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    by Published on December 19th, 2015 08:00 PM  Number of Views: 6251 
    1. Categories:
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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 the Mod of the Year - Overhaul award this year. This is because we didn't find new any overhaul 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!

    Mod of the Year - Overhaul

    An overhaul mod is a mod that is installed on top of a game and is designed to simply improve the base game. It has minimal new content, meant to preserve the original game and just enhance it. Few overhaul mods are as impressive as this year's winner, GMDX 8.0 for Deus Ex.

    This mod includes several other mods, like New Vision and Project HDTP which are both graphics overhauls, the former adding a DX9 renderer to the 2000 FPS classic while Project HDTP replaces all world textures with high resolution ones. It adds new gameplay mechanics like mantling (climbing any edge), variable scope zoom, and rebalances the gameplay. Realistic difficulty showcases the best balance.

    One of the biggest features ...
    by Published on December 8th, 2015 08:11 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Technology
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    Old-school gamers know a thing or two about getting extra points, whether it was Ms. Pacman getting to the fruit in the middle or someone activating a “Sugar Crush” on Candy Crush Saga with 15 moves still left.

    Savvy gamers know about all the ways to get bonus points for the things they buy and the games they play, too. Reward programs are great for giving ...
    by Published on November 8th, 2015 04:00 PM  Number of Views: 4459 
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    2. Gaming
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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
    by Published on November 7th, 2015 11:00 AM  Number of Views: 5419 
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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: 5306 
    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: 10163 
    1. Categories:
    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, there are substantial differences in the writing and story of every game by Frictional Games. Penumbra is a Lovecraft inspired existential tale, Amnesia is a simple psychological horror story, while SOMA is a different kind of philosophical, existential, and psychological experience.

    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


    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. ...
    by Published on September 14th, 2015 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 13262 
    1. Categories:
    2. Gaming
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    While story might not be the first thing that people consider when thinking of video games, they can be a much more involving storytelling medium than film and even novels. Contrary to what some might think, video games don't have many inherent limitations on storytelling. They're commonly associated with mindless violence, but we have seen time and again that they can be much more than that.

    Video games have the benefit of being interactive, a benefit not shared by books and movies. Some games use this to take storytelling to a different, higher level. These are the most amazing video games there are. In this article we will examine and discuss the ten best stories in video game history. We talk a lot about the storytelling potential in games, but very few live up to that potential. This list is dedicated to those few.

    Be forewarned that this article contains spoilers for every game listed. Do not read about any game you have not played.

    These are games that were once on our list, but have since been replaced by another. Make no mistake, they are remarkable in their own right and arguably worthy of being in the top 10.

    "I was weak. That's why I needed you... Needed someone to punish me for my sins... But that's all over now. I know the truth. Now it's time to end this." - James Sunderland

    Game Title: Silent Hill 2

    Developer: Konami

    Publisher: Konami

    Release Date: 2001

    Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2, XBOX, Playstation 3 (HD re-release), XBOX 360 (HD re-release)

    Genre: Psychological Horror / Survival Horror

    Plot Involves Saving the World?: No.

    Silent Hill 2 is legendary for its storytelling. This is yet another game we've written about in considerable detail before, both in the aforementioned best antagonist article and our best horror game article. It took the psychological horror genre to a new level.

    You play as James Sunderland, a recent widower. At the start of the game James receives a letter, apparently written by his deceased wife Mary, telling him to meet her in their "special place" in the mysterious, abandoned town of Silent Hill. Right at the start of the game, when he is reading the letter, it's made obvious that he's a tormented character and that the player is going to experience his hell, his misery. But you won't be able to guess just how deep this journey goes.

    The town of Silent Hill is cut off from the rest of the world. For most people, once you enter there is no escape. The roads leading out of the town are destroyed, leading down into an endless cliff. The town is overrun by monsters, which are each symbolic representations of an inner struggle of James. This includes the apparent antagonist Pyramid Head, which we wrote about here. The quote at the top of this page summarizes Pyramid Head; he is an invention of Sunderland's mind, existing to punish James for his sins, to judge him, to encourage him to face the horror of what he had done. But what did James do? This leads to another twist.

    James' wife, Mary, did not die of sickness as he said throughout the game. She was in fact dying of sickness, but it was James who ended her life. He ended her life by suffocating her. Dying in her hospital bed, Mary only brought pain and suffering into James' life. James had suffered enough, and chose to end his attachment to a dying woman. In her final days Mary often lashed out at James, inflicting her pain onto him. All of this pushed James over the edge, and his journey through Silent Hill is perhaps a way for him to face what he has done.

    The story is a psychological study of guilt and self-deception, told in a powerful and poetic way.

    As with other great stories, the plot which is what happens, might not seem very impressive on paper. But the story, which is why those things happen, is one of the most complex and well-written of any and all games. Silent Hill 2 doesn't have the most amazing overall dialogue though; in this area it is bested by the others, with bits of dialogue being downright silly (the poor voice acting does not help). But its use of symbolism and metaphors is legendary, the best in the history of video games. They're used in the game's set pieces, on the enemy models, and in the writing itself. It does a much better job showing than telling, and relies primarily on the former, it's strength, thankfully.

    Silent Hill 2 also takes heavy inspiration from Solaris, a 1961 novel by Polish author Stanislaw Lem and particularly Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film adaptation. This video breaks it down wonderfully.

    "When Bates was given a look at our technology, he was overcome. As a human,
    by Published on September 5th, 2015 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 6079 
    1. Categories:
    2. Peripherals
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    The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is a classic headphone, one that has gained critical acclaim for years. The DT 880 was the unofficial flagship for Beyerdynamic until the release of the T1. Now in 2015, the DT 880 Pro stands as a popular mid-fi headphone in competition with the likes of the Sennheiser HD 600 and AKG K712 Pro. In this review we will evaluate the DT 880 Pro 250 Ohm and see how it has withstood the test of time.

    Our test system includes a Windows PC fitted with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD as the sound source. The Titanium HD's optical SPDIF out is connected to a Maverick Audio Tubemagic D1 which serves as our DAC and amplifier. In addition, the opamps within the D1 have been replaced by higher quality LT1364 units. The DT 880 Pro has been allowed plenty of burn-in time and brain burn-in for this review.

    Beyerdynamic's DT 880 is available in several different forms; Pro 250 Ohm, Premium 32 Ohm, Premium 250 Ohm, and Premium 600 Ohm. We are reviewing the Pro 250 Ohm model, the least expensive of the bunch. The specifications for which are listed in the table below.

    Two things jump off that table; the 96 dB sensitivity ...

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