creed universe: The French Revolution. Why would Ubisoft leave it out? Maybe – and that’s just pure speculation – because the time and place of Assassin’s Creed 3 has already been decided …

Let’s just hope Assassin’s Creed 3 won’t take place in modern New York City …

Rabidgames says: It’s hard to imagine Ubisoft would risk the fallout from choosing a controversial theme for the end of the trilogy: The American Genocides seem out of question, and Communism is still a field best to be avoided as a multi-billion company who doesn’t want to become a target of Fox News in its prime market. If you count them out and bear in mind the audience of the Assassin’s Creed series, London seems the most logical option. Unless Ubisoft really chooses to go for the outcome of this vote, of course …

Advertisements

An Ode to Skyrim

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest on November 19, 2011 by Rabidgames

Sometimes, you have high expectations. You read the first announcement, you watch the first trailer and think “what will it be like”? Remember the anticipation before watching the first Lord of the Rings movie (by the way, it only counts if you read the books BEFORE)?

We all wondered what Skyrim would be like. We knew it would be based on the Fallout engine so we roughly knew what we could expect. We thought it would be something like Oblivion – a minor upgrade at least, an epic adventure at best.

As it turns out, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is all that – and ten times more. Bethesda just created a masterpiece. Simple as that.
Skyrim is maybe the best sandbox game ever so far. It is a sandbox in its purest form: Here’s the world, it’s your oyster, do whatever you like. There are no gameplay hindrances such as a simplistic good/evil bar or blocked-off areas. Of course, there are consequences, but they might be realised only in the long term: Getting caught stealing and murdering can be expensive, and should you level up your non-fighting skills too much you might not live long enough to regret it, especially if a giant kicks you to the moon. But then again, you want to experiment with alchemy, enchanting and smithing because they offer great rewards.

And the world of Skyrim is simply gorgeous. From the breath-taking snowy peaks (is there anything cooler than being in the middle of a blizzard?), the dark, moist marshes with lurking Spriggans, the different towns and villages to the amazing dungeons – Rabidgames might have visited around 20 and they all look different (in your face, Dragon Age 2) – Skyrim is that amazing you can get lost just exploring the landscape. Hell, you can jump into a river and let the current do the work for you. Once, Rabidgames found a poor dead traveller at the bottom of a big waterfall. It’s not just the scenery – all the tiny details make the realm of Skyrim believable: The world does not feel like a generic fantasy world, it feels like a real universe full of myths, lore and people.

The books give away tons of knowledge (one even explains the story of Oblivion) or just nice little jokes (remember the old RPG books which told you to go to page 23 in order to attack the troll with a kitchen knife?). The bards, usually found in Inns, are just a simple but amazing feature to create a dense atmosphere. You can even join the Bard’s guild. If you become a thane in a hold, you get away with minor crimes easily. Rabidgames could go on and on about all those details for hours.

And a big kudos to Bethesda for one more reason: Not only did they create an awesome game, they also gave the finger to everything that’s wrong with the video games industry these days: No fragmented pre-order bonus crap, no Day 1 DLC, no fucking codes whatsoever … No signs of casualisation, no thoughts about an action-mode, no holding your hand, no tacked-on multiplayer.

Of course, Skyrim has its problems, too. But they are all of technical nature: Missing HD textures on the 360 are a pain, crashes on PC as well, and the save file bug on the PS3 can completely ruin the game! But in terms of gameplay, Skyrim knocks on the door of perfection. Here’s the thing: After 25 hours of Skyrim, Rabidgames cannot point the finger on even one negative gameplay-related aspect. Not one!

Rabidgames admits: He loves Skyrim. Never before has Rabidgames played a game that immersive, that detailed and that awesome. Bethesda even worked on Oblivion’s weakest point, the main story. Rabidgames actually wants to know what happens next. But the ‘problem’ is – on the way there, you can and you will get distracted and do ten other things. Why? Because you can, of course! Skyrim really provides you with interesting quests, places or just hunting deer for hours.

