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What are you playing?

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The original AC is a brilliant game! :)

It's a shame the series took a deep dive not long after it. AC2 was alright, AC3 was a bit too much in terms of side quests and points of interests on the map, but overall playable. I finished it, but gave up on the series. I wanted to pick it up again with AC: Rogue (playing as a templar sounded awesome), but what a mess that game was! :( I got lost just doing the main story. Never even finished it.

My problem with late AC games is that they're trying to be too many things at the same time. There's too much distraction and I lose the point of it all.

People say Black Flag is great, and I should probably play it, I just haven't been able to get myself to it.
TBH, I think the formula is tired, and they keep trying to find all of these ways to keep it going when the time has long come to innovate.

My personal preference would be to cap it off, take what has been learned, and has grown across the franchise, and breathe life into that by using it to inform the construction of an entirely new entity, for a new period in gaming.

I feel like this HAS to be a common sentiment. You can at this point go into any open, casual gaming space and find this skepticism and detachment towards a lot of previosly popular entries and even whole concepts. I kind of envision game design as its own ever evolving language - it's a coded means of communication, specifically formulated for the transmission of an experience. Throughout all of gaming history there has been a cat-and-mouse going on between players both individually and collectively learning and ultimately conquering the language, and game designers expanding and repurposing terms and grammatical devices to keep us from basically knowing what the entire game experience is. We actually modulate the language, too. Often we interact with games in unanticipated ways and developer see that, and must then figure out how to adapt to us. What is especially interesting is the relationships that gaming communities have to their games, and how that seems to then influence how games are made. I think a lot goes untapped/uncultivated by developers, and the ones who do focus on it may reap big rewards from future efforts. If the elements going into the whole process of formulating games changes, games will change, no?

The point when people start to disengage, is when the conversation never changes. And by "conversation" I mean, the little meta-dialogue happening between developers developing/tweaking, and players playing/reacting.

AC feels like old guard to me, now. No matter what they do with it, I feel like I already know about it. It looks different, this is different, that is different... but the whole design approach is essentially the same.

People's sensibilities now are not what they were when this stuff was first in vogue. It feels like the biggest names are the slowest to adapt these days. I think that's just a function of the economies these entities all exist in. It's just like how every corporation, or even just new style of business has a shelf-life before they go through a predictable death cycle and things just become sort of sad and hollow. Take the American shopping mall, for example. No idea seems to be sustainable forever. I often wonder if the consumer element doesn't have a lot to do with the stagnation pattern these bodies of work seem to follow, though.

Normally, I follow that same school of thought. But there are times where I want to have a gaming session and multi-task.
I play Elden Ring with the fextralife interactive map up. It's so helpful when you want to maximize exploration after having completed more half-hearted runs. But it involves a lot of alt-tabbing, and is fairly memory-intensive with everything shown. It would be easier if I forced windowed mode.

I do that with FO4 and Skyrim, too. The display modes are a can of worms with them, but some things about mods can be edited, and are more easily edited when you keep the game running and force it to update in-game. Another reason to do it is that if you have borked something in your mod setup and a script is hanging, leaving you in a loading loop, sometimes cycling the game window to 'inactive' makes the jammed script 're-roll' and believe it or not, it actually does resolve with a try or two much of the time. You'll know because you'll hear the loading screen end pretty much as soon as you start interacting with another window. Maybe something to do with priority? As much as I mess with those games, I only ever understand them less. I can only say that IME it can work whether the game is set to continue running when the instance is out of focus or not. If the instance actually pauses, you just have to do an additional alt-tab back in before it slips free.
 
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TBH, I think the formula is tired, and they keep trying to find all of these ways to keep it going when the time has long come to innovate.

My personal preference would be to cap it off, take what has been learned, and has grown across the franchise, and breathe life into that by using it to inform the construction of an entirely new entity, for a new period in gaming.

