Archive for April, 2017

PuyoPuyo Tetris or Hardcore Puzzling with a JRPG Overtone

Posted in Hands On with tags , , on April 28, 2017 by Rabidgames

First off all, we all know Tetris. We all do, right? For most of us, it started on the GameBoy back in the day, right? Fewer of us know Puyo Puyo, also known as Puyo Pop the west, a kinda similar puzzle gaming series, but the focus there is to have four drops of the same colour together so they disappear. So what about we combine both? Sounds crazy, is a bit crazy, but Puyo Puyo Tetris manages to do it successfully … to a degree.

Why to a degree? Well, contrary to what everyone would have guessed, Puyo Puyo Tetris isn’t exactly a game you just play to relax – it is pretty brutal actually. Even on lower difficulties, you don’t have much time, and there are hardly any proper solo modes – you face a human or an AI opponent most of your time with the game.

If you’re new to either Puyo Puyo or Tetris (is that even possible?), there is a nice and handy tutorial, covering everything from the basics to the pro stuff. Afterwards, you can play one of the many solo or multiplayer modes, but you shouldn’t. Why? You’ll get your ass kicked, that’s why! Sure, you can play either or, but the most fun is to be had if both types change from time to time or if they are combined – yes, combined! And it can be pretty confusing to just jump into it.

Puyo Puyo Tetris also comes with a more or less hidden tutorial that introduces you to all the different possibilities, the Adventure mode. Imagine playing both games with the quirkiness and the craziness of JRPG dialogues and the accompanying upbeat soundtrack. Now, the big question is – will you survive listening hours of often high-pitched voices yelling at you while everything is colourful and on speed? If you think you recognise one of the voices, you’re right – JRPG veteran Erica Lindbeck is in here as well. While she is not as great here as when she was voicing Tales of Berseria’s crazy witch Magilou, it’s still a voice you’ll recognise (even more so when you played also Persona 5 and Nier: Automata, where she also appears).

Oh, and one more thing – Puyo Puyo Tetris’ Adventure mode is far from easy. Chances are you’ll need a few tries to clear some of the first 10 stages, and it can get frustrating at times. But if you fail at one stage, you’ll get the option to advance anyway … although that’d be cheating, wouldn’t it?

After mastering Adventure Mode (or at least after getting started there) and after unlocking some of the the game’s many customisation options, you should be ready to explore the depth of Puyo Puyo Tetris – there are many different modes, although sadly only a few are proper solo modes. If you like multiplayer action, you can play locally and online, and the crazy Party mode where items change the game really shines here.

Now, Puyo Puyo Tetris is a good game for puzzle fans, but there’s a small problem – the pricing. 20 quid for Puyo Puyo and Tetris feels maybe a bit too much, and that’s just the PS4 pricing – the game is even a tenner more for the Switch! Sure, there’s plenty of content and your brain goes crazy at times, but unless you need your puzzle fix right now, it won’t hurt to wait a bit.

Rabidgames is puzzled: This game offers quite some content, but it can also be very frustrating. It is odd that game that looks like a casual game is pretty hard, but if you can get past that and past the manic Adventure mode cutscene madness, the last puzzle to solve before getting the game is the inexplicably high price …

Wildlands’ DLC Narco Road is a Potholed Scam … With a Llama Bike!

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , , , on April 24, 2017 by Rabidgames

As you know, Rabidgames thinks Ghost Recon Wildlands is a great game with tons of stuff to do; it is entirely possible to only have completed 2 out of 21 provinces after playing the game for 23 hours. So you might think more can only be good, right?

Not in this case! The first DLC, Narco Road, is outright crap. It’s shit. You know, Wildlands has two weaknesses: The driving and flying mechanics. So what could go wrong if you base a DLC on both? Yep, pretty much everything.

Narco Road introduces you to driving around with monster trucks destroying shit in your way, and even some racing. Besides, you can drift or jump monster trucks or muscle cars, and you get a nice boost … But well, those driving mechanics, that were good enough for casually driving from A to B, or maybe hunting down cartel member C, now ask for precision and timing, without having been improved for Narco Road. It’s still doable, but it’s not fun. At all.

And then the flying … you have to fly around a lot in choppers or planes, including a set of side missions to dust coca plants, and there are even more SAM sites than before, making these side missions incredibly annoying. And again, they’re not fun at all.

What else is there? Some more bland side stuff, drifting, jumping or climbing mountains (yawn), side stuff where you race to a caged wild animal, kill enemies and secure the package by tagging it. Sounds pointless, is pointless. The best new side activity in Narco Road is finding a lost car somewhere on the map, using a photo to find its whereabouts. And it’s not even that great.

