Archive for November, 2014

Assassin’s Creed Rogue or Same Old with a Twist

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , on November 24, 2014 by Rabidgames

Let’s say what we’re all thinking. The Assassin’s Creed double release insanity was idiotic. Period. Because of that, many, many people will probably miss out on Assassin’s Creed Rogue because opting solely for Unity … a big shame.

Arguably, Rogue could well be the better game – sure, there is not much innovation at first glance, and there are no massive crowds to be found, too. But Rogue runs stable and solid, and it ingeniously combines the wilderness of Assassin’s Creed III with Black Flag’s naval battles. And then, there’s the twist: After you think “more of the same stuff”, all of a sudden, a tragedy occurs (and believe Rabidgames, it is a proper tragedy, not just the usual “ooooh my family” routine) and our dear Irish protagonist Shay Cormac turns his coat and joins the Templars! (No spoilers here. You know that already.)

Thankfully, fighting Assassins introduces new gameplay mechanics in Rogue – you’re not just the hunter, you’re the hunted now, too. Just as we’ve been doing for years, Assassins now lurk in bushes and hiding spots searching for you. Taking down a “boss Assassin” has him fleeing, throwing smoke bombs and stealth attacking you, so stealth should be priority here.

Apart from that, Rogue is a big basket of fan service – synchronising viewpoints? Check. Collectibles (more than ever this time)? Check. Raiding warehouses? Check. Naval battles? Check? Your own fleet? Check. Taking control of areas? Check. If that’s good or bad, well, up to you. Mind you, there are small changes to the formula – there’s more verticality, some new or tweaked weapons (for Shay and for his ship, the Morrigan), and some new sidequests.

Besides, there are lots of areas in Rogue to discover and explore – you have a pretty big portion of New York, the Arctic Ocean resembling Black Flag’s map, substituting tropical flavour for icebergs and snow, and finally the River Valley; waterways and lots of wilderness and almost as big as the ocean map … and a tiny, oddly familiar location named Sleepy Hollow, among other things.

So far, Rabidgames has only found one complaint with Rogue: Some sequences are too heavily scripted, and one storywise important section felt exactly like ripped out of Call of Duty History Warfare. But if you don’t mind Rogue feels like a best-of with the best parts of the series, this should be your “safe” Assassin’s Creed to get this year – at least until Unity is properly patched.

Rabidgames nods: True, Rogue is fan service, but hey, it’s what we wanted – less tailing, more naval fun, lots of ground and water to cover, and after all, refined gameplay that feels mellow and relaxed and invites you to experiment with all these well-known tools. Since it’s also the swansong on the old consoles, it’s a gentle goodbye … with the twist of a blade, of course.

 

 

Advertisements

Assassin’s Creed Unity or Between App Insanity and Failed QA Lurks a Great Game

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , , , on November 20, 2014 by Rabidgames

First of all, Ubisoft should be ashamed of themselves. Google “Unity bugs” in youtube, and you know what Rabidgames means. Fuck it, just watch this shit:

To be fair, Rabidgames has not had that massive problems with Assassin’s Creed Unity, so maybe a day one patch has cleaned up the biggest mess already. But still – how is that possible? Can Ubisoft actually spell QA? (Well, it seems so, Rogue and Far Cry 4 running relatively fine after all.) And furthermore, the loading times can be a joke, too. And don’t you dare to access a menu … unless you want to have your PS4 sound like a plane during take-off!

Apart from technical aspects, there’s another major annoyance which makes the name Unity a joke – in order to get every weapon, armour etc. the game has to offer, the game is not enough: you need the companion app, Initiates, Unite and, of course, Uplay as well. That’s 5 different fucking things to meddle around with, and we’re talking about fucking exclusive things here!

But despite all that, Unity is still a good game beneath all that; Paris looks incredibly detailed, the crowds are massive, everything from dirt in the street to bushes, trees and buildings really looks good … Paris feels like a breathing, living being. Plus, there’s shitloads of stuff to do … assassinations, rebuilding your HQ, investigations, collectibles and many more things, including the awesome rifts. It doesn’t get boring during a revolution, that’s for sure. The missions themselves are pretty diverse, too, and while the new climbing and stealth of Unity feel weird in the beginning, they’re quite comfortable when you get used to them.

Rabidgames sighs: Ironically, Unity is not an unity. The technical fuck-ups and the device insanity mar the good gameplay considerably. After some sequences, Paris still feels fresh, but there’s also the stench of rushed release and microtransactions lurking around. Let’s hope the scent of fresh gameplay will be the lasting impression …

 

 

GTA V or The Next Generation Take-Off

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , , on November 18, 2014 by Rabidgames

There has been lots of talk about next-gen gaming … and let’s face it, most games failed to impress when it came to the next gen part: Watch_Dogs had some great ideas but failed in execution, Destiny fell flat in terms of story and content, and Unity fell victim to FPS implosions and bugs. Let’s not even that patriotic army recruiting app thingy from Activision … The only game that has been able to bring something new to the gaming table was Shadow of Mordor with the Nemesis system – until now!

