Archive for June, 2012

The Biggest Mistake of Mass Effect 3

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , , , on June 30, 2012 by Rabidgames

Probably, you won’t guess it.

No, it’s not the endings which have soured Mass Effect 3.
No, it’s not Starbrat out of nowhere.
And no, it’s not the missing final boss.

It’s EMS.
Well, EMS itself is not even a bad idea. While never Rabidgames’ favourite, it was at least a valid way to add meat to all your previous decisions from Mass Effect 1 to getting rid of Cerberus. Numbers are better than nothing. Of course, fleshed-out side quests, actual conversations and visiting certain planets would have been better.

But let’s accept we accumulate EMS throughout all of Mass Effect 3. Hell, everything we do accumulates EMS. Scanning a planet, recovering an artifact, helping random people, the rather lame N7 missions, aiding the Krogan, brokering peace or war between the Quarian and the Geth … whatever you do, your EMS shall rise.

But what for?
It doesn’t matter shit!
You get one 2-second cutscene which is illogical after the Extended Cut, but that’s it.
Well, it matters if you go for Destroy, yes. Either everything burns, or the Reapers burn. However, any sane person who plays through Mass Effect 3 will collect 2000 EMS – unless he’s dumb. But even then, it doesn’t matter if you really helped the Krogans, if you saved the Geth … your EMS won’t reflect it. Why?
Choose Synthesis or Control, EMS is a waste. Yes, doing side quests has been a waste of time. Great, isn’t it?

And Bioware, if you bother to add a fourth ending, don’t fucking troll us!
It would have been the perfect opportunity to make EMS matter for once.
Damn, if you tell Starchild and his Reaper friends to go fuck themselves hard, what would happen in the Mass Effect universe?
Yes, galactic forces battling the Reapers! Low EMS, you die. High EMS, you win. Common sense prevails. Or would have, if implementing game elements properly had been more important than making fun of people who despise the idea of Starbrat …

Rabidgames is disappointed: That’s Bioware 2012 for you. Another chance wasted. But all this EMS stuff brings up a question: Why inventing a complicated system where decisions become numbers when it hardly matters in the end? Does this numeric clusterfuck make sense to anybody?

Mass Effect 3 or New Ending, Happy Ending?

Posted in News, Played & Explained with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by Rabidgames

Obviously, there are big spoilers ahead.

After months of waiting, cursing, speculating and hoping, Bioware finally gave us the Extended Cut DLC to give some closure to the abysmal Mass Effect 3 ending controversy. So, all is well now in the galax— no, it’s not. Who are we kidding?

The three endings do their jobs partially since they explain some consequences of Shepard’s actions, yes, but the ending is still rotten at its core – and it’s not just because of the still existing deus ex machina … For instance, there are still tons of gaping plot holes:

  • Why is the Citadel moved to earth?
  • Why do the Reapers never find out about the Crucible – even if the indoctrinated Rachni Queen is there?
  • Why do the Reapers leave the Citadel and the Crucible alone?
  • Why doesn’t Harbinger kill off Shepard?
  • Why does Harbinger flee?

Yes, those questions have been asked before here, and they are still left unanswered. Why? How can Bioware overlook such big gaps? It’s ridiculous! Are they dumb? Blind? Well, maybe they simply don’t give a shit. Why do more than you have to? Just give the fans something, they’ll swallow it and they’ll buy your next game anyway.
Well, alright, let’s forget everything prior to the last 20 minutes of Mass Effect 3, and let’s accept fucking Starchild’s stupid existence, let’s have a look what has changed: Well, basically not much. For once, some plot holes are closed now (how did the squad mates reach the Normandy, why did Joker leave, and thank fuck the Mass Relays aren’t destroyed beyond repair anymore). But overall, the three endings are simply shown in more detail, yet nothing substantial has been added at all:

Synthesis is now the best Mass Effect 3 ending – at least in Rabidgames’ mind. Organics and synthetics evolve and proceed to a new, common level of consciousness. They even acquire the knowledge and help of the Reapers and of many previous generations of species. Judging by the images, individual beings still exist, and the inhabitants of our galaxy haven’t been “Reaperised”. Synthesis seems to be the only decision which will grant the galaxy lasting peace. However, there is still the moral dilemma if one step of evolution should be forced unto a galaxy …

Control could go either way, Shepard-Reaper and the Reapers help rebuild the galaxy, and Reaper-Shepard controls a vast peace corps to secure prosperity and peace – but if he protects the “many” he might end up eradicating the few … hardly a comforting thought.

