Northgard is an unusual sidestep for Shiro Games: Moving from the genre-exploring Evoland titles to city building and real-time strategy is not the usual course, it’d seem. Shiro Games assured us that Settlers and Age of Empires were as important to them as gamers as the RPGs that inspired Evoland, and have set forth to build Northgard.
As Evoland picked the most memorable bits from the history of JRPGs, Northgard feels like it must be made of Shiro Games’ favorite bits of the 4x and RTS genres. Those familiar with Settlers will recognize the similarities in Northgard immediately, and AOE fans also have some familiar items.
The march toward completion continues for Hob, the latest offering from Runic games. Hob is also the first title from Runic since founder Travis Baldree left to form Double Damage Games, following the wild success of the Torchlight dungeon crawler. It's hardly surprising, then, that Hob takes a sharp change in direction from the franchise Runic had previously built. Where the prior series had been a Diablo-esque hack’n’slash dungeon crawler, Hob is moves to focus on world exploration and puzzle solving, using both as a means for storytelling. Adventure is the focal point, here, although some dungeon crawling does remain.
Hob drives a point of world-building in a very literal way. The world of Hob is a striking blend of natural wilds and harsh mechanical creations. In the above realms, you'll find wild animals such as the effable “duckdeer” and overgrown (and aggressive) vines and thorns. This is dotted with mechanical creations, and is where our as-yet-and-to-remain untitled hero comes in. The player leads the hero through both the organic overworld and the metallic underworld to restore both to working order. As we manipulate ancient devices above and below ground, machines come online, and piece by piece the bits of natural world below ground are brought up to complete the natural world above. There’s a slow, methodical transition as organic and metal merge.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is set to release in North America on March 21st, while Europe is set for March 23rd arrival. With fewer than three weeks before release, BioWare/EA and nVidia have released more information about the graphics settings and options for PC, 4K screenshots using Ansel, and HDR in Mass Effect: Andromeda.
BioWare/EA recently put out the minimum and recommended system requirements for the PC version of Mass Effect: Andromeda, and nVidia followed-up with a preview of the graphical options menu. Users will be able to change and customize 16 graphical settings, including:
Mass Effect Andromeda is set to release in North America on March 21st, while Europe will see a March 23rd release date. BioWare today released their minimum and recommended PC specs, as suggested by Bioware Manager Aaryn Flynn in our Everything We Know article. We have posted a screenshot of the system requirements from the official Origin page for Mass Effect Andromeda.
According to the official Origin page, an i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350 CPU and 16GB of RAM are recommended, alongside either an nVidia GTX 1060 3GB or Radeon RX 480 4GB graphics card. This is for “high” settings at 1080p. The minimum system requirements call for an i5-3570 or AMD FX-6350 CPU and 8GB of RAM, with either an nVidia GTX 660 3GB or Radeon 7850 2GB graphics card. As for required hard drive space, users will need at least 55GB free in order to install Mass Effect Andromeda.
2017 will be home to release dates for some assuredly popular PC games, both exclusives and cross-platform. With AAA games like Resident Evil 7 (already released), Mass Effect Andromeda, and For Honor all being released within 1H17, the first half of the year is shaping up to be big for PC gaming. That said, the rest of the year seems lacking -- at least, from our current vantage point -- without much hype for anything outside of the expected annualized titles.
Today’s list of PC games for 2017 contains AAA and indie titles and their release dates, looking into the future for game launches this year.
Obsidian Entertainment has been more than just a little busy, and with good reason. In 2015, the company released Pillars of Eternity, the isometric RPG that harkened back to classic Black Isle games such as Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, and Planescape: Torment. Pillars proved to be both critically and commercially successful. In addition to a two-part expansion for that game, Obsidian released another isometric RPG just over a year later, the evil-sided “Tyranny” that showed how the other half lives.
It’s barely been three months since Tyranny launched and Obsidian are already fit and ready for their next game. On 26th, Obsidian launched a Fig crowd-funding campaign for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. In under 24 hours, Obsidian met their goal of $1.1 million.
Our game news recap starts off with some surprise news from Good Old Games. GOG.com has re-released SWAT 4. Despite being widely regarded as a classic of the FPS genre, SWAT 4 has been an elusive title in recent years. SWAT 4 is a cornerstone of Tactical Shooters, and was noteworthy for implementing squad-based tactics and non-lethal takedowns in addition to its realism. For the first time, SWAT 4 is now readily available online through GOG.com. GOG conducted a Q&A with creators Paul Hellquist and Bill Gardner to celebrate the release, available for a read here.
Covering the Star Citizen technology demonstrations and planetary procedural generation v2.0, we noted that the live framerate, although variable, seemed to stick around the ~96~100FPS AVG range. Even the hardest dips fell to about 75FPS, mostly when the Constellation star ship entered the camera frustum, but overall frame throughput was consistent and fairly fluid. (Note: Some folks reporting low dips to ~36-43 at times. We did not watch the FPS counter for the entire demo.) Frametimes were also on-point, sitting at an average of about ~8~10ms delta between frames, or effectively perfectly fluid on a 60-120Hz display. Z-fighting and artifacting occurred in the demo, but that is known to the team and is mostly a result of the LOD scaling and pop-in. Runt frames, however, were not much of an issue during the gameplay demonstration.
That comes down to hardware. As we detailed heavily in our Pascal architecture and Polaris architecture deep dives, this generation of hardware has focused efforts on stabilizing frame throughput for greater consistency. Variance between frame delivery exceeding that of the monitor's refresh rate, e.g. 8ms for a 120Hz display, 16ms for a 60Hz display, will create more runt frames and screen tearing at time of playback. This is because the monitor, without adaptive sync tech (which the projector almost certainly did not have), slaves to the GPU and either waits on refresh (V-Sync) for completed frames or immediately “publishes” the frames to the screen (V-Sync off). The latter creates tearing by producing runt frames which don't fully “paint” to the display, with the former producing stuttering when framerate falls below the V-Sync threshold, triggering what is effectively a reprojection of the previous frame.
The ESL One in New York is just a week away. The top eight teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be duking it out for $250,000 starting on October 1st, and ESL One plans to stream the tournament on its official channel. Hardware sponsor nVidia, who are presently making noise that ESL One NY is “the first” major tournament to be held on Pascal architecture, will also be operating a live stream channel for online viewers.
GamersNexus articles have noted in the past that we have a history with board games and pen-and-paper RPGs. When we saw the animation and art style of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the game instantly stood out as worthwhile for PAX coverage.
Characters in Firetop Mountain are modeled like miniatures in a tabletop game. They’re not animated like a video game, either; their limbs don’t move, and instead the characters appear to be picked up and moved about by the player. More so than any title we can remember, including Sword Coast Legends, the sets look like elaborate Dungeons and Dragons pieces.