Archive for November, 2015

Fallout 4 or War Never Changes … But Does Fallout?

Posted in The Latest with tags , , , on November 11, 2015 by Rabidgames

So, the long-awaited Fallout 4 has finally been released. Let’s not beat around the bush, let’s gei it out: yes, it still feels like Fallout, plays like Fallout and yet, it feels different. And no, the graphics aren’t shit. They’re okay, they’re what you can expect – remember that Fallout 3 and New Vegas had rather functional graphics. After all, Fallout was never known to be a graphic whore’s brothel mind you. So if you need it all nice and shiny, go play something else.

Oh, we were speaking about how Fallout 4 is the same, right? Well, the style is the same, the tone is the same, menu layout, V.A.T.S., controls – all pretty much the same. Why change the winning formula, right? At any rate, this isn’t something negative to be said about the third game with this formula.

The way exploration is rewarded also remains the same – find something to boost your stats here, discover a cool little story there, Fallout 4 does what the series does best – exploration and the feeling of living in a desolate, dead world where you can be a beacon of hope – or a spectre of terror, should you rather feel like it – up to you, as usual.

But … Fallout 4 wanders well of the beaten path in some regards! For once, the RPG aspect has been toned down. You only level up your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and perks associated to them – no more energy weapons here, melee there, that’s gone. Quite frankly, it is weird in the beginning.

So, how do we make our weapons deadly then? Well, there are the aforementioned perks, and then, there’s modding. And modding is awesome in Fallout 4. You can mod your weapons and armors in various ways, provided you can find the items to do so. So yep, this game rewards you for your OCD to have to collect everyfuckinthing! You can make use of everything – recycling is a big thing in the post-apocalpytic future.

But there’s more – you can spend hours, yes literally hours – to build your settlement. From scratch, if you feel like it. Or just put your house full of items you want. At this stage, it’s not clear how optional it is, but if you feel like it, you can be a good – fully voiced – boy or girl and help communities to thrive by providing them with water, food, energy and defenses. If you liked this aspect of State of Decay, Fallout 4 can help you scratch that itch at least a bit.

One word about technical aspects – in 7 hours, Rabidgames had only one minor glitch with the V.A.T.S. system, but that was it. So far. We know Bethesda games are prone to get buggier over time, so that’s not an all-clear yet.

As oxymoronic as it may sound,  Fallout 4 doesn’t change where it matters yet changes where it also matters. You feel comfortable from the beginning and yet it takes some time to figure out which perks you want, which items you want to craft and then, the Commonwealth is your oyster.

Rabidgames wonders: After 7 hours with Fallout 4, a tiny corner of the world has been seen, let alone explored. This game is massive in scope, activities and stories, that’s for sure. 2015 will go down as the year when two RPG behemoths were unleashed onto the world, and one thing truly never changes: the lack of time to play these games!

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WWE 2K16 or Improved yet Flawed – Believe That!

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , , on November 9, 2015 by Rabidgames

Honestly, it is quite easy for WWE 2K16 to be better than last year’s expensive beta. Just give us more wrestlers, a better creation suite, and more to do in MyCareer. Obviously, WWE 2K16 delivers here. Hardly a surprise – but how good is it exactly? Have Yukes and 2K been eating their vitamins?

Well, Rabidgames 3:16 says it is pretty good but not fully there to raise all kinds of hell. So, let’s start with the roster – here, WWE 2K16 brings us almost everything we desire – half the roster of NXT, pretty much every current worker and tons of legends. Well, there’s no Hulkamania running wild this year, but it’s a loss we can deal with. But there is one thing even the power of positivity cannot heal – the exclusion of the Four Horsewomen (in  the main game and in future DLC) is inexcusable and deserves a stunner to two, be it in 2K’s or WWE’s headquarters. Or maybe rather RKOs?

At least we can create divas in the creation suite again in WWE 2K16, and quite decent looking ones at that. Coupled with the Community Creations, the ability to upload face photos (which is hit and miss unfortunately) and lots of clothing and tons of moves it is rather easy to recreate Sasha, Becky, Charlotte and Bayley – but still, shame on you for asking us to do it! While there are lots of options, some either don’t work properly (eye makeup for instance) or are weird throughout – why different hairstyles for men and women? But all in all, the creation suite is awesome – you can also create.titles, arenas and shows – but unfortunately, still no finishers. And why on earth there is a limit of 20 downloads a day … fuck knows, Rabidgames doesn’t.

So where to play with your created wrestler? MyCareer has massively improved in WWE 2K16 – heel/face is more organic, there are more decisions to make and there is more variety to be found in here, but it can still feel repetitive at times. Well at least that feels like the real product … The Universe mode now features character development like in RPGs, injuries and more customisation. Sadly, the cutscenes are mostly as predictable as a John Cena match so it is still highly dependent on our own fantasy to make it work properly.

There’s also an Austin showcase to be enjoy– played in WWE 2K16, but bottom line is, it sucks. Highly linear, there are fucking QTEs once more, and getting everything there takes ages. Besides, if you know your Austina 3:16 and your attitude era basics, there’s nothing new in here for you. The showcases should really rest in peace! Even worse, since 99% of the unlockables are in there, and the other 1% are title belts you get by reaching online ranks (Rabidgames won’t even touch laggy online beyond a stoic “you suck!”), 2K practically begs you to buy the Accelerator, something yours truly has done – via Season Pass – but hey, everyone has a price, right?

