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By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

Source 1  Source 2  Source 3  Source 4

By Jessica Brown On 26 May, 2017 At 11:28 AM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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Recently, AMD announced that the professional version of their upcoming “Vega” family of GPUs, the “Radeon Vega Frontier Edition,” was going to launch in June while the consumer cards would follow sometime in Q3 2017. However, at the J. P. Morgan Global Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference on May 22, AMD President Lisa Su announced that the gamer cards would be releasing right after Vega FE.

Vega FE, she said, is set to release in the second half of June and we can expect the RX Vega cards to release this July.

While details have yet to be completely confirmed, we know that there will be three flavors of this new enthusiast architecture:

  • RX Vega Core ($399): Competes with the GTX 1070
  • RX Vega Eclipse ($499): Competes with the GTX 1080
  • RX Vega Nova ($599): Competes with the GTX 1080 Ti

How well these cards will compete with their competition from NVIDIA remains to be seen, but these will be the first enthusiast grade cards released since the R9 Fury (Fiji) GPUs in 2015. There are rumors that AMD is working on “Vega 2.0” which will be aimed to compete with the NVIDIA Volta GPUs in 2018, but nothing is official on that front yet.

By Sebastian Marco On 26 May, 2017 At 08:44 AM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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This morning Ubisoft unveiled a new trailer for Far Cry 5, following the build up they’ve  been teasing all week long. This time around players are cast into Hope County, which is definitely a change of scenery considering this is the first game that takes place in the United States. Hopes County looks to give players new skies, rivers, woods and all that the Montana countryside has to offer. The main antagonist of FC5, Jospeh Seed and his fanatical cult followers will be challenging players in this new environment and push them and react to the choices made in the game.

 

Far Cry 5 is scheduled to release February 27, 2018. We hope to see more details and footage at E3.

By Jessica Brown On 26 May, 2017 At 12:22 AM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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For a while now we’ve known that AMD’s new flagship GPU, powered by the 14nm Vega architecture, was set to release sometime in the first half of 2017. Tech analysts had suspected a formal announcement at Computex (May 30 – June 3), followed by a release sometime in June, but as it turns out that’s only partially correct.

Last week at a Financial Analyst Day live-stream, AMD revealed its upcoming “Radeon Vega Frontier Edition,” the first formal presentation of a card in the Vega family. However, one thing was quickly made clear: The Vega FE cards are geared at professionals and scientists, featuring a whopping 16GB of HBM2 and a premium price to suit. Vega FE is set to release in June, meeting AMD’s “1H 2017” deadline, but consumer Vega is still a bit off yet.

On May 31, AMD is holding a press conference where they will finally reveal some real details about the upcoming enthusiast RX Vega gaming cards, but unfortunately those will not be coming in June. No release window has been announced just yet, but I’d expect them to start arriving later in Q3 2017.

So what do we know about the gaming-level Vega cards?

Well, we know that the “RX Vega” models will be optimized for gaming performance (a key difference between them and the professional-grade Vega FE) and will come in three tiers: Core, Eclipse, and Nova. Nova, which will be the top-tier of the RX Vega line, could possibly have similarities to the Vega FE, although whether or not it will have 16GB HBM2 will remain to be seen.

With Computex 2017 just around the corner, though, we should know more real soon!

 

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EA sent out the following

 

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) announced today that EA PLAY 2017 in Hollywood will feature performances by the eight-time platinum recording artist Nas, DJ Green Lantern and Dave East. All three will perform on Saturday night, June 10th from 6-8pm PST, at the EA PLAY FanFest, one of the biggest pop culture events of the summer. The FanFest is at the heart of EA PLAY 2017, featuring more than 140 hands-on gaming stations where fans will be the first to play EA’s newest lineup of games including:

 

  • Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II
  • FIFA 18
  • Madden NFL 18
  • NBA LIVE 18
  • The latest Need for Speed™ experience
  • The Sims™ Mobile and The Sims™ 4
  • Battlefield™ 1: In The Name of the Tsar
  • New content from Star Wars™: Galaxy of Heroes and Titanfall 2
  • Madden NFL Mobile
  • NBA LIVE Mobile
  • EA SPORTS™ FIFA on the Nintendo Switch

 

Widely celebrated as one of the greatest artists of all-time, Nas has received more than a dozen Grammy nominations since his debut album *Illmatic* in 1994. Joining the stage with Nas is DJ Green Lantern, a long-time DJ for some of hip hop’s top artists, and Dave East whose mixtape *Kairi Chanel* hit the US Billboard 200 last year. These three artists will headline a lineup of musical talent that will perform each day at EA PLAY from June 10-12 at the Hollywood Palladium.

