Archives for October 2018

Diablo 3 on the Switch

I’m still working through the next monitor research post, but I just wanted to complete a quick side-quest to say how pleasantly surprising it is to read that Diablo 3 on the Switch is actually pretty good. I am proud of that little Switch machine and I get a little defensive when its horsepower is questioned but I’m also a realist — I know it has limitations. I am currently playing through Season 15 on PC as a zoo keeper Necro and it sure seems like the game would suffer on the Switch, but apparently that doesn’t seem to be the case. A smattering of reviews:

IGN calls it “amazing” and gives it a 9/10:

And though we tried like hell to bring Diablo 3’s 60fps framerate to its knees on the Switch, it not only didn’t break, it didn’t even flinch. With four players setting off crazy special attacks amidst dozens of monsters onscreen, Diablo 3 on Switch stayed buttery smooth.

Polygon gives it high marks:

Being able to run through rifts at your desk, sitting on the couch while watching a movie or while traveling is great. Unless you’re really trying to push the limits of your current character, Diablo 3 is about as chill as it gets, and having it detached from big screen and ready to play whenever you are is reason enough to pick up the Switch port.

God is a Geek comes in with an 8.5/10 score and reports that couch co-op isn’t all that bad:

The Switch version offers 4-player couch-co-op (if you have enough controllers), which is incredibly fun but can be frustrating when you’re all trying to micromanage your character’s gear and the menu screen blocks everyone else’s game, forcing them to sit and wait until you’re done. Played online it’s easier, but of course you lose the undeniable magic of playing together on the same screen.

While I don’t think Diablo 3 on the Switch is in my future, it’s nice to see it’s continuing the streak of great games on the Switch.

Paradox Interactive Halloween Sale – Through Nov 1

Paradox Interactive is hosting a Halloween sale today through November 1st. The digital storefront displays a few of the ‘ghastly gems’ whose price tags are hack n’ slashed for the week. Most notably is the bevy of expansions for city sim Cities: Skylines, having recently released its latest addon ‘Cities: Skylines – Industries’. Also present are recent expansions for the other usual Paradox titles: Stellaris, Europa Universalis 4, and BATTLETECH.

Digging a little deeper into the sale we see the other usual titles ala Crusader Kings, Hearts of Iron 4, Tyranny and all of their expansions and cosmetic DLCs. Mixed in with these are more, older expansions for Cities: Skylines and Stellaris, a handfull of portrait packs, a music pack for HoI4, and lesser-known, older titles like Knights of Pen & Paper and Majesty and Ancient Space and Warlock II, and I guess Paradox has the rights to the Shadowrun games, now?

Cool… I think?

Paradox games have largely shaped who I am as a gamer, and I am still of the opinion that Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best games conceptually and the most fun to play ever in the history of histories…

…But (did you sense a ‘but’ coming?), when I take a step back and look at this sale catalog, it simply doesn’t blow my skirt up like it used to; it’s just the usual base games drowning in a sea of DLC banners mingled with newer games that, as a publisher, Paradox is putting some weight behind but simply have not taken off.

When considered singly, I do not fully bemoan all these excessive DLC titles for their games, and am not complaining that their online storefront is no more organised than a clearance bin at Walmart. It all just looks washed out and it makes me feel just as jaded towards expanding my own Paradox library.

Click the banner, and you do you.

Monitor Refresh Rate – Let’s Figure it Out

(I am in the process of doing the research before building a new PC. As I work through this research, I’m going to post some of the more useful/interesting tidbits I find along the way. This is the first of a series of quick posts.)

The plan is to build a moderately beefy computer. I’m not going the budget route, but I’m also not going the all-out, 4k-capable, 100fps ultra-settings PC, either. I think I’ll use the monitor as a starting point to build the system around. I’m selecting a 1440p monitor and will select components that will give me the flexibility to upgrade to the 4k realm if I so desire down the road. For now, I think 2560×1440 will be plenty of pixels.

It’s been a long time since I’ve bought a new monitor (I am still rocking this solid but definitely long-in-the-tooth Lenovo ThinkVision 24″ beauty pictured above) so I haven’t done any serious monitor research in over eight years. As you can see, the refresh rate on my ThinkVision is 60Hz. Back when I got it, no one fretted over refresh rates. It was all about resolution, and I specifically chose that model for its 1920x1200 resolution. Those extra 180 pixels turned me into a resolution snob. Oh you play at 1080p? That’s cute. My monitor eats 1080p’s for breakfast.

So since I’m not going for those ultra-high 4k settings, I’m going to look for a solid 2560×1440 monitor with a good refresh rate.

In simple terms, the refresh rate is how many times per second the monitor is able to change each pixel on the screen. While it is not tied to frames per second (that’s how many graphical images [frames] your graphics card can pump out), you need a monitor that can at least keep up with the power of your graphics card. If your graphics card is easily humming along at 100 fps, that old 60 Hz monitor isn’t going to keep up and you’re losing graphical “quality”. Having a monitor’s refresh rate be as close to the frames per second being pumped out by the GPU is essential to making the most of your system’s power. How fast you need is really a personal preference. This article I found at Digital Trends sums up what the majority of my research has shown:

In short, if you’re a gamer, we’d argue that you would see a greater, more obvious benefit from switching to a high-refresh rate monitor than you would in upgrading to 4K — as doing both can get inordinately expensive and taxing on your hardware. 120Hz or 144Hz displays make for smoother, tear-free gaming with less input lag.

The way it looks is this: the jump from 60Hz (where I’m currently at) to anything over 100Hz is going to be markedly improved. The sweet spot seems to be around 144Hz. There are newer screens coming out that top out at 240Hz, but now we’re in the realm of diminishing returns. The difference going from 60 to 120Hz is drastic. The difference from 120 to 240 is only going to be perceptible to the trained eye (that means not me).

So we’re looking for a monitor with a 144 Hz refresh rate, but that’s not all. There’s still things like response rate, sync’ing, and if curvature is all it’s cracked up to be.

October Releases

This is the moment Red Deadheads have been waiting YEARS for (I’m one of them). All other publishers are playing with fire by releasing anything the week of the 22nd, but here we are. Throw in a new Assassin’s Creed, Forza Horizon, Black Ops, and Mega Man and this month is chocka-block full of solid titles, something for everyone.

On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of October 1st

Week of October 8th

Chronus Arc

Week of October 15th

Week of October 22nd

Week of October 29th


Nintendo Switch

Week of October 1st

Splash Blast Panic
Soulblight
Revenant Dogma
oOo: Ascension
Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story

Week of October 8th

The World Ends with You: Final Remix
Child of Light Ultimate Edition
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered

Week of October 15th

Starlink: Battle For Atlas
SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
DARK SOULS: REMASTERED

Week of October 22nd

Week of October 29th

Transistor


Nintendo 3DS

Week of October 8th


PC

Week of October 1st
Mega Man 11

Week of October 8th
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
WWE 2K19

Week of October 15th
SOULCALIBUR VI
The Jackbox Party Pack 5
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
LEGO DC Super-Villains
WARRIORS OROCHI 4

Week of October 22nd
Disgaea 5 Complete
Eternum EX

Week of October 29th
Call of Cthulhu
Project Hospital


Sony Playstation 4

Week of October 1st

Week of October 8th

Week of October 15th

Week of October 22nd

Week of October 29th


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of October 1st

Week of October 29th


What are you picking up this month?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)