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    by Published on April 8th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 492 
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    The horror video game genre has been revitalized in recent years and it now strongly populates Steam's indie game section. Even mainstream horror games are being released again, such as The Evil Within. We all see this, but how many of us wonder why? What caused this horror revolution? These horror games are quite a lot different than the classics like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

    This revolution was sparked by Penumbra, a first-person PC exclusive episodic horror game released by Frictional Games in 2007 and 2008, and it is currently within our lists of top ten horror games of all time (where it's top 3) and top ten best stories of all time. It was the first game from Frictional Games, who later brought us Amnesia: The Dark Descent and SOMA (and no, they did NOT develop Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs). But Penumbra didn't directly cause this surge of new horror games, it indirectly sparked it. The game that directly resulted in the rebirth of horror video games was Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which uses the same formula as Penumbra.

    In this article we're going to review Penumbra in its entirety. That includes Penumbra: Overture (2007), Penumbra: Black Plague (2008), and Penumbra: Requiem (2008). We're going to look at what makes this game so special, why its formula is what revived the genre, and why Amnesia: The Dark Descent was the one that directly sparked this revolution instead of Penumbra. We're also going to score Penumbra relative to how we would have scored it in 2007-2008, although really the only score that is affected is Audio & Visuals since we have new ...
    by Published on March 25th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 1248 
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    Another Friday, another article. Today we're looking back at a very special game, Neverwinter Nights 2: Complete, as we approach the ten year anniversary of its original release. This is a collection of a PC exclusive pause-and-play RPG and its three expansions, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, except for the final expansion Mysteries of Westgate which was developed by Ossian Studios. Neverwinter Nights 2 was released in 2006, its first expansion Mask of the Betrayer in 2007, its second expansion Storm of Zehir in 2008, and the aforementioned Mysteries of Westgate in 2009. Neverwinter Nights 2: Complete is available on GOG.com for only $19.99, and it often goes on sale for half that. That's quite the bargain for some of the highest quality RPGs out there with hundreds of hours of content even without mods.

    In hindsight, this game seems too good to be true. This isn't entirely because of our lowered standards, which are the result of industry standards lowering greatly since those times. Neverwinter Nights 2 was the culmination of traditional video game RPGs. Everything was building up to it. It features nearly every playable race, class, skill, and feat offered by prior D&D RPGs, and then many more on top of that. The amount of content offered by it and its predecessor, Neverwinter Nights, was staggering at the time of their release, and even more staggering by today's standards. And that was just the base games, not even including the expansions which added more races, classes, prestige classes, feats/abilities, spells, and more. Neverwinter Nights 2: Complete features 12 races with 17 sub-races, over 400 spells, over 400 feats, 40 different weapon types (not individual weapons but types like longsword, war axe, shortbow, etc.), and much more.

    So in this article we're going to break down this gargantuan that is Neverwinter Nights 2, including all of its expansions. Yes, we're going to review all of them, something we wish we had the opportunity to do. Although for what it's worth, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate released about one month after GND-Tech was created. That was when we weren't yet reviewing video games, and we weren't even called GND-Tech yet!




    Since we are essentially reviewing four games in one article, we are using a different layout this time around. Gameplay is first and foremost because Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions obviously share the same basic gameplay. There are some exceptions in each, but those are discussed on the pages for each individual campaign.

    At its core, Neverwinter Nights 2 is a tactical stat-based pause-and-play RPG built upon Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 which is its foundation. Most things like attacks in combat (chance to hit), damage given, damage taken, almost everything is determined by a dice roll which happens in the background. Combat is partially turn-based; not fully like the classic Fallout games or XCOM, but more on an individual basis. When characters are engaged in combat, turns are in play just like a tabletop RPG in which players take turn rolling dice. Here in Neverwinter Nights 2 the turn-based mechanic is much more seamless than a full fledge turn-based game, you have no controls over the turns and a turn only lasts mere seconds. It's like Pillars of Eternity and the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games but slightly slower.

    By having a stat for so many different things, Neverwinter Nights 2 simulates more aspects than other games, making it seem far more realistic and far more logical than other video games. That's the whole point of the original pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons after all; to role-play, to pretend to live a different life, so in order for it to believable it has to be realistic and account for many different things, hence the different attributes, saving throws, abundance of skills, and how they're all tied together. Role-playing games are meant to simulate an actual life to some degree, and both Neverwinter Nights games go farther than any other video game.