Destroy is still the pure Renegade choice – sacrifice everything except yourself (well, at least Shepard may live) or humanity so the Reaper threat falls. If the Catalyst was correct, Destroy will indeed destroy organic life forms, at least in the long run. And by destroying all synthetics, Shepard has proven once more cooperation between organics and synthetics is impossible, proving the Reapers’ creators right (and let’s be honest, we don’t want to prove fucking Starchild right).
But if you have high EMS, Destroy is now completely out of line – the Shepard breathes scene is still in. However, we know the Council rebuilt London and the Citadel … so either Shepard is dead or lives but either way, Shepard has never been found … another plot hole for sure!

Oh, we should not forget Bioware added a fourth ending which should be known as the Troll ending hence forward. Watch the new Mass Effect 3 ending here:

Here’s the thing: Shepard would have no reason whatsoever to trust Starchild. Why would Shepard give in to the kid’s strange wishes? Why would our Shepard believe a Reaper brain? Why trust something which has just popped out of nowhere? However, if you do the logical thing, if you decide to tell that transparent shithead to go fuck himself, his voice turns into a Reaper voice … and the Reapers win.

Seriously, Bioware? You punish players who believe that Starchild is a fluke (either artistically or trustworthily) by telling them only a dubious Crucible is the means to victory? *sigh* Here we go again … TROLLED! Bioware missed the one chance to make our fucking EMS really count – just imagine:
EMS 0-2000: Reapers win
2000-4000: Galactic forces win, but there are heavy casualties in a decade long war of attrition
more than 4000: Galactic forces destroy the Reapers within months

Another chance wasted … there is still no reason to care for a perfect playthrough when choices don’t matter. And yes, maybe the galaxy would not need the Crucible. After all, the Reapers have never faced a united galaxy. But no, Bioware decided to troll our butts once more. What good are choices if they’re meaningless?

Oh yes, what about the famous Indoctrination Theory which has haunted Mass Effect 3?
Many people argue it has been disproved. Well, yes, Bioware closed some plot holes but as a matter of fact, you simply can’t disprove it. Anything could have been a hallucination. Of course, IT can’t be proven as well. It’s all about believing now … although the Extended Cut offers a new scene where Harbinger says something which may well be “one of us” before shooting Shepard:

Furthermore, the Shepard breathes scene seems absolutely wrong now. Again, how is it possible Shepard has never been found? Add to it the fact Starchild is now definitely connected to the Reapers, it makes you wonder what Bioware was thinking. Of course, IT has been possible only because of Bioware not thinking at all … bad writing, neglecting its narration or rushing Mass Effect 3 have led us to a fucked up ending. And yes, it’s better now, but it’s still a bad ending. The Mass Effect series, a series with unprecedented choices and narrative elements to be transferred and connected over the course of three games, deserves a great ending, not a bad one. Above all, even a bad ending including a boring deus ex machina could have been satisfying if our choices throughout the trilogy had been reflected. But alas, we’re still stuck within an underwhelming clusterfuck.

And one more thing: Why on Palaven hasn’t Bioware included this stuff in the original ending? How was that first ending allowed to see the light of day?

Rabidgames disapproves: Sadly, Mass Effect 3 will be remembered as one of the games where Bioware gambled away its reputation. First, they lied. Then, they mocked. And finally, they gave us some DLC which still failed to answer all questions that should be answered. Bioware, this was your second strike. Third strike, and you’re out.

6 Things you might not know about Dragon’s Dogma

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , on June 26, 2012 by Rabidgames

Dragon’s Dogma is a massive game, and while there is a decent manual, there are tons of things you have to discover for yourself. Rabidgames explains a few useful secrets of Dragon’s Dogma:

The save game situation: It’s the biggest problem of Dragon’s Dogma: If you fail a quest, the game overwrites your file, it’s over. But there are two options to avoid this: First, simply rest in an inn or touch a riftstone (yes, that also counts as checkpoint) before starting a complicated quest (e.g. that damn annoying Gold Idol one). If you fail the quest for whatever reason, got to the Save/Quit menu and Return to the last checkpoint. Problem solved.
Second, to make sure a corrupted save file ain’t the end of the world, always, and Rabidgames means always, copy your Dragon’s Dogma save file to another device (be it USB stick, Cloud, whatever). That way, you’ll be on the safe side.

