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    by Published on June 21st, 2017 05:00 AM   
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    We are close to the mid point of 2017, so we decided it was time for a mid year gaming review. In this article we go over games that have been released in 2017 so far, provide our opinions of them, and then look at what's left to come for 2017. We will also look at mods released this year.

    To make this page easier to navigate, spoiler tags are used to conceal everything written about each game. There are no actual spoilers on this page with only one exception: we spoil one quest in Mass Effect: Andromeda in order to demonstrate how absolutely incredibly awful its writing is.

    Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Remaster

    A faithful remaster of a 1998 FPS classic, Night Dive Studios pulls it off again by not trying to fix what was never broken. The core game is left intact, identical to the original, and the only real changes are technological improvements.

    The game itself is a very good FPS with unique environments, incredible enemy variety (over 30 different enemies, basically unheard of these days), and some of the coolest and most unique weapons of any shooter game such as the Shredder, Razor Wind, Nuke (although there is a gun like this in the first Turok), and Cerebral Bore.

    The first game in this franchise, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, was also remastered by Night Dive Studios back in 2015. Both of them even have a level editor for mod creation!

    Serious Sam: Fusion 2017

    The most ambitious remaster featured on this article, Serious Sam: Fusion 2017 ports Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter (2009), Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter (2010), Serious Sam 3: BFE (2011), the VR versions to the latest version of Serious Engine, called Serious Engine 2017. At present, you must own Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter and Serious Sam 3: BFE if you want to play them in Fusion 2017, as Fusion 2017 only comes with Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter for now.

    Serious Engine
    by Published on June 13th, 2017 12:00 PM   
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    Serious Sam Fusion 2017, a remaster of both a 2009 and 2010 game (and soon a 2011 game) which were remakes of a 2001 and 2002 game respectively.

    Yearly sequels and rehashes are most common in the gaming industry today, and once the newest game is released these studios tend to completely ignore all past ones.

    But some game studios set a different example. A few game studios care more about their games and continue updating them over time, not only fixing bugs and adding content but also upgrading the engine to keep up with modern standards. It is these examples that we will be focusing on. This type of game support is very common in MMOs, which is almost a separate industry as MMO players tend to care very little about graphical fidelity. So in this article we focus primarily on games other than MMOs that have similar long term support.

    Before getting on with the pros and cons, let us first list the most prominent games we will be using as examples. These are not the ...
    by Published on June 10th, 2017 04:00 AM   
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    Many PC games are able to be modified, and when game developers support this and provide tools for creating modifications (mods), wondrous things can happen. It is not uncommon for modders to create total conversion modifications that are equivalent to an entirely new game, and often times these mods are even better than AAA games in the same genre (not surprising given how AAA games are generally lower quality).

    Sometimes, such mods become full games themselves. Game studios notice the quality of the mod, hire the creators, and create a new version out of it that is released as a game. Other times, the modders themselves create a studio and go on to improve upon their mod and release it as a game. In fact, the top three most played games on Steam every day began as mods, and these games/mods are featured below. In this article, we present a list of popular video games that originated as mods.

    Also see our companion imgur gallery for this article here.

    Image found on Alien Swarm's official ModDB page.

    Game Title: Alien Swarm
    Game Release Date: 2010
    Original Mod Title: Alien Swarm
    Original Mod Release Date: 2004
    Game For Which the Mod Was Made: Unreal Tournament 2004
    Genre: Top-down Shooter
    Mod Developer: Blackcatgames
    Game Developer: Valve Corporation
    Game Publisher: Valve Corporation

    Alien Swarm is a free, open source Top-down Shooter (primarily cooperative multiplayer) that lives up to its name. Players shoot down waves of aliens with a vast arsenal of weaponry.

    The original mod was made for Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2004), and like many other UT2004 total conversion mods it released the same year as the game itself. Truly the golden era for multiplayer gaming as UT2004, thanks to mods, became almost an infinite number of games in one within a year of its release.

    Valve Corporation hired the mod creators and released it as a game in 2010 on Source engine. The mod remains available to this day, and can be found on ModDB.

    Game Title: Black Mesa
    Game Release Date: 2015
    Original Mod Title: Black Mesa
    Original Mod Release Date: 2012
    Game For Which the Mod Was Made: Half-Life 2
    Genre: FPS
    Mod Developer: Black Mesa Dev Team
    Game Developer: Crowbar Collective
    Game Publisher: Crowbar Collective

    Black Mesa was one of the most anticipated and most famous mods of all time. It is an unofficial remake of Half-Life, a classic FPS game. The mod was eight years in the making, and the wait was worth it. The release was more polished than most AAA games although far from perfect in stability, but was otherwise exactly ...
    by Published on May 31st, 2017 04:00 AM
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    Tactical shooters can be truly amazing games; intense tests of tactical planning, execution, and coordination, in a more high stakes real-time shooter game format, not giving you time to pause and think things through. Scenario planning and execution is what sets this genre apart from other shooters. "Tactical shooter" is a term that is used too loosely in the gaming industry today. In this article we will introduce you to some serious tactical shooters, and explore the endangerment this genre currently faces.