Skyrim is a huge adventure brimming over with immersion, details, freedom and fun. It easily exceeds all expectations and might even define what console RPG should look, feel and play like from now on. With Skyrim as competition, poor Bioware might fall into oblivion soon …

Call of Duty or Hollywood goes gaming

Posted in The Latest on November 12, 2011 by Rabidgames

Rabidgames sincerely apologises for not getting it. What is so great about the Call of Duty series? The heavily scripted single player which offers no choices at all and makes Final Fantasy XIII look open world? Or the ordinary multiplayer which is simply a “shoot first, kill first” on an endless and boring loop? Why does such a mediocre franchise sell millions and millions of units?

Year, by year, millions of shooter freaks buy the same game again … and again … and again. For the love of gaming, why?

Could it be because of the campaign? Certainly not!

While the story of Black Ops wasn’t that bad, presentation and gameplay were. The same engine and graphics since Modern Warfare 1, no freedom to do anything, just heavily scripted events, and each mission is nothing more than a hectic race against the game itself. Even if you control a helicopter it feels as if you fly on rails … and creating that feeling is quite something! Oh yeah, let’s not forget campaigns in CoD games last 5 meagre hours – if you’re trying to take it slow.

Could it be because of the multiplayer?

Well, first of all, Rabidgames doesn’t like multiplayer. In fact, Rabidgames deems multiplayer boring in the long term. So, let’s just assume the CoD multiplayer is good – but even it was, ain’t it still the very same shit it had been in MW1? There are some microscopic changes, some new perks and stuff like that – but at the core, it is the same over and over again …

So why are people CoDrones and buy annual updates?

Ever heard of Fifa? It’s the same principle here, guys. For once, it’s fucking hype over substance. The other thing is truly mean: As soon as the new game is released, everyone deserts the old one – if you want to keep playing multiplayer, you have to simply switch, too. What a smart strategy, eh? Rabidgames just wonders whether he should hate Activision more for ripping the audience off on an annual basis or whether he should despite the common gamer for falling for it again and again. Tough choice.

And then we have DLC. One map “pack” which is usually consists of one more map (or two if Acticision feels gracious) costs 15 bucks. You gotta be kidding Rabidgames! And as of this year, we also have the infamous Elite – another fucking PR monster born from capitalism’s festering womb to milk the dumb cash-cow to death. But here’s the thing – no one gives a fuck! Everyone buys. No one even complains any more about over-priced stuff and half the content removed from games (well okay, let’s not go there, that’s another story)!

Rabidgames says: Why anyone would buy some games where the deciding factor of games is under-developed is way beyond Rabidgames‘ understanding. And yes, Rabidgames is talking about gameplay. Even as a multiplayer noob, the multiplayer of Battlefield 3 looks ten times more interesting. And the singleplayer campaign in COD games is a bad joke anyway.

It is hopeless. Good riddance, CoDrones, swallow your annual updates and your buttload of DLC. Maybe ones day, you’ll wake up and realise your oblivious blindness to the system. For now, the CoD franchise is just a symptom of the industry … and by far the worst!

Furthermore, just take a close look at Hollywood: movies are fucking crap these days – no innovation, same old shit day in, day out. And that’s Hollywood at its best! Let’s not talk about awful remakes or Transformers part 23457 … CoD is absolutely the same. Sure, why change a winning team if you can feed people buy annual updates? Why creating a unique experience when your audience are mainstream sheep baaing for the same shit? So we should not only blame Activision, we should also blame ourselves for buying the very same crap for years without even realising!

Mass Effect 3 … and an action mode? Really? Really?

Posted in News, The Latest on November 5, 2011 by Rabidgames

Oh, we RPG lot seem to be a sad and forlorn breed – especially when it comes to the once beloved, praised and adored RPG behemoth Bioware these days. First, we got Dragon Age 2, an action RPG light with weird dungeons that all looked the same for some reason and a complete lack of customisation compared to its predecessor Origins. Now, it seems Mass Effect 3 gets worse day by day by day by day by day by day – but let’s start from the beginning:

It all started to hit the fan when Bioware was telling us ME3 should play more like a shooter … which means even more emphasis on the team-oriented shooting bits, of course. Consistently, the inclusion of grenades and melee attacks has transformed ME3 into a new strange being, let’s call it Gears of Mass War 3 (or GoMW3) for now.

