Yakuza Kiwami or Majima’s Paradise in the Far East

Posted in Hands On with tags , , on September 6, 2017 by Rabidgames

If you happen to be a Yakuza fan, Sony has kinda spoilt you recently, right? Yakuza 4 and 5 on PSN+, Yakuza 0 a few months ago, and now the first game is remastered as Yakuza Kiwami (kiwami meaning ultimate or extreme, which makes sense as you’ll see).

And what a remaster it is! It looks considerably better (well, obviously), the UI and the gameplay mechanics have been updated (you can now save whenever and wherever you want for instance), the story of Yakuza has been enhanced and smoothed, and you can now choose between 4 different fighting styles, from balanced to lightning-quick but relatively weak to slow but strong. Plus, there’s going to be 4 different DLC packs to be released in the weeks following the launch of the game.

The fighting in Yakuza Kiwami is ironically the biggest strength as well as the biggest weakness of the game – it is fun, but boy, does it get repetitive! The fun part is combining fighting styles and showing of brutal finishers, expanding your repertoire, grabbing weapons – either lying around or from your inventory, and generally punishing assholes standing in your way.

But there’s also a downside to fighting …

When you just want or need to get from A to B, but enemies C to Z are in your way, it can become a bit tiresome. Plus boss fights … they are a chore. Not only can’t you grab most of them (meaning no grappling finishers), some will never fall down (again, no finishers), they have absurd amounts of health and enjoy regenerating their health for an extra measure of annoyance. Most of the time, you just attack a boss with the same attack pattern while you defend his attacks with the same pattern – and that can go on for up to 5 minutes. Provided you carry plenty of healing items – and in Yakuza Kiwami, you should ALWAYS carry of healing items around – there is hardly any challenge in boss fights, it’s just battles of attrition.

And then Majima … oh yes, he’s one of the coolest characters in Yakuza, and sure, it makes sense to give such a cool character a bigger role, but THAT big and omnipresent? Remember the random battles – well, random goons go down quickly, but imagine you fight Majima, a pretty tough boss battle, 3 times within 5 minutes, completely randomly. He packs a punch, and he has tons of health, too, obviously. The only thing making those fights bearable in Yakuza Kiwami is the fact that the more you beat him, the more you unlock of your legendary and devastating dragon style.

So, lots of fighting to do, eh? But don’t worry, there are countless mini-games to distract you or waste some time, something the Yakuza series is famous for, and the remake of the first game obviously is no exception; you can play a very strange card game with women dressed as bugs (don’t ask), you can race toy cars, play golf or bowling, sing karaoke (if you insist, it is boring as always), you can gamble in a secret casino, and you also can play mah-jong. And more.

And last but definitely not least, there is the excellent and dark crime story about murder, revenge, betrayal, stolen money and a little girl, with quite a few twists and turns and broken bones and friendships along the bumpy road. It’s best to experience it yourselves, so the less said here, the better. The dialogues is now also entirely in Japanese audio, to immerse you deeper into the world of Yakuza, so be warned you need to read. A lot. Sadly, not all dialogues are voiced, which alongside some archaic UI systems makes you aware of the age of Yakuza Kiwami.

So, how great is it? Objectively speaking, Yakuza Kiwami is a good, maybe even a very good game (if we take the age of the game into account). But … there is tiny bit too much of Majima in the game, and while it is always fun in small games, the repetitive, random and constant fighting around every corner can become a bit too much after an hour. On the other hand, Yakuza can also be described as a mix of Shenmue and GTA, and this remake does a great job of serving as a great way to get introduced to the series and to the sometimes weird world of Japanese daily living – and dying in its underworld, of course!

Rabidgames fights: Yakuza Kiwami can best be described as a fight – with the enemies, with the system to throw Majima in your way way too often or fighting the random thugs who become an annoying waste of time after 10 hours, but then again, it’s a price worth paying to jump into the twisted world of Yakuza – and there’s no shame playing on easy if you want to bring the story forwards instead of breaking your thumbs fighting the not so good fight!

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F1 2017 or More Real Than the Real Thing?

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , on August 29, 2017 by Rabidgames

In a nutshell, F1 2017 takes all the good stuff from last year’s F1 2016, gives us a bit more of it and then adds some stuff. The game boasts of being the most complete F1 game to date, and for once, that PR statement is actually true.

Not only is the career mode of F1 2017 deeper and more detailed than last year – you can now develop your driver and your car over 10 seasons, and grid penalties for engine failures are sadly also included (this being of the dumbest FIA ideas ever), but generally speaking, you’ll need to put more work into it. But there are more rewards than merely becoming world champion; you’ll get invited to some events where you can race classic F1 cars from the past, including Ayrton Senna’s iconic McLaren from 1988 (sadly it’s pre-order only for now, which is obviously a dick move), and then some more McLarens, Ferraris, Renaults and Red Bulls from over 2 decades.