Grand Theft Auto V returns and it takes the world by storm – the graphical updates alone are astonishing and would have been worth praising GTA V, but more traffic, more pedestrians, animals, more dense foliage and the new water physics scream GOTY. And then, just to top it off, there’s first person mode for more immersion – cool on foot, cooler in cars, but beyond awesome in helicopters and bikes. And if you return to the PS4 or the One, you can simply import your GTA Online character and you get shitloads of extra stuff unlocked online as well as offline. Now THAT’S how you treat your fans!

Rockstar came to the next gen, saw the state of affairs and conquered it all by setting a new benchmark – and not just by flicking the finger to all the other remakes out there, oh no, GTA V is a behemoth of technical prowess and content that puts all other games so far into place. NOW, the next generation has officially started.

Rabidgames applauds: Simply put: Rockstar 1, the rest 0.

A Word About “Gamergate”, Please!

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , on November 17, 2014 by Rabidgames

Oh well, recently, all this talk about “Gamergate” has become more and more annoying, especially since there are many things interwoven together … Let’s have a look at key issues without going into details about who is right, wrong etc.

1. Death threats are everywhere. Let’s face this simple fact: There’s an unhealthy minority of brainfucked idiots who utter death threats to people. Footballers, politicians, ordinary people who lobbied for a Jane Austen 10 pound note, name it. Everyone who stands out is a target. Everywhere. Simple truth: Earth is full of idiots, and those idiots are everywhere. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to troll around and threaten people, but let’s put it all into perspective. It’s the internet.

2. The “gamers” these days are a silent majority. Gamers in 2014 are more than just the blatantly stupid, twitter-abusing minority of the outspoken and opinionated minority of gamers (the ones who comment in magazines and are on gamefaqs). After all, let’s say 90% of people who buy FIFA and GTA and COD don’t ever buy something else. 10% left. Now, how many of those 10% care so much about games they even bother to comment about games? Maybe 10%! And not even 10% of those are the ones who verbally abuse people on social networks,mostly on infamous ones such as Reddit and 4chan (again, the majority of users there aren’t complete numbskulls), of course – so referring to this minority of less than one percent of all gamers simply as entitled, spoiled “gamers” is plain and simple – wrong.

3. The gaming press joins forces with the industry – again. We have established we are talking about an outspoken and idiotic minority abusing prominent figures in the gaming industry, yet the gaming press jumps to the industry’s help, condemning – once more – the “entitled” gamers. Mind you, “GamerGate” somehow is primarily perceived to revolve around the (often indeed misogynistic) criticism one person trying to point out misogyny in games faces, but somehow, it also revolves around (sometimes also physical) relationships between gaming journalists and developers/publishers. How and why those two topics are mixed together – fuck knows.

4. Games are as sexist as movies. Look at AAA Hollywood blockbusters, look at AAA games. Most revolve around action, explosions, and alpha-males saving the world (and the scantily-clad damsel in distress, of course). Look beyond AAA, and you will find more diversity in both movies and games. Speaking of steroid-buffed, weapon-wielding alpha-males … how on earth is that depiction not sexist, too? After all, male gamers should be pissed about that – remember the time wasted in the gym when you could have played GTA?

5. Satire is simply not understood by some … critics. Look at GTA V. Of course, GTA V is misogynistic at face level. But let’s face it, GTA V is a satire about the US, western culture and all the shit going on in our lives. And yes, GTA treats men and women all alike – as garbage. Why? Because everyone in the game behaves like a fucking asshole!

6. Nintendo is the biggest culprit. What? Family-friendly Nintendo? Yes. While everyone criticises the likes of GTA and Assassin’s Creed for portraying women as either wanking material or weak souls crying for help or sometimes both, Nintendo gets away with picturing the most traditional image of women to be found within all of gaming: Nintendo aims at little girls to behave like little Barbie dolls. Look at their games – roles are allocated like back in the 50s, girls are always asked to like and wear their pink dresses, complimenting each other how pretty they are. Pink dresses, make-up and ponies, that’s Nintendo’s vision of women. Plus, remember Tomodachi Life where Nintendo took little flak for saying no to gay characters in the game? To put it into perspective, it was a breeze compared to the shitstorm hurricane Ubisoft found themselves in after announcing there wouldn’t be female playable characters in Unity (to be fair, their reasoning was stupid, too). So, why does Nintendo get away with being sexist as fuck?

7. Games are inclusive … kind of. Have you ever been to the Eurogamer Expo or GamesCom? Have you talked to women around you? Chances are many of your friends – be they men or women – play games. If you happen to actually work somewhere in the gaming industry, everyone plays games. Gender doesn’t matter. Sure, you get another idea when you listen to voice chats in COD, but then again, AAA Hollywood testosterone sausage fest argument sticks again. But then again, if 15-year olds make fun of a woman because she is a woman, well, clearly it’s backwards and dumb. However, that doesn’t necessary tells us something about games, but it sure as hell tells us something about society …

Rabidgames would like to clarify: Yes, Gamergate is blown out of proportions and mixes up completely different things. The just eludes everyone … To push an agenda? Which one? To silence the gamers who demand proper separation between gaming journalists and the industry? Fuck knows and it doesn’t really matter. But there is one thing we should have learned: Someone criticising our hobby is by no means and never justification for idiotic knee-jerk reactions or even death threats – unless we want the world to think we’re all stupid ultra-violent morons staring at screens drooling all over ourselves …