Archive for the Commentary Category

The Crew 2 Open Beta or The Structureless and the Aimless

Posted in Commentary, Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , on June 26, 2018 by Rabidgames

The Crew 2 is going to be a strange game … sure, the first The Crew hardly had any memorable story, but this game has you driving to get followers while mysteriously being able to transform your vehicle to car/boat/plane instantly without any explanation ever except for “it’s for a TV show”. Seriously? Sure, the premise might be too much suspension for disbelief from the get-go for some, but let’s try to talk about the game, shall we? After all, fuck it, it’s a game!

Well, first, the world. It is a 1:1 rehash of the first game. Still there’s no Memphis, no Portland, no Boston … and no one knows why. Shame. The map looks better though. No surprise since you can fly, right? Speaking about flying in The Crew 2 … it feels weird. It is arcadey, sure, but sometimes you bounce back from hitting a tree! Ouch. Hitting a bigger obstacle will reset the plane, as will leaving the map. Flying itself is fun if you want to discover the landscape, but if you want to do that, you can also zoom into the map to see everything without having to change camera angles constantly. If you want to grind, you can constantly gain followers by flying around and doing stunts, too.

Boat racing … sorry, it is shitawfully boring. It’s a pretty much useless addition to The Crew 2 … for navigating the map, it’s useless as you can’t traverse much, and you can see the same and more via plane. The racing is also very boring. It’s just not fun. Car racing is mostly the same from the original The Crew. It is split up more, sure, but it doesn’t look or feel differently.

Progression works with followers won and ranks unlocked. You also earn money to buy new vehicles in new disciplines, which in turn need to be unlocked by progressing in ranks. And cars cost a lot of money. Sounds not exactly fun? You’re right, it’s not exactly fun. The Crew 2 seems to be an eternal grindfest.

Yes, the story in original game was rather on the shit side of things, but hey, there was some structure to the game at least. The only structure in The Crew 2 is that if you start a discipline, you get introduced to some future boss. And then you randomly choose races or challenges and win them. Over and over again. Oh, you can also search for live packs that give you random upgrades for your car (you can also get upgrades by winning certain races or challenges). A welcome change from racing are photo opportunities, where you are tasked to make a photo of some wildlife. Interestingly enough, you can get lots of followers and cash for making a photo.

Oh, and the voice-acting and the dialogues are atrocious. Utterly atrocious. You know when you hear someone is looking for “badassdom” in racers … The Crew 2 is a sandbox game in a very pure form – here are your tools, now play. No story, no explanation, no meaning, just racing. On the same map it shares with its predecessor. Sure, there is some addictive element to progress just a bit more, and if you’re inclined to play with others, this always-online game might be your cup of tea.

At the end of the day, the verdict is very negative. And yet, there are some addictive elements to The Crew 2, and the easy-going racing against others, against time are quite entertaining. And the good thing about the lack of structure is that you gain followers, money and parts by not even doing some serious racing, just by wasting some time. Which can be a nice thing after a long working day, you know … but it’s also an experience that can wait for a price reduction.

Rabidgames is bored: 30 minutes in, the game gets boring already. Races all feel to similar at the beginning, and there is no urgency to anything, or incentive to do something just now. Sorry, recycling a map and adding some half-implentend and unexplained features isn’t enough to justify a full-price purchase. Not this time, Ubi!

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E3 2018 – Rabidgames’ Winners & Losers

Posted in Commentary, Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , on June 20, 2018 by Rabidgames

This year’s E3 was better than expected. Game-wise. Let’s forget about the presentations, especially Nintendo’s Smash wank fest and Sony’s weird time-planning  though … Anyway, in terms of games, there’s some good shit coming our ways – and some not so great crap as well, unfortunately …

WINNERS

Cyberpunk 2077

THE obvious winner of this year’s E3, and we haven’t even seen much of the game! But what we’ve seen, read and heard, is very promising. Even if it is just Deus Ex in a GTA world, we’d take it, right?