    Keep in mind that Neverwinter Nights 2 is one of few games with an almost perfectly balanced difficulty setting, one that doesn't skew the stats/rules in anyone's favor. That difficulty is called "Hardcore D&D Rules" and it's highly encouraged to play only on this mode and disregard the others.

    Neverwinter Nights 2 is one of few RPGs with both third-person and isometric camera options. In fact, the camera is completely and totally customizable. You can use third person at essentially whatever distance you want, isometric with any distance you want, and whatever camera controls you desire. You see, Neverwinter Nights 2 is a true PC game with an insane amount of customization made back during the days when PC games were designed to take advantage of mouse, keyboard, and higher IQ and attention span. You won't find an RPG with this much customization and configuration anymore.

    It is not an action game. WASD movement is supported but it's like Dragon Age and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, so A and D rotate both the character and the camera in an ideal configuration (it isn't like this by default). The game relies heavily on mouse interaction, as it's a point-and-click game like every pause-and-play and turn-based RPG. All object interaction is point-and-click, although movement can be either point-and-click or ...
    by Published on February 18th, 2016 05:00 AM
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    2. Peripherals
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    It's been over two years since we last reviewed a QPAD product, and more than 5 years since we reviewed their QPAD 5K as part of our Gaming Mice Mega Test where it took home the prize for being the most comfortable mouse! Now we're back with the QPAD 8K which continues with their iconic palm grip design. Available for 59.99 the 8K has a laser sensor which a maximum DPI of 8200 and 7 programmable buttons, of which 2 are to change ...
    by Published on February 5th, 2016 08:00 AM  Number of Views: 1059 
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    Time for another Flashback Friday article. We created these types of articles in order to write about things we never got a chance to before, like our upcoming Game of the Decade article, or reviews of games that were released before GND-Tech was around. In this article we bring you a review of a hidden gem, Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason. It is a psychological horror game developed by Action Forms, published by 1C Company, Aspyr, and others, and released exclusively for PC in 2009. It was also a nominee for Dark Horse of the Decade in our aforementioned Game of the Decade article, it won Best Sound Effects of the Decade, and it has earned an entry in our ten best stories in video games article.

    In our Flashback Friday reviews like this one, we score its graphics quality with regard to its time period in order to make it more fair. So keep this in mind! Continue to the next page for the review.



    Once upon a time, Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason was actually well known. It was marketed heavily by NVIDIA for its use of NVIDIA's PhysX engine (originally AGEIA PhysX before NVIDIA acquired and expanded upon it). It was also promoted ...
    by Published on December 20th, 2015 08:00 PM  Number of Views: 2858 
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    Fallout 4's appearance at E3 (or rather the evidence of its appearance leading up to E3) was probably the most pleasant surprise of 2015. It was a late announcement, only months before the release of the game. Last year nobody was even anticipating Fallout 4, since nobody knew when it was going to release. Fallout 3 received critical acclaim, and every game from Bethesda Game Studios except for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was consensus game of the year. In fact, every single one of their games including Morrowind are our pick for game of the year. Does Fallout 4 continue this streak of excellence? Read our review to find out.



    Fallout 4 is a multiplatform action role-playing game, although being made by Bethesda Game Studios you can expect lots of catering to the PC version. This is most evident with mod support. Mods have already been available for a long time on Nexusmods, and Steam Workshop support is promised for 2016. Note that as of December 7, 2015, mod support is partially broken and a workaround is needed to get modded files to work (Nexus Mod Manager is the easiest one, and be sure to not use Fallout 4's launcher and use Fallout 4 Configuration Tool instead).

    The reason our review is later than usual is because Fallout 4 is an absolutely massive scale game, and we really seek to know the game inside and out before delivering a review. That, and because we don't receive the game early to review. But hey, this way you can be sure you're getting an unbiased review.

    Fallout 4 includes a launcher which you must go through to launch the game. In it you can configure graphics options (you can't configure most of them in-game), mod files, and other settings. Note that there is no built-in method for changing FOV or disabling mouse acceleration. You must edit two INI files manually (follow this guide to do so) or use Fallout 4 Configuration Tool (which is a GUI application that edits the INIs for you). Configuration Tool is recommended since it's easy to use and has other options like disabling the intrusive compass.

    What is incredible is that the game lets you choose any HUD color and any Pip-Boy color you want, by providing RGB sliders for each. A small feature that goes a really long way. You can also adjust HUD opacity as with their previous games.


