Archive for skyrim

The First 10 Hours in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2018 by Rabidgames

After a long wait, some changes, the reveal of strange ideas such as drinking schnapps to quicksave and a political discussion or two, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is finally out and about, and we can jump into a world previously described as Skyrim/Witcher without magic but some hardcore gameplay set in the European Middle Ages.

But before you play, there’s a whopping 23 GB day one patch waiting to be downloaded, and afterwards, prepare yourself to wait for almost a minute until you see the main menu. The first time it happens, you might be inclined listen to some narration about the historical events prior to the events in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but after the tenth time of the booting the game, this starts testing your patience. Oh, and from the main menu to the game is usually another minute of waiting time.

The first thing that comes to mind once you can finally start playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the odd choice of using English names in the middle of Bohemia – it can be doubted the blacksmith’s son was really called Henry – for a game that takes pride in portraying medieval life accurately, anglicising names, and anglicising the name of the protagonist above all – seems an odd choice, especially when most characters around Henry actually DO have proper Bohemian sounding names …

Anyway, Kingdom Come: Deliverance starts out pretty relaxed: Our boy Henry wakes up after a long boozy night out (see, teenagers haven’t changed at all) and gets sent by his father to do stuff. Said stuff can be done in quite a few ways, although if you fail spectacularly, you might just end up rotting in jail and see a game over screen before the hour mark has passed …

Graphically, the game has its ups and downs; while foliage and water look amazing up close, forests look dead-ugly with almost PS2 textures from afar. Cutscenes generally look stunning, but in-game, it’s not that great. Mind you, you wouldn’t realise it that much if the cutscenes weren’t so nice looking. Speaking of cutscenes, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is full of them. Even talking to a trader involves a cutscene – and loading times. Then again, some dialogue outside cutscenes involves lips no moving or characters staring in Bethesda manner, so one could argue that cutscenes would have been better there in the first place.

The world in Kingdom Come: Deliverance is pretty big and those who live in rural Central Europe might actually feel at home (if that home was devoid of technology), but also relatively empty of things to do. There are flowers to collect and animals to shoot and at times, a little spot near or in villages where you can find useful things. Most houses and sheds are accessible but there’s not much in there. And yet, there’s a certain magic by just casually walking around in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. You can almost smell the fresh air, the scents of the forest and you can almost feel the sun on your skin … It is easy to get lost by wandering around.

The first 5 or so hours in Kingdom Come: Deliverance are pretty much a tutorial introducing you to some gameplay mechanics and the lore- or rather history-heavy story of the game. Unfortunately, on one rather strange occurrence, you might get teleported to the next part of a quest, even if you wandered off into the opposite direction … which is a heavy offender in terms of breaking immersion because it just happens suddenly without any indication or explanation. In general though, the tutorial tells you some things you feel overwhelmed with, but at the same time, it is very linear, a tad too linear actually. But don’t worry, freedom will be yours soon!

So, about those comparisons … well, forget them. Yes, like in Skyrim, you gain experience by doing things – from fighting, stealing to collecting flowers (which can net you some money early on if you feel like doing it), but as opposed to Skyrim, you don’t find enemies hidden behind every corner in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and then fighting itself is a more complicated matter of five-directional attacks and the choice of stab vs slice, plus combos and blocks. And then some, from taking into account armor and the type of weapon to checking your stamina … Kingdom Come: Deliverance boasts a very complex fighting system that rather resembles Dark Souls than Skyrim. Thankfully, you get proper training a few hours in to explain things to you, and from then on, fighting becomes a thing – if you want. And if you get it. And if the game happens to be responsive, which it is not at all times. At any rate, it is a long and steep learning experience, so no, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is rather the opposite of Skyrim.

