Archive for August, 2014

Is P.T. the First Real Next Gen Title?

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , on August 28, 2014 by Rabidgames

We’ve heard lots of talk about the next generation of gaming, didn’t we? Sadly, it’s mostly about graphics or some multiplayer mumbo jumbo … Yes, Rabidgames is talking to you, Watch_Dogs and Destiny! But at their core, those games are still the same.

But then, something happened during Gamescom: P.T. happened. A mysterious “game” (okay, with amazing graphics) that turned out to be a playable teaser for the hopefully equally frightening Silent Hills … Watch the video and its spoilers at your own risk!

So, you might ask, what is next gen about P.T.? Isn’t it just a demo? Well, first of all, it certainly is next gen advertising! You give the world, pardon the PS4 world a mysterious thing to download and to experience. At the end of the nightmare, we know what it is, but now everyone wants to have a look at it. Mission accomplished.

Second, P.T. does something other horror games failed in: It scares the shit out of people. You, Rabidgames, mostly everybody. It is not about jump scare tactics, that only happens two or three times. It is about building tension, about reliving a nightmare, about the sounds both in our speakers and in our hands. It might be old-fashioned, but it might be the combination of amazing, almost life-like graphics and classic horror feeling that stirs some primal fear in our heads.

Third, that last “level” … To this day, there is no foolproof way to beat P.T. Standing still, speaking the name “Lisa” in the microphone, pausing the game, always waiting for that ominous baby laugh – even some of the puzzles involve out of the box thinking. It might be bold to call integrating all kind of things you can do with a game and a controller next gen – but hell, what else SHOULD we call next gen?

Rabidgames keeps the light on: Arguably, P.T. is more a next gen idea than a next gen game. But most definitely, it brings real horror onto the PS4, it scares the shit out of gamers and it makes us hungry for Silent Hills. Mr. Kojima, Mr. del Toro, congratulations! Seldom were we happier when scared!

Microsoft Fucking it Up Again: EA Access and Exclusivity

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 20, 2014 by Rabidgames

Microsoft never changes … Last year, they wanted to tell us once-a-day-online-duty, no more selling games and kinect were the future of gaming – and guess what, they were wrong. Granted, they have seen the error of their ways, but still they want nothing but to fuck us over again and again.

This year, their alleged contempt for gamers – their paying customers after all – is revealed once more during Gamescom. First, EA Access. At first glance, it sounds awesome: All your EA games for just 5 per month, or 20 per year! Amazing, right? Well, guess what: Not all EA games are included. Dragon Age: Inquisition, for instance, is not. So why paying money for old games? And what about DLC? Would you pay 6 pounds a month for Netflix if you had to pay extra for the second part of Breaking Bad’s final (and best ever) season? Would you?

Furthermore, imagine the likes of Activision, Ubisoft, 2K, Bethesda, Square Enix, Deep Silver and many more following the footsteps of EA – all of a sudden, you pay 50 pounds each month for your online gaming library (most likely NOT having the new AAA releases you’re yearning to play)! And that’s where awesome turns to awful … Not so great now, isn’t it? Besides, it’s EA. What about old games? Imagine you love FIFA 14 but not FIFA 15 for whatever reason, and then EA says bye-bye and switches off the servers. Your game is gone. That’s it. Not so great after all, right?

Second, the even bigger disaster without a doubt: MS proudly announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be a Xbox One exclusive – we all know the shitstorm that followed. Then Phil Spencer, that sorry PR tool, announced it’ll only be a timed-exclusivity deal, which makes it slightly better.

Still, that decision does not even make fucking sense! It pissed off everybody. Plus, no one wins. MS won’t hardly get any Xbox One sold – Tomb Raider might be a big franchise, but if you run Tomb Raider against Uncharted, well, you’ll lose. Plus, MS is back where they have tried to escape from for on year – many gamer’s scorn is upon them once more. They now have the reputation of giving a fuck about what we want, while Sony is “from gamers for gamers”. Of course, we know this is bullshit and both are corporations that want nothing but our money, but Sony has learned to sell this the nice way: A happy customers gives you more cash.