I feel like this HAS to be a common sentiment. You can at this point go into any open, casual gaming space and find this skepticism and detachment towards a lot of previosly popular entries and even whole concepts. I kind of envision game design as its own ever evolving language - it's a coded means of communication, specifically formulated for the transmission of an experience. Throughout all of gaming history there has been a cat-and-mouse going on between players both individually and collectively learning and ultimately conquering the language, and game designers expanding and repurposing terms and grammatical devices to keep us from basically knowing what the entire game experience is. We actually modulate the language, too. Often we interact with games in unanticipated ways and developer see that, and must then figure out how to adapt to us. What is especially interesting is the relationships that gaming communities have to their games, and how that seems to then influence how games are made. I think a lot goes untapped/uncultivated by developers, and the ones who do focus on it may reap big rewards from future efforts. If the elements going into the whole process of formulating games changes, games will change, no?

The point when people start to disengage, is when the conversation never changes. And by "conversation" I mean, the little meta-dialogue happening between developers developing/tweaking, and players playing/reacting.

AC feels like old guard to me, now. No matter what they do with it, I feel like I already know about it. It looks different, this is different, that is different... but the whole design approach is essentially the same.

People's sensibilities now are not what they were when this stuff was first in vogue. It feels like the biggest names are the slowest to adapt these days. I think that's just a function of the economies these entities all exist in. It's just like how every corporation, or even just new style of business has a shelf-life before they go through a predictable death cycle and things just become sort of sad and hollow. Take the American shopping mall, for example. No idea seems to be sustainable forever. I often wonder if the consumer element doesn't have a lot to do with the stagnation pattern these bodies of work seem to follow, though.
That's an interesting thought.

I hear many people saying that the gaming industry is dying, or that the movie industry is dying, or that entertainment in general is dying. I don't agree, but I see where they're coming from. We get bombarded by big companies and their new skins (because that's what they are - not movies, not games, but skins). The big Hollywood studios and the big game developers are all trying to make iteration after iteration of well-known franchises that essentially don't differ from one another in their core. Call of Duty is always the same shooter, for example. What guns you have in which, or what missions you have to complete are essentially DLCs, but they sell them as complete games at full price.

Then you have the socio-political propaganda in everything that sickens me to no end. There's nothing about an imaginary fight for equality, because representation in a game or movie doesn't solve present-day issues (let alone past ones). It's not about representation, either, as having all races and sexualities portrayed in historical, fantasy, etc. settings only makes the story feel awkward, forced, and just wrong. Let's admit it: there were no black Vikings, just like there were no white samurais, no female crusader knights, etc. It also doesn't help the message, because it diverts every story into a racial and sexual war for no reason. For example, Star Wars doesn't need gay people, just like it doesn't need straight ones, either. It's not a story about sex, it doesn't need sex represented in any way. Anakin Skywalker's secret marriage was enough, as it drove the story forward. Finn and Rose's kiss doesn't. It's just there, it's pointless and it's awkward. And why does every single male character in The Rings of Power have to be an utter tool for the female protagonist to succeed (and succeed in literally every single scenario presented to her)? The only message it drives forward is that men have to be sh*t at everything in order for women to be successful, which is not true.

Despite all this, I still disagree with people saying that entertainment is dying. There are many good bands coming out with their first or second albums that I haven't heard about. I just turn on the radio and listen to pure awesomeness sometimes. I see the same in the game industry: there are lots of small, not-so-well advertised studios with brilliant games. Before God of War, I just finished Stray. I started it as a light flick among the big names, but it ended up being a game-of-the-year level deep experience for me. I could also mention Deliver Us The Moon, or Abzu. All wonderful stories presented in a beautiful way.

Maybe entertainment in its classical sense (big studios pushing big titles) really is dying. But my conclusion is that not everything that shines is gold, and if you want real gold, sometimes you have to dig deep. Good entertainment is all around us - one just has to look behind Disney's, Amazon's, Netflix's, EA's, Activision's, etc. haze to see what's really worth seeing.
 
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Boarderless mode I prefer when it works right and performance isn't a primary concern. More often than not however there is a modest performance penalty so depending upon how important frame rates are it just generally not preferable.

The issue with windowed mode is it's a nuisance when you want to tab out to multi-task to something else like a web browser or music player or whatever else. There is also that switching delay lag that is noticeable and a bigger aggravation in many instances than the FPS drop from windowed mode.

I'd say there are pro's and con's to each respectively. One thing nice with boarderless is you can stretch to desktop from a smaller resolution render. You can even use that to do a touch of upscale from a secondary GPU or integrated. I don't think it can be done in windowed mode that I know of since it's a full screen render.
 