Quick saving: Just press START and then SELECT. It’s way faster than the alternatives.

How to use flasks: You surely know all those small bottles and you might have wondered what they should be used for in Dragon’s Dogma: Well, if you soak your enemies with water, thunder spells will hammer them harder, and they become prone to being frozen solid by ice spells. The same goes for oil: Douse enemies and then set them on fire. Watch them burn more effectively!

Moldy food is good for you: Yes, it’s true. In Dragon’s Dogma, moldy (or mouldy in BE) apples or sour meat will heal you more than fresh food. Selling moldy food will get you more money as well. Just be sure it doesn’t start rotting.
However, even rotten food is not lost, too. Just put it into an airtight flask and combine this item with spring water (bottled water from one of the healing springs).

Saving money at upgrades: When you upgrade a weapon or a piece of armour in Dragon’sDogma, just upgrade to level 3. That way, you will save materials and money. In most cases, level 1 and 2 are not significant anyway.

Easy Depositing: After roaming the wilds for a couple of days, it has been a big pain to deposit all your goods in Dragons’ Dogma. But there’s a handy trick: Just press START, and you will deposit all items of the respective category at once. Just be careful and don’t press START at the wrong place …

Rabidgames is curious: Dragon’s Dogma has been out for quite a while, and yet, there are new things to discover. Well done, Capcom, well done.

Lollipop Chainsaw or The Fine Line between Insanity and Infantility

Posted in Played & Explained with tags on June 24, 2012 by Rabidgames

Let’s start this review of Lollipop Chainsaw with a confession:

Rabidgames did not finish the game. Why?
The final boss fight consists of hacking at the cliché goth  for 10 minutes, and then follows the most ridiculous and stupid QTE chain ever – if you fail to press one button within a nanosecond, you’re dead and you have to start all over again. Simply, it’s just not worth it.

But then again, there is no real reason why you would like to finish Lollipop Chainsaw: The story is insane and yet stupid, the characters are all annoying, and yes, if a game insists on fucking reaction tests during its final fight, here’s Rabidgames’ reaction: Fuck off and die, cunts!

Actually, if you’re into watching scantily dressed animated cheerleaders, there is a reward for completing Lollipop Chainsaw at least once. You get a special outfit:

Well, the decision is yours. But you know, instead of being a weirdo, you could watch some real porn as well …

But what does Lollipop Chainsaw actually offer?

As mentioned above, the story is insane yet ordinary, all characters will annoy the shit out of you, the levels are as linear as linear can be, and the repetitive fights against basic zombies are outright boring: Juliet’s limited arsenal of moves might look great if you’re an animephiliac, but for the rest of us, it is just a mediocre hack’n’slay with pom-poms and a chainsaw. Nothing more.

Then, Lollipop Chainsaw is full of QTEs … yes, Rabidgames hates this blight. And here, it is at its worst. A locked door? Slash it open, QTE. Severing zombies with a special move? QTE. Why jumping over a pipe when you can slash it? How? Of course, QTE. But it gets even worse: When you put Nick’s head (Juliet’s rather hapless and bodyless boyfriend) onto a zombie body (don’t ask how that’s possible, it’s cheerleader magic), you must fulfil certain tasks. How to do that? 20 seconds of motherfucking QTE!!! Irritating as shit! And you do that at least once per level! Here, Lollipop Chainsaw follows the beaten path that says: “If you have no clue how to include a compelling gameplay mechanic, just include a QTE to cover it up”. Thanks.

To be fair though, Lollipop Chainsaw manages to make QTEs work in the one department where it truly shines: The boss fights (well, apart from the final one at least). Here, you bring down their health bars with normal chainsaw slashing, and then you cut them straight down the middle via QTE – and it’s fine because it makes sense. The boss fights are also proof Suda has still some great ideas – if you want to fight a punk rocker literally throwing words at you, a Norse black metal drummer on his ship, a psychedelic stoner queen on an acid trip or a biker who turns into an elephant-machine hybrid – here we go. The boss fights are really fun.