Last but not least, there have been some tweaks to gameplay in WWE 2K16 – first, counters are now limited! Now more counter spamming, yay! Good news though – you only spend one reversal when you succeed – if you fail, nothing is lost. Limited reversals give the game some tactical depth which is always nice. Matches are now fluent with plenty new animations and it looks more and more like the real thing. There are also tiny details like R-Truth falling on his knees begging Lesnar not to punch him in the face anymore! And yes, as usual, there’s funny glitch galore, especially with foreign objects:

But Rabidgames is afraid he has also bad news for you: The new submission system in WWE 2K16 is crap. Utter crap. Eva Marie in the ring kind of crap!!! Seriously, never ask a drunk intern to come up with an idea and then follow through. Rarely has a game mechanic been that counter-intuitive, unnecessarily complicated and simply flawed. And yes, since submissions are a big part of wrestling, this is even bigger bullshit. Not giving us the option of using the not-perfect-yet-still-better button mashing from last year is 2K’s version of telling us to suck it. But here, 2K clearly says “it doesn’t matter what you think!”

Unfortunately then, WWE 2K16 is not the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, it’s neither the new No Mercy nor the new Here comes the Pain – but it can scratch many itches us wrestling geeks have been longing for for years. A massive roster, 100 CAW points to fill, lots of brands, rivalries and statuses to enjoy in Universe, guiding your alter ego to the Hall of Fame – WWE 2K16 score many hits even despite the flawed submission system and the complete and utter exclusion of the real diva revolutionaries.

Rabdigames gets the tables: This game lets you be the man who beats the man, you can smell what The Rock is cooking, and you can lie, cheat and steal to your heart’s content. So put in the game and have a nice day!

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Victorian Rejuvenation

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , on November 4, 2015 by Rabidgames

Another year, another Assassin’s Creed. After the disappointment of Unity with the weak protagonist Arno who couldn’t light up Paris, we can now see what the dynamic assassinating twins Evie and Jacob can do in Victorian London.

And it’s a whole lot they’re doing! First of all – there is no graphical downgrade, at least not one you actually notice unless you’re a graphic whore. However, the game runs fine and neat most of the time. Second, Evie and Jacob are way more interesting than Arno – they fight, they have different goals they are going after … To enjoy Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you should definitely play them differently – a shame Ubisoft gave each only a handful of exclusive skills. Here’s Rabidgames’ formula for fun: Have Evie sneak around and be an assassinating shadow, while Jacob knocks down the front door and bludgeons and shoots everyone in sight, always accompanied by their gang, the Rooks.

Mission-wise, there are a few missions only one can tackle, but most of the time, feel free to traverse London with your favourite. The main missions are nice and varied, and even the side content appears more structured in Syndicate – take over the city to get rewards from one guy, do fight clubs and horse carriage races to rank up with another guy, help a cop here, sabotage Templar stuff there – whatever you do, one person will make it worth your while. Okay, except for collecting flowers, treasure chests, Helix glitches and beer bottles. However, each beer bottle comes with hilarious tasting notes from Shaun, your old Assassin mate, so it’s not too bad here.

And thankfully, there are the Dreadful Crimes, murders to be investigated by our Sherlock and Watson … or rather the twins, sorry although there is a connection with Sherlock Holmes there. Besides this person, you can also have a chat with the likes of Dickens, Darwin or Bell, just to name a few, in Syndicate. And some of the conversations are actually hilarious. Oh, and we even get to meet royal blood!

With the variety above – and from sneaking to horse races to playing Froggers on the Thames while stealing stuff from boats there is quite some to be had – Syndicate feels fresher than Assassin’s Creed has felt for a while. Of course, novelties like the arcady but still fun horse carriages or the grapple hook (known from Batman or Just Cause) help making the game more fun. One letdown though is your headquarters – a moving train. Sounds lame, IS lame. A proper mansion would have been way better.

There’s one question left, right? How’s Syndicate’s London? From a Londoner’s perspective, it is doing okay – of course, some famous sights are easily recognisable, but the geography is not really accurate (to put it that way), and some areas feel rather bland. This might be historically accurate, who knows, but if there’s no difference between rich and poor areas, something feels a bit off. Apart from that though, the city feels like a breathing city in Syndicate – yes, there are less NPCs than in Unity, but train stations are still busy, and many NPCs roam the streets doing something, sometimes drunkenly beating up each other, especially at night when Syndicate’s London looks and plays at its atmospheric best. However, there is one thing that’s unrealistic – London is too bright and sunny, there should be more smog, fog and rain!

It’s fair to say Syndicate is more polished Unity, not just in case of bugs, but also in terms of gameplay elements such as streamlined activities, inventory or icons on the map. It all feels more organised and more accessible – although the fighting is more dynamic this time – and swordless, of course. But most importantly, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s protagonists are more engaging and interesting, and last but not least, the game itself is more diverse and, simply put, fun.

Rabidgames cheers: Yes, Syndicate is a successful evolution of Unity’s formula – less clunky, less confusing, more fun, more possibilities. And unless the ending sucks Templars’ balls, it could be up in the competition with the likes of Brotherhood and Black Flag. Excuse Rabidgames now, off we go to to explore the streets of London!