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@AusWolf I wouldn't really say entertainment is dying at all. Not when it comes to gaming, neither music, nor visual mediums.

Things are more commercialized and commodified than ever, but there is still a lot going on beneath that veneer. When it comes to creative institutions in society, I not only expect occasional decay cycles, but accept them as ultimately being for the best. Old ideas, ways of packing things up, distributing, and consuming them have always been replaced by new ones as time went by. At the same time, the newer blood is beginning to gain ground in creative industries (even within the old monoliths themselves.) I think we are just in a weird in-between phase where everyone is getting on a similar level with what the problems are in their favorite mediums, and are setting eyes on things outside of those problems. What it takes to stand out is subtly changing, and has been for a while now. Mini-industries form around entire ways of doing games, though. So as support for those fades, the bigger picture sentiments become more clearly consistent and certain things will slide down the lexicon - things sunset at the pace of a frog's boil. But that's happening because people are gradually looking to new things. This has implications. Over time, I've kinda seen AAA studios more often having to learn from each other's mistakes, when many of those things didn't used to be considered mistakes - but now are considered mistakes, simply because people's ideas of how games should be have evolved over time spent playing and discussing games/media it all hovers around, as have methods for realizing those ideals.

Part of this, I think is down to changes in consumption habits and attitudes, brought on by the adoption of newer, more efficient delivery methods. As much a being tied to these systems that link us all together and show us all of these things may be a huge boon for all of the big fish out there exploiting it, they opened Pandora's box. It's been like an accelerant to the propulsion of creative ideas and endeavors across the globe. Even the targeting that plagues it all, unwittingly contributes to its own opposition by creating an environment where many, many niche things can see pretty good success. Any one of those things alone would not be competition for the bigger, more generalized, lower-common-denominator stuff. But what if every denominator had a decently sized entertainment niche that was more relatable, more to their sensibilities, matching in quality, and just downright more interesting? Theoretically speaking, enough of the right microbes in the right environment could out-compete an elephant for oxygen and choke it out.

Take music. Plenty of people out there will say music isn't what it used to be. But if you ask anyone who's engaging with the insanely diverse, cavernous, and virulently-churning world of internet music through even just a handful of the many well-established avenues for finding music, they'll say it has also become so many things it has never even been able to be before. Really, you could draw a lot of parallels to the changes we've seen in music when it comes to what works and the range of things out there. I think we have to acknowledge that the mechanisms by which the greats of the past were able to exist as they did, no longer function like they used to, and so we lose those things. However, what they've been lost to is a gateway to more innovation at a faster pace. There are simply too many greats to count, too many for all of the amphitheaters in the world. The art in it all grows faster than ever, it's just more atomized and granular. It's shifted to become a bit less about being widely adored by supermassive audiences and a bit more about being adored heavily by the right groups of people for what you want to do in music. And I think that has completely changed the range of stuff that got made over the past decade for the better.

In a way, big established names struggling more can mean things have already become more sophisticated. The big players are like big, stone golems - ancient Collosi. Unimaginably sturdy, but only slightly more nimble than a mountain, with clutch weak spots to boot. Smaller, more nimble studios thrive in a setting where people are more plugged in, having been brought to reconsider what they want out of these games that no longer satisfy them. They can quickly bring newness in. And a lot of them are quite good at what they do, use similar tools to big names, and innovate more with regards to how they accomplish things and what concepts they run with since unlike the AAA Collosi, they don't have as much to lose.

There's no question of if something new will follow the depreciation of things like the massive conglomerates that are in the class of EA, Ubisoft, or any of its little kingdoms. I only have many questions regarding the what and where. Generally speaking, what tends to happen when the bigger producers of entertainment falter in their delivery, is a power vacuum situation forms wherein smaller elements can gain more visibility than usual. Some of the groups that thrive in that could be the next big ones to come around - set a different tone. Many other contributors to change will simply have their ways cannibalized by bigger names - some of those elements will come from ideas that maybe didn't work in their original context. It's all a big melting pot, where different creative groups rise up and try to fill these voids for people, and maybe open a path for bigger things.