Eventually, Lollipop Chainsaw suffers from the same disease Shadows of the Damned suffered before: Its decent ideas are seriously hampered by incredibly mediocre gameplay and a kind of humour which often borderlines infantile tit or dick jokes rather than make you laugh. At the end of the day, the game might be worth renting to check out if you like it … but buying it for more than 10 quids? No way!

Rabidgames is disgusted: Yes, that final boss fight is shit. And annoying. But it would be too easy to say it was the only thing which soured Lollipop Chainsaw – the game offers lots of style but hardly any substance. If you take away the hot cheerleader stuff, you have a mediocre hack’n’slay heavily relying on QTEs, exposing QTE as what it really is: A weak excuse for a lack of good gameplay ideas.

Extended Cut to explain the abysmal ending of Mass Effect 3 very soon

Posted in News with tags , , , , on June 23, 2012 by Rabidgames

Finally, Bioware will release the Extended Cut to get rid of Mass Effect 3‘s absurd and pointless ending … hopefully.
We will be able to download the DLC on 26 June – for free (for some strange reason, European PS3 users will get it as late as 4 July however).

Unfortunately, we will have to replay the last chapters of Mass Effect 3, starting from attacking the Cerberus base. Bioware has also published a FAQ page to explain the Extended Cut DLC.

Furthermore, if your galactic readiness has gone to 50%, good luck raising it to 100% once again. This will mean spending a couple of hours in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer – at least, you have to do it if you want to see the best ending. Good luck there.

Rabidgames wonders: There is no real joy here. Instead of looking forward to see how the Extended Cut works out, Rabidgames rather does not want to replay the last 2 hours because, let’s be honest here, the London level was fucking lame. Plus, the deus ex machina, our dear friend Starchild, will still be there to ruin the ending. But hey, it’s free so we shouldn’t feel entitled, right?

Mass Effect 3 to launch Operation: Savage this Weekend

Posted in News with tags , , , , on June 22, 2012 by Rabidgames

Another weekend, another Mass Effect 3 multiplayer event.
This time, Operation: Savage wants us to release beastly squads:

Allied Goal: Eliminate 7,000,000 trooper-level enemies: Cerberus Assault Trooper, Husks, Cannibals, Geth Troopers
Squad Goal: Extraction on any difficulty with the squad using exclusively krogan, vorcha, or batarian classes
Special Circumstance: None

This time, the squad goal goal gives a Commendation Pack, while the allied goal gives a Victory Pack with “a guaranteed N7 weapon” as usual.

What does it mean?
If you play Mass Effect 3 this weekend, make sure to survive a match anywhere on any difficulty. The important part is: You are allowed to only have krogan, vorcha or batarian squad members – in any combination. 4 krogans? Let it rain headbutts. 4 vorcha? It’ll be a bloodlust feast all over. 4 batarians? Erm, lots of eyes … Or you can choose a mix of those races, whatever …

Killing the grunts can be done with each race or class, by the way.

Rabidgames hesitates: After a week without Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, how will it feel to be back online? We’ll see, but one thing is clear: Entering the arenas again as a mighty krogan sounds like fun for sure!

Mike Tyson in WWE ’13

Posted in News with tags , , on June 19, 2012 by Rabidgames

Mike Tyson will return to the ring … but to the wrestling rings of WWE ’13.

Mike Tyson certainly played his part in the turbulent and successful Attitude era by being the Degeneration X’s special enforcer in the main event of WrestleMaina XIV. In WWE ’13, Tyson will wear a DX shirt, of course (we’ll see if he has other attires as well):

Naturally, there’s a catch. If you want to play as Iron Mike Tyson, you have to pre-order WWE ’13.

Rabidgames wonders: So, Mike Tyson in an Attitude game. Makes kinda sense. It will be interesting to see what his finishers will be like: Will he simply knock his opponents out or will he start biting ears? We’ll see.

Violence and Video Games

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , on June 18, 2012 by Rabidgames

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Another discussion about violence in video games. This time however, the discussion is not led by hypocritical media or lazy parents, no, it’s the venerable Warren Spector himself.

But is he right?
Rabidgames deems: Yes, and no.