The Last of Us 2

Well, what can you say? The game looks great, the animations look great, and it’s quite funny how a bit of girl-on-girl action can lead to morons foaming from their mouths …

Just Cause 4

When it was announced, Rabidgames was rather “meh”. Just Cause 3 was 2 leagues below the great Just Cause2, and it had some plain idiotic design choices (locking cool things behind boring challenges being the worst). And it also will feature different climate zones again – jungle, plains, desert and snowy mountains are confirmed – yay! But judging from this fooling around, Just Cause 4 might focus on the one thing that made the second game so awesome – fun.

THE MIDFIELD CONTENDERS

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

While the game looks nice, and the infos sound promising, there are two things that don’t feel too great: Why call a game Origins – and then go back in time??? And while Greece with its plenty of city states might be interesting, how could it ever compare with the pyramids, the deserts and the clash of 3 cultures in Egypt? Odyssey might become a good game, sure, but will it be a good Assassin’s Creed?

Rage 2

It looks pretty crazy, sure. But – it looks exactly like a mix of the shooting of Doom and then the worlds of Borderlands and Mad Max, and perhaps some Saints Row (all that pink!) thrown in-between. So far, we haven’t seen too much of an identity. Let’s just hope all the nice gadgets from the original Rage will make it into the game …

LOSERS

Fallout 76

Awful, awful, awful. A fucking MMO light without any NPCs or any useful single-player. Fuck this Destiny clone shit! If Bethesda doesn’t improve this thing a lot, it’ll be nothing but a fucking turd! And they know it, why else would they announce The Elder Scrolls VI when it’s still years away?

Anthem

Well, pretty much the same. Yet another Destiny clone, probably also as unfinished and shallow, and probably Bioware’s demise, although this one will have NPCs! Hooray? Fuck no!

WHAT’S STILL MISSING …

Dragon’s Dogma 2

Honestly, it is about time for a sequel. And please, no online crap! Give us a refined Pawn system, bigger and badder spells and a new world to discover as yet another Arisen already!

Half-Life 3

Just kidding …

Rabdigames’ verdict: A few surprises and a few nice reveals notwithstanding, there wasn’t THAT much to get excited about. It may be that a new console generation is already lurking in the background, it might be that the big hits (CYBERPUNK!!!) are still miles away, or it might be that Rockstar is still not willing to reveal Red Dead Redemptions 2 …

5 Reasons Why Dragon’s Dogma Is Still One of the Best Games Ever

Posted in Commentary, Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , on October 17, 2017 by Rabidgames

Do you think this sounds a bit much? Well, it doesn’t. No one knows hoe Capcom of all people ended up producing such an innovative, deep and lovingly created gem such as Dragon’s Dogma, but they did.

And console gamers can now play Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen – all DLCs included – for 20 quid in a better version than last gen. Sure, the 60 FPS support from PC didn’t make it over for some reason, but the game now runs like it should have been years ago. But in case you wonder what makes this game so great, well, you’ll find 5 solid reasons below:

 

5. The night is dark and full of terrors

The first night out is not a great experience for most in Dragon’s Dogma – at night, there are more and deadlier enemies about, and if you are foolish enough to forget your lantern and some oil, you won’t even see them coming. Bear in mind though that the lantern only shines light on your immediate surroundings – many an Arisen have fallen prey to dragon attacks from out of the sky in certain parts of Gransys. And then there’s the ever dark dungeon from Dark Arisen, where Death haunts you – literally.