Plague Tale: Requiem might be one of my favorite games this year. It completely out does the first in scale, scope, and overall refinement by quite a lot. And that only happened because the first one got enough buzz for me to catch on, and was such a nicely-made breath of fresh air from the usual takes on things in so many ways, even in spite of being comparatively small and simple when considering AAA standards. Loved that game. Loved the fact that this studio used years of commissions to formulate their own ways of making games in the background, to ultimately drop a strong enough original title at the right moment to put them on track for another. I think we might see a lot of that happening. I also expect some existing big guys to learn and re-vamp.

The way I've always thought of things is that by the time something gets as big and powerful as Ubi/AC, it is essentially beginning to get close to middle-aged in gamer-years. They already have grown kids and everything. They could conceivably have many, many years to come; but how many years come, and what kinds of years come, depends on many things...
 
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Ruru

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FF VII Remake Intergrade. Looks even more nice in 4K :)
 

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I can imagine, I can't wait for 32" 4k!!! you chose very well! I plan to replay FFX in 4k whenever I get my 32" 4k someday. I haven't played it since I was a kid, but I have been saving the HD Remaster update in my steam library for that day.
I have practically every FF on Steam (at least what's available on Steam), yet I platinum'd X HD on PS3. Still a hella great game even after 20½ years (21 years for NTSC gamers). :)
 

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I have practically every FF on Steam (at least what's available on Steam), yet I platinum'd X HD on PS3. Still a hella great game even after 20½ years (21 years for NTSC gamers). :)

I don't remember anything, I only played it through once at like age 13-14. I just remember it was one of my favorites of all time. So when I go back to replay it, its going to be lot of fun nostalgia and memories coming back I bet.

I am saving that day for 32" 4k glory though as I said before :D :toast:
 
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Holding my breath for Homeworld 3 next year and may be Dead Space Remastered, but not sure about the last one. I used to be a huuuge Dead space fan. Bought the two graphic novels, watched the animations multiple times, played the games multiple times. Bought the mobile game for the full price it was and completed it five times or so to unlock all achievements. And then they removed it from the apps store, which was a definition of a d**k move. What got me out of this fandom was reading the interviews with bits of the creation process. Designers had to look at many images from car crash victims to come up with the twisted bodies the necromorphs are. That kind of bugs me, I am shooting at car crash victims....that's what they are.
 
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I can imagine, I can't wait for 32" 4k!!! you chose very well! I plan to replay FFX in 4k whenever I get my 32" 4k someday. I haven't played it since I was a kid, but I have been saving the HD Remaster update in my steam library for that day.
4k 32" looks pretty great. Much more noticeable for me than 1080p>1440p was last time.
 
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FF VII Remake Intergrade. Looks even more nice in 4K :)
It certainly does and with the HD Project textures it can look stunning in some areas. Nothing demands a higher resolution more than Tifa's chest :eek:
 
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I play Elden Ring with the fextralife interactive map up. It's so helpful when you want to maximize exploration after having completed more half-hearted runs. But it involves a lot of alt-tabbing, and is fairly memory-intensive with everything shown. It would be easier if I forced windowed mode.
I have dual screens so often times I'll open up maps or other materials for viewing on the secondary screen while gaming on the primary.

TBH, I think the formula is tired
REALLY tired..

the time has long come to innovate.
Yes. The question is, what can they do with that kind of gaming dynamic that would be innovative?
 
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I ended up binging on this game DRAINUS over the last handful of days and 100% it. First time I have ever had an interest in a new shoot 'em up since I took notice of R-Type Final 2 which I have yet to purchase.....hoping to snag it on sale assuming it will get a discount in about a week on Steam's Winter Sale. I had a handful of shoot 'em ups when I was child and played them a bunch in the arcade, but I sure got away from playing these for a really, really, long time. Decades really. Drainus is clearly a passion project with influences from a couple classics like Gradius and R-Type, and some games others I'm not really familiar with such as Ikaruga. I can't say I've ever played one with a story line like this. Sure most shoot 'em ups have some remnant of a story but are regularly generic "aliens have attacked, kill them all and save your planet" and that consists of one screen of scrolling text. Not here, this one did it with an angle that was meant to have tragedy and warm and fuzzy moments, a regular old tugging on your heart strings. A neat twist was it gives the impression that the game is completed at one point......when in fact you are only 1/2 through it at best. It really extended the story and the game play as well having that surprise. It was certainly a "gottcha" moment. Almost 50% of users have beaten this game on Steam, getting the last stage clear achievment, which is practically unheard of in most games. (even getting to ~10% is usually the top end I'd say) and I say that is a testament to how awesome this game is. People want to finish it once they get playing!