Even worse, Narco Road takes place in a few re-drawn and not exactly remarkable Western provinces, you have to start with a fresh level 20 character, you have less weapons at your disposal, and everything you can gather is just re-skinned weapons from Wildlands. Oh, and the strange story puts you undercover into Santa Blanca where you fight a rival cartel that doesn’t seem to exist in the main game …

Even worse, you’re on your own. No squad to help you, making fighting enemies tedious. Each damn mission takes much longer now, and once you’re dead, no AI revives you (weirdly enough, coop still works). Narco Road really does a damn impressive job to take the strengths of Wildlands – the massive, diverse map, the squad fighting, the weapon customisation – and then remove them.

Its only saving grace could well be the “Lorenzo Bike”, a llama bike shooting rainbow farts and making weird noises, but that’s surely not worth the price, right? In case you got Narco Road anyway (most likely because you bought the season pass as Narco Road sounded good on paper, didn’t it?), here’s how to find the llama bike around 2 miles south-east of the Sueno Mausoleum :

So unless you bought the season pass, avoid this pathetic DLC like the plague! It seems Ubisoft said “hey folks, what about some more outlandish stuff? You know, like Saints Row or GTA? Let’s just make sure to get it out quickly, and let’s re-use everything instead of making something new! Oh, and please, please let’s not integrate anything into the main game!” The result … Narco Road. Half-baked ideas and terrible execution will make sure this is a broken road not much travelled.

Rabidgames swears: Fucking hell! Ubisoft, we thought you’ve learned from your past DLC mistakes! But Narco Road is an awful piece of pointless DLC not worth the time or the money. What the fuck were you thinking publishing this mess?

Bulletstorm will be Back – And the Duke is on Board!

Posted in News with tags , , , on April 3, 2017 by Rabidgames

2017 has already brought forth a plethora of great games – from RPGs to sandboxes, from Zelda to Horizon Zero Dawn. Sadly though, there’s neither time nor money to play them all! And yet, the Bulletstorm remake might be exactly what you need if you’re in for some fast-paced, easy-going entertainment!

To sum up Bulletstorm, imagine playing Doom while getting rewarded for killing enemies creatively. There are countless ways to kill them – well, that’s a lie, there are “only” 131 so-called skillshots, including gems like “Kill an enemy by flinging them into a cactus.” or “Kill an enemy by shooting him in the ass.”

As usual, the Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition will include all previous DLC packs, but there will also be something pretty special, sadly only as pre-order bonus or at least perhaps included in the day 1 edition: You can play the entire game as the most obnoxious and hilarious hero of gaming – Duke Nukem himself! And not just that, there’ll be an entire script just for playing as the Duke!

Rabidgames grins: Bulletstorm and the Duke – that’s a wet dream cum true, a marriage forged in hellfire! And as Doom has proven, there is still room for arcade shooting in today’s gaming. And as fast-paced and gory as Doom was, Bulletstorm has even more sadistic pleasures and bodily explosions in stock! See you soon, and may the bullets fly!

Mass Effect Andromeda or Good Gameplay, Bad Bugs and Ugly Faces

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , , , , on April 1, 2017 by Rabidgames

First things first – Mass Effect Andromeda is not an unplayable mess as some corners of the internet might want to tell you. You can have fun while playing it. It is also no “SJW wet dream” or some other bullshit the alt-right trolls spout, it is just a game. However, the technical shortcomings, especially the ugly human faces (aliens are mostly fine) and the abysmal facial animations ARE bad. Really, really bad. And make no mistake, they’re inexcusable in 2017.

Besides the facial mess, there’s also badly written dialogues, at times terrible voice overs (a fucking female Krogan speaks exactly like a human … what happened here?) and the ridiculously boring exploring solar systems (where your ship travels to each of them for sometimes nothing at all but a description of a lifeless gas giant, and you don’t even get to probe Uranus) to complain about. And there are quite a few bugs and glitches in Andromeda, too, ranging from the animations even more fucked than usual to save bugs that can make you lose hours of progress if you don’t save regularly on different slots. Always do that!

So what the space-traveling fuck Bioware? And what the fuck EA? Did you really think you could just release this mess without getting any criticism? Andromeda was in the making for 5 fucking years, and lifeless androids representing humans and lame writing about tired faces are the result? If EA follows this road of releasing seemingly unfinished and definitely unpolished games, the future of gaming surely is going to look like a galaxy after a reaper sweep.