Square Enix on the other hand, oh poor, misguided naive Square Enix: you may have gained a couple of millions from MS, yes, but the PS4 is leading the next-gen sales, and it has better exclusives and more power to stay ahead in the long run! Square Enix, why do you bet on the weak horse? And why on earth you would even want to pit Tomb Raider against Uncharted, no one knows. The really puzzling thing though is the fact you were disappointed with last Tomb Raider’s sales – so your reaction is to halve the sales at launch and to compete against a direct rival? Give us a break, that’s insane! And yes, many PS4 gamers might be put off enough by your prostitution to kindly not give a shit about Tomb Raider in the future.

After all, it seems Microsoft has learned absolutely nothing. Getting in bed with the EA devil might work out now in the short term, but while they profit, us gamers might lose, our udders milked to the last drop once more. True, Rabidgames might be wrong and it’ll be fine, but come on, it’s fucking EA! Just take a look at their lists of casualties last generation, couple it with the fact they threw away every interesting franchise but poor and now crippled Bioware, and there is much more room for fear than hope!

Same goes for exclusives – be it timed or permanent ones, be it full titles or DLC. It’s all bullshit! There are no advantages whatsoever for us gamers, unless we succumb to the immensely stupid fanboy console war folly. We all lose out.

Rabidgames wonders: Sometimes, it seems Microsoft wants to lose. They play EA’s willing whore while pimping Square Enix, creating shitstorm after shitstorm – while Sony calmly smiles from the side-line and enjoys gamers flocking to their console. Quite ironic it was exactly the other way round last gen …

Risen 3 – Titan Lords or Of Black Flags and Walls of Texts

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2014 by Rabidgames

Remember Risen 2? A good foundation of a solid story, a cool tropical setting and good (as in not too cliché) humour, albeit hampered by tons of glitches and bugs and a pretty much boring combat system (to put it mildly) …

The bad news is that the combat system still feels a bit boring in Risen 3 – Titan Lords, at least until you can finally upgrade it once a couple of hours in. Still, fighting the same set of enemies over and over again feels rather bland and boring – especially if you go the melee way. Magic and guns are better implemented though, but it’ll take quite some time to get there. Hint: Do many escort missions early on and let your companions do the fighting – you get the glory aka experience anyway.

The good news though is the rest of Risen 3 – Titan Lords. Yes, there are a few bugs and glitches although the 360 version at least runs relatively stable even prior to a day 1 patch. And yes, it is not really polished in places (the frame rate comes crashing down during each and every autosave), but the atmosphere, the heaps of dialogue and the sarcastic humour make up for it. Speaking of the dialogues – prepare for some reading and listening. By some, Rabidgames means walls of text everywhere … After all, this is a proper RPG! Sometimes, Risen 3 actually tests your reading comprehension – so better don’t click away everything …

Fighting aside, there is much variety to be had in terms of gameplay: You can transform into a parrot or a monkey to reach otherwise inaccessible places, you can talk, blackmail and intimidate your way around the tropical settings of Risen 3. You can have some fun in mini-games such as knife throwing or arm wrestling if you like, too. There are also 3 different magic schools to “research”, different melee and distance fighting styles and your usual alchemy/smithing skills etc. One of the selling points of Risen 3 is that you can explore to your heart’s content (each of the 6 islands has caves, hidden paths and sometimes even puzzles on offer).

It is the exploring that reminds Rabidgames of Dragon’s Dogma, plus the story that some demon rips your spirit out of your body in the beginning (granted, it’s not a dragon ripping out your heart, but the similarities are still there). Oh, and the tropical pirate setting and some sequences where you control your ship make the game feel just like Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag … There’s also some Dragon Age Origins/Mass Effect 3 feel to the story arc “unite all the factions against an overwhelming fiend” – but it all works out fine in Risen 3, partly because the game doesn’t take itself too seriously at times.