    Fallout 4 is a third-person and first-person game, allowing the player to choose at a whim. It is the same type of game as Fallout 3. If you look at it as an improved version of Fallout 3, using some ideas from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, then you have the right idea. It's not much like the first two Fallout games, which are isometric turn-based RPGs with far more role-playing, and far more challenging and tactical gameplay that's obviously more limited than the open world Fallout 4.

    Nor does it have the writing excellence of Fallout: New Vegas. While this is unfortunate, one thing everyone must realize (and too many people haven't) is that Bethesda Game Studios, who have only created the single player Elder Scrolls games, ...
    by Published on November 7th, 2015 11:00 AM  Number of Views: 3175 
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    The AKG K7xx is a Massdrop exclusive limited edition headphone based on the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition. It is a very popular headphone right now, known particularly for its value, boasting a modest price of $199. It is an open-back, over-ear/circumaural dynamic transducer headphone.

    Massdrop is a fairly recent, popular store that does group buys. This is how they get lower than average prices. The K7xx demonstrates this with its $199 price tag; the K702 65th Anniversary which it is based on used to cost substantially more, and the K712 Pro which is also based on the K702 65th Anniversary usually goes for nearly $400. To read more about these AKG models and more, see this thread.

    Although the K7xx is limited edition, thousands have been sold so it's not quite the rarest headphone in the world. It is in very high demand at Massdrop.

    In this review we will evaluate its build quality, music performance, and gaming performance.



    The K7xx's box has an abundance of ...
    by Published on November 1st, 2015 02:00 PM  Number of Views: 3722 
    1. Categories:
    2. Processors
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    The Intel Core i7 6700k is Intel's latest high end unlocked processor. It features four cores with up to eight threads thanks to Intel's Hyperthreading technology. It uses a very small 14nm fabrication process, comes at 4.0 GHz out of the box (4.2 GHz with turbo mode), features a 95W TDP, and is said to be the best overclocker since Sandy Bridge (i7 2600k namely).

    In this review, we will look at the performance of the i7 6700k in synthetic benchmarks, games, and compare them to the i7 2600. Both were compared with turbo mode enabled, driving both to 4.2 GHz, to measure clock for clock performance. We will also look at how well the i7 6700k overclocks on the ASUS Maximus VIII Hero Z170 motherboard, with 16GB (2 x 8GB) G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 3000 MHz RAM. So, without further ado, let us begin!



    The following hardware configurations were used for all tests.

    Sandy Bridge build:

    • Lian-Li PC-7HX case (2x Silverstone AP141 front intake fans,
    ...
    by Published on October 10th, 2015 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 6434 
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    2. Gaming
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    Last October we presented our list of the greatest horror games of all time. The top two games on that list are those belonging to Frictional Games, one of the best developing studios there is. Now, one year later we review their latest game: SOMA. It is their first multiplatform title (we're reviewing the PC version), and it is a first person horror game as we're accustomed to seeing from this studio. However, it is more psychological and philosophical than anything they've ever made.

    This review contains spoilers for Penumbra, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and SOMA itself. If you've never played any of these games then just skip to the Gameplay page and read on from there. Or, if you've played Penumbra and Amnesia but not SOMA, then you may read every page except for the Closer Look page. Otherwise, go on to the next page to continue with our review.



    Spoilers for Penumbra and Amnesia begin here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merriam Webster Dictionary
    Soma

    noun

    plural so-ma-ta | \ˈsō-mə-tə\ or somas

    Definition of SOMA

    1 : the body of an organism

    2 : all of an organism except the germ cells

    3 : CELL BODY

    See also: somatic
    Unsurprisingly the title of the game gives some hint about what it's going to be about. It is a horror experience like no other.

    The most well known game from Frictional Games is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a first person PC exclusive horror game known mostly for its terrifying survival horror, capturing two spots on our list of the ten scariest moments in video game history. Amnesia scared us primarily through its gameplay; dark, chilling atmosphere with limited light sources, and powerful enemies which you cannot battle by traditional means. It forever changed the face of video game history, with just about every horror game since then being heavily inspired by it, including Outlast, Alien: Isolation, and most others. Amnesia is more original than these other horror games however, due to its more original atmosphere and better detailed levels, and because it doesn't rely on cheap jump scares.

    But Amnesia was more than just frightening atmosphere. It was more than just dark corridors and monsters, which separates it from most other horror games. It also provokes feelings of uneasiness, by putting the player ...

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