December Releases

As per usual, December releases are not much to look at, but there is Just Cause 4 that some people will be stoked for and of course Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but neither of those are my particular cup of tea. Maybe they are yours! On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of December 3rd

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
GODS Remastered
Energy Cycle Edge
Battle Princess Madelyn

Week of December 10th
Desert Child
Lazy Galaxy: Rebel Story


Nintendo Switch

Week of December 3rd

Energy Cycle Edge
Battle Princess Madelyn
Beholder: Complete Edition
Carcassonne
Rival Megagun

Week of December 10th

Guacamelee! 2
Desert Child
Everspace – Stellar Edition
Kingdom Two Crowns
Dragon Marked For Death
GRIS
Omensight: Definitive Edition
SEGA AGES Phantasy Star
Lazy Galaxy: Rebel Story

Week of December 17th
Nightshade
Viviette

Week of December 31st


Nintendo 3DS

No new Nintendo 3DS releases this month.


PC

Week of December 3rd
Jagged Alliance: Rage!
Just Cause 4
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Week of December 10th
Insurgency: Sandstorm

Week of December 24th
Bum Simulator – GAME OF THE YEAR MATERIAL


Sony Playstation 4

Week of December 3rd

Week of December 31st


Sony Playstation Vita

No new Playstation Vita releases this month.


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.)

In My Weekend Gaming Hands

Not literally in my hands anymore, as it’s all been assembled and nestled safely under my desk but after some extensive research, I pulled the trigger on some AMD components to put together a new gaming PC. I hope to get some more posts up describing my decision process but so far, so good. Life in 1440p land is great.

So this weekend will probably involve more than PC gaming than normal. A little Destiny, maybe some Bioshock Infinite and something new, like Tokyo 42.

What are you playing this weekend?

Weekend Gaming

Thanksgiving kicks off the “Holiday Season” officially, with its extended weekend and treat-yo-self mentality that really lends itself to some extended me-time, in the form of some video games.

So what is everyone playing this long weekend? Myself, I have a handful of ideas I’d like to get to.

Most importantly is not gaming in and of itself, but a means to a more glorious form of PC gaming — the process of acquiring new components for a new PC build. Taking advantage of Black Friday deals has netted me a new AMD motherboard/CPU combo and RAM. Thanks, Micro Center!

I’ll be waiting for a couple days for my monitor and GPU to show up, so in the meantime, here’s what I’ll be playing this weekend:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: This is the weekend it all comes together — I am finally going to finish BotW. I’ve collected all but one memory, I have crafted a huge pile of food and elixirs to sustain me during the assault of the castle and I’m coming for you, Calamity Ganon.

breath of the wild

Some of the Buttonmashing crew took advantage of the gift Blizzard bestowed on us all with a free copy of Destiny 2, so I’ll be jumping in and out of that as time allows.

Dota 2: the 7.20 game patch came out last week and all its accompanying game-changing updates. Dota 2 has an eternal place on the Weekend Gaming rotation.

What are you going to be playing this weekend?

Diablo Immortal…NotLikeThis…

The title for the next iteration of Diablo is such a contradiction, considering it might already be dead!

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed in what the next iteration of Diablo turned out to be. Seeing a title like, “Diablo: What’s Next?” on the schedule for BlizzCon opened up the hype gates like Tyrael parting the sky from heaven on his way down to Sanctuary to slay some demon spawn!

Blizzard even had to temper the enthusiasm from the Diablo fan base with a post because everyone was hoping for just a glimpse of Diablo 4. Just a peek would be all we needed but, alas, it was not meant to be. I’ll tell you what was next though, a big heaping pile of #notmydiablo!

If I’m being harsh it’s because I have been fan of Diablo from the beginning. I can remember playing the original Diablo over local co-op on the PlayStation with my brother, so many hours with Diablo 2 on the PC, and finally with Diablo 3 on the PC (over and over again – thank you seasons). I don’t think anyone was looking forward to a smartphone version of Diablo (if you can find someone that was clamoring for it, let me know in the comments – genuinely asking here folks).