Remember how Bioware promised “no multiplayer” in GoMW3? Haha, it turned out to be a fucking filthy lie. At the moment, here’s where we poor bastards stand: The multiplayer in GoMW3 is a – quite likely sub-par, mediocre – GoW Horde Mode (not to be confused with Saints Row The Third‘s “Whored Mode”) which can contribute somehow to the success of the campaign (PR terms for “makes it a cakewalk”) but it is entirely optional. For now. We’ll see if that’s just another promise broken.

Attention, folks, better sit down: All the sad stuff above pales in comparison to the latest news:

The demo of GoMW3 will have 3 different modes to “enjoy” the experience!
Is Rabidgames kidding? No.
Is there any hope, this and other similar videos are just elaborated fakes? Abandon hope unless you believe in world peace, too.
Rabdigames hears you say “but maybe it’s only for the demo” … ok, let’s believe in world peace then.

Anyway, just have a quick look at the 3 different ways to “play” GoMW3:

1. Action Mode

This vile abomination seems to be “for those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management.
Action Mode will set automatic replies in conversation and normal difficulty.”

2. Story Mode

This mode is “for those who want to emphatize story immersion and minimize combat pressure.
Story Mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.”

3. RPG Mode

The only valid option! It is “for those who want to explore both realms of story and combat.
RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.”


Ok, Rabidgames admits to be quite speechless.

However, Rabidgames feels obliged to comment on this incredible travesty:
What the god-damn reaper fucking hell is wrong with you guys at Bioware? Are you serious? Are you out of your mind? Has the Evil A blackmailed you to betray every fucking thing Bioware has ever stood for? Do you really want to attract CoDrones to GoMW3? Do you want to turn a fucking Role Playing Game into another lobotomised shooter?

And now, ladies and gentlemen, here’s the 60 $ question: How in the fucking world do you think it will be possible to give your loyal fan base and your die-hard fanboys and fangirls (by the way, Rabidgames would love to see their reaction to that news on their faces!) a proper story when the very same story will be part of the casual action mode? How?

But even worse, the worst might be yet to come:

Rabidgames fears: The near future is bleak – but let’s have a look at the distant future: Imagine Bioware pulls off this crap successfully: Will each and every RPG be watered down in the first place only to appeal to braindead trigger happy soap watching inbred morons who are just too lazy to read two motherfucking lines of dialogue because those guys are now your prime target audience? And then, will corrupted companies like Bioware be always that noble and generous to give us some creamy sour options on top it so we get at least the sweet feeling of playing an actual RPG with deep gameplay and a proper story?

But behold, there is a bracon of hope on the horizon. As long as Bethesda doesn’t give a dragon’s shit about multiplayer and dumbed down RPGs, there might be some glimmer of hope. Embrace it as long as it shines!

Is GTA V San Andreas HD?

Posted in News, The Latest on November 2, 2011 by Rabidgames

First of all, if you haven’t watched the first trailer for GTA V yet (for whatever weird reason that will surely be beyond Rabidgames), you can do so here.
Ok, now you know what we’re talking about.

So it seems Rabidgames was wrong. The setting of Grand Theft Auto V will take place in Los Santos.
No Las Venturas then. No casinos, no desert. Damn!

Presumably Los Santos, that is. We don’t know how big the map will be so it could well be Rockstar recreates the amazing state of San Andreas a second time. However, Rabidgames deems it rather unlikely. Especially the Xbox 360 could not handle 3 huge cities without dying. Then again, swapping discs would be an option. Well, we’ll see.

There are some hints GTA V will cover more than just the city area of Los Santos: We see a big mountain (Mount Chiliad?), a golf course (was there a golf course in Los Santos?) and at 1:03, the city in the background looks a bit like Las Venturas – just put San Andreas in your console, hope you still have a save file and take a look at Las Venturas from the West …

Back to the facts. Sadly, Grand Theft Auto V will play in present times … no going back to the 90’s or 80’s. We can clearly see the Vinewood sign and the cop cars say Los Santos, too … so Los santos is confirmed without a shadow of a doubt, and quite likely Hollywood as well. The mountain and the vineyards give us some hope there will be some countryside again … a place sadly missed in the gritty GTA IV.