Here’s the catch: You can only join one of the three factions in one playthrough! You’ll be on friendly terms with the others, yeah, but you’ll miss out on some decent skills and abilities. Coupled with the ability to be a kind spiritless man or a soulless terror, there are 6 possible ways to tackle Risen 3. You can join a native tribe to practise some voodoo on your enemies, you can join proper mages who teach you elemental magic, or you join the Demon Hunters who focus on melee with a hint of underworld sorcery, the choice is up to you. Just remember you’ll learn the other stuff in yet another playthrough. There’s also the choice of being a benevolent spiritless dude by being nice to your fellow humans – or you don’t give a fuck and slowly turn into a soulless demon yourself – again, this is up to you!

The scope of Risen 3  is also satisfactory: Rabidgames is already 20 hours in, and it feels like one third of the way … Nice to see some game that dares to devour our time instead of just having bare minimum content for 8 hours. There’s also an achievement for completing 300 quests – that looks like it would take a while. While some subquests are more of the fetch category,  they are still presented with some background, sometimes coupled with choices.

One word about pre-order DLC: True, it is not as bad as Sacred 3 and a whole class hidden behind the paywall, but two areas of Risen 3 are blocked off for gamers who feel like buying it used – yet another dick move. Yes, there is enough content anyway, but it is time developers and publishers stop this bullshit! We don’t need day 1 DLC – under absolutely no circumstances!

At the end of the day, Risen 3 can be a rewarding game with tons of contact if you like reading shitloads of text and if you don’t mind the rough edges. Expect AAA gaming and you’ll be disappointed though. But for anyone who wants to play a RPG with a different setting and for anyone who wants to spend dozens of hours with a game, Risen 3 might be just the game to go to.

Mind you, after 20 hours, Rabidgames is far from finished with Risen 3, so there might be more to come story-wise, who knows … but so far, it has been a fun journey on the southern seas and islands.

Rabidgames applauds: Finally, a proper RPG for consoles, after some years’ wait. You, know, the old-fashioned kind: Stats matter in combat and everywhere else, tons of dialogue where the “evil” option is not always at the bottom, and the tropical setting makes Risen 3 stand out from the fantasy worlds of yesteryear … While it is not polished as it could be, it is still time for some good old RPG fun, if you ask Rabidgames!

New Dead Island 2 Trailer Shows a Rather Red California … And Gameplay!

Posted in News with tags , , on August 11, 2014 by Rabidgames

We all remember the infamous trailer for the first Dead Island. True, it had nothing to do with the atmosphere of the game and the actual gameplay, which was less emotional and more visceral, but what the hell, it was well done – at least if there was some fire involved …

The very first trailer for Dead Island 2 seemed rather spot-on now, didn’t it?

But since seeing this trailer and since knowing we have to free the entire “island” of California from the undead meat bags in Dead Island 2, we have been wondering about the gameplay … Would it be as bloody and gory? With shinier graphics? Well, judging from the latest trailer, there will be even more blood and violence, gore and carnage, sunshine and slaughter, or in short, fun to be had soon:

Rabidgames is prepared:  Comes spring 2015, it’ll be time to take back California from the undead! Dead Island 2 looks even sillier, bloodier and more violent than its predecessors, and there seem to be even more options to freeze, fry or electrocute the zombie masses – of course, let’s not forget there’s still the old-fashioned slash ‘n smash!

 

Sacred 3 or Nothing Is Sacred

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on August 4, 2014 by Rabidgames

Remember good old Sacred 2? The fun we had in a massive open world, tons of quests, lots of ways to level up your character, and all the loot in the world? The 7 different classes who played differently? Choosing between light and darkness? The quirky humour that (mostly) worked? And that Blind Guardian gig?