 

EA PLAY is open to the public and tickets are free. The FanFest schedule is:

  • Saturday June 10 from 4pm – 8pm
  • Sunday June 11 from 12pm – 6pm
  • Monday June 12 from 12pm – 5pm

 

For those that attend in-person at the Palladium in Hollywood, they can experience even more surprises. Each day of the show, the first 2000 fans that play Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II will receive a numbered, limited edition poster. On Sunday and Monday, the first 500 people to play Madden NFL 18 and EA SPORTS FIFA 18, will receive a free copy of Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17 respectively.

 

For anyone joining digitally around the world, EA PLAY will come to life through a variety of different content including livestreams. From behind-the-scenes looks and developer interviews to in-depth gameplay walkthroughs and new gameplay footage, learn more about EA’s upcoming games and experiences directly from those behind them. EA is also empowering the creative storytelling of more than 300 of the best content creators in the community to develop their own unique way of sharing their gameplay impressions with their fans all over the world who love to watch them most.

 

Please visit http://www.ea.com/eaplay2017 to learn more about the event, and visit https://eaplay17.fishsoftware.com/public/ to get your free ticket. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more EA PLAY news and information.

This is a very interesting lineup and some cool performances. It is very interesting that the Switch version of FIFA is mentioned separately. Still, the event looks like it will be a good time and is well planned. Hopefully it all goes off well.

 

Source: PR Email

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 08:21 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Larian Studios sent out the following

Larian Studios has announced that Divinity: Original Sin 2 will launch on September 14, 2017. Much larger than its highly-awarded predecessor, Divinity: Original Sin, the game gives players tabletop RPG-like freedom to complete quests and explore a world like no other. Divinity: Original Sin 2’s critically celebrated Game Master and PvP modes will also be available at launch, giving players a toolbox to create their own tabletop-style adventures, as well as an arena where they can compete in strategic multiplayer combat against each other.

Players can already purchase Divinity: Original Sin 2 on Steam for $44.99 and play the game’s first act in Early Access here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/435150/Divinity_Original_Sin_2/ 

To celebrate this announcement, Larian Studios is releasing a new Early Access patch, featuring two never-before-seen areas and a new companion relationship system. Character creation and crafting have also undergone a serious transformation, and players will finally have a first glimpse of the upcoming new origin story, a pirate dwarf named Beast. For more information on this patch and all it contains, check out a new Kickstarter Update video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiWM2nuCTSQ

 

Divinity: Original Sin 2 promises a darker and more expansive story than its predecessor. Set a thousand years after the original, Divinity: Original Sin 2 puts players in the role of a renegade user of forbidden magic. Our heroes will decide who will be the next god of Rivellon and what that god will do with its powers.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 expands on the player freedom that made 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin so much fun. Divinity: Original Sin 2 features five playable races and a new tag system that lets players shape the background and motivations of their characters, from noble elven cannibals to swarthy dwarven outlaws. Each choice you make shapes the world, impacting how you complete quests, solve problems, and build relationships – go anywhere, take anything, and kill anyone, but be careful of the repercussions!

Divinity: Original Sin 2 breaks new ground in what players expect from role playing in their RPGs, featuring 4-player co-op through which players can compete or cooperate to reach their goals. The new relationship system provides more nuance to character interactions, as individuals will have their own objectives and priorities based on their background and race. Whether you choose to balance your party’s individual goals for the greater good or fight to make sure you always get your way, character relationships play a major role in determining how players advance through the world.

Tactical combat returns in Divinity: Original Sin 2, with even more elemental interactions and powerful skills opening up new strategic considerations. Divinity: Original Sin 2 introduces a new spellcrafting system that lets players combine spells to create powerful and unexpected results. New combat skills give the less magically-inclined plenty of strategic options to influence the fight. Also, for the first time in a Divinity RPG, it is possible to challenge other players to PvP combat in demanding arena battles.

There is more news to come from Larian Studios in the coming months – follow the studio on social media and  keep an eye on Twitch channel for more information on the biggest RPG of 2017!

Divinity Original Sin was an amazing throwback to the classic CRPG games of old, and provided a new generation of gamers with a different kind of challenge. Hopefully the sequel gets just as good of, if not better reception as it looks amazing. This is the type of genre throwback the RPG genre needs more of.

 

Source: PR Email

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 08:21 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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CD PROJEKT RED sent out the following

 

CD PROJEKT RED, creators of The Witcher series of games, announce the start of Public Beta for GWENT: The Witcher Card Game for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Gamers can start playing immediately by visiting playgwent.com on PC, or — on consoles — download the client directly through Xbox Store or PlayStation Store.

“Public Beta is an important step towards GWENT’s final release,” said Marcin Iwi?ski, co-founder of CD PROJEKT RED. “We’re opening the gates to everyone who wanted to play, but didn’t make it into the Closed Beta, and — at the same time — we’re introducing some pretty significant content and gameplay changes like adding animated versions of cards for every card in the game, new starter decks, or how weather cards work,” Iwi?ski adds. “I’m extra curious how all of the community feedback we’ve incorporated will resonate with both current players and those who’re just starting. Please keep the feedback coming, we’re listening!”

