Archive for October, 2018

Fire Pro Wrestling World or Now This is Wrestling!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Played & Explained with tags , , , on October 23, 2018 by Rabidgames

Tired of the annual WWE games? Tired of decade-old animations and terrible hair? Tired of the heroes of yesteryears shitting on everybody else? Don’t fret! Finally, Fire Pro Wrestling has come to the PS4!

Fire Pro Wrestling World is completely different from the WWE 2K games in pretty much every aspect though. It starts with the 2D graphics, continues with the emphasis on position and timing and ends with an emphasis on match ratings. There is also a very looong career mode called “Fighting Road” (after 5 hours, you might just be around 5-8% in) where you learn the ropes and meet all the famous NJPW greats. And yes, it can get quite whacky.

There are quite a few modes available, from single to tag team to battle royal matches, and there’s also weirder ones such as barbed wire, landmine matches and even MMA style clashes, including one kind where you can only strike. Of course, you can also create your own wrestler in Fire Pro Wrestling World. Yes, it looks and feels weird at first, but you can build incredibly crazy wrestlers and add them to your rosters. The move list is also huge, and each move can be assigned as a finisher. Sadly though, the title creation option is pretty basic.

Another unique thing to Fire Pro is the AI. You can manipulate the logic of a wrestler so that he/she behaves like you want him/her to, or, if you create a CM Punk, that he behaves exactly like CM Punk would. Understanding and then applying the logic system is, as is everything in Fire Pro, a long process though.

But, and here’s the main difference to Yukes’ WWE 2K games, Fire Pro is a series where it is fun to just watch the matches. Thanks to the logic system, watching Ric Flair fight Sting looks pretty similar to their classic fights, provided their logic is correctly applied. And that’s where the emphasis on match ratings comes into play. The more varied the match, the more the momentum changes, the more dramatic kick-outs, the better the rating will be.

One thing should be noted though – Fire Pro Wrestling World has a huge learning cliff once you start out. It goes without saying that you should start with the tutorial if you’re new to the series. Because if you don’t you’ll feel utterly lost. Previous wrestling game or beat ’em up knowledge is essentially useless.

Even a simple thing as a grapple will be mystery. Why? Well, in Fire Pro, you grapple automatically and press the button at a very specific time. Otherwise, your move will be countered. If you hit the strong grapple button while your opponent is fit, you’ll get countered. Actually, there are many tutorials out there like the following one that explain the game mechanics nicely.

So, where does that leave us? Fire Pro Wrestling World is a game that rewards patience and those who see wrestling as a form of art. It doesn’t always matter if you win or lose, what matters is that you do it in style. Fire Pro has been known to go down a different route when it comes to wrestling, in World is not different in this regard. Even better, once the Promoter DLC is out, you will be able to book and simulate, or promote, your very own wrestling league, compete with others and put all the things you’ve learnt to test. Until then, Fire Pro Wrestling World is still a game that can be immensely fun to learn and master.

Rabidgames’ verdict: DO NOT BUY the game when you have no interest or patience to learn a new way to wrestle from scratch. Or any interest in wrestling.

GO BUY the game when you love wrestling, a challenge and eventually very rewarding gameplay.

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Ni Nu Kuni 2 or Unadulterated JPRG Fun

Posted in Played & Explained with tags , , on October 14, 2018 by Rabidgames

Yes, Ni Nu Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom is your typical JRPG with at times rather incoherent story-telling – and a strange subtitle added for whatever reason No, you are NOT a revenant. In the beginning of Ni Nu Kuni 2, the president of the United States – in this case a human, not a fucking orange ape – gets teleported away during a nuclear attack. Teleported to a fantasy realm where he naturally saves a young king who’s half kid, half cat. After 10 seconds of “where am I?”, the president forgets being a president for 99% of the game. If you can stomach that, we can go ahead, shall we?

That being said, Ni Nu Kuni 2 is also a game of almost childish naivety. Pretty much every villain you meet isn’t evil per se, just corrupted by a villain who turns out to be, well, kinda misguided after all. Eventually, the game tells a decent enough story of how we can all live together peacefully. Sure, there are some sub-stories about greed, destroying the environment or racism, but while Ni Nu Kuni 2 has some sombre moments, most of it plays and ends pretty light-hearted, albeit with a foreseen and sometimes even an unforeseen twist or two. But once in a while, that’s okay. Between all the dark, brutal and cynical games full of sarcastic world views, a bit of naivety and positive thinking can’t do any harm, can they?

