Archive for wildlands

6 Reasons the Ghost Recon Breakpoint Beta was a Disappointment

Posted in Commentary, Played & Explained with tags , , , on September 13, 2019 by Rabidgames

If you’re like Rabidgames and you loved Ghost Recon Wildlands and you looked forward to finally jumping into the Beta of the successor Breakpoint, chances are the Beta leaves you numb and wondering what happened there.

1) There are no AI team mates – yet(?)

Running around with the AI, positioning them, lining up sync shots, laughing at them getting stuck – that was the bread and butter of Wildlands for yours truly. For some inexplicable idiotic reason, Ubisoft first decided there shouldn’t be AI team mates in Breakpoint, but then woke up and ensured us to add them … post-launch. But without them, the Breakpoint Beta is fucking boring. It feels like Just Cause on Valium or Metal Gear Solid without the iconic villains – just more of the same open world shooter experience. No AI, no buy.

2) Breakpoint will be always-online

For no fucking reason whatsoever. This isn’t The Division where everything was built from scratch around co-op in tight places (and even there always-online is a questionable choice). This is a very different game with a considerably bigger world and stealth. Imagine playing with some gung-ho shit brain who spoils your plan or wanders off to watch a fucking sunset at the other end of the map. The decision to make Breakpoint always-online seems like a rushed marketing decision, not like a gameplay idea.

3) The world feels shallow

Sure, we only see some regions in the beta but what we see reminds too much of Just Cause 3’s nothern region – mostly emptiness with some enemy structures. There are hardly any towns or villages, just ruins and outposts. A bit boring.

4) Movement feels incredibly clunky

What happened there? It feels like GTA IV all over again, where you had to anticipate movement. Imagine you have to stop 2 seconds so your character stops where you want them to stop. Of course, bikes and cars still handle weirdly in Breakpoint, too.

5) It’s a potential grind-mill money trap

Imagine taking the Division trinity core gameplay mechanics of levels, loot & missions and making you grind for shit in Breakpoint. It works in The Division, sure, but The Division has always been designed as a looter shooter RPG. Ghost Recon hasn’t. Those changes disrupt the core gameplay loop.

6) Level gating kills the sandbox experience

The beauty of Wildlands was that you could start the game, and after 30 minutes or so, you could just go anywhere on the map. Anywhere. Some missions were hard, yes. Some outposts were too hard, too, sure. But 99% of the map waited to be explored without any immortal beings shrugging off your bullets as if they were rain drops. Breakpoint might change that. Not only via the swarms attacking anything that wants to go somewhere “they” don’t want  you to go (that actually are a pretty cool element), but also by making sure your Lv.1 Nomad dies after a Lv.666 Shitdrone blows fart drops in your general direction.

Rabidgames shakes his weary head: Why, Ubisoft? You had a winning system. But then you threw it away. changing a sandbox into a grindbox sucks.

Now, that’s not to say it’s all bad. The camouflage and injury mechanics are pretty neat, being hunted by drones and Ghosts across the map can be fun, the story is grittier and less a shallow patriotic tale about the good US intervening in a bad foreign land, and exploring a live volcano in the full game sounds pretty promising. But there are too many buts in the game right now to recommend buying it. Shame.

Wildlands’ DLC Narco Road is a Potholed Scam … With a Llama Bike!

Posted in Hands On, The Latest with tags , , , , on April 24, 2017 by Rabidgames

As you know, Rabidgames thinks Ghost Recon Wildlands is a great game with tons of stuff to do; it is entirely possible to only have completed 2 out of 21 provinces after playing the game for 23 hours. So you might think more can only be good, right?

Not in this case! The first DLC, Narco Road, is outright crap. It’s shit. You know, Wildlands has two weaknesses: The driving and flying mechanics. So what could go wrong if you base a DLC on both? Yep, pretty much everything.