As for protagonists, we have an old guy talking (Tommy Vercetti?) and a younger latino guy living a rich lifestyle. Now there are lots of possibilities: Either you play one of them or both – or somebody else. At least one of them seems to be filthy rich so you’re no poor immigrant who earns shitloads of money but can’t do anything with it. Oh yeah, take a look at the homeless guy at 0:58 – looks like our old pal Niko Bellic, doesn’t he?

Oh yeah, one more thing. People get hyped and think the game must play in the whole state of San Andreas because of the license plates. Yes, they read San Andreas … but that only means that Los Santos is located in San Andreas, and that’s about it. Unfortunately, it’s no valid proof.

Rabidgames says: The trailer looks good, that’s for sure. But let’s remember GTA IV also looked good. But a game needs more than good graphics and good physics. Yes, GTA IV blatantly failed in the gameplay department. Why? Rabidgames played the story once – and that was it. It paled in comparison to Vice City and San Andreas, games with a great setting and great gameplay Rabidgames still visits.

We don’t give a fuck about realism and stories about nobodies who remain nobodies – we want action and glamour! Let’s hope Rockstar learnt its lessons.

Rabidgames’ prediction for GTA V

Posted in News on November 2, 2011 by Rabidgames

In a couple of hours, Rockstar will enlighten us with some news about Grand Theft Auto V.

Now, the most important question is: Where will GTA V take place?

Here are some possible answers:

7. Liberty City
Rather unlikely. GTA IV played there, GTA III played there, plus New York has become blatantly boring.

6. Los Santos
On the one hand, L.A. is the perfect background for any GTA game: Crime, gangs, fame, sex, it’s all there for taking.
However, Los Angeles has been the stage for many, many games – notably L.A. Noire earlier this year. It would fit, yes, but it would also be boring.

6. Some new city
Rockstar could surprise us with a completely new setting, maybe even outside the U.S. GTA in Tokyo, Rio or maybe Ireland?
It would surely be interesting. But hasn’t Rockstar always stated that a big part of GTA is the pursuit – and the parody – of the American dream?
Of course, GTA V could also take place in another American city … but where would that be? Baltimore? Detroit? Washington D.C.?

4. San Fierro
San Francisco would definitely be a new and fresh setting. Didn’t we all enjoy driving up and down the iconic hills in San Andreas?
But somehow San Fierro doesn’t offer vital things to the GTA series: Sex, gangs and a truckload of violence.

3. San Andreas
The whole state of San Andreas in HD. Oh yes, that would be awesome. Let’s not forget Just Cause 2 proved huge maps work fine.
However, the GTA series has always had way more traffic and way more details. It is quite doubtful the consoles could manage a map the size of San Andreas AND the graphics of GTA IV.

2. Vice City
Ain’t this our dream? Visiting the flair of Vice City again?
A generation ago, Vice City followed Liberty City – so why would Rockstar not repeat this step?
Vice City would be perfect and logical. But will Rockstar choose an easy option?

Now it is time for Rabidgames‘ prediction. Ladies and Gentlemen, Rabidgames presents:

1. Las Venturas
Yes, Rabidgames predicts Las Venturas as the main city of Grand Theft Auto V. Why?
First, Las Venturas offers all we crave: Money, sex, glamour, mafia and violence. Imagine starting as a poor loser who cannot afford to enter a casino – and ending up as a kingpin. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Rabidgames says: After guessing the “where”, there is another really important question we should not forget: “When”. To guess about when is pretty pointless; there are too many rumours (from 1910 to now).

Just one thing, Rockstar: Please don’t give us one more gritty city with nothing to do. Please bring back the fun in GTA. Please give us a shitload of customization options. Please make us the boss again. If you do that, the where and when won’t really matter.