Now what about the comparisons to The Witcher 3? Well, you have a medieval looking open world torn by war and greed, an already pre-defined protagonist – although Henry is a peasant with hardly any knowledge so the RPG aspect and learning is way stronger in Kingdom Come: Deliverance – and a strong focus on story (no spoilers about it in here, but it starts out like an episode of Game of Thrones without dragons in Bohemia, and following the main quest stays interesting throughout the first 10 hours) so there’s that – and it works well. There are also consequences, some quickly leading to death or the game over screen …

Furthermore, Kingdom Come: Deliverance also puts some emphasis on alchemy (think of the potions in Witcher to give you buffs). However, as almost everything in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, it comes with obstacles: First, you need to be able to read. Otherwise, you actually cannot read books. Actually, you see letters but they make no sense, which is a nice touch. Sure, it’s realistic for those times and there’s a quest tied to it, but it also feels like an unnecessary extra step to prevent you from cheaply acquiring your quicksave schnapps. And believe Rabidgames, you WANT that good shit as soon as possible!

Why? Well, saving in Kingdom Come: Deliverance is unnecessarily complicated. Sleep in your bed and the game sometimes let you save – sometimes you can’t (this might be patched later, fingers crossed), leaving you without the ability to save for potentially a looooooong time, or you drink some schnapps, which can make you addicted and also uses up that bottle of very expensive alcohol. Ouch! Sure, you also save when you begin a quest (rather pointless if you’re far away from the next step of it) and sometimes, the game autosaves, too. Rarely. If you’re in the middle of a quest and the guy you need to talk to becomes unresponsive – you’re fucked. Go back to that save from an hour ago, thank you very much.

Now, saving is just one of the things that makes you realise Kingdom Come: Deliverance makes things considerably more complicated and user-unfriendly than it would have needed to. Same goes for archery – before level 5, you tend to injure yourself. If you want to know what archery looks like inKingdom Come: Deliverance and how awful it is at first, look here:

So, many things can summed up like this: Realistic, yes. Fun, fuck no! Same goes for fast-travel – you get tired and hungry when fast-traveling, so long ways are rather … difficult at first. Yes, this was also in the hardcore mode of Fallout New Vegas, but there was a reason it was called hardcore mode. An optional mode.

Long story short: Kingdom Come: Deliverance turns out to be a promising game. Wandering around in the lush and vibrant countryside is a joy, walking around in towns and villages and watching medieval folks is also fun, and you get to learn a lot if you’re interested in history. But as a game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has some way to go. Making everything abstruse and overly complicated might be what the devs had in mind, fair enough but it also sucks out the fun in the beginning and the save system is nothing but frustrating, and not all of this shit is intended!

Warhorse needs to fix the save system, and coming up with a Story Mode with the ability to save whenever you want, or making the need to eat, sleep and bandage your wounds optional as well as simplifying the stupid and almost impossible lockpick and pickpocket systems – all of this would make Kingdom Come: Deliverance way more accessible and also commercially appealing to the masses who like the simplicity of Bethesda games.

As it stands, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a hardcore game for the hardcore niche. But below the hardcore surface and the manyfold technical issues (intended or not intended) lies a game that has the potential to enthral almost every gamer – without the need for magic! At this stage however, be prepared you’re about to go onto a journey that is not always comfortable, and that will be very demanding – in terms of focus, time and nerves. You will be nicely rewarded, sure, but the journey is all but smooth.

Rabidgames saddles his horse: 10 hours in, Kingdom Come: Deliverance slowly starts to shine. After the linear start, you are now free to explore and get to know the world at your own leisure. If the technical issues and design choices have not put you off yet. So yes, the game needs some patches and some polishing, but it might just take a few smart steps to change a rough diamond into a shining gem.

 

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Dragon Age Inquisition or Bioware’s Redemption

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , on December 10, 2014 by Rabidgames

A few years ago, many of us vowed never to buy a Bioware game again. After the flawed Mass Effect 3 and the utterly broken Dragon Age 2, it seemed evident Bioware was yet another studio swallowed by the behemoth EA, swallowed and then spit out to die and rot.

Thankfully, we were wrong. Dragon Age Inquisition is proof our assumptions are not entirely true and the swansongs were premature. Granted, there’s the tacked-on multiplayer, which is too unstable if not even broken to be judged by now – but Mass Effect 3’s awesome multiplayer aside, who gives a shit about multiplayer in a Bioware game? Granted, the fighting system is miles better than the “action button” themed arena battles with enemies respawning for no apparent reason in DA2, but still lacking the depth of the “last real Bioware RPG” Dragon Age Origins (e.g. no more penalties for dying).

