Hard West is here; get your eldritch western fix

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: hard west, Unity, gaming

If you backed the Kickstarter then you have had a chance to watch Hard West evolve from a single silent map to the recent update which added significant content and changed the beginning of the game significantly.  You are a dead gunslinger, brought back to an undead state in a western setting which incorporates not only natives and townsfolk but dark supernatural creatures and powers as well.  The game plays like the recent XCOM releases, with a similar turn style and cover system but also incorporates unique features such as the ability to ricochet bullets of some items on the map to shoot around corners and a shadow system designed to give you hints about who might be standing around a corner.

Nighttime changes the game dramatically and the optional permanent injury system is the exact opposite of the recent Warhammer games, severely injured members your posse will suffer negatives in the short term but possibly gaining strength once their wounds have fully healed.  You can see what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN thought of the game here or just pick it up on Steam for $22.

"“Wild West XCOM” is about as good an elevator pitch as you could wish for. After a short delay, as of today we can find out whether Hard West can possibly live up to its glorious high concept. I played an earlier build a few weeks back – some thoughts, plus a launch trailer, below."

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Fallout 4 performance at the high end

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: R9 FuryX, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, gaming, fallout 4, amd

[H]ard|OCP tested out the performance of the 980 Ti and FuryX in single card configurations as multiple GPU support is non-existent in Fallout 4, some have had moderate success with workarounds which [H] mentions at the end of the review.  At launch it seems NVIDIA's card offers significantly better performance overall, hopefully that delta will decrease as patches and drivers are rolled out.  As far as features go, enabling godrays has a huge effect on performance for both cards and FXAA is the best performing AA when displaying a wide variety of terrain, close forested areas allowed TAA to narrow the gap.  As to the game itself, as of yet they do not sound overly impressed.


"Fallout 4 is out on the PC, in this preview we will take a look at performance between GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some in-game feature performance comparisons. We'll also take a look at some in-game feature screenshots and find out what settings are best for an enjoyable gaming experience."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Welcome to the Inner Sphere; Battletech makes it

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield, harebrained schemes

This will not be the Mechwarrior of old, the new Battletech game will be turn based and resemble the tabletop version of the game in more ways than the faster paced Mechwarrior and Mech Commander series.  As mentioned in the interview by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN with Jordan Weisman, the main creator of this world the turn based play allows you to delve far deeper into managing your mechs heat, ranges, and armor exposure in combat .  Battles will also focus more on mixed forces with crunchies and quite possibly air support present on the theater in addition to your mechs.  Read the full interview for more information on what this game will look like.  It has been fully funded and all the extra tiers were reached, including an extended single player campaign and PvP battles in the Arenas of Solaris VII, you can still get in on the action on their second chance pledge page.

"This is a turn-based game, and that allows us to dive a little deeper into what makes a mech a mech. When you’re real-time, you have to kind of… not allow the player to dive into that kind of depth because there’d be too much information overflow and decision paralysis,” Weisman said."

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Here's a launch trailer for you, watch it instead of pre-ordering

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2015 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars Battlefront, gaming

EA continues to tease us before the November 17th launch date of Star Wars Battlefront, now with a brand new launch trailer which you can watch below.  Enjoy the trailer, fondly remember the open beta and put that credit card down!  If you don't want Day 1 DLC, games that are only mostly ready for Primetime at launch and Deluxe Pre-order Editions that cost over $100 then don't pre-order games!  If you don't encourage them by buying things sight unseen then the problem will go away.

"This is the News You Are Looking For."

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Source: EA

Sword Coast Legends; more Dungeon Siege than Dungeons & Dragons?

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2015 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: gaming, sword coast legends

Sword Coast Legends was just released and you should probably take a look at this quick preview of the game at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you are hoping this will fill your time until Baldurs Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is released.  They have not yet had time to complete a full review including the multiplayer and Dungeon Master modes but the overall initial impression that this game feels more like Dungeon Seige than previous D&D games.  You can still pause the game to order your party in combat but it seems less necessary as you are using a small pool of abilities to hack and slash your way to victory.  The review is not primarily negative and it sounds like there is fun to be had but if you were hoping for something more intricate and involved then you may be disappointed.   Then again, it may prove that the multiplayer mode with a DM overseeing a custom adventure may make this title worth picking up.


"We’ll have some thoughts on the multiplayer portion of just-released, latter-day Dungeons & Dragons RPG Sword Coast Legends [official site] – including the all-important DM mode – very soon, but while RPS gathers its party to sally forth, I thought I’d share some initial impressions on singleplayer."

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Bringing new life to J.C. Denton; Deus Ex: Revison

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2015 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, retro, deus ex revision, mod

Have you tried to play the original Deus Ex in the past few years only to find the resolution and overall quality of the textures so painful that you stopped after the first mission?  Have you though about doing it but never quite managed to start it up?  Perhaps this new revamp of the game will change your opinion, with all new assets, music and graphics tweaks.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN would like you to know about  Deus Ex: Revision, a mod available on Steam for those who own the game which brings new life to the old classic.  Thanks to the Stealth Sale the GotY version is a steep $1.55(ish) on Steam, so pick it up and see if this update is enough to convince you to replay or to introduce you for the first time to the game which was significantly better designed than its sequel. 

"Deus Ex: Revision [official site] is a project that overhauls “the environments and soundtrack” of Ion Storm’s classic, and it’s out now on Steam. The release has the backing of Deus Ex’s current publishers and developers (Square Enix and Eidos Montreal), and is designed to work exclusively with the Steam release of the original."

