Archive for September, 2015

Broken Sword 5 or Point & Click & Dialogues

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , on September 28, 2015 by Rabidgames

A few years ago, a game such as Broken Sword 5 – The Serpent’s Curse would have been a major hit for deprived console adventure fans. But these days, after the Telltale games or the superb Life is Strange, and even a renaissance of classic old-fashioned point & click adventures, the question is – can this new instalment of the Broken Sword franchise still impress?

Well, if you’re into this kind of adventure, Broken Sword 5 might just be the game for you! From witty comments and often rather hilarious dialogues to the genre’s typical sometimes rather outlandish puzzles, Broken Sword 5 got it all, just as you might expect. And it’s somewhere in the middle ground between childishly easy and outlandishly crazy – there are rarely any insane combinations to proceed, but sometimes it’s merely “look, there’s something blinking, why don’t you go there?” But sometimes you have to perform several steps over and over again on the path to the correct solution, which can feel tedious.

The major weakness of Broken Sword 5 are the dialogues though; they don’t feel dynamic like in Life is Strange, but thanks to the voice acting, they feel to slow at times. Now don’t get Rabidgames wrong, the quality of the speakers including several accents and nice sarcastic undertones is top notch, but they tend to break the flow of classic point & click in a way that can make you fall asleep at times because you know where the dialogue is getting but it still goes on and on. Sure, you can skip them, but after 10 hours, the same kind of dialogue over and over again becomes tiresome.

Furthermore, as opposed to Life is Strange where you interact with the same people throughout the game so the dialogues can actually show some character development, some characters are there for maybe 20 lines and then they disappear. Forever. So while there is some comedic relief to be had and some important detail to be heard at times, Broken Sword 5 is not as good as its rivals in this aspect.

Unfortunately, this is not the only issue the game is having. On a far broader scale, the game suffers from the ancient formula. While there have been some innovations to the adventure genre in general – some good (more interactivity, branching storylines), some bad (quick time events instead of gameplay) – Broken Sword 5 refuses to go with the flow and stays true to its heritage. Sure, there is some charm in it, but if you play the game for longer than an hour, fatigue sets in eventually. In short bursts however, there is nothing wrong with solving puzzles with a sarcastic undertone at the end of the day.

Rabidgames is puzzled: On the one hand, Broken Sword 5 feels outdated and long-winded in its approach. But on the other hand, it’s the perfect alternative to the other two types of adventures these dates – the narrative walking simulators and the choice based adventures. There is certainly room for old fashioned point & click stories to live, but how big this habitat is remains to be seen.

Risen 3 Remastered or Flawed Pirate Fun Again?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2015 by Rabidgames

One year ago, Risen 3: Titan Lords was a flawed, yet fun game – flawed because of the repetitive and exhausting combat coupled with frame rate implosions, but fun because of the general atmosphere of the world, the colourful characters and of course, the sarcasm.

One year later though, The Witcher 3 has happened. A new age of RPGs seem to have begun. A vast open world feeling alive and breathing, tons of side quests, and of course, the charismatic and slightly ironic Geralt. Can the piratey RPG Risen 3 stand a chance against such a heavyweight?

Well, first of all, the main issue of Risen 3 hasn’t been fixed: the combat. On consoles new and old (as well as PC obviously), it’s especially the first hours where you’ll do nothing but roll, strike, block, strike, rinse and repeat. Sure, there are ways to exploit the system a bit (take Bones with you to get healed, let your party member take care of strong enemies etc.) but still, it’s a shame no action has been taken to make combat more fun. However, thanks to a stable frame rate now, timing is way easier. At least some consolation here.

As for the RPG systems, well, it’s still the same. Levelling up the way you want your character to be like, join your favourite faction, the Soul system (not that meaningful though) … it’s all the same and still pretty decent. Speaking of all the same – except for graphics and frame rate and all DLC included, Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition is EXACTLY the same game it was last year. Don’t expect any improvements, smoothing out things or anything else.

At least, Risen 3 is a massive game with tons of content and dialogue. And similar to The Witcher 3, there are tons of quests, a world to explore and quite a few memorable characters. The highlights are the gnomes with their hilarious patterns of speech, that’s for sure. In general, it’s the humour of Risen 3 that stands out. It is a bit different from Geralt’s world-weary sarcasm, it’s another kind of sarcasm working on a gaming meta-level. Quite often, the utterances of the main character (and others) are exactly what we players think about a certain situation we might have seen before in a video game. The same goes for a few characters who are conscious RPG clichés (Patty with her cleavage comes to mind, of course).

At the end of the day, Risen 3 is a member of the dying breed of classic AA games. Far from perfection, but there’s plenty of charm behind the rough edges to find for those who have the patience.

Rabidgames wonders: Should you buy Risen 3? Well if you already own the last-gen version, there’s not much of a point to do so. If you haven’t and there’s a RPG scratch after finishing The Witcher 3, Risen 3 might be a fun game once you mastered the initial fighting chores. However, it is nowhere near the level of (ongoing) polish and detail of Geralt’s last adventure.