Besides, you’ll play this game for the gameplay anyway, right? The gameplay in Ni Nu Kuni 2 is actually divided into three – you have your vastly improved fighting, now real time fighting with up to 3 characters (you get new party members one story chapter at a time, and they have different strengths and weaknesses) and cute little monsters called Higgledies who assist you in battle and can be upgraded to … well, help you more. Battles are fast-paced and generally on the easy side, save for one strange difficulty spike in the middle and the JRPG-style tough post-game content. It’s fun to experiment and try to beat strong enemies (that start repeating themselves rather sooner than later, but that’s also JRPGs for you).

Then you have big real-time strategy lite events – a handful during the campaign, but most are optional. They can be fun, especially if you ignore the rock-paper-scissor system and just go for shield and magic/ranged attacks – way easier. 😉 They are a fun distraction from the other elements of Ni Nu Kuni 2, and they seem less out of turn than for instance in Brütal Legend, where they appeared out of nowhere – and were devilishly hard! That being said, they are not super easy in Ni Nu Kuni 2 either – but with a bit of preparation, they aren’t that hard either.

And third, there’s the kingdom building. Think of it as a Dark Cloud 2/Dark Chronicles (same game, but different name) lite – you need a special currency to build and research, and you recruit characters via quests or just by finding them. In Ni Nu Kuni 2, you’ll need the characters to progress your building and researching. It is very simple yet pretty addictive. Just one upgrade more …

At the end of the bright and happy day, Ni Nu Kuni 2 is a nice not so little game with a perhaps a tad too sweet and naive story but pretty thought-through gameplay that’ll keep you busy for 50-100 hours – or more if you feel like tackling the hardest post-game dungeon and the level 99 free update quest.

Oh, if you feel tainted by childish innocence and naivety, here’s Yahtzee’s review of Ni Nu Kuni 2:

Rabidgames’ Verdict: Do buy if you like JRPGs in its purest form – naive and full of wonder. There’s plenty of content in this game.

Don’t buy if you fucking hate childish shit. Or JRPGs.

Dakar 18 or Dude, Where Do We Go Again?

Posted in Hands On with tags , on October 11, 2018 by Rabidgames

It doesn’t happen often that pretty much the only thing you want to write about a game is “what the hell is this?”, but Dakar 18 is such a game. It is geared towards such a niche group that even the tutorial is an obstacle designed to tell everyone else to fuck off.

Theoretically, Dakar 18 should be Rabidgames’ cup of tea though – a Rally Cross racing game where you roam the wilds and mostly sand dunes and deserts of South America. You need to pay attention to sand, mud, you can help fellow drivers, you can leave the car to strut around and wear a cowboy hat, you can repair your damaged car … you’ll lose precious time if you do any of the above, of course, but you can do it all.

But who in their right mind uses a non-skippable tutorial with very vague directions and poorly explained mechanics? Who thought that’d be a good idea? But … Dakar 18 is a pain in many ways. It gives you a strange tutorial where you will fail pressing the correct buttons as shown on-screen. It gives you an overload of information, sends you on the way in a non-skippable tutorial, and then leaves you alone in the tutorial. You’re in the desert, good luck finding anything. Oh, and if you reach the chequered flag too early, you get disqualified – only it wasn’t even clear where the finish line is!

So, after you’ve done the tutorial, the game asks you to do some more training. Phew. Seriously? So yeah, it’s safe to say Rabidgames isn’t hardcore enough for the Rally Dakar (set not in Dakar but in South America but that’s a story for another day). Also, you are driving a big massive truck, and if you hit a makeshift fence out of wood you withdraw because THIS causes too much damage? Come on, for fuck’s sake!

There are quite a few disciplines in Dakar 18 – cars, trucks, bikes, quads … And bikes and quads come without a co-driver to give you directions, so good luck. Speaking of directions, if you get lost, so does your co-driver. Not exactly useful that fellow after all, eh? Another weird thing is that the game feels rather arcadey for a simulation – there isn’t that much weight to the cars, and the physics feel a bit off as well (again, makeshift wooden fences). There might be a target group for this kind of game, but it might be as small as the amount of people caring much about the Rally Dakar …

Rabidgames’ Verdict: Do buy if you love hardcore rally games without useful instructions and you have a perfect sense of digital directions.

Don’t buy if you are not a rally pro. Or if you don’t have a perfect digital sense of directions. Otherwise, the game will leave frustrated. It is not aimed to casually cruise around sadly.