Overall this is one of the best shoot 'em ups I have probably ever played. Absolutely is the best I've played that is considered modern and most importantly from this experience has reignited my interest in this genre. Highly recommended for fans of shoot 'em ups and is very accessible for any new comers as well!

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bm-blue-shift.jpg
I only just discovered that Black Mesa: Blue Shift is now available on Steam :)
The install is a little convoluted to say the least, but once I got it going, it's excellent with same look and feel of Black Mesa. I won't give too much away, but the intro is similar, very professionally done and with a nice build up to the inevitable 'systems failure'.
Well worth grabbing especially since it's a free mod and can be subscribed to as a BM Workshop mod or by downloading from MODDB.
 
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ok that's odd, when Phantasy Star Online 2 got the New Genesis update i restarted playing it ... past the intro/tutorial i went into Aelio thinking it was one big region and it was, played for some 100ish hours grinding levels and gears, progressing a bit the main story (which is fine by my standard, i also played PSO on Dreamcast and PC, i like the genre)

one day, earlier this year, my install got corrupted on an update, i set it aside... not knowing it was my cable modem/router fault :laugh: my ISP sent me a new router a few weeks ago, re downloaded the whole 100ish GB of PSO2:NGS started just fine ... finally decided to move on the main story and OH BOY!

re started just in the middle of a good seasonal event with fine rewards (pure f2p player, not feeling hindered by any restriction for not paying premium, the game is pretty generous from base )

eh? the regional MAGs have a cute autumn skin? (i got the skin for my own MAG, exchanging a few seasonal point alongside some good material, weapon camo (transmog, kinda) and a bunch of level 55 +40 weapons )my char is in the low 20ish
20221204203140_1_proc.jpg

so, i progress the main story and i get an announcement on the top of the screen for a live concert in Retem City, Retem City? hum ... Aelio main hub is Central City... oh
well desertic region, gorgeous seaside, wather condition range from clear to sandstorm with red lightnings strikes passing by shimmering heatwave, night uring dark fallz is gorgeous ... well damn ... my PSO2:NGS got from "nice time killer with fun gameplay" to "wow ... i missed on that?"
20221205131257_1_proc.jpg20221205165741_1_proc.jpg20221206200353_1_proc.jpg

not my video tho but the "press B" (on my Xbox controller) to change view is pretty neat

floating rocks? well in a game with a high 3D mobility, it opens for a tons of fun (plus most of them have stuff atop, including ugly stretchy neck birds :laugh: )
20221206203003_1_proc.jpg20221206203633_1_proc.jpg20221206203643_1_proc.jpg

decided to make another char (as i did not want to level other class than Warrior/Techter for that one or change my main class) Hunter/Braver class, turn out i can start directly LV15 chapter 2 (Retem) beautiful night sky with 2 moon (Masser and Secunda? naaaaah wrong franchise :laugh: ) and closer look on the "mushroom" rock formation (which is the place of the last story boss of Retem )
each region have a level adjustment for farm zone (aka the grind house) can range from LV15 to 60 if i saw correctly, meaning you can go back and do some more in any area, each have at least 2 "high rank zone" where farming and PSE burst occure.
20221206225440_1_proc.jpg20221206232234_1_proc.jpg
20221206232239_1_proc.jpg20221206232243_1_proc.jpg

and here are the ugly birds :laugh: (plus a lot of cosmetics are shared on account and there is aslo a account wide storage for gears and camo) (the crashed structure on the last pic is Retem City )

progress the main story a bit more ... oh going back to Central City and they send me to the 3rd region ... Kvaris ... again beautiful... (doing Retem story quest propulsed me from lv15 to 41 :laugh: )
20221213032829_1_proc.jpg
the reflection on the ice the screen effect during fight, the new enemies and mechanics are ... well it's freaking good