    Compared to tactical shooters, the opposing type of shooters are those filled with entropy. Entropy describes most of the Battlefield franchise, especially all of the recent ones. Entropy is the nature of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes with lots of players. It is even inherent to Battlefield's Conquest mode and modes that strongly resemble it like Territory in Rising Storm/Red Orchestra 2 as well as Domination mode in Call of Duty. Yes, even Rising Storm/Red Orchestra 2 can hardly be called a tactical shooter. Join any server and you will see how entropic it is; players running around everywhere with only the most basic coordination thanks to the presence of a commander (something that was only recently reintroduced to the Battlefield franchise).

    In Battlefield's Conquest and Red Orchestra's Territory modes, the goal is to hold more points (small areas on the map) than the enemy. Two teams of players spawn on opposite sides of the map, with capture points being in between, so each team will generally pursue them linearly. A player in the role of commander tells the team which points to pursue (the exception being all Battlefield games released after Battlefield 2142 and before Battlefield 4, since these had no commander ...
    by Published on May 15th, 2017 03:00 AM
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    The majority of bestselling video games belong to a franchise, and it often comes as a surprise to today's gamers that most of these multiplatform franchises originated as PC exclusive games. In this article, we present a list of multiplatform game franchises that originated on PC, usually with their first game (but sometimes more) being PC exclusive at least for a year. We will also discuss the impact that becoming multiplatform had on each franchise.

    The impact of multiplatform success was usually significant and the older games in each franchise are usually quite different than the newer games; this is because the very first game in each franchise was designed to be unique in order to stand out and capture an audience, but as time went on they conformed to the changing gaming industry, which in this day and age means dumbing down the game in all aspects, removing content in order to spend as little money as possible on the game, and reusing the same formula (with all its restrictions) that other successful games in the genre use. For this reason, the older games in every franchise shouldn't be skipped, as they almost always offer something different and typically they offer more.

    While other popular franchises did not begin as PC exclusive, most of them still trace their design back to PC exclusive games (excluding games originating from Japan of course), like BioShock being a spiritual successor to the PC exclusive System Shock franchise. There are also franchises like StarCraft that fit the criteria of this article, but we do not think it is necessary to include them since their popularity on consoles is not great enough. Everyone already knows they originated on PC.

    Also see our companion imgur gallery for this article here.

    Franchise Name: Battlefield
    First Release: Battlefield 1942
    First Release Date: 2002
    Genre: FPS
    Developer: DICE
    Publisher: Electronic Arts

    Battlefield is one of the most popular multiplayer shooter franchises today. Its popularity skyrocketed with the release of Battlefield 3 in 2011, largely due to it being an impressive technological showcase. Its most recent release was Battlefield 1, poorly named but popular nonetheless, and seen as a bit of a turnaround for the franchise due to it having a much more stable launch than Battlefield 4 and not being poorly received like Battlefield: Hardline was. Although its single player campaign is poor, repetitive, and historically inaccurate, and its multiplayer is pathetic for a PC game.

    But the first game in this franchise was Battlefield 1942, which was not a modern warfare game as one may expect. That's right, it took place in World War II, and believe it or not it predates Call of Duty (and Medal of Honor predates both).

    Battlefield 1942 was not the only PC exclusive Battlefield game however. The first three sequels, Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 2, and Battlefield 2142 were all PC exclusive. Four games, four different settings, making for excellent variety and a very strong start to the franchise.

    How did these games compare to Battlefield today? They featured the same core game modes and sometimes more, like ...
    by Published on April 28th, 2017 02:00 PM  Number of Views: 5758 
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    Way back in March of 2007 a fairly small studio in Ukraine unleashed S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and introduced the world of PC gaming to The Zone!

    It is no secret that this game is very well regarded here on GND-Tech and with good reason. This PC exclusive cult classic from 2007 is one of the most interesting and ambitious game projects of all time and a show of force for gaming's potential as a unique art form.

    A very interesting blend of genres, this open world FPS with survival horror elements and some mild RPG inspiration was well received by both critics and fans alike. Despite a troubled and long development cycle and numerous delays, a long list of cut features and many bugs and glitches, it seems like Shadow of Chernobyl has managed to carve out its very own niche in gaming. A series retrospective is in the works, as are articles on its sequels—S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:Call of Pripyat, but today we will be focusing on what the first legendary title did right and where it faltered.