But all this aside – which is no easy task, but let’s look into it nonentheless – Andromeda is actually well worth the time. Once you struggled past the average and slightly boring tutorial and the Mass Effect 1 Citadel-style Nexus introduction, the game comes alive (upon your return to the Nexus, it really feels alive, while the first time, it feels barren and a bit bland). Although wait – the first hours are a chore, and then the game gets better? Who comes up with this, especially considering we had the EA Access trial of Andromeda on the One, resulting in quite a bit of the flak the game is getting now. Shouldn’t the first hours be full of gripping entertainment and the most polished content?

Anyway, once you are on Eos, your first planet to pathfind your way into your new job acquired tragically in typical Bioware fashion, you’ll notice a similarity with Dragon Age Inquisition: A massive open area waits for you to be explored. But don’t fret because that’s actually where Andromeda comes alive- while Inquisition’s areas felt and quite frankly were static (not much ever changed no matter what you did), you terraform entire planets in Andromeda via main missions that involve puzzles and nicely built levels that are a joy to go through, you establish outposts and repel enemy forces, and you get a feeling of satisfaction from all of it, not just by numbers, but also by making the planets look more hospitable. You also get to visit different planets, and while they are mostly cliché – sand desert world, ice world, jungle world – they look great and there’s plenty of things to discover and of course shoot in the face.

Fighting is still a mixed bag of tricks though – on the one hand, no power wheel means there’s hardly any tactics left in Andromeda – unless sending your squad somewhere is deemed a tactic. Building combos with team mates depends on luck and you hoping it works, so most of the time, you do it all yourself. Then again, jumping and the fact most battles can be fought in large areas enable you to fight enemies from atop buildings, making sure that annoying super-strong brute can’t reach you – at all. Cheap? Yes. Fun? Oh yeah! Changing profiles mid-battle allows you to switch from Engineer to Adept quickly so you can adapt if you prepare. But be careful – focussing on one role makes this role extremely powerful, so choose wisely – a jack of all trades will be worse than a Biotic God! But it can’t hurt to at least develop two sets of skills so you’re prepared for every situation.

Where Andromeda excels though is by offering you a lot of side content that will make your life easier – if you want. Crafting a strong weapon that shoots lightning or shotguns firing exploding bullets? Or you just gather what you find, sell it and buy weapons. What’s not to like? Furthermore, by raising your AVP level (pretty much a colonisation tracker) you can thaw more colonists, giving you bonuses. You do this by … well, playing Andromeda one way or another. You also get materials by exploring systems (boring) and driving around on planets (cool) with your Nomad, a Mako 2.0 but without a turret gun for some reason.

Oh, and the multiplayer of Andromeda is also great fun. In a nutshell, it feels like a harder version of Mass Effect 3, which is pretty much what fans have been asking for. This time though, you don’t need to play it to raise numbers, you simply get loot for your campaign, which is great. If you don’t feel like playing multiplayer (though it is fun), you can play strike missions either on an in-game terminal or on your smart phone, and you get the same rewards. Or you do both and get more! This is exactly how you should build a game – around different ways to reach the same goal, letting the player choose what to do.

So, should you buy Andromeda? Well, probably not yet if you’re not a big fan. To be honest, the gameplay is fine, the game picks up pace after 10 hours, yes, but still, all the technical shit is irritating. But here’s the thing – if you can deal with the bugs, if you can deal with the animations and the dumbed-down combat, your reward is you’re one of the first to explore a new galaxy!

Word of advice about the tone of Andromeda though – the darkness and impending doom of the first Mass Effect trilogy are gone. It makes sense though. You have a motley crew of young adventurers whose task is to explore. Sure, the stakes are high, but these folks are still more light-hearted and … well, cringeworthy at times. That being said, when Andromeda is aware of its silly dialogues, it works. Some of the writing is so bad it becomes great again, pretty much lie a B-movie. Sadly, it doesn’t always work. So watch a few videos with dialogues early in the game to see if you stomach it. And then, you have an A.I. cracking jokes …

Because in this one regard, Andromeda is still a Bioware game: You can spend hours just talking to everyone. The game can easily be played with a few quests to level up and fight on one planet, an hour of talking, a bit of exploration and a few skirmishes on another planet, crafting a few weapons and reading some emails, and so on. After ten hours or so, Andromeda hands you the reins to exploring a new galaxy of hopes, dreams … and silly faces.

Rabidgames wonders: Andromeda can be viewed as a case of “don’t judge a game by its cover”, or rather by its first impressions. There is beauty to be found behind the ugly faces and the bugs, yet it all depends on if you’re willing to take the risk of getting annoyed by the different writing and the weak opening hours. But one thing’s for sure – for a game that could very well make or break Bioware, Andromeda is simply not good enough. It is a decent albeit unpolished game, fair enough, but it is one of the worst Bioware games, too.