What’s kinda odd is that the older cars in F1 2017 tend to fall apart quicker and easier – maybe not too unrealistic one might think, but still it seems to be a weird design decision. Then again, let’s face it – crashing cars in racing games has always been fun!

Obviously, the cars have no DRS and the cockpits look pretty different as well, but they also drive and sound differently (one could say they sound like any damn F1 car should sound). Besides the invitational events in the career, you can play any race with the classic car. It’s a shame though that F1 2017 doesn’t give us classic drivers as well. You race random names when sitting in a classic car, which seems a missed opportunity.

And F1 2017 doesn’t stop here – you can also find a variety of diverse championships in the new championships mode, where you can race shorter or linger seasons, either a full weekend with training, qualifying and race, just the race, or some other combinations, e.g. a sprint race followed by a normal race. Additionally, there is an Event mode where Codemasters asks us to complete a challenging race, e.g. winning a race with a broken front wing.

The amount of detail in F1 2017 is definitely breath taking – each car seems to have been rebuilt to look like the real-life cars, the tracks look stunning – especially in the rain or the newly added Monaco night-race are something to behold (although you should probably rather focus on the track in wet conditions). Oh, and there are also 4 shorter versions of the circuits there for your entertainment, too …

So far, everything sounds great. Well, the devil is a bit in the detail with F1 2017: Sometimes, the first corner is quite chaotic, and then you get hit out of nowhere. And then, you get a penalty for getting hit! Sure, this has only happened a few times, and it might be a realistic portrayal of the arbitrary penalties the FIA dishes out in the real F1, but it can be quite annoying. At the same time, there is no apparent logic to the penalties – from a caution to a +3 second penalty to nothing, everything can happen if you hit a car – sometimes you get even different results after rewinding and hitting the car again …

And then, there’s last year’s dilemma, too – the game is pretty much a simulation for rather casual racers like yours truly, while simulation racers might think it is lacking a bit in that respect. But even if an entire championship seems to much for you, F1 2017 is pretty much worth it for every F1 fan who happens to at least like racing games – you can either relive the full weekend, you can enjoy a shorter campaign with sprint races without the hassle of a career, or you can just get to know the track of the weekend via Time Trial – F1 2017 has lots to offer for every kind of racer.

Rabidgames : For two years in a row now, Codemasters delivers a strong racing game. It might be somewhat in the middle between casual racing and unforgiving simulation, but for F1 fans who like to hear that nice old sound while also trying their hands on different cars from different eras, it’s perfect. 

Dear EA, Sincerely Fuck You!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News, The Latest with tags , , , , on August 26, 2017 by Rabidgames

You might have heard EA is essentially pulling the plug on Mass Effect Andromeda, which means no more DLC and especially no more patches for the single player part of the game. You know, the part that was consciously released unfinished. It pretty much tells us EA doesn’t give a shit about releasing alpha versions of games, and when challenged as to why an unfinished game such as Andromeda is released, EA abandons the product. Classy.

But wait! It wouldn’t be EA to just kick a an innocent being. Oh no, they rather gut shoot it and leave it out bleed dry just because they are EA! So no more single player hist, right? But hold on, the bastards instead keep serving the micro-transactions wielding MP of Andromeda (which is considerably worse than Mass Effect 3’s MP anyway), but that isn’t the end of that, oh no, just when they said to pull the lug on Andromeda these wankers release some fucking multiplayer DLC packs!

It’s been said before, after the Andromeda disaster, it’s time to say R.I.P. Bioware. EA might be dragging your carcass along for a ride, hell, you might be even end up as a trophy on some asshole-in-a-suit’s living room, but Bioware is dead.

Rabidgames says this: Fuck you EA! And fuck off!

What the Fuck is Purrfect Date?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , on August 17, 2017 by Rabidgames

Imagine you’re dating cats while also solving a mystery on some island somewhere. “Hold on, what?” you might ask. Yes, that’s the summary of a weird upcoming game called “Purrfect date”. And it doesn’t stop there.

Imagine a trailer that announces “come for the pussy, stay for the tale” …

Seriously though, “tale”, not “tail”? What a missed opurrtunity there.

Rabidgames is speechless : Sorry, no more puns. Just plain and simple WHAT THE FUCK!?! again.

The Welcome Onslaught of Strategy Games on Consoles

Posted in Gaming these days ..., The Latest with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2017 by Rabidgames

Now, strategy game ain’t usually something one associates with consoles, but it’s nothing unheard of – after all, there were quite a few great games such as Supreme Commander series (the spiritual successors of the best RTS game ever, Total Annihilation), a few well-ported Command & Conquer or the underrated R.U.S.E. on last generation’s consoles, and this generation has already seen a few.