AH! snow is volumetric and deformable!
20221213032536_1_proc.jpg20221213033123_1_proc.jpg
20221213033124_1_proc.jpg

also AMD FSR1.0 (and Nvidia DLSS) is a thing in it ... all maxed out noAA (who need AA at 3k ... and with my eyesight, surely not me, natural edge smoothing : hypermetropia induced FTW!) 2880x1620, steady 60fps
20221213134511_1.jpg

my calling ID card ... yeah ... i like cute things ... even at my age (not my fault i grew with it, alright!? )
20221213134647_1.jpg

result? well my hours went from a little bit more than 100hrs with 1 char to 205hrs (61hrs on the second and 39hrs on the previous one) in a week worth
a fun time killer with a neat gameplay, in between a backlog of (most free) games ... i have to try on STEAM/GoG and Epic ...


bloody hell ...
and here i thought (a year ago) i was at the top
pso20210619_125325_006_proc.jpg

yet little did i knew what the snowy mountain on the background was climbable or even reachable ...
the highest mountain is in Kvaris, quit a climb and what a view!
the burnning area seems to be the 4th area : Stia, but man Kvaris look gigantic and Retem too

pso20221213_163644_000_proc.jpgpso20221213_163655_002_proc.jpgpso20221213_163658_003_proc.jpgpso20221213_163700_004_proc.jpgpso20221213_163702_006_proc.jpg

yep a darn beautiful, worth it, f2p mmo.
pso20221212_074220_000_proc.jpg
 
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My used RX 5600 XT is kaput and is currently under warranty process, my used RX 580 is also kaput and not under warranty anymore, I only have an RX 550 left, so I reinstalled Halo MCC, a suit of games that I can still play at 1080p 60+ fps.
 
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Started playing Shin Megami Tensei V. Nice change of pace after 150 hours in Call of Duty MWII! :D
Seems to have even less story than usual this time around and I can't quite accept that you now see which demon you're attacking in advance (I suppose new generation doesn't take kindly to dungeon crawlers) but otherwise combat, demon negotiations and demon fusion are just as fun as ever. Feeling like I've felt since the high school days — this is way more fun than any Pokemon game.
 
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Started playing Shin Megami Tensei V. Nice change of pace after 150 hours in Call of Duty MWII! :D
Seems to have even less story than usual this time around and I can't quite accept that you now see which demon you're attacking in advance (I suppose new generation doesn't take kindly to dungeon crawlers) but otherwise combat, demon negotiations and demon fusion are just as fun as ever. Feeling like I felt since the high school days — this is way more fun than any Pokemon game.
1671026856503.png
 
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Haha, yeah, definitely on Switch! Why does it look so crisp and smooth you're asking? Must be my TV's AI thing, I don't know...

finished it ~a year? ago when it first came out, true ending. (had to cheese the dlc drops to level up some demons for that tho).
Looks pretty nice for a switch game (pc version shouldnt be too long now) but I still get nightmares from the frame drops o_O


I tried the Witcher 3! patch for a few mins, the game is definitely CPU bound by the main (render) thread, frame gen is preeatty much a requirement.
Screenshots looks a bit weird because i was trying to capture with nvidias screenshot thingy (HDR - wanted to avoid having washed out shots).
Lots of stuttering, not sure if it's shader comp, seemed to encounter new animations and effects without stutters at times and then other times it would start stuttering in the exact spot i was standing with perfectly still and with 0 stutters for the previous minute and other times it stutters exactly as youd expect from shader compilation.

w3.jpg

The Witcher 3 2.jpg

The Witcher 3 4.jpg

The Witcher 3 5.jpg
 
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finished it ~a year? ago when it first came out, true ending. (had to cheese the dlc drops to level up some demons for that tho).
Looks pretty nice for a switch game (pc version shouldnt be too long now) but I still get nightmares from the frame drops o_O


I tried the Witcher 3! patch for a few mins, the game is definitely CPU bound by the main (render) thread, frame gen is preeatty much a requirement.
Screenshots looks a bit weird because i was trying to capture with nvidias screenshot thingy (HDR - wanted to avoid having washed out shots).
Lots of stuttering, not sure if it's shader comp, seemed to encounter new animations and effects without stutters at times and then other times it would start stuttering in the exact spot i was standing with perfectly still and with 0 stutters for the previous minute and other times it stutters exactly as youd expect from shader compilation.

View attachment 274468
View attachment 274471
View attachment 274472
View attachment 274473
An RT-heavy title is CPU bound... I never thought I'd live the day! o_O
 
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"CPU bound".
 
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