Narco Road introduces you to driving around with monster trucks destroying shit in your way, and even some racing. Besides, you can drift or jump monster trucks or muscle cars, and you get a nice boost … But well, those driving mechanics, that were good enough for casually driving from A to B, or maybe hunting down cartel member C, now ask for precision and timing, without having been improved for Narco Road. It’s still doable, but it’s not fun. At all.

And then the flying … you have to fly around a lot in choppers or planes, including a set of side missions to dust coca plants, and there are even more SAM sites than before, making these side missions incredibly annoying. And again, they’re not fun at all.

What else is there? Some more bland side stuff, drifting, jumping or climbing mountains (yawn), side stuff where you race to a caged wild animal, kill enemies and secure the package by tagging it. Sounds pointless, is pointless. The best new side activity in Narco Road is finding a lost car somewhere on the map, using a photo to find its whereabouts. And it’s not even that great.

Even worse, Narco Road takes place in a few re-drawn and not exactly remarkable Western provinces, you have to start with a fresh level 20 character, you have less weapons at your disposal, and everything you can gather is just re-skinned weapons from Wildlands. Oh, and the strange story puts you undercover into Santa Blanca where you fight a rival cartel that doesn’t seem to exist in the main game …

Even worse, you’re on your own. No squad to help you, making fighting enemies tedious. Each damn mission takes much longer now, and once you’re dead, no AI revives you (weirdly enough, coop still works). Narco Road really does a damn impressive job to take the strengths of Wildlands – the massive, diverse map, the squad fighting, the weapon customisation – and then remove them.

Its only saving grace could well be the “Lorenzo Bike”, a llama bike shooting rainbow farts and making weird noises, but that’s surely not worth the price, right? In case you got Narco Road anyway (most likely because you bought the season pass as Narco Road sounded good on paper, didn’t it?), here’s how to find the llama bike around 2 miles south-east of the Sueno Mausoleum :

So unless you bought the season pass, avoid this pathetic DLC like the plague! It seems Ubisoft said “hey folks, what about some more outlandish stuff? You know, like Saints Row or GTA? Let’s just make sure to get it out quickly, and let’s re-use everything instead of making something new! Oh, and please, please let’s not integrate anything into the main game!” The result … Narco Road. Half-baked ideas and terrible execution will make sure this is a broken road not much travelled.

Rabidgames swears: Fucking hell! Ubisoft, we thought you’ve learned from your past DLC mistakes! But Narco Road is an awful piece of pointless DLC not worth the time or the money. What the fuck were you thinking publishing this mess?

Ghost Recon: Wildlands or The Perfect Narcos Sandbox – With a Blight

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , , on March 18, 2017 by Rabidgames

After two betas, we can now finally roam all of Bolivia in Ghost Recon: Wildlands – and it is a massive country! And the beauty of it is not just the size and diversity of the map or the dozens of weapons and attachments, it’s the fact that Wildlands is a true, proper sandbox, probably one of the best in recent years!

Whether you want to play co-op or solo, whether you want to go in stealthy or very loud, whether you like long fire fights or sync shots, whether you want to even go in along or just rain mortar fire upon your enemies, whether you want a crisp challenge or just drive around to explore, whether you recon with a binocular, your drone or your weapon, all of this and more is entirely up to you.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands comes very, very close to great sandbox legends such as Just Cause 2 or the first Mercenaries, and the more Rabidgames plays, the more it feels like a mix of these two games. Add a pinch of Far Cry fuck-ups when things go wrong (enemy patrols can show up at very inopportune times), and perhaps there are also traces of pinch of Phantom Pain’s DNA in here (gathering resources or tagging enemies as well as how you should approach enemy bases).

A word of warning though – like in Just Cause 2, you pretty much do the same couple of missions over and over again, and approaching an occupied city, base or building changes only depending on the size and weaponry of your enemies. It’s entirely up to you and your creativity how to approach it. Even if you play the game solo, all the scenarios above and more are possible. Most missions allow various approaches. Even stopping an enemy convoy can be tackled in many ways – grab an armoured APC and let your guys fire away, ram the vehicles with a truck, or simply lay mines or C4 on the streets.