Yes, there are games where we see only violence for its own sake – and honestly, it has become boring at best and tedious at worst. Just take a look at Max Payne 3 – you always blow the last guy in a room to pieces. Given the fact one level in Max Payne 3 has roughly 248 rooms, half your playtimes goes into slow-mo cams of dying bad guys. If you don’t know what Rabidgames is talking about, have a look at one of the many Max Payne 3 Killcam videos you can find:

And seeing some close-up killings from Sam Fisher or from Agent 47 in some of the E3 trailers, it really seems this kind of violence is just a means to attract the combined forces of Michael Bay watchers and Call of Duty gamers – “look, blood, headshots and  a shitload of explosions. Yay!” In all those games, violence is nothing but a cheap selling point to promote a game – and of course, the most brutal image, the goriest decapitation, the slowest slitting of a throat will always win. Speaking of Call of Duty, Battlefield and all those generic war shooters – do people really believe that’s what war is like: Colourful explosions everywhere, and one Nolan North lookalike hero riding the winds of nuclear fire, freeing princess America to ride off into a black, white and blue sunset? Really?

It’s not violence itself which is the problem, it is the depiction of violence, the humanisation of murder, the glorification of war. And we are right to blame Rockstar for the sensational grisliness of Max Payne 3 – after all, Rockstar is one of the few companies which can handle violence in a mature way. Look at Red Dead Redemption or L.A. Noire, and compare their stories, characters and adult violence to the adolescent and meaningless bloodbaths in Max Payne 3. And still, Max Payne 3 is roughly 10 levels above the numb and dumb yet patriotic and heroic cardboard slaughter feasts in contemporary military shooters … So publishers still have to prove the world they can deliver the gaming equivalent to Apocalypse Now. Yes, we need a serious anti-war game.

On the other hand, though, violence can perfectly fine. Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row, Mortal Kombat, Bulletstorm … all those games are what the likes of Tarantino, Rodriguez or the Coen brothers are to movies: Sometimes you want mindless fun, and then you get it. However, not one sane person on earth would ever take Kill Bill seriously – so why do people whine about the violence in GTA? It ain’t real, folks. It’s not even meant to be taken seriously.

Rabidgames finishes: It’s not the whole video game industry which has to grow up. What we need is a great game which tells a compelling story with characters you care about – and it must contain some really intense violence, too. But that violence should really shock you instead of just making you laugh at the screen. And then there’s this light-hearted violence in video games which has always been there and it will always be there. Why? Cos it’s fun, simple as that.

Lollipop Chainsaw – worth it?

Posted in News with tags , on June 15, 2012 by Rabidgames

Today is the day many guy shave been looking forward to – thanks to Lollipop Chainsaw and its protagonist Juliet, it

is now part of a game to look at a cheerleader wearing nothing but proper cheerleader attire. Hell, you even get an achievement for taking a look for peeping under Juliet’s skirt once.

Here’s the launch trailer for Lollipop Chainsaw:

And here’s some gameplay, and yes, it’s even more insane than you might have thought:

Now, here’s the thing:
Rabidgames has no problem with insane.
It’s Lollipop Chainsaw’s gameplay which worries him. It looks rather repetitive, there are tons of QTE (there are even achievements associated with that blight), and it’s been done by Suda, whose Shadows of the Damned had some decent ideas yet completely failed in the gameplay department (even Resident Evil 4 feels modern compared to it).

Rabidgames is undecided: Lollipop Chainsaw could turn out to be an insane roller coaster ride of fun or a borefest of QTE action. What to do now, what to do?

One more DLC to hate Saints Row The Third

Posted in News with tags , , , on June 14, 2012 by Rabidgames

Yes, THQ has done it again with Saints Row The Third … over and over … please, stop releasing this DLCrap!
Look at it and wonder if it is really worth 240 MS points:

A lame Hot Dog mascot? Not worth it. Should have been in all the time.
Ninja? Not worth it. Should have been in all the time (and was in Saints Row 2).
A halo and horns? Seriously? Incredibly lame.
A broomstick aka the 25854th hover bike copy (including some fitting witch gear)? Forget it – unless you want to be Rincewind!

Rabidgames despairs: Each DLC makes Saints Row The Third a worse game. Why? They’re shit. Utter shit. They just show how much stuff has been cut out just to milk us dry. And when THQ finally goes down, there won’t be any tears left because they have been shed before … but it’ll be some more tears of rage.