Archive for EA

Always Online: Curse or Blessing?

Posted in Gaming these days ... with tags , , , , on April 21, 2013 by Rabidgames

The likes of EA, Activision and Microsoft won’t ever tire of telling us that “always online” is the future – and sure, they have a point. But there are undeniable problems when “always online” stops being a choice and we HAVE to be always online!

1. Is it possible? Well, it depends where you live. London, New York, Berlin, Sydney, no problems there. But what about villages in the countryside? There are whole areas with slow connections, for example in Germany, where the fastest available speed is DSL1000. And then, let’s talk about broadband in London. At times, it’s horrible: Slowdowns, it’s broken for days etc. Imagine your router breaks down or some somewhere outside cable melts – that’ll mean you won’t be able to use your console for days. Above all that, look at the publishers’ inability to get their stuff working for launch – how the fuck can you be surprised millions want to play your games when it’s called Diablo or Sim City? That’s plain insane! It seems it is not just our infrastructure, but theirs as well.

2. Is it good for us? No, it’s not. We went from expecting a functional game on day 1 to be glad there’s a day 1 patch to make games playable. Microsoft and Sony don’t give a shit about functionality of games released on their platforms anymore. They should send games back to the publishers and tell them “come back when it’s done”. So, no, patches and updates are no good in 99% of all cases. Plus, let’s not forget we can go online now whenever we want. But the decision should be ours when and if we go online with our consoles.

3. Why do they want it then? Besides patches, always online has many advantages whatsoever, but none of them are in the consumers’ interests – unless you like being spied on, being bombarded with personalised ads all the time, or you’re happy you won’t be allowed to resell turds such as Duke Nukem Forever in the future.

4. Why are gamers stupid? Well, that’s a damn good question. We complain a lot – and then we go out to buy the very games we are complaining about. Well played, us.

Rabidgames hopes: Maybe Microsoft will learn from the backlash and the new Xbox won’t work with always online. Maybe. But there’s also the scenario the next Xbox and the PS4 will have some built-in always online “switch” which will be activated at some point in time … after all, what will we do if have purchased the consoles already?

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The Saboteur or A Nazi Killing Sandbox Gem

Posted in Blast from the past, Revisited with tags , , , on April 14, 2013 by Rabidgames

The Saboteur definitely is an underrated game, probably one of the category “good games you’ve never heard of before”. It’s also Pandemic’s swansong (also responsible for the superb yet flawed Mercenaries games and the insane Destroy all Humans series), just before the real pandemic, EA, killed off this ingenious studio. Beware Bioware, it has happened before, and you might be next in line.

First off all, when you first play The Saboteur, it is not a good game. The control are clumsy, climbing is slow, driving is weird, shooting feels weightlessly, there are some glitches, and the graphics were not exactly well done even for years ago. The German voice acting is sometimes good, but sometimes it is even worse than the awful German in Die Hard (“Schiess das Fenster, Karl” is grammatically wrong on more than just one level). But if you start playing the engaging story, you quickly forget about it.

The Saboteur takes place during World War II in occupied Paris (actually, there’s some geographically twisted surrounding areas of France and then, there’s also Saarbruecken which looks nothing like the real city). Paris looks pretty similar to the real town; there are the typical houses and the contorted roof tops, and there are many of Paris’ attractions to find in the open world.

But that’s not the real charm of The Saboteur. This game has two charms to captivate you: The first one is the black and white (sprinkled with yellow lights and red blood and red nazi flags) setting in occupied areas. This innovative art choice adds immensely to the atmosphere; walk through a dark and rainy grey world and you feel the oppression of body and mind, emphasised by loudspeakers blaring propaganda and fortified checkpoints where nazis just wait to tear you to pieces. It feels good to bring colour back to those areas.

Charm number two is the sandbox aspect: In The Saboteur, you earn contraband (the in-game currency) by destroying thousands of nazi targets, basically like in Just Cause 2. There are also car jump ramps, postcards near monuments and of course, you can also climb the tallest buildings of Paris. Climbing is actually one nice challenge in The Saboteur; if you want to reach the top of, let’s say Notre-Dame, you first have to find the correct spot to climb the first part, then follow to the second one and so on. Thanks to some lights showing you the way, it’s not that hard to find, but sometimes it still involves some turning around and risky jumps. There are also useful perks you unlock during your stay in Paris; from an inconspicuous melee stab to powerful weapons, it’s all there.

But there’s more to the gameplay than just destruction and climbing. If you want to walk around unharmed in restricted areas, it pays off to wear a disguise (yes, this handy element has been imported yet tweaked form the Mercenaries series). Just melee kill one of the bastards and take his clothes. Provided you walk slowly and keep your distance from the real nazis, you can wander around and play the silent killer/place bombs without catching attention – if you play it right.

