• NAG Magazine: December 2014 issue

    Full disclosure: I’m writing this post partially blind. I spent the weekend playing Mortal Kombat 9 in preparation for Mortal Kombat X, and during a particularly rambunctious celebration dance (because defeating Shao Kahn ain’t easy,…
  • Impressions: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

    It’s here! Warlords of Draenor is here! I’ve been playing World of Warcraft on and off since Cataclysm (earlier if you count the characters I managed to level all the…
  • Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is newcomer Sledgehammer Game’s first stab at arguably the industry’s biggest IP. While the development team did help Infinity Ward develop 2011’s Modern Warfare…
  • Let's take a closer look at Blizzard's new baby: Overwatch

    This year’s BIG BLIZZCON SURPRISE™ was none other than Overwatch: Blizzard’s first new IP in over 16 years. Technically speaking, StarCraft was the last new IP that Blizzard released…
  • Blizzard and Overwatch: doing diversity right

    The first thing that struck me about the Overwatch trailer, before anything else, was the fact that this game was trying to appeal to me. This is not something…
  • Review: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor one was probably an easy sell for some people. An open-ended action game set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth in which you play a revenge-driven ranger imbued with dark powers…

windows 10 device family

There were some interesting changes instituted by Microsoft when they announced the next version of Windows and one of those was a complete name change – not just calling it Windows 9, implying that it was a mere iteration of Windows 8.1, but a full leap to double digits. While the name change is certainly one designed to make people think that it’s a completely different OS, there were deeper changes made in the last few years that changed things around completely and make me wonder why Microsoft is now calling it Windows 10.0 internally.

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star_citizen_fishtank

Yes, yes, crowd-funding juggernaut Star Citizen has hit yet another million dollar milestone. Whatever! There are more pressing matters at hand here.

SPACE. PETS.

Space pets. Cats, dogs, and likely more exotic things that have tentacles and barf slime or something. That is the plan for the inevitable $64 million dollar stretch goal. And really, should we be calling these “stretch goals” any longer? They’re more like “totally guaranteed goals”.

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da_inquisition_screenshot_10

I’ve been playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for a few days now and I have a confession to make. I’m stuck.

I can’t get past Haven.

Because I keep restarting the game to design a new character.

First I wanted to make my traditional favourite Dragon Age character: an Elf rogue. As much as I tried and tried and tried to make her look like a little Celtic warrior maiden, she’d just come out looking… wrong. Oversized lips, weird cheekbones and jawlines, and tattoo colours that felt like a good idea in theory and never seemed to turn out to be a good idea in practice. So I decided to try out the new playable race, the Qunari.

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For those who were looking for my System Builders Guide for this week, I decided this morning to postpone it to tomorrow. The reason is that I was going to double-check my links and post up the article today, but we have numerous retailers doing these “Black Friday” deals and prices are all completely out of wack for the next 12 hours or so. Because I always aim to be as close as possible to realistic pricing without adding in discounts or rebates, I’m going to have to skip publishing it today. Tomorrow the SBG for the R20,000 to R30,000 price bracket will be up and in December I’m doing the Laptop Buyer’s guide again.

NAG podcast header

Welcome to the NAG Online Podcast! In this seventeenth episode, we’re chatting about hackers, blood sports, Steam holiday sales and why Ubisoft’s review embargoes for The Crew make little sense to us. We’re joined by my brother Matthew Fick and our comrade-in-arms, Mark Del. Join us!

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christmas-money

Holidays are expensive. You have to buy gifts for everyone, you have to fork out cash for dinners and decorations and trees and all things festive, and frankly it can get a bit hard on the wallet.

How then, to make sure you get the best gaming experience while still managing to have a real holiday?

Jump in, I’ve got you covered.

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ac_unity_rooftop_crowd

Assassin’s Creed Unity got off to a very buggy start a few weeks back. Some of the glitches were amusing, while others were utterly terrifying. Since players started sharing all manner of glitches, Ubisoft has been hard at work pushing out constant updates for the game across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Reports are that those patches have made things much more stable, especially with the third major update which released today.

Ubisoft, however, is obviously not happy with the way things have gone, and to say sorry for releasing a broken product they’ve promised that the first piece of DLC (“Dead Kings”) will be free for everyone.

“At launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues,” said Ubisoft Montreal & Toronto CEO Yannis Mallat. “I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin’s Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential.”

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steam_sale_xmas_2014

We’re not sure whether this should be classed a public service announcement or a public warning, but the annual Steam holiday sale kicked off last night local time. The first day of sale titles is still active so be sure to head on over to grab dozens of cheap games that will then sit untouched in your library for years. You’ll likely forget about owning them and then try to repurchase them in a subsequent sale; at which point Steam will say, “You mad, bro?” and you’ll realise, “Oh hey, I didn’t even know I owned this! I should really play it at some point.”

If you’re nowhere near a PC for most of the day, then pick up Steam’s mobile app; it’s actually pretty robust and you can burn through your salary while on the move. Why am I telling you this? I’m so sorry.

