Archive for the Gaming these days … Category

The Curious Case of Plague Inc.’s Brexit Trophy

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , on June 7, 2017 by Rabidgames

You might know Plague Inc. You know, that great game where your aim is to infect and eradicate mankind from the face of the planet. It’s fun. Great fun. Not just because you rid earth of the human pest, but also because of the hilariously funny news reports you get, and because of some weird trophies you can unlock …

The weirdest one though is called “Brutal Brexit” and the description reads “Put Britain on the road to madness when it leaves the EU”. Now it should be noticed the road to that trophy (or achievement to be consolely correct) is quite muddled – it seems your disease is not allowed to have hit the UK when Brexit gets announced, but then you need to hit Britain with very specific symptoms and you need to infect everybody in the entire UK.

In a game full of black humour and the black death, such a trophy shouldn’t be a surprise. And of course, Plague Inc. was developed in the UK. British humour at its darkest. And best.

Rabidgames smiles: Trophies are often dull. One could claim they’re completely unnecessary. But in some instances, they just make you grin.

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.

Mass Effect Andromeda – The Best Comedy Game?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , on March 19, 2017 by Rabidgames

So, we’ve heard and read a lot about Mass Effect Andromeda, right? And after digesting all the bad face animations, the bugs and glitches and the bad dialogues, many are still on the fence. But perhaps we’re all looking at it the wrong way. Perhaps the game is comedy. Just watch the video, and you’ll see it could very well be true:

Seriously now, what the fuck? This is pure comedy gold! Andromeda might not work as a traditional Bioware game, but maybe it’ll work just fine as a Mass Effect parody!

Rabidgames has decided: Pre-ordered! For the laughs.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn or Beauty close to Perfection

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , , , , on March 8, 2017 by Rabidgames

Horizon Zero Dawn is a masterpiece. Without question. Rarely has a game looked so beautiful, has the gameplay been so addictive, or has the setting been so intriguing.

And even more importantly, Horizon Zero Dawn doesn’t only shine with the grand things like graphics or gameplay mechanics, the finer details like the vantage points that show doors to the past or the names of contemporary daily items like coins or watches highlight the attention to detail that has gone into the game.

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Darkness and fog also look good in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Probably the only thing holding Horizon Zero Dawn back from GOTY awards aplenty might be the fact that is by no means a casual game – sneaking isn’t too hard, but fighting enemies openly is lethal even on normal – and that is a one-on-one fight against tough bosses, with conveniently forgetting there are also weaker enemies around! You cannot really fight casually often, but the mechanics open up once you realise there’s always another way to fight – the ropecaster might well be the unsung hero of Horizon Zero Dawn – binding enemies for a short time gives you exactly the room to breathe you need, and traps are always Aloy’s best friend.

When comparing Horizon Zero Dawn with other system sellers like Uncharted 4 or Zelda – Breath of the Wild, it becomes clear that the other two games pretty much combine elements from all over the gaming world and combine them to fun-filled experience. Broken down into the single parts, there don’t seem to be that special (except for the nature physics in Zelda – that sounds great). True, the same can be said for many things in Horizon Zero Dawn – stealth, crafting, climbing or fighting humans with a bow is nothing new.

But it is fighting robots where Horizon Zero Dawn requires a unique way of thinking – all the tools and traps at our disposal, only The Witcher 3 and Geralt’s arsenal of potions and venoms is comparable here, but both games handle things way differently; The Witcher’s mechanics are rather based on a (thankfully) easier Dark Souls system, while the clue to downing the massive beasts is tearing apart different components, especially the combustible ones first, or laying traps, or pinning them to the ground. Even breaking line of sight and then playing hide & seek works! Or why not hacking one robot and sending it to weaken the others? And then there are many different robots – from deer to birds to fire breathing monsters and the mostly invisible Stalkers, Horizon Zero Dawn doesn’t hold back in throwing various opponents at us, and eliminating them effectively requires creativity, a bit of patience and sometimes also luck.

And then the graphics … you don’t have to be a graphics whore to gaze in awe at the screen at times. Be it snow, desert, ruins or dense forests, it all looks amazing. And seeing the sun rise over ruins or snowy summits is truly a sight to behold! One thing is for sure, the photo mode in Horizon Zero Dawn is a great addition, as you can edit your screenshots easily. Especially dusk or dawn look breathtaking if you happen to be there at the right place (the right time is not needed, as you can forward or rewind time for your picture).

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Dawn and the horizon.

But gameplay and graphics only complement the beauty of Horizon Zero Dawn; it’s the curiosity and individualism of the protagonist Aloy in a superstitious and fearful world, it’s the eerily overgrown ruins of civilisation, the contrast between nature and machine, and humans caught in the middle, the different tribes all lost in different way. All the while you only find fragments about the past, Aloy’s past is one of the biggest mysteries of the game. And the pacing is also almost perfect – from the start of Horizon Zero Dawn to the Proving, you’re introduced to the world from the eyes of an outsider (literally), making a good introduction into the world. And the plot only thickens from there on.

Horizon Zero Dawn also delivers the best sets of side quests since The Witcher 3 – while there are usually not many options to finish it, there’s often a bit of lore and a bit of drama included. Even taking over bandit camps comes with the help of a mysterious stranger …

Oh, don’t listen to the right-wing trolls claiming Horizon Zero Dawn has a feminist agenda and is a “SJW nightmare”, or whatever bullshits these morons are spouting. At least in the first 20 hours, neither men nor women are depicted as either good or evil; instead, everything is depicted in a darkish grey. So don’t listen to the alt-right political trolls poisoning gaming forums these day please!

