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    by Published on March 25th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 5597 
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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 300 spells, well over 300 feats, 40 different weapon types (not individual weapons but types like longsword, war axe, shortbow, etc.), 15 base classes, 24 prestige classes, and much more.

    To put it in perspective, there is more variation, more ways to play Neverwinter Nights 2's Wizard class, than most modern RPGs have in total classes/playstyles! And Wizard is just one of 15 base classes. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it is not, especially when you consider the possible prestige classes that a Wizard can become.

    Furthermore, Neverwinter Nights 2: Complete isn't just one game, it is a saga in itself. The base campaign is about 60 hours long, the first expansion 30-40 hours, second expansion 30-40 hours, and final expansion 20-25 hours. Custom campaigns created by modders exist as well, including unofficial remakes of legends like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, as well as adaptations of various highly praised pen and paper D&D modules such as The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Keep on the Borderlands, King's Festival, and more.


    A list of campaigns, both unofficial and official, taken from the main menu. Not shown: many, many others!

    All of these factors, along with the quality of its campaigns and its amount of possible role-playing (only rivaled by one game in the 2010s, that being Fallout: New Vegas) give just cause to claim that Neverwinter Nights 2 was the last great fantasy RPG, although anyone claiming this must have extremely high RPG standards in order to discredit Dragon Age: Origins.

    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, although it speeds up as you level up and gain more attacks per round.


    Whereas other video game RPGs make up their own simplified stat/rule system, or take what they want from an existing one like D&D, Neverwinter Nights 2 is unique for taking the most from its pen and paper origins. It is like the developers just copied over D&D 3.5 into a video game, and omitted things that don't fit well into a video game (although they also admitted some skills that would've been a nice inclusion).

    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.

    Neverwinter Nights 2 essentially integrates a D&D 3.5 handbook into the game. Every single aspect of character creation, every feat, every skill, every spell, every innate ability, every race, every subrace, and much more have complete, detailed descriptions. So, despite its complexity, ...
    by Published on March 9th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 2709 
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    We talk about it often, but now we figured it was time to write an article dedicated to discussing and pointing out the degeneration of gaming. Today, the video game industry is one afraid of innovation, and one that looks to milk consumers like cows. Most modern mainstream games are barely even a shell of the pioneers.

    How and why did this happen? The truth is, there were multiple causes that led to the degeneration of the gaming industry. Continue on to the next page to find out why.



    In order to understand the video game industry, one needs to understand its origins and follow its timeline. Without getting into an in-depth history lesson, video games were initially created for distraction; to kill time and offer a brief reprieve from boredom. Many games still exist for this same purpose, like virtually every mobile game and many casual games (many sidescrollers and shooters), but they are a bit more complex today than Pong.
    ...
    by Published on February 19th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 7601 
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    Time for another Flashback Friday article! You don't want to miss this one. We are just past the half way point for this decade, the 2010s. This article takes from all of our Game of the Year articles, but instead of looking at the best games of one year, we're looking at the best games of the previous decade, the 2000s! More specifically, we're looking at all games from the years 2000-2009.

    It was an interesting decade with a lot of experimentation and change, with many changes being for the worse primarily toward the end of the decade. Still, 2007 stands out as one of the best years in gaming history with many great releases.

    The awards given out are mostly the same as the ones we use for Game of the Year, although some will be excluded since it's too hard to choose a single game for some of these awards. This includes an overall Game of the Decade award, as this is just too subjective and there are too many games belonging to too many different genres to choose from. Also, expansions and even mods that equate to a whole game (like Natural Selection mod or Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer expansion) are now eligible for awards. We're even including a few new awards! These new awards may even be included in future game of the year articles. But for now, go on to the next page to continue reading.

    Special thanks to InfaRedd, aka Valkayria for the basic idea behind this article.



    Best Sound Effects


    Game Title: BioShock
    Release Date: 2007 (2009 for Mac)
    Developed By: 2k Boston / 2k Australia
    Published By: 2k Games
    Platforms: PC / Mac / PlayStation 3 / XBOX 360
    Genre: FPS

    This award was extremely closely contested. BioShock (2007) takes home the gold. While Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason uses higher quality sound recordings/files for things like object collision, it is the advanced OpenAL sound processing and EAX 5.0 that puts BioShock ahead of perhaps every game. It is one of the absolute best demonstrations of hardware accelerated sound (3D object based sound) and EAX (along with Penumbra which came out at around the same time). The reason it wins the award over Penumbra is because Penumbra has no support for subwoofers, outside of integrated 2.1 PC speaker setups. On a 5.1/7.1 surround setup, Penumbra will not use the subwoofer while BioShock will.

    But it should be noted that Penumbra's 3D HRTF is actually slightly better ...
    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: 1937 
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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.




    Art by Hell Site.

    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 heavily by EVGA, a company ...
    by Published on January 25th, 2016 07:00 AM  Number of Views: 820 
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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 browsed ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 2373 
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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 Bethesda ...
    by Published on December 20th, 2015 08:00 PM  Number of Views: 7037 
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    2. Gaming
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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. Bethesda games are about gameplay freedom; allowing the player to role-play as whatever type of person they want, whether it's an action hero, a greedy raider, a drug addicted gangster, anything that comes to mind. The game is about giving ...

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