More information about GWENT and the Public Beta is available in the FAQ section of playgwent.com.

You can watch the cinematic trailer below

It is great that even though the Witcher III has been out for a while, CD PROJEKT RED has been able to keep the franchise alive in new ways. Making GWENT a standalone game is a smart move, especially given games like Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls Legends.

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 08:38 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

When you try to bring down your clan’s shaman by spilling a sacred “bowel bowl” filled with steaming guts that is being used to open terrifying windows into “The Other Place,” and you just get sucked through the windows into the Realms where you are doomed to spend eternity battling against cruel Champions in the name of glory… you’re having bad day.

 

That’s the story of Sorlag (read more at www.Quake.com), a vicious and prideful reptilian huntress from a post-apocalyptic alien planet. This Sorg flesh-trader stalks her prey in the Arenas armed with her deadly Acid Spit, coating the environment and enemies in a sticky toxic rank. This Active Ability deals direct damage to any Champions that are careless enough to pass through as well as additional poison damage over time as it seeps into their flesh.

 

Sorlag’s reputation as a hunter awards her two Passive Abilities, helping her nimbly move through matches and protecting her from her own – and other Sorlags’ — vile fluids.

 

CHAMPION PROFILE: Sorlag – Sorg Flesh-Trader

 

Starting Statistics:

  • Starting Health: 150
  • Starting Armor: 50
  • Speed: 280

 

Active Ability – Acid Spit: Have an enemy pinned in an corner or want to protect the Obelisk in Sacrifice? Sorlag’s Acid Spit is the perfect added weapon to finish off foes or help control key pathways and locations. Spray it on enemies, on the floor, or on the walls and anyone who passes through will take immediate damage as well as become poisoned, taking additional damage over time.

 

Passive Abilities: Sorlag has two Passives. First, Bunny Hop allows her to gain speed while jumping forward in a straight line and grants her a great deal of maneuverability while in the air. Second, her Acid Fiend ability means that she’s protected from her own Acid Spit, as well as the Acid Spit of enemy Sorlags.

 

Sorlag looks like a very interesting character in a truly unique game. Quake Champions is looking more and more impressive with each trailer. It should be a good fresh start for the series.

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The following was sent out

 

Gambitious Digital Entertainment has revealed that independent developer Vile Monarch’s new irreverent insult dueling game, Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast, will launch on May 31 for Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

A star-studded spinoff of the infamous insult ‘em up Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator, Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast cobbles together a jumble of focus group-tested pop culture icons and references to create new characters and film sets with which to battle. String together combo chains of discourteous dialogue to verbally beat down your scene partners for top billing in single-player or online and local multiplayer.

True to modern moviemaking, Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast takes the series in a dark direction, with gritty new features like an expanded career mode, character creation tools and controller integration. The script has been rewritten a dozen times by heavy-handed executives to ensure that Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast offers twice the vocabulary of its predecessor. The producers have also recast and redesigned the scoring system for more engaging fights while introducing a hot new charged comeback mechanic that lets players drop the final curtain on each other with dramatic effect.

Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast will launch on May 31. The original cult classic, Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator, will launch on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system on May 30 and on Xbox One in June. For the latest updates until then, please visit http://store.steampowered.com/app/575330, and follow us on Twitter @GambitiousInc and @VileMonarch.

Oh……. Sir! The Insult Simulator was a truly innovative indie game and it is good to see that a spinoff is coming. Hopefully this one will catch on just as well as the first game did.

 

Source; PR Email.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 May, 2017 At 11:16 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The following was sent out

 

Rest that lazy bum and turn on your consoles as Vile Monarch have manufactured another brilliant way to hurl insults through the power of technology! That’s right, Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator is coming to PS4 on May 30th, and Xbox One in June!

Take part in the smash hit that has sold over 250,000 copies, and magically cure all insult-related woes with the console release of Oh… Sir!! The Insult Simulator. You can purchase Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator for $2.99 USD on PS4 and Xbox One upon release!

We’ve explored all of our inner insults, but for those who can’t wait we’ve channeled the cosmos to create an unmatched insult board. For reference, mine was “Your mother wanted to be a muppet!”; I’ve since notified my mother of this news.

 

Game Features:
– Loner’s Insult Tournament Mode: Battle your way through numerous unique situations and verbally assault your CPU
– Real-Life Friends Mode: Beleaguer your actual friends on a couch, ottoman, or whatever else you like to rest your fanny on
– Imaginary-Friends Mode: Verbally take down strangers from all over the “Online world”
– 10 Hilarious Playable Characters: Each with their own unique voices, quirky traits, and hilarious “insult components”
– 5 Conflict Scenarios: Lay down some verbal jujitsu across 5 different trying situations and environments- Contentious Battle System: Employ combos, criticals, continuations and other new mechanics to outwit your argumentative opponents!

Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator is a truly unique game and is quite different from what most are used to. It is this kind of inventiveness that helps show just what is capable in gaming,

 

Source: PR Email