After all, a game like Tropico 5 has been out for a while if you feel like a revolutionary, we could manage entire kingdoms in the likes of Grand Ages:Medieval or Nobunaga’s Ambition, or we could fight aliens in XCOM, and the ingeniously evil Plague Inc. has enabled us to eradicate mankind for a while now. Ah, the fun in that …

But in 2017, things have sped up: there’s the ob simulation Constructor, the alien world explorer and manager Aven Colony, there’s Shadow Tactics: Blades of Shogun, that wonderfully reminds one of Commandos, and if you’ve played hundreds of hours of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, a game such as Industry Giant 2 looks very familiar …

Chocobo INC., 4. Jan 2004

Final Fantasy VII’s Midgard in Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

But that’s not all, the two arguably biggest strategy hits are yet about to come onto consoles: Sudden Strike, the renowned real-time strategy series, has just returned with Sudden Strike 4, and the game one could call Sim City without the EA bullshit, Cities: Skyline is soon to follow.

Sure, some of these games are not exactly new, and traditionally, strategy games have led a rather quiet and overlooked life on consoles, but with a bit of luck, that’s about to change now.

Rabidgames sighs: So many games, never enough time. First world gaming problems, true. But if there’s a genre that eats time (even more so than RPGs), it’s strategy games. It’s going to be tough to pick the best ones, that’s for sure.

Dragons Dogma Will Arise on 3 October!

Posted in News, The Latest with tags , on August 10, 2017 by Rabidgames

Finally, we have an official release date for one of the most-awaited remasters of one of the best games ever. Objectively speaking, of course.

Anyway, we will finally be able to delve into the world of Gransys on our next-gen systems on 3 October, when Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen finally returns!

If you can’t wait like yours truly, here’s a new little Dragon’s Dogma video to watch – it helps just a bit, but better than naught:

Rabidgames looks anxiously at the calendar: So many days, too many days left till we will explore the world of Dragon’s Dogma once more! So let’s not forget there’s “strength in numbers, Arisen”!

Diablo 3’s Necromancer – Overpriced Body-Stripping or Bone-ripping Fun?

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Played & Explained, The Latest with tags , , on July 30, 2017 by Rabidgames

Well, if the Necromancer has just been the class you’ve been waiting for in Diablo 3 and you enjoy nothing more than tearing a screen full of enemies to shreds with exploding bodies, it’s hard to answer that question objectively of course.

Sure, 15€/12£ for one character sounds fucking expensive, but it’s nothing unheard of – look at all the fighting games or shooters where you shell out 10 quid for a map or two. Just as an example, there are DLC characters in Injustice 2, each costing 5 quid. Any outrage there? But to be fair to Blizzard, it’s not just the Necromancer, his character models and animation, balancing and voice overs being implemented into Diablo 3, it’s also the unique sets and set dungeons that come into play.

Besides, Blizzard has been very generous since abandoning their failed auction house and always-online shenanigans of the failed launch of Diablo 3 – from the PS4’s launch onwards, there have been quite a few free updates giving us bonus dungeons, Greater Rifts and now Challenge Rifts, the Horadric artefact Kanai’s Cube, seasons and more. Always for free.

Plus, the Necromancer is one of the best classes to quickly rise through levels and to quickly raze enemy hordes. It is deadly early on and you can easily switch to Torment from level 50 onwards. It is also one of the most versatile classes in Diablo 3; you can play it as the lord of the undead, telling your minions who to attack – and here’s the big difference to the Witch Doctor, who cannot order his minions around – you walk around dressed in a Bone Armour throwing around Bone Spears or you spend your own life force to create deadly explosions while you replenish your HP by devouring corpses (every slain enemy leaves a corpse). Oh, and you can also temporarily raise up to 10 Skeleton Mages attacking enemies …

But the real beauty is what you do with corpses (not THAT, you perv!) – will you devour them or revive them? Or detonate them? You can. But the most fun is having sharp bones ripped out of corpses flying and destroying everything on screen in a heartbeat! Corpse Lance is surely one of the best skills in Diablo 3 – if there wasn’t a problem on higher difficulties: Sometimes, there are no corpses lying around, and they’re never enough. Until you get skills that create corpses for you or an item that makes sure your golem shits a corpse each second … well, it doesn’t say it literally …

So, is the Necromancer worth it? Let’s have a look at it from this angle: For speed-runs, be it in a season or (Greater) Rifts, they’re very viable characters with the right skill set and items. Even without that, reaching level 70 is a breeze as especially the first 40 or so levels can be slow grinding with other classes, e.g. monks, whereas the Necromancer can summon an army early on. So objectively, the Necromancer is a decent addition to Diablo 3. Subjectively though, well, who knows? Read about the class or watch some videos. Some classes might not be for you, others are perfect for you. But hell, who doesn’t like exploding bodies across the screen, right?

Rabidgames raises his thumb: Right off the bat, the Necromancer is now Rabidgames’ 2nd favourite class. Wizard is still running supreme, especially after finding that awesome Firedbird’s Finery set that makes everything burn within seconds, especially bosses! Oh, anyway, Necromancer is already a close second though! At least here, it was 12 pounds well spent for .