But Inquisition truly feels like a Bioware game, a Bioware game for the old fans and the new ones alike. The battle system is slower and more tactical (we can finally zoom out properly on consoles), there are more dialogues than ever before it seems, there’s a deep customisation system, and there are also additions: The war table where you can get different results from sending different people to deal with things ranging from diplomatic missions to assassinations, the much-talked Skyrim influence which shows in the huge areals littered with things to do (some are waaaaay too obvious, but there is still lots of room for exploration), and there are various new activities to discover everywhere.

Dragon Age Inquisition has one problem though, one problem that might discourage some: After the prologue, you get thrown into the Hinterlands – a massive open area with dozens of quests and lots of things to explore. Problem there is most quests feel rather like a MMO: “Kill these wolves!”, “Gather then pieces of meat!” or “Go there!” But do not fret, fellow Inquisitor, for as soon as you can proceed, proceed. Afterwards, Inquisition opens up and the story picks up pace and gets better and better.

In any possible way, Dragon Age Inquisition is a great RPG and a great game – and last but not least, also a great Bioware game. Bioware pushes all necessary buttons: Tactical fights where the party composition can make a huge difference, expansive talking sessions to your companions, choices en masse, and above all, a story where even most villains have their reasons. Yes, Inquisition doesn’t allow you to destroy the world (at least not in the first 30 hours), but it is up to you if you want to be a benevolent and democratic Herald of Andraste or rather an egoistic and vengeful angel of fear.

Some sentences about the love life of the companions in Dragon Age Inquisition: As long as we actually talk about the whatever-sexuality of virtual fictional characters, we have not reached the level of tolerance we pretend to have reached. If you really care if Dorian is exclusively gay, or that you can only romance two chicks as a hetero Inquisitor … well, why do you fucking care in the first place? As long as there’s even talk about it, we’re not there yet.

Mind you, Rabidgames has only played Inquisition for 30 hours, and it feels he has barely scratched the surface. Yes, this game is a proper RPG behemoth – as it should be. For once, the claims it might take 100 hours to complete a game might be true. Good news for most of us, bad news for our social lives …

Rabidgames is enchanted: From the ashes of Dragon Age 2 and that infamous Mass Effect 3 ending, the phoenix has arisen – just as the Inquistion arose out of the destruction of the conclave. Bioware redeems itself, and let’s hope the days of EA indoctrination and the action button are over for good. Welcome back, Bioware. It feels good to be friends again!

Dishonored Dishonors Bethesda

Posted in Gaming these days ..., News with tags , , , on August 3, 2012 by Rabidgames

While Rabidgames actually wants to play Dishonored, he also wants to boycott Bethesda’s tempting next strike. The very same Bethesda which managed to deliver Skyrim without the pre-order bullshit.

Why?
Their disgusting pre-order DLC policy: Several different shops have different pre-order DLC available for Dishonored, which means no one on fucking earth will be able to play the whole game without shelling out extra money.

In Rabidgames’ book, this pre-order plague is a big no-no, especially in abusive cases like this one. We’ll see if Bethesda’s shit is enough motivation to wait for the GOTY edition instead of rewarding Bethesda for their cuntish and greedy moves.

Skyrim’s Patch 1.6 is Live

Posted in News with tags , , , on June 8, 2012 by Rabidgames

Ever wanted to fight from horseback in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Rejoice, the time is now. Here are the patch notes in full:

New features:

  • Mounted Combat – Skyrim now allows you to do melee and ranged combat while riding a horse. And this is what it looks like:

Bug fixes:

  • General stability and memory optimizations.
  • General AI pathfinding optimizations and bug fixes.
  • Optimizations and crash fixes for data leaks.
  • Fixed rare crash with lighting.
  • Fixed crashes related to loading and saving games.
  • Fixed crash with summoned creatures/NPCs.
  • Fixed rare issue where saves would be corrupted.
  • Improved logic for when ranged kill cams are played.
  • Fixed issue with ranged kill cams while killing a dragon.
  • Fixed rare issue with certain ranged kill cams not playing properly.
  • Fixed issue with nirnroot lighting not properly cleaning up.
  • Fixed issue where bow damage was being calculated incorrectly.
  • Fixed rare problem with werewolf kill moves would not finish animating properly.
  • In “The Break of Dawn” fixed rare issue where Meridia’s Beacon would disappear from player’s inventory.
  • Fixed occasional issue where followers would disappear after player pays off a bounty after committing a crime.
  • Fixed issue where certain creatures and NPCs would fail to respawn properly.
  • Fixed rare issue with dialogue subtitles not displaying properly.
  • Fixed issue with water appearing blurry when loading a saved game after creating a save underwater.
  • Fixed issue where map cursor would occasionally disappear after closing a message box with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360).
  • Fixed rare issue with shouts only performing the first level and not other unlocked levels with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360).
  • Fixed issue where the shout buttons would stop working properly if users mashed LB and RB during cooldown with Kinect enabled  (Xbox 360).

