Saturday, March 25, 2017

Initial Impressions: Killing Floor 2 & Battlefield 1 'They Shall Not Pass' DLC

Hey everybody!

Wanted to let you know about some more new videos on my YouTube channel.

Today, I released an Initial Impressions episode covering the latest version of "Killing Floor 2" in light of the free weekend and 50% sale currently happening on Steam for the game.

I also talk a bit in this video about my philosophy with respect to covering games on my channel, which some of you might find interesting even if you're not excited about the game itself.

Additionally, I recently posted a couple Initial Impressions videos about the newly-released "They Shall Not Pass" DLC for "Battlefield 1."

The first is more of a funny moments compilation.

While the second is more straight-up gameplay with some general commentary and insights on the maps and a new LMG included in the DLC.

Special thanks to BlueOrthodox for his help in creating all these videos. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for more gaming goodness.

Until next time, have a good one folks!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Initial Impressions: The ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q

For many years, I've been using a 60 Hz, 27" ASUS LED backlit LCD monitor as the display for my gaming PC, and have been quite happy with it. In fact, if I weren't currently in the process of upgrading my entire PC gaming setup, I likely wouldn't have even considered replacing the display as part of that process. What a mistake that would have been.

In a lot of ways, making the jump from an LED backlit LCD– even a high-quality one such as the one I replaced, to an IPS display such as the PG279Q is like that iconic scene from "The Wizard of Oz" when Dorthy emerges from her black and white, tornado-ravaged farm house into the color-soaked vista of Munchkinland.

I couldn't help but be amazed by the depth and multitude of colors being represented on screen versus what I'd become accustomed to seeing in games played just minutes before swapping the display. In particular, high-contrast scenarios such as shadowy areas surrounded by light and subtle color gradients became clear and distinct in a way that the old monitor was simply incapable of matching.

As an owner of a 5k iMac, I was already very aware of the difference a high-end display can make in terms of image fidelity and color reproduction from a professional standpoint but in retrospect, I can now see how I'd been lulled into thinking that my old monitor was "good enough" for gaming.

Of course, there's a lot more to the PG279Q than its shiny 27", 1440p IPS panel. This is a monitor that was built from the ground up for gaming, and with the needs and wants of gamers in mind. As such, it sports a variety of features specific to that end.

From built-in support for NVIDIA's  G-SYNC technology, which effectively eliminates the possibility of screen tearing on the display when paired with a modern NVIDIA GPU, to the display's ability to kick out refresh rates from 60-165 Hz, to the clever and surprisingly handy screen overlay functions for crosshairs, timers and FPS counters built right into the simple and elegant on screen controls, to the sublime and sturdy stand, which allows the display to be quickly and easily oriented in just about any imaginable way, this is a product that gets all the details just right.

It's certainly true that all the bells and whistles of the PG279Q aren't strictly necessary or individually, profoundly meaningful to the experience of using it to play games but the cumulative effect of all those details is really hard to ignore, and goes a long way toward justifying its cost, which is indeed toward the high end versus other 27" displays that sport at least some of its most important features.

It's also worth mentioning that I've noticed a subtle yet cumulatively-significant reduction in eye strain since using the higher refresh rates afforded by the PG279Q in games. It's a little difficult to quantify but the gist is that scenes as a whole seem easier to focus on and process while the in game camera moves (spins, pans, etc.,) while individual objects in motion within those scenes also feel easier to track and more fluid as they move than what I've come to expect from older, 60 Hz displays. Eye strain hasn't historically been a big issue for me when gaming but it has become an issue for me when performing other, more detail oriented tasks so anything that helps in that regard is a big win in my book.

Again, support for refresh rates above 60 Hz isn't a feature unique to the PG279Q but it is one of the only displays that can currently push beyond 144 Hz, which I could see being a factor if your PC is capable of consistently running games above 75 FPS at 1440p.

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide how important any of this stuff is to you and your gaming experience. If someone had tried to explain to me how impactful an upgrade such as this would be in my particular case, I might have been a bit skeptical. As such, I'd highly recommend seeking out a PG279Q in person to see what it has to offer for yourself.

Personally, I'm very happy with this upgrade and haven't seen anything to indicate any sort of problem or issue with any aspect of the PG279Q after about a week of use. I'll be sure to update this post and revisit this topic as time passes and I'm able to comment on what the monitor is like to live with long term. For now, I'm giving it an enthusiastic recommendation.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Nintendo Switch - Initial Impressions

Wanted to share a couple videos I've posted to my YouTube channel about the recently-released Nintendo Switch.

The first details the Switch hardware and the unboxing experience.

The second focuses on four of the games available for the Switch at launch: "Fast RMX," "1-2 Switch," "Snipperclips" and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."

As always, you can follow me on Twitter to keep track of all the gaming-related content I create as it's released– regardless of where it lives.

Thanks and enjoy!