So the gameplay is fine, what about the story? It’s alright. The Saboteur features a classic B movie narrative; you’re an Irish outcast named Sean Devlin somehow entangled in a love triangle between a grieving French girl and a British spy. Your best friend gets killed by the evil nazi bastard you swear to kill, and on your way there you board huge zeppelins, infiltrate castles and cemeteries or defend your HQ. Side missions are usually on a smaller scale and they are often a bit quirkier. Most missions can actually be played any way YOU like – stealth and cunning or all guns blazing through the front door, the choice is yours most of the time. Oh, and one mission even has a pretty cool Indiana Jones easter egg (just watch the last minutes. By the way, some guards in this mission also talk about one of their aryan pals who’s currently in Nepal …):

From time to time, The Saboteur reminds you of its guerilla theme: Kill too many nazis, and you’ll be relentlessly hunted down by heavily armored squads wielding heavy MGs and flamethrowers, tanks, fighter planes and zeppelins … usually, poor Sean dies pretty fast in open combat. But don’t fret, there are several ways to escape the nazis. Run out of the red circle à la every other game, hide in special spots, fend off a nazi onslaught together with the resistance … or go to a brothel or do this:

As said before, it’s the various technical weaknesses that are holding The Saboteur back. Yes, they shouldn’t have been in there from the start, true, and they are the reason why the game has disappeared in metacritic mediocrity hell.Who knows, maybe they primarily are the results of Pandemic’s demise …

But you learn to work around the issues quickly. The reward is an immersive sandbox adventure where you can take your time watching the attractions of Paris, relaxing in your strip club safe house (moody jazz and half-naked women included) or driving through the countryside inbetween the occasional mission and plenty of blowing up nazi equipment left and right and above.

Rabidgames diligently sabotages: If you liked Just Cause 2 chances are you’ll love The Saboteur. It’s a big playground, there are many toys at your disposal, just go out and have fun. We need more games like these! But The Saboteur is also the Obituary to Pandemic. Way to go, lads.

Dead Space 3 or Enough with that Micro Transaction Bullshit!

Posted in Gaming these days ..., Hands On with tags , on January 26, 2013 by Rabidgames

First of all, Rabidgames has played the Dead Space 3 demo. From the looks of it, it’s a pretty solid rather linear third person shooter, garnished with some horror elements. The weapon crafting part is the only outstanding part of Dead Space 3 – and it will most likely be the most controversial …

Why? Well, EA is all to keen in bringing that annoying micro transaction bullshit into games people have already paid for … wait a minute! Mass Effect 3 has done it, correct. Assassin’s Creed 3 has done it, yes. Even Rabidgames beloved Dragon’s Dogma has done it, that’s true. In all those instances, it was a cuntthieverish move onto our money, it was all for the multiplayer. Practically, it was utterly useless and meant for the feeble-minded and short-sighted idiots out there who want to be the best in no time, sacrificing money to prove their superiority in a game. Well, to all of you who have ever spent money there: FUCK YOU!!!

It is you who are to blame for EA’s next move: If you want to be able to craft weapons earlier, easier and faster, you can do so in Dead Space 3! That’s right, micro transactions in a single player campaign! In fact, dev Visceral Games even had to praise their micro transaction bullshit in this interview (as expected, it is not exactly critical of EA’s decision and excuses). Some highlights:

There’s a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions. They’re like “I need this now, I want this now”. They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they’re 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it.

As Rabidgames has said before, a big fuck you to those new-breed gaming retards. How can anyone in his sane fucking mind actually ask for this travesty? That said, we don’t know if this claim is the truth or just another EA lie …

We’re gamers, we wouldn’t allow ourselves to do that. Before you guys showed up I was reading the Eurogamer article, that argued that it’s a slippery slope, that if you put micro-transactions in Dead Space, aren’t you just saying you can pay to win? We would never make a game you have to pay to win.

And still, you put micro transactions in there, and people will pay to beat the game easier. How is that not “pay to win”?

But we need to make sure we’re expanding our audience as well. There are action game fans, and survival horror game fans, who are 19 and 20, and they’ve only played games on their smartphones, and micro-transactions are to them a standard part of gaming. It’s a different generation. So if we’re going to bring those people into our world, let’s speak their language, but let’s not alienate our fans at the same time.

If it wasn’t so sad and it might have been funny. First, let’s forget that incredibly insane generalisation of a whole generation who has been playing games on consoles for years. According to that logic we’ve just adapted, letting them use only a fraction of the screen would be “speaking their language” then’? And why exactly would people who “have only played games on their smartphones” be interested in Dead Space 3 all of a sudden … if they’re no interested in the likes of FIFA, Mass Effect, Call of Duty, GTA or any other console game, why the fuck should they be interested in Dead Space 3 of all games? Why?

And “alienating your fans”? You’ve done exactly that, thank you very much. Mind you, that poor Mr. John Calhoun is not even to blame (actually, he points out that their very own micro transactions are useless), he’s just another EA tool used to feed us with tons of bollocks so we buy Dead Space 3 (and hopefully we spend hundreds of dollars for useless micro transactions). But still, dear sir, don’t you come out and insult our intelligence by justifying bullshit with bullshit reasons which are nothing but bullshit surrounded by bullshit.

Rabdigames has had enough: Enough with EA, enough with forced multiplayer, enough with PR disguised as interviews, enough with this micro transaction bullshit! Rabidgames will boycott Dead Space 3, and asks everyone else to vote with their wallets, too. If there comes a time where we’ll have to pay real money in GTA to get across a toll bridge, if we have to pay some quid for being allowed to play one match in FIFA, we are to blame. We are to blame for we were stupid and daft enough not to stand up to greedy cunts and their dev whores.