Rabidgames looks forward: Admittedly, Skyrim has collected some dust recently. But when Dawnguard arrives, Rabidgames will have some fun battling vampires with his crossbow from atop his faithful steed …

Dragon’s Dogma: First Impressions

Posted in News with tags , , , on May 24, 2012 by Rabidgames

Yes, Rabidgames did it. He bought Dragon’s Dogma.

And yes, Rabidgames knows Capcom has put some fucking DLC (as disc locked content) in there; the first ones are 8 hair styles and some armour for 160 MS points and some quests for 80. Worth it? Who knows … but it surely can’t be any worse than THQ’s lousy Penthouse crap!

OK, here’s a word of advice: Before you want to start playing the 360 version of Dragon’s Dogma, you might want to install it to prevent lags, tearing or realising you’re in the middle of 20 enemies …
However, the first thing you hear when installing then is a terrible noise – it sounds as if the 360 wanted to eat the game. Nothing else happens at first.
Don’t worry, it’s fine. Apparently, your 360 needs to index files or something … keep calm, everything’s fine after 10 minutes.

In the meantime, you can watch the Launch trailer for Dragon’s Dogma:

Alright, Dragon’s Dogma installed, let’s go!

After the intro (known from the demo version), you start with building your character, and a short while later, your pawn.
There are tons of options how to build a character in Dragon’s Dogma, apparently even height and weight matter in terms of stamina! Later on, you can branch out your specialisation (actually, Rabidgames is not even there yet). You’ll have one pawn as your main pawn and two replaceable ones. Even at the beginning, you can hire powerful pawns from the online community, although that would take away the fun, wouldn’t it?

About that “short while later” … well, Rabidgames spent actually almost 2 hours scavenging the village where you start – and doing so, you get a grasp what Dragon’s Dogma is all about: Exploration. You can climb roofs and cliffs, you can explore the beach (although the water is not accessible because of some micro bacterial demons; that’s an original way to hide you don’t want us to swim), you can shoot seagulls and gather fish … and you will find tons of items. Yet, you have no clue what to with them initially.

The same goes for your equipment: You cannot only equip your usual armour, but also clothes as well. Your character might not always look better, but he will survive. You can also upgrade your equipment – while the first upgrade only requires money, later ones also require certain items.

When leaving the peaceful village, you meet your first enemies: Wolves and goblins. A word of warning: In Dragon’s Dogma, Wolves can kill you within seconds. Be careful. The key to battles is preparation and a balanced party. A couple of hours, Rabidgames went to explore the lands … the pawns were talking about “don’t go there” – and indeed, one bandit almost killed off the party.

The fighting system itself is really good: All 3 basic classes of Dragon’s Dogma play out completely different: While the fighter is all about giving and taking damage, the strider is a quick blade-and-bow wielder and mages cast their powerful spells from afar. Sadly, mages miss out on the fun that is climbing enemies and slashing at their ugly faces (they can do it but it’s a waste of time since the damage is close to none). There are quite some tactical things to take into consideration and many, many options available (you can hurl water, oil or rocks at enemies, a fighter can call for the attention of enemies etc.). It will take time get to know all the small and useful things the battles in Dragon’s Dogma can offer.

Rabidgames could write on and on, but bottom line is: While the quests are rather mundane, the dialogues rather weak and the narratives hardly develops, Dragon’s Dogma is a dragon-given gift for fans of huge, open worlds. Think of a hybrid of Dark Souls‘ tough battles, Skyrim‘s open worlds and Kingdoms of Amalur‘s quickly accessible fighting system. If you don’t mind adventuring yourself instead of being guided by the game itself, if you can stomach some unexpected and sudden deaths in the wilderness and if you can overlook long loading times and occasional frame rate crashes and San Andreas like pop-ups, Dragon’s Dogma definitely is your kind of game.