    Running on the in-house 32-bit X-Ray 1.0 engine that was created way back in 2001, the game was vaunted as a technological powerhouse during its E3 2003 and 2004 appearances. Managing to impress even in the face of games like Half-Life 2, DOOM 3, and Far Cry is an incredible accomplishment, especially when you consider that X-Ray is made by developers without prior experience in the mainstream AAA FPS gaming world. However, the game's development hell meant that it would not see the light of day for a few more years. Of course, the developers did improve on its visuals during that time and Shadow of Chernobyl (hereby referred to as SoC) still managed to turn heads around during its 2007 release, but it was no longer the biggest visual powerhouse on the block.

    Perhaps the most impressive piece of visual technology in SoC was its lighting system. Its completely dynamic DX9.0c lighting simulation was first demoed in 2004. Almost every single light source ...
    by Published on April 27th, 2017 04:00 AM  Number of Views: 8066 
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    Unfortunately, many game franchises have died off without a proper ending, leaving the story hanging. In this article we will look at the most needed sequels in the video game industry. Many of the sequels we mention were at some point in development, but not all of them.

    The industry desperately needs a successor to Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which is a one of a kind RPG and one of the finest ever made. Traditional fantasy RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons and Dragon Age are familiar, but Arcanum is truly unique, being a mix of that traditional fantasy and Steampunk. Magic versus technology.

    As a result, the contrast in possible player character builds is unmatched; your character can be a more traditional sword and shield warrior, a mage skilled in whichever of the 16 spell colleges you choose, or one who strongly pursues technology and ranged weapons, including guns. Needless to say, we need a new RPG like this, with such a unique world. Steampunk combined with fantasy.

    But Arcanum's excellence goes beyond that. It is one of the finest RPGs ever made, having huge disparity in dialogue responses and quest availability based on your character build, and so many possible world and plot changes coming from this. It has many different races to choose from, and race strongly influences reputation and dialogue. So do the eight attributes and your own reputation. Reputation changes dynamically depending on what you do, like Fallout and Fallout 2 (obvious inspirations for Arcanum, as most of Arcanum's developers worked on Fallout and Fallout 2 as well). The entirety of the game is rewritten based on your intelligence score, with very low intelligent characters being almost incomprehensible verbally and in their written journal like in Fallout 2, as well as much different, more refined dialogue responses for highly intelligent characters.

    Quest design, for the most part, is also greatly superior to the RPGs of today, being more open ended, more logical, having less hand holding, not involving repetitive tasks, and having unique gameplay opposed to just combat or dialogue. Writing quality also stands far above the RPGs today, with its so much more detailed world and characters, and a thematically rich story as well.

    Like other great classic RPGs, Arcanum was rich with unique style, seen as early as the game's cinematic intro shown above.

    All of these distinct, positive attributes we have described about this game and other great classic RPGs are now extinct from the genre. They no longer have a unique, unmistakable style like Troika and Black Isle Studios did. No longer do they have such a variety of possible character builds with the depth that allows them to be truly unique. No longer does anything about your character build greatly impact the course of the game beyond combat, and even those combat changes ...
    by Published on March 11th, 2017 05:00 AM
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera is a story-driven, isometric 2.5D turn-based RPG developed by inXile. It is a "thematic successor" to Planescape: Torment, a critically acclaimed RPG released in 1999 by Black Isle Studios published by Interplay, the creators of Wasteland, Fallout, Fallout 2, and other noteworthy RPGs. Planescape: Torment is famous for its writing prowess, having some of the deepest, most original, most satisfying writing in video game history. This has led to strong hype for this game, at least from seasoned PC gamers. We named it our most anticipated game of 2015 in our 2014 game of the year awards, yet it has just come out at the very end of February 2017. It suffered from numerous delays, making one wonder what kind of development struggles it underwent, and how much harm was done to the final product.

    Planescape: Torment is a game where every character encounter, every conversation is memorable and meaningful. In Planescape: Torment and unlike most other video games (especially larger scale ones, and it is a large scale game), every character that you can have a conversation with isn't just a quest-giving bot, it is a uniquely written, fleshed out character, written with care and utmost attention to detail. They all stand out positively. In addition, the world of Planescape: Torment is dark fantasy, weird and mysterious, and filled with strange encounters and interaction. Not just character interaction, but interacting with the world itself; objects that seem to contain some amount of sentience, portals to other worlds, phenomena of all kinds. Its setting surpasses expectations and is one of a kind. Character encounters aren't just with humans and common humanoid species, as the world of Planescape has many portals to many other worlds, bringing with them unique and at times bizarre lifeforms which the player can interact with.

    The world building, character development, story depth and originality, and overall writing quality of Planescape: Torment is above what video games are usually thought capable of. It is a philosophical story with heavy thematic elements, and it is expertly directed so that it never becomes incoherent or out of control. ...

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