This will be the first Diablo game that I won’t play… wow… that’s a hard one to type. I choose not to play it because it’s not the game I want and certainly not the Diablo I want. It feels like the powers that be at Blizzard (or maybe Activision) are not aware of what the fan base wants or they don’t care. Since we don’t know what the pricing is or what micro-transactions are going to be available in the game, we can’t say it was just a cash grab…yet. Whatever the model ends up being doesn’t really matter. What does matter, and I HOPE Blizzard is listening, is that they missed the mark. No amount of hype, or faux hype at the BlizzCon announcement can make a game desirable when it wasn’t wanted in the first place.

After perusing some of the Diablo 3 subreddit (I mean, where else would you go to get the pulse of a community?) I found a very concise summary to the whole thing from user j005e and to sum it up; I share it here:

Card

The phrase that I’ve seen used a lot in defense of Blizzard/Activision is, “You can’t please everyone.” and while that’s true, you could at least satisfy the Diablo fanbase. Sadly, I don’t know if any lessons will be learned or anything good will come from this whole thing. I do hope I’m wrong and Blizzard give us all a mea culpa but, what are the chances of that?

Monitor Sync’ing – Let’s Figure It Out

Having looked at monitor refresh rate, another aspect to consider when selecting a monitor is deciding what type of synchronization works best with the system’s graphics card.

There are three major offerings for sync’ing the video signal output of a give GPU to the monitor: V-Sync, G-SYNC and FreeSync (they will also be dropping a dope album in 2019).

V-Sync (vertical synchronization) has been around for a long time, going all the way back to CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors. V-Sync was devised as a technology that attempted to match (synchronize) the frames per second of the video card with the refresh rate of the monitor. The biggest hurdle to getting this to work was that a given GPU’s frames per second are in constant flux, making this synchronization difficult. New frames would be available before the monitor had finished drawing the previous frame. This fluctuation leads to the phenomenon known as screen tearing, where the refresh rate is slower than the GPU output and the monitor can’t keep up, drawing half of one frame and half of the next. The V-Sync technology evolved to use a buffering system so that it only grabs frames that are complete (if the video card is faster than the refresh rate of the monitor, drawing frames faster than can be displayed, it will put a frame in a buffer and start working on the next frame while the monitor displays the current frame in the buffer). This works well when the GPU fps is outpacing the monitor refresh rate. It breaks down (as most of these technologies do) when the frames per second drop below the refresh rate. It is also limited to refresh rates that are multiples monitor refresh rate (60 fps, 30 fps, etc.) (This post on HardForum really gets into the nitty gritty of V-Sync).

NVIDIA’s G-SYNC and AMD’s FreeSync look to alleviate the problems plaguing V-Sync in two different ways.

NVIDIA’s G-SYNC solution is hardware based, meaning work is done both on the GPU side and the monitor side. A G-SYNC capable monitor has an NVIDIA chip that communicates with the NVIDIA GPU and syncs the refresh rate of the monitor with the fps of the GPU. This obviously caps the possible fps to the monitor specs, but the ability to modify the refresh rate dynamically provides a noticeable image quality improvement. Screen tearing and input lag (the time between moving the mouse or hitting a key on the keyboard) improves due to the increase in screen refresh. (This probably only applies to high-level professional gamers, but we all think we’re Pros, so…) It does increase the price of the monitor given that the monitor manufacturer has to include extra hardware. (As stated earlier, as frame rates drop, the syncing technology suffers.)

AMD’s FreeSync technology is GPU-only and therefore doesn’t require any extra hardware on the monitor end (but does require that the DisplayPort input be used). FreeSync takes advantage of “Adaptive-Sync” that VESA has built into the standard DisplayPort standard. From the VESA website: “DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync enables the display to dynamically match a GPU’s rendering rate, on a frame-by-frame basis, to produce a smoother, low latency, gaming experience.” An AMD Radeon GPU is required to utilize FreeSync capabilities, (just like NVIDIA and G-SYNC) but FreeSync offers a wider range of monitors able to take advantage of the adaptive synchronization.

When making a final decision on which monitor is the best option, cost and technology preference are the two deciding factors. By most accounts, NVIDIA’s G-SYNC offering edges out FreeSync in terms of performance, especially at the high end. That performance comes at a price, however, as the extra hardware that is added to G-SYNC monitors increases its price. Without first-hand experience, I am not in a position to recommend either. I started the process of researching components for a new PC with the intention of using an NVIDIA GPU but now I am being swayed into AMD’s camp with the cheaper, more diverse FreeSync monitor options.

Either way, the current setup and future plans for your setup will dictate your monitor choice.