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Far Cry Primal will be released ... eventually

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: gaming, far cry primal, ubisoft

Far Cry Primal was announced and it is even more console-centric than the previous release, seeing as how the PC launch will be a month after its initial release.  We can only hope that Ubisoft does spend time making sure that high end PCs do have graphic features that take advantage of the power provided by new GPUs.  As for the gameplay it should be interesting as there will be no more machine guns and fancy pistols, you will be stabbing mammoths with pointy sticks and running for your life from sabretooth tigers.  It also sounds as though eating enough food and other features common to the plethora of survival sims will be included, making this very different from previous games.  Check out the trailer and screenshots at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you haven't seen them yet.


"Ubisoft attempted to announce Far Cry Primal [official site] with a tantalising livestream, which was rather spoiled by a brief leak of the game’s name and basic details. Now we know more, including proper trailers, screenshots, and a release date… which will see the game land on PC the month after it’ll arrive on console."

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It won't take skill to play Fallout 4

Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2015 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fallout 4

Fallout 4 is sounding less and less like a Fallout game and more like a game which happens to bear the name Fallout.  Apparently the skill system which has been a core of Fallout is confusing people, although how is unclear and the example given is rather poor “What’s better, the Charisma SPECIAL, or the Speech Skill" considering you can't have more than a 10 Charisma.  Perhaps it is too early to be negative, there will be 70 perks, 10 level for each SPECIAL stat and each perk with five levels to increase their effectiveness.  Your perks are limited by the stat, if you have a Perception of 7 then you will never be able to gain the perks associated with levels 8 and higher, then again if you have a stat of 10 at level 1 nothing is stopping you from starting with a level 10 perk.

There are going to be a lot of differences apparent in Fallout 4 and it will be interesting to see how they effect gameplay.  Excitiment is waning for some long time fans but perhaps for gamers new to the series who are in love with crafting, base management and are easily confused by numbers this will be a perfect introduction to the wasteland.  Follow the link to RPS to see the video explaining the new system.


"Here’s the big news: as many suspected, Skills are indeed gone, with their effects rolled into a bounteous system of perks with levels of their own. I’ll explain."

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More Star Wars Battlefront news

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2015 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Star Wars Battlefront

When EA stated there would not be a server browser for their upcoming game many were worried what that would mean for dedicated servers.  Today Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN heard confirmation that there will still be dedicated servers and that there will be a “new skill based matchmaking system” for players looking for games.  The news does give hope to those who were planning on setting up private servers or playing with specific users. 

HEXUS also had good news to share, the Beta will be available to one and all, with Walker Assault and Pod Drop maps confirmed to be included, hopefully with some others.  Sadly we do not yet have a date for when the Beta will be available.


"Star Wars: Battlefront will have dedicated servers. EA DICE’s Jamie Keen confirmed the feature to PlayStation LifeStyle at the Tokyo Game Show. It’s good news though a slight surprise, given that it was announced earlier this month that the game wouldn’t have a server browser."

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Grado

Handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY

First impressions usually count for a lot, correct?  Well, my first impression of a Grado product was not all that positive.  I had a small LAN party at my house one night and I invited over the audio lead for Ritual Entertainment and got him set up on one of the test machines.  He pulled out a pair of Grado SR225 headphones and plugged them in.  I looked at them and thought, “Why does this audio guy have such terrible headphones?”  Just like most others that have looked at Grados the first time, I thought these were similar to a set of WWII headsets, and likely sounded about as good.  I offered my friend a more “gaming friendly” set of headphones.  He laughed at me and said no thanks.


The packaging is relatively bland as compared to other competing "high end" headphones. Grado has a reputation of under-promising, yet overperforming.

I of course asked him about his headphones that he was so enamored with and he told me a little bit about how good they actually were and that he was quite happy to game on them.  This of course got me quite interested in what exactly Grado had to offer.  Those “cheap looking” headphones are anything but cheap.  While the aesthetics can be debated, but what can’t be is that Grado makes a pretty great series of products.

Grado was founded by Joseph Grado in 1953.  Sadly, Joseph passed away this year.  Though he had been retired for some time, the company is still family owned and we are now seeing the 3rd generation of Grados getting involved in the day to day workings of the company.  The headquarters was actually the site of the family fruit business before Joseph decided to go into the audio industry.  They originally specialized in phonograph heads as well as other phono accessories, and it wasn’t until 1989 that Grado introduced their first headphones.  Headphones are not exactly a market where there are massive technological leaps, so it appears as though there has been around three distinct generations of headphone designs from Grado with the Prestige series.  The originals were introduced in the mid-90s then in the mid 2000s with the updated “i” series, and finally we have the latest “e” models that were released last year.

The company also offers five different lines of headphones that range from the $50 eGrado up to the $1700 PS1000E.  They also use a variety of materials from plastic, to metal, and finally the very famous wood based headphones.  In fact, they have a limited edition Grado Heritage run that was made from a maple tree cut down in Brooklyn very near to the workshop where Grado still handcrafts their headphones.


That townhouse in the middle? That is where the vast majority of Grado headphones are made. Not exactly what most expect considering the reputation of the Grado brand. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Grado)

I was sent the latest SR225e models to take a listen to some time back.  I finally got to a place where I could just sit down and pen about my thoughts and experience with these headphones.

Click here to read the entire Grado SR225e review!