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A Tallneck in its habitat.

Rabidgames cannot stop playing: Horizon Zero Dawn is surely one of the best looking games ever – both in terms of aesthetics and pure graphical technical terms. But beyond visuals and the great gameplay, it also tells a fascinating story about a future full of mysteries and wonders. It is a very ambitious game, and it might well go down into history as one of the best games – unless the machines take over soon …

Mass Effect Andromeda or Bioware’s (Titan)Fall?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , on February 25, 2017 by Rabidgames

The more news come in about the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, the less Rabidgames likes it. Coming from someone who has the collectors edition of the entire Mass Effect trilogy, it says a lot.

Take this Eurogamer article for example: It’s all about dynamic fighting, jumping and quick and painless exploration now it seems. Even worse, EA (Bioware seems only remotely responsible for Andromeda) even removed the power wheel!

So what’s left? A fast-paced, potentially brainless shooter with small and probably linear areas, and sex with aliens because that’s what Mass Effect is all about, right? Fucking hell, Bioware, be at least decent enough to call this game “Sexy Aliens & Titanfall’s Effect“!

From the looks of it, Andromeda could still well be an interesting and good game, but rather a good shooter than a good RPG. After all, what’s left that made Mass Effect 1 great? Not much it seems. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 already went down Shooter Lane anyway. It really seems Inquisition was Bioware’s farewell, and mind you, even Inquisition is just a mere shadow compared to the gleaming success and deep RPG mechanics of The Witcher 3 now.

Rabidgames puts the money back in this pocket: Relationships evolve. Bioware devolves. Maybe Andromeda manages to define itself in the new direction of the studio, but new directions have destroyed many relationships. Comes end of March, we’ll see if there are still enough sparks left to rekindle the fire in our hearts.

Where are the damn GOTY Awards?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , on February 8, 2017 by Rabidgames

Some of you might have wondered what’s going on with Rabidgames’ 2016 Game of the Year Awards, the annual personal hitlist and shitlist of what’s great and what’s crap. Or perhaps not. Anyway, it’ll take a bit because of a simple reason.

Remember the hate Hitman got for its episodic content shenanigans? And rightly so? Well, Rabidgames has just bought the physical and complete version of the game, as it is indeed a good game and worthy to be included in the GOTY Awards. Spoilers: The fucking unnecessary, unreasonable and stupid forced “you MUST be online to unlock shit” will be mentioned.

Another spoiler – if you’re looking for Overwatch in the Awards, look no further. The game won’t be there. At all. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad game, but there are games that hold exactly zero interest for Rabidgames, and Overwatch is one of them. It happens. It got enough awards somewhere else anyway. The same goes for games like Dark Souls 3 and Titanfall 2, just to name a few.

Rabidgames digresses: Enough spoilers already! There should be some suspense left. Stay tuned, folks. The Awards will be there soon!

A New Year’s Rant: Is gaming DOOMed?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags on January 4, 2017 by Rabidgames

It might be a bit unfair to take this rant out on DOOM. It is a great, fast-paced, brutal and no-nonsense shooter which doesn’t gives a Demon’s rancid ass about story or any kind of correctness. But DOOM also highlights everything wrong with the gaming industry and this generation especially. And post-2016, we now know life ain’t fair anyway, right?

First, the game itself comes with whopping 50GB on the disc. Make that 70 or something as the PS4 always needs more space on your hard drive. Okay, okay, space cleaned up, let’s install the game now. Oh, what’s that? More space? For more than fucking 30GB of updates? Yeah, you read that right, DOOM needs a demonfucking 30GB update!

How comes? Well, it seems that DOOM’s 3 MP add-ons are all patched into the game. Yep, you read that correctly, you HAVE to download them even if you don’t care about the multiplayer … Who fucking thought that would be a bloody damn great idea?

So in total, DOOM takes up almost 80GB – pretty bad on a 500GB hard drive, right? And where the hell does the space even go? Mind you, Grand Theft Auto V takes up 60GB, and you can see where that’s coming from, the massive open world and the countless patches updating the world especially for GTA Online and such. But DOOM? We’re most likely talking poor optimisation here, folks.

Anyway, DOOM is still a fucking great game – more on that later. And yet, the future of gaming looks annoying, to say the least. Let’s see how it is these days – first we install the game itself on our hard drive (or make space beforehand), then we get to watch the in-game installation (DOOM takes 10 minutes here as well), and then we wait for 5-10GB (if we’re lucky) updates to be downloaded, while Sony still hasn’t done shit to improve the snail’s speed on their notoriously fucked servers.

But imagine gaming in 5 or 10 years – we’ll probably need massive hard drives, patience, a good internet connection to download the small 100GB day-one patches, and oh, more patience. How hard can it be to ship a finished game, how hard can it be to make optional multiplayer content not part of mandatory patches?

Mind you, DOOM isn’t the only culprit – look at Mafia 3 (adding outfits and races via patches), Dishonored 2 (new game+ and level select), or Final Fantasy XV (patching the story itself!). That’s just the few last months! This is a trend that fucking sucks!

Rabidgames wonders: Why bothering with consoles again? What happened to “buy, put the disc into the console and play”? There’s hardly any difference between PC and consoles any more, except that PCs offer the best gameplay experience. Give us finished games, MS and Sony, otherwise consoles will become pretty useless soon.