In a nutshell, Wildlands is a massive sandbox that gives you plenty of freedom to do things your way. For some, the mission variety might seem lacking – “go there, kill that, abduct him, destroy this” don’t vary too often, sure. But that’s not the point. The point of Wildlands is to write your own stories as you tackle your objectives.

So far, so good. But while Wildlands is great fun, it is blighted by one big issue – motherfucking micro-transaction! True, it might be mostly cosmetics, but what the flying fuck? Why is the only leather jacket hidden behind a fucking pay-wall? Couple that with the 30 quid season pass, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Come on Ubisoft, for fuck’s sake! Look at Horizon Zero Dawn, or look at Nier: Automata: There are no fucking piece of shit pay-walls, folks! You buy the game, you get all of it! Please, for the love of gaming, stop this shite already!

Apart from that monetary blight, the single radio channel looping its 5 or so pieces too quickly and a few technical hick-ups, Wildlands is a fucking brilliant sandbox. So brilliant that it has been the biggest launch seller so far this year, beating both Horizon Zero Dawn and Zelda! It seems this is a sandbox for everyone. And while the game might be rough around the edges, it can also look amazing.

wildlands1

Rabidgames recons: If it wasn’t for the disgusting practices of locking away stuff behind a fucking pay-wall, Wildlands would leave only a sweet taste in the mouth of sandbox fans. But the sour taste of mindless monetisation is lingering on despite the many positives. It is a shame, but the shame there is entirely on Ubisoft!

 

The Insane March Gaming Crunch of 2017

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by Rabidgames

Usually, we see tons of games released from October to December. But this year, Match seems to be the new November, with quite a few promising titles lined up on the grid. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

March will start with the PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn where set in the future, fighting robot animals and mechanic dinosaurs to survive is humanity’s task. Scope and depth are hard to judge for now, but the future past (or past future?) is surely an interesting setting as you can see for yourself.

One week later, Ghost Recon: Wildlands will hit the stores. As Rabidgames has pointed out, Wildlands will be a day 1 purchase because of the beta impressions, so no need to go into detail about the symbiosis of Phantom Pain, Mercenaries, Just Cause and Narcos. Chances are there will also be an open beta shortly before launch!

A few days later, Nier: Automata will arrive. The demo you should totally play promised quite a few interesting things, and the mix of RPG, 2D and 3D brawling and shooting coupled with typical Japanese storytelling surely is intriguing. If for whatever reason (like maybe you don’t have a PS4) you can’t play the demo, that’s what it looks like:

You’re still hungry for games? Well, how about some RPG action, or more precisely, Mass Effect Andromeda? Now we don’t know much about exploring our neighbour galaxy yet apart from our squad, the bad guys and a vague story, and it could well be that Andromeda is more shine than substance, but hey, who can say to have no interest in another Mass Effect? Although the interests of some people are rather weird

For completeness’ sake, Dark Souls 3’s add-on The Ringed City should also be mentioned here. After all, there might be a few of you masochistic souls out there who want to die many times once more.

If you’re in for some delicious swearing, better have South Park: The Fractured But Whole on your radar! If you pre-order, you can also get the hilarious successor The Stick of Truth. But be careful, some retailers give it to you in the box so you get it only by release, not as a download code as soon as you pre-order!

Technically not Match any more, but on 4 April, Persona 5 will ask you to revisit school, but as usual, there will be quite a few extracurricular activities of the RPG realm type. If there’s some time or money left …

Rabidgames wonders: Not only are these plenty of games, no, they all are time-consuming games as well! It’s probably one of the biggest first world problem injustices; either you’re a student and have plenty of time but hardly the money to buy the games you want to play, or you have the cash to buy them but never enough time to play them.