Rabidgames is content: So far, Dragon’s Dogma has been even better than expected. Capcom really managed to create a fresh franchise. Taking into account the various reviews that said the game gets good after the first couple of hours, Rabidgames might well be a happy adventurer in Dragon’s Dogma’s world for quite a long, long time …

Assassin’s Creed 3’s humble nod to Skyrim

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 8, 2012 by Rabidgames

Ubisoft is taking the new trailer meme with trailers teasing trailers to a new level:
In a new Assassin’s Creed 3 teaser trailer, we see some hapless Brit taking an arrow to the knee – sadly, unlike one of the many knee-pierced guards in Skyrim, he doesn’t look like he might live to tell the tale …

Watch the teaser trailer teasing the trailer here:

Oh yes, the promo thing:

As soon as the meter on this site is full, Ubisoft will unlock the very first gameplay trailer for Assassin’s Creed 3.

All it takes are just 1,776,000 post, tweets, shares or other forms of social media awareness raising free PR for Ubisoft …

Rabidgames dutifully posted this stuff to unlock that trailer. Now Ubisoft, what will Rabdigames get?

The Elder Scrolls – Of good DLC and bad MMO Delusions

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 6, 2012 by Rabidgames

This week has been a turbulent one for fans of The Elder Scrolls Series: First, Bethesda announced some DLC for Skyrim, then the company announced a MMO in its Elder Scrolls universe.

Let’s start with the awful news: An Elder Scrolls MMO? Really?
The idea alone is a strange one: The Elder Scrolls is a godsdamn singleplayer franchise with real time combat where we explore giant and detailed worlds. It’s highly immersive. Plus, it is our individual world. Rabidgames doesn’t know about you, but he does not want to meet “real” people in his very own Elder Scrolls games.

True, in general, a MMO could perhaps achieve the impossible and preserve The Elder Scrolls magic. But the first bits of information make sure The Elder Scrolls Online won’t achieve a proper Elder Scrolls feeling: No real time combat, no first person view, no free character development, no dragons … instead, you get your ordinary MMO stuff: Groups, instances, PvP … just have a look at the first screenshot: Does this look like an Elder Scrolls title or rather like one of the many WOW clones?

It seems fans won’t get a proper The Elder Scrolls MMO, instead, they will get an bland, non-distinct MMO randomly set in The Elder Scrolls world. You can bet we’ll hear some “WOW killer” babble soon … Anyway, the good news is it won’t be Bethesda itself which will make that disgusting MMO thingy … which means there is still hope for decent Fallout and The Elder Scrolls singleplayer titles!

 

OK, now that we have the bad news out out the way, let’s have a look at the good one: New food for our Skyrim adventurers!
It’s rather rare Rabidgames views DLC as good news, but in this case, there’s the exception to the rule.

The only thing we’ve seen from Dawnguard so far is one single image. Agreed, this image alone is nothing worthwhile.

However, some patch notes may hint to a coming tale of the Snow Elves (maybe in their glorious form, not as twisted Falmer); maybe we’ll get to see them in flesh; several lines are called “SnowPrinceDialogue”. Moreover, the patch mentions crossbows and vampire feeding animations, plus something “RF”.  Sounds pretty good so far.

We don’t know when Dawnguard will hit us but we know Xbox 360 users will be graced with one month of exclusivity (so that’s where the money for Rabidgames‘ Gold subscription goes, thanks a lot MS).

Rabidgames wonders: Why do publishers think tacking on multiplayer or making an MMO out of each and every franchise is a good idea? Hint: It is not. Look at Skyrim: Can you imagine the beauty, the mystery and the immersion of its giant landscapes, of its dark dungeons and its lively taverns could be preserved in a MMO where everyone just LOLs and ROFLs? Of course, if Bethesda still focuses on its singleplayer games The Elder Scrolls MMO will be nothing but a sad footnote in history while we enjoy Fallout 4 and the next Elder Scrolls installment …