 

Gigabyte X99M Gaming 5 (1)

With Intel’s X99 chipset now home to their new Haswell-E processors compatible with DDR4 memory, their partners are trying to figure out exactly how much they can chip off to make the boards physically smaller. As it happens, they’ve been able to chop out quite a bit and now it’s Gigabyte’s turn. Behold, the adorable X99M Gaming 5 motherboard, shrunken down to the mATX form factor! Ain’t it cute?

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destiny_the_dark_below_splash

No really, you should watch this because Activision and Bungie are trying something new and goofy and a little bit funny with this trailer. Destiny player DrCrispy93 is here to tell you all about the sweet loot he’s dude-broed his way to in The Dark Below. It’s very tongue-in-cheek and makes numerous references and inside jokes about Destiny; very often those jokes are at the game’s expense which is kind of refreshing from a developer!

This trailer also does a pretty good job of tempting me into splurging on the DLC. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a job well done because I haven’t touched Destiny in weeks. We already know what extra content is heading to the game in The Dark Below DLC; if you want a closer look at the actual stats of the equipment shown off in the trailer, you can find that here.

Trailer after the jump; it’s amusing so check it out.

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According to a recent investor earnings meeting with Intel and various industry analysts and shareholders, the company is no longer focusing on launching the Broadwell-K processors for the desktop. Instead, they are re-focusing their attention on the next generation of Core products called Skylake, compatible with DDR4 memory and shipping with the LGA1151 socket. It doesn’t paint a fun picture for PC enthusiasts who were looking forward to a processor upgrade this year and many people, including myself, bought into the lie that Broadwell-K was coming. Well, guess there’s no use crying about the spilt milk now, is there?

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NAG-Magazine-December-2014-issue---image-1

Full disclosure: I’m writing this post partially blind. I spent the weekend playing Mortal Kombat 9 in preparation for Mortal Kombat X, and during a particularly rambunctious celebration dance (because defeating Shao Kahn ain’t easy, yo), I may or may not have jammed an excited finger directly into my eyeball. Ouchie. I’m now 5% cyborg, because I’m forced to wear a metal eye patch. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.

Okay, so most of that was a blatant lie. Not the being blind bit, but the finger-to-the-eyeball bit. And the bit where I played Mortal Kombat all weekend, because sadly I did not do that. But I truly am partly blind right now, so if this post is all over the place, I apologise in advance. Don’t blame me. Blame my optometrist.

Anyway, sweet mother of wrapped gifties it’s December! And December means Christmas! And nothing screams Christmas quite like being slow-roasted in the hellfire of an angry yellow skele-ninja who’s probably only angry because all the presents he got from Sub-Zero last year sucked, big time. Ice ice, baby.

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It’s taken Ron Gilbert and Garry Winnick less than a week to collect more than $375,000 to fund their oldschool point-and-click adventure game, Thimbleweed Park. As of late last night the project exceeded its Kickstarter goal with pledges from more than 10,000 backers. “I am at a loss for words,” Ron Gilbert said in an update. “The support has been overwhelming and it’s making us giddy.” The team now looks forward to nailing down some of the loftier stretch goals, with the final one being full voice-overs for the game if pledges hit the $625, 000 mark.

Source: Kickstarter

dead-or-alive-5-last-round

Dead or Alive 5 has led a bit of a charmed life since its release in 2012 thanks to its solid fighting mechanics, a free-to-play version, continued support from Team Ninja via DLC content and its frequently flaunted sexy roster. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round seemed like the natural progression, pulling it onto the next-gen consoles for a new audience while allowing its die-hard fans to port over their existing DLC to a newer platform.

Well, it seems like Last Round won’t be bound solely to console exclusivity. In a recent listing on the ESRB website, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round has been listed for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and “Windows” PC, so at last PC gamers can get their hands on the game. As always, the ESRB description (reprinted verbatim below) manages to condense the contents of the game while completely cutting away any semblence of human emotion or what makes the game, you know, enjoyable.

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Google Contributor (1)

If you spend most of your time on the internet as I do, you’re going to run into some websites that use paid-for advertising to finance their upkeep. NAG Online does it, sites like MyGaming and LazyGamer do it as well and most active commercial websites in general have parts of their page saved for placing adverts. While a sizeable amount of these are not driven by Google Adverts, most of the web does rely on Google for their advertising services and Google Adwords service.

If you’re one of those people who wants to use Adblock Plus but not take away revenue from the websites you visit, Google is testing out a subscription service that would remove Google adverts for you. Its called Google Contributor and there’s a long waiting list of people already trying to hop on it.

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The Crew header

Ubisoft’s been in the news a lot lately, hasn’t it? Coming on from their 12-hour embargo for reviews on Assassin’s Creed: Unity and switching it up for the generally loved Far Cry 4 (which looks amazeballs), the publisher has thrown the review industry another curveball with review embargoes for The Crew.

Ubisoft announced in their blog yesterday that reviews for the game will only be allowed to go up just after launch, but that there are no limitations on what content can go up following the midnight launch of the game (which includes video streams, Lets Plays and so on). Hit the jump for some excerpts from the blog post.

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