Benchmarking Mass Effect: Andromeda immediately revealed a few considerations for our finalized testing. Frametimes, for instance, were markedly lower on the first test pass. The game also prides itself in casting players into a variety of environs, including ship interiors, planet surfaces of varying geometric complexity (generally simpler), and space stations with high poly density. Given all these gameplay options, we prefaced our final benchmarking with an extensive study period to research the game’s performance in various areas, then determine which area best represented the whole experience.
Our Mass Effect: Andromeda benchmark starts with definitions of settings (like framebuffer format), then goes through research, then the final benchmarks at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p.
Anyone who sticks to one medium for gaming -- PC, Xbox, Playstation, destroyed Switch -- inevitably misses out on some games. For us at GamersNexus, Monster Hunter has long been one of those franchises. Luckily, Phoenix Labs felt the same way, and so created a more platform-favorable co-op, behemoth-slaying RPG called “Dauntless.” Dauntless aims to bring a refreshed, new take on the hunting experience, adding a healthy dash of Dark Souls-inspired combat for the PC platform.
The very existence of humanity is being threatened by aether-fueled behemoths, we’re told, and so you shouldn’t feel bad about eradicating entire families of beasts, Design Director Chris Cleroux informed us. Just murder all of them. They’re all bad.
Thunder Lotus has hit their stride in game making. Their first game, Jotun, made waves largely due to the beautiful hand-drawn visuals. They’ve now embarked on their second title, Sundered, and they’re hoping to do the same again. Shifting to a more “Metroidvania” style game has only benefited from the appeal of Thunder Lotus’ hand drawn aesthetic, which carries over into the new action/platformer title.
In Sundered, you control Eshe, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. Separated from your group by an eldritch sandstorm, Eshe is forced to investigate the powerful arcane forces that shattered the world. Throughout the game, enemies come from two fractions: the Valkyries and the Eschatons. The Valkyries were once humanity’s best soldiers, formed to try and stop the cataclysm that shattered the world. The Eschatons, on the other hand, were humans that fell under the sway of those same eldritch powers. Eshe will have to overcome both throughout the game.
With Ryzen around the corner, we wanted to publish a full CPU benchmark of Watch Dogs 2 in our test course, as we’ve recently found the game to be heavily thread-intensive and responsive to CPU changes. The game even posts sizable gains for some overclocks, like on the i5-2500K, and establishes a real-world platform of when CPU choice matters. It’s easy to bottleneck GPUs with Watch Dogs 2, which is something of a unique characteristic for modern games.
Watch Dogs 2 is a familiar title by now at the GN test bench, and while we’ve published a GPU benchmark and a more recent CPU optimization guide, we never published a comprehensive CPU benchmark. We’ve gathered together all our results here, from the 2500K revisit all the way to Kaby Lake reviews (see: 7600K review & 7350K review), and analyzed what exactly makes a CPU work well with Watch Dogs 2 and why.
In this Watch Dogs 2 CPU benchmark, we’ll recap some graphics optimization tips for CPUs and test whether an i7 is worth it, alongside tests of the 7600K, 7700K, 6600K, 7350K, FX-8370, and more.
One interesting aspect of the Watch_Dogs 2 benchmarking we did for our 2500K revisit was the difference in performance between i5s and i7s. At stock speeds, the i7-2600K was easily outpacing the i5-2500K by roughly 15 FPS—and even more interestingly, the i7-6700K managed to hit our GTX 1080’s ceiling of 110-115 FPS, while the i5-6600K only managed 78.7 with the same settings. Watch_Dogs 2 is clearly a game where the additional threads are beneficial, making it an exciting test opportunity as that’s not a common occurrence. We decided to look into settings optimization for CPUs with Watch Dogs 2, and have tested a few of the most obvious graphics settings to see which ones can really help.
This Watch Dogs 2 graphics optimization guide focuses on CPU performance to try and figure out which settings can be increased (with GPU overhead) and decreased (with CPU limits).
Before even getting started here, let’s put out the obvious disclaimer. This GPU benchmark is for the beta version of For Honor, which means a few things: (1) the game’s not final yet and, despite being just two weeks away, there are still some graphics settings missing from the menu; (2) nVidia’s current drivers are optimized for the beta, but the company plans another update some point soon for further optimizations; (3) AMD has not yet released drivers for the game, though we did ask for early access and were told that the company won’t be ready until launch day. There are day-0 drivers planned from AMD.
Regardless, we tested anyway to see how the beta performs and get a baseline understanding of what we should expect overall from the new multiplayer brawler title. For Honor thus far has proven impressively detailed in geometry and texturing (especially texturing), and deserves high marks for the art department. Granted, that generally means more abuse on the video card or CPU (for the complex geometric draw calls), so we’ve got some For Honor graphics settings scaling tests as well.
This graphics card benchmark tests For Honor’s performance at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p with Extreme settings. We tested using a real, in-game benchmark rather than the built-in benchmark, which generally makes performance look a lot worse than it is in reality (we have a chart demonstrating this). Settings scaling was tested from low to extreme, as was multiplayer and ‘singleplayer’ (bot match). We primarily ran For Honor benchmarks with the AMD RX 480 8GB & 4GB, RX 470 4GB, RX 460 2GB, & 390X cards vs. the GTX 1080, 1070, 1060 6GB & 3GB, 1050 & Ti, and 970 AIB partner cards.
The 4th installment in the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect Andromeda, will launch March 21 of 2017 in North America on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Europe will see a release date of March 23, 2017. Andromeda’s story will take place hundreds of years after the events of the original Mass Effect Trilogy, completely separate from the original storyline. Andromeda will be set in a true open world environment instead of the “linear open world” in the first 3 Mass Effect games.
In this article, we’ll explore everything we know so far (most of the important bits, anyway) with Mass Effect: Andromeda. We’re leaving out major speculative pieces in this and instead focusing on information officially released or deduced through careful observation of trailers and screenshots. We’ve also had some interview time with the Andromeda team, and will be including that coverage in this content.
Medieval action/strategy RPG Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord moved one step closer to release when a Steam page was unveiled in October, but still has no official release date.
Confusingly, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is a prequel to Mount & Blade: Warband, itself a 2010 standalone expansion to the 2007 game Mount & Blade—it helps to just think of Warband as a complete overhaul of the original. Warband has maintained a loyal fanbase since release—thanks to the winter sale, steamcharts.com reported roughly 12,000 players in-game as of this writing (a bit more than Elder Scrolls Online). In 2012, developer TaleWorlds announced they would follow-up on Warband’s success with Bannerlord, and have been slowly releasing tidbits of information since. Here’s what we know so far:
As the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start to wind down, we will begin to take a look at some games that are among the most popular on Steam. Some of these games were greatly reduced on the Autumn Sale, and while that sale has ended, Steam usually hosts a Winter Sale -- that’ll be coming up shortly.
For today, we’ve got a list of some of our top PC games for 2016 (including previous releases and sales). All the below games are available on Steam. This year's game releases felt a little lighter in the AAA category versus last year; at least, when considering last year offered GTA V and The Witcher 3 in rapid succession, but active sales have revived last year's titles alongside a couple major indie hits for 2016.
Here is the shortlist:
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