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    by Published on February 5th, 2016 08:00 AM  Number of Views: 175 
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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 January 25th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 81 
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    One year ago today the world lost a great entertainer. His name was Colin Wyckoff, better known as Kitty0706 on YouTube. Complications from treatment of Leukemia claimed his life, but we like to remember what he brought to us in life: absolutely hilarious Garry's Mod videos, parodies, filled with video game references, tropes, and more. He made videos right up until the end.

    Those who never ...
    by Published on January 15th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 486 
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    Many games rely heavily on their level design in order to provide atmosphere and diversity. Others rely in it in order to provide a challenge, be it through confusing maze-like design or through platforming. Some even design their levels around storytelling. In this article we'll be discussing games with the most memorable level design in an atmospheric context.

    Level design is something we focus heavily on in games (there isn't much if anything we don't focus on) and it's something I personally have years of experience with on different engines.

    We care most about attention to detail; not just throwing together video game maps like what most developers do, but carefully crafting a virtual world and going over every square inch with care. Diversity is a huge bonus, whether it's simple diversity like varied textures throughout the world in specific regions, or something bigger like architectural and structural diversity throughout.


    Level design, like many other important aspects of a game, is overlooked by modern day gamers. Most don't realize that almost every open world game is really lacking in details and liveliness, and most games in general have levels that were designed to be nothing more than simplistic video game maps. They weren't crafted with care or artistic detail, and there is a massive difference between video game maps like this versus atmospheric virtual worlds.

    Note that this article focuses strictly on level design. AI and quest content are excluded. Of course, every selected game and map/level is hand crafted. Procedural generation can't produce the detail that hand crafting can make. Also note that this article is not a sorted list, so we aren't naming a best level design.



    These are the games that were considered, but ultimately we were able to narrow down our choices ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 439 
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    It wasn't too long ago that we saw the release of Fallout 4, which was our pick for Game of the Year and Best RPG of the Year. But the game wasn't flawless, far from it actually. Despite it winning Game of the Year we discussed many of its flaws in our review of the game. Fallout 4 got us thinking about Fallout: New Vegas again, the previous installment in the franchise. The more we compared Fallout 4 to Fallout: New Vegas, the more we looked to compare other games to Fallout: New Vegas, including Fallout 3, Fallout 2, Fallout, Wasteland 2, Dragon Age franchise, The Witcher franchise, and more. Through these comparisons we remembered just how amazing Fallout: New Vegas is, for many different reasons.

    This article is dedicated to Fallout: New Vegas because we find it to be one of the most underrated games of all time, one of the most ambitious games of all time, and somewhat close to our idea of the greatest game of all time. All of this praise despite the fact that the game was rushed by ...
    by Published on December 20th, 2015 08:00 PM  Number of Views: 1426 
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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 December 19th, 2015 08:00 PM  Number of Views: 2087 
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    2015 was just full of surprises, most of them pleasant. Last year, we weren't expecting 2015 to be a spectacular year for gaming, but much to our surprise it turned out to be one of the best ever. No, it didn't have as many noteworthy games as 2007 or 1998, but remember: quality over quantity. Even with just two of this year's releases, which we'll mention later, it would have been an excellent year.

    So let's continue with the ceremony. Some of you may notice the absence of Mod of the Year awards this year. This is because we didn't find new any mods for any game that really blew us away. In addition, there is no "Biggest Letdown" award this year, since truth be told, we weren't really let down by any game. This doesn't mean we liked every game this year, it just means every game either met or exceeded our expectations, even if those expectations were initially extremely low.

    Without further ado, the awards start on the next page!



    Best Soundtrack


    This award is for the entirety of a game's soundtrack. We had some amazing soundtracks this year, but we had to give the nod to Tales from the Borderlands. It has a strong mix of licensed music and original music, and all of it is used perfectly, especially early in Episode 5. This is a game that delivers a huge array from emotions, seamlessly transitioning from hilariously outrageous to seriously involving. The game does this perfectly and the soundtrack is a big reason for that.

    Other Nominees

    • The Witcher 3
    • Fallout 4
    ...
    by Published on November 8th, 2015 04:00 PM  Number of Views: 1814 
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    We have previously talked about our idea for the greatest game, but in this article we have decided to change gears and talk about something that most people don't think about. We will discuss the least flawed games ever made; not necessarily the best games, just the games that do what they're meant to do with the least amount of flaws and with great polish, which is mostly how our gaming review scoring system works anyway as this is the fairest way to score a game.

    This is an unsorted list, so there is no countdown and no particular order. Don't worry about spoilers, there are none to be found within this article.



    On this page we'll list games that almost made the list, but didn't due to several small flaws. This just goes to show how good all of these games are, as simple, easily forgiven flaws excluded these games from the main list. Note that the flaws we point out aren't graphics related or anything else that shallow and unimportant.

    • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - It is one of the absolute best games
    ...
    by Published on October 10th, 2015 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 4866 
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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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