Say good riddance to all of the above if you want to have fun in Sacred 3. To be blunt, Sacred 3 doesn’t deserve to be called Sacred – hell, it’s even close to deception to call this game Sacred, let alone a numbered game! To elaborate a bit, let’s start with the biggest crime … there is no loot. At all. Yep, you heard right, THERE IS NO FUCKING LOOT – AT ALL! Furthermore, the inventory is a joke – every character (classes and customisation are gone as well, we are now playing as characters) has 3 light and 3 heavy combat arts – that’s it. Oh, you have one piece of armour and 3 weapons, that’s it.

Oh-oh, and the levels in Sacred 3, they are corridors. Linear as linear can get. There’s main levels where you fight hordes of evil peasant, one sub boss and, at the end, one big boss, the lord of the level. Big bosses sometimes need a bit of strategy, true. Diversion here comes from destroying stuff, saving stuff, charging stuff or stuff being thrown at you. Those levels take maybe 20 minutes – at most. Then, there are two kinds of minor levels – either you survive 5 levels of enemy hordes or you slaughter enemies without a level display … those take 2 or 3 minutes and they are goddamn repetitive.

In total, you can beat Sacred 3 within 8 hours, maybe 12 if you delve into everything, and some extra hours for the special difficulty (doing the same stuff again). Of course, you could switch characters … but apart from the archer, they all play the same: melee and a pinch of magic. 10 hours might be fine for a shooter, but for a RPG, it’s bad.

Sacred 3 is also a DLC offender – there’s a couple of levels locked if you buy the game used. Day 1 DLC is a pest, simple as that. What’ infinitely worse, there’s also a fucking character locked behind DLC bars … a character that is displayed on the damn box! A character who had been advertised for months! Seriously, that’s a new level of ripping out meat just to take the piss on it and then throw it back at us, making us believe it’s filet and we need to have it … although it should have been there altogether anyway!

In a nutshell, Sacred 3 is the worst kind of RPG – it isn’t a RPG at all. No open world and no loot have pretty much annihilated the good name Sacred used to have amongst its fans, and no customisation and only a handful of combat arts don’t help either. The series is ruined, for now at least. This begs the question – what on earth did the developers think? Would you want to play Grand Theft Auto – Corridor Wars? No. But call it Max Payne 3 and people would haver never thought we are talking about GTA

However, if you can look beyond all this, there is still a decent arcade action game to be found in Sacred 3 – if you are into this kind of stuff that is. It is arcady “press the same button for 90 % of the game” action, but hey, sometimes, that’s all you need. Especially in multiplayer, the entire screen is full of action, and it can actually be addictive to devastate enemy hordes with four overpowering machines of death.

Additionally, let’s not forget Sacred 2 was plagued by horrible bugs and glitches – even in singleplayer mode! Sacred 3, on the other hand, runs way smoother, even in multi player (although there can be horrible lags in multi player, but hey, it still works). So yes, Sacred 3 has its merits. But can these outweigh the flaws?

The plain answer is a simple no. You see, Sacred 3 is a horrible RPG, but it would have been a decent arcade game admittedly. But only for an arcade price! 15, maybe 20 pounds would have been an alright offering if you enjoy some easy-going hacking and slaying, but 40 quid is simply too much. Also, there’s that name! Had the game been called Sacred – Gauntlet or Sacred: Boom – Directed by Michael Bay, there would have been no shitstorm at all. We would have known what to expect. But making this game a direct sequel to the open world loot’n’slay action RPG Sacred 2 was a cardinal sin of mislabelling, and you can bet the reception this game will receive from its disappointed target audience, who were hoping to get an open world sequel with tons of loot and classes to choose from: They, hell we wanted a real Sacred 3, but we only got Sacred Citadel.1 … and judging from the amazon reviews, the fans are not happy at all …

Rabidgames disapproves: Again, this game should have never been named Sacred 3. Keeping a name, a vague sense of the world, the Seraphim and the quirky humour is nowhere near enough to salvage it. The RPG Sacred is dead. This impostor is an arcade style action game which can be fun for a while if you like the genre, yes … but with Sacred desecrated, the future looks bleak for a yet another fallen RPG series.