 

4. The sheer depth of customisation

For many, GTA or Saints Row are the holy grail of customisation, but Dragon’s Dogma has lots to offer in this regard – and since you’re creating both your Arisen AND your Pawn, you’ll have twice the fun. From hobbits to lumbering giants, from Danny Trejo’s Machete or Gandalf to Sandor Clegane or Lara Croft, you can create them all. And even more, height and weight also have an effect on your stamina, and rumour has it that there are some holes only very tiny Arisen can enter …

Oh, and equipment? The fact there is a trophy for having obtained 350 pieces of weapons and armour says all about that – and that trophy hails from pre-Dark Arisen days …

 

3. The diversity of the vocations

Speaking of equipment – it makes sense there’s lots of them as your Arisen can choose from 9 different vocations (the classes in Dragon’s Dogma) while your Pawn chooses from 6; do you like fighting with sword and shield or a twohanded hammer? Or do you prefer nimble attacks with daggers? What about sneak attacks with bow and arrow from afar? Or are you a sorcerer at heart who prefers to have comets rain down from the skies or a massive whirlwind tearing through enemies? Well, you can do all of the above, and you can also mix arrows and magic!

While you don’t have to invest into each and every vocation on the road to level 200, you still should play each one for a bit as you unlock useful augments (passive skills) that can afterwards be bought and equipped regardless of your vocation. Oh, and of course, you and your Pawn level up both so you can decide on a completely different path for your Pawn.

 

2. Epic battles

Remember when you confront Alduin, the World Eater (not to be confused with the wrestler Bray Wyatt, the Eater of Worlds), in Skyrim? Man, that battle turned out to be lame. Dragon’s Dogma is one hell of a different story here! Remember dragons attacking out of the blue? This can happen. Or a Chimera is lurking behind the corner and you think “uh-oh” before lightning hits you! How epic battles can be? Well, that’s entirely up to you. There’s a fine line between being underleveled and shredded to bits and having a challenging, long fight, but when you hit the sweet spot in Dragon’s Dogma, you can have epic battles! Imagine fighting that damn dragon from before for 90 long minutes, including reviving your Pawns, frantically searching the surrounding area for healing items because you’re knocking at death’s door, before you manage to bring the beast down! And that is just an ordinary dragon, not the final boss or the Ur Dragon, a massive and dangerous super boss that all players worldwide tackle together, everyone helping to bring its hitpoints down.

And that’s not the end of the epicness! How about you crawl onto the dragon while it takes flight, knowing falling will kill you so you punch it in the heart until it crashes back down to earth? Or how about conjuring the right spell at the right time, bringing down half a health bar in seconds?

 

1. Pawns

Your trusty A.I. comrades should be hailed a revolution in gaming, but it seems no one who hasn’t played Dragon’s Dogma even noticed how the great the system can be – if properly understood. You see, the thing with Pawns is you have to raise them properly – they learn in many ways – by mirroring your behaviour, by following commands, by being rented by others and gaining knowledge there and by drinking potions that change their inclination (the name for their character traits in Dragon’s Dogma). So if you start playing the game with your Pawn being pretty useless, and if the two Pawns you rent are useless as well (there can be numerous reasons for it), the game will suck. But if you get the party combination right, sometimes all you need to do is watch your Pawns tear apart the opposition.

Knowledge plays a major role for Pawns in Dragon’s Dogma as Pawns can learn how to fight enemies – sure, you can burn an enemy who’s weak to fire, but if he is doused in oil, he’ll burn more. And guess what, show it to your Pawns, and they will remember! If you’re stuck on a quest, rented Pawns or maybe your Pawn have done the quest before, and they will give you often useful advice on how to proceed.

And of course, there’s Pawn banter: From useful tips such as “wolves hunt in packs” or “to tis weak to fire”, and quips such as “even in numbers, a weakling is a weakling still” or the kind of contradictory “strength in numbers, Arisen”, to unforgettable lines like “it bears the head of a cock” or “it seems all roads lead to Gran Soren” (sometimes said when in the middle of nowhere with no road in sight), there are plenty of funny one-liners. You want to hear less? Tell your Pawn.

Rabidgames goes back to Gransys: What’s more to say? Dragon’s Dogma is one of those precious games that is so much more than its parts, it is unique and fun once you’ve really understood how the systems work together.So without further ado, go play it! See you on the perilous roads of Gransys!