As 2016 comes to an end, Steam is hosting their annual Winter Sale from now until January 2nd at 10AM PST. Steam’s annual Autumn Sale ran this year from November 23rd to 29th, so if you missed out on that, this is probably the last chance to get some savings for the year. Then again, Steam does sales routinely -- careful use of the wishlist means you’ll get notifications as items go up for sale throughout the year.
For today, we have a list of some of our best PC games of 2016 as well as some titles from 2015 that are discounted significantly. As these Steam sales come to a close, we will just be arriving in Las Vegas for the year’s Consumer Electronics Show, so do follow closely for that! News will ramp-up significantly post-Xmas.
Here is the shortlist:
Last week's game news recap overviewed major No Man's Sky, Star Citizen, and RPG news (including some Fallout 4 discussion). That was our first weekly recap of games industry news and, finding it to be tremendous fun and receiving positive feedback, we've returned with the second episode.
This week was another eventful period for the industry, heralding the arrival of Black Ops III, the Fallout 4 launch trailer, and putting a public spotlight on Valve's advertising during sales. News also erupted surrounding the Warcraft movie trailer, followed shortly by news that The Witcher series has already gone through pre-production for its own movie creation. Granted, the Witcher is technically based on a book – but close enough.
Following publication of our investigative report that outed inexplicably poor call center performance, Rockstar reached-out to us with redoubled efforts to resolve uprooted support concerns. Yesterday's feature piece primarily highlighted a hangup policy – support agents claimed a “requirement” to hang-up on phone-in customers immediately after reading from a script. This occurred upon calling for status updates on tickets, which were consistently met with the same response:
Our most recent investigative consumer report set forth a goal to evaluate Rockstar Games' customer service phone and email support. The company has been under fire lately resultant of hacked GTA V social accounts, whereupon users have lost access to their GTA accounts (a $60 purchase) – and their ability to play the game – and have been placed on indefinite hold for a resolution. In the case of one reader who reached-out to us, we were informed that Rockstar customer support “hung up” on the reader, an action that we viewed as inexcusable if true.
We set forth in search of that truth. Our recorded calls (and this story) can be found below.
Following our GTA V benchmark from yesterday, we decided to embark on a mission to determine the impact of texture qualities on system performance and visual acuity. We took screenshots of identical objects at Very High, High, and Normal texture resolutions at 4K, then compared the textures in combined screenshots. During this process, maximum theoretical VRAM consumption and texture quality impact on FPS and tearing were also analyzed, resulting in a specific settings benchmark for GTA V.
The launch of GTA V ($60) saw the publication of our video card benchmark earlier today, which looked at the performance of various configurations playing the new open world game. In the process of testing video cards – and while speaking with others who've attempted to play GTA V – we found several bugs and crashes that require attention.
The game is better-optimized than most day-1 PC titles, something for which Rockstar deserves credit, but still falls short for a few users. This article looks at GTA V crash fixes, black screens, frame stutter / drops, and lag and offers some work-arounds and solutions.
It's finally here.
Grand Theft Auto V took its time to migrate to PC, and from our preliminary overview and testing, it seems like the wait was worthwhile. GTA V's PC port exhibits unique PC features, like a VRAM consumption slider indicative of the maximum VRAM requirement of the current settings. The port also added first-person mode, complete with new 3D models and animations for the characters' arms, phone, guns, and what-have-you. As you'll find out in our benchmark results below, the game is also incredibly well-optimized across most graphics card configurations, something we can't say has been true for most games in recent history.
These things take time, and RockStar certainly took as much of that as it needed.
Using a suite of video cards spanning the Titan X, SLI GTX 980s, R9 290X and 270Xs, GTX 960s, 750 Ti cards, and more, we benchmarked GTA V in an intensive test. This GTA V PC benchmark compares FPS of various graphics cards at maximum settings in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.
This article makes no intentions to comment on gameplay value.
Don't be the April fool this year with an outdated PC, struggling to fully appreciate the high-fidelity graphics of modern games at high resolutions. This month's mid-range gaming PC build comes in at just over $1000, focusing purely on high gaming framerates at resolutions approaching 1440p – though it'll handle 1080p just fine.
This system opted for use of an AMD 290X given its positioning as a cost-effective alternative to the similarly-priced GTX 970. With the looming launch of Grand Theft Auto V, we built the system with the intention of running the game at ultra graphics settings, hopefully allowing some headroom for graphics mods in the future. This gaming PC will handle GTA V without issue.
This time around, we decided to do a high-end Gaming PC build that features an AMD video card. This PC will be able to play most modern games at the highest settings, so the only April showers you see will be tears of your enemies.
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