Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dead Space 3 review

Dead Space 3 review

“Isaac was a high-functioning spanner in a space suit.”

On a city street at the start of Dead Space 3, there’s a poster for a film called Tools Of Terror. It features a man in a tuxedo pulling a James Bond pose, but instead of a pistol he’s holding a wrench. He is, it’s fairly obvious, both an action hero and a blue-collar guy, and despite the fact this film is a spoof – or perhaps because of it – he’s also an accurate symbolic representation of Dead Space hero Isaac Clarke as he appears in this latest game.
unusual protagonist in the original game – he didn’t talk, he fixed things and had weapons that could conceivably have been used to fix things, if they weren’t busy dismembering the reanimated dead. He was a high-functioning spanner in a space suit, but he returned the John McClane of religious hysteria and viral outbreaks in Dead Space 2. How could the same shit happen to the same guy twice? And how could he suddenly be so good at it? 
The question was raised: is Isaac best as the handyman-in-a-tight-spot or as the stomping shooter frontman? Dead Space 3 fixes on the elegant solution of pushing him in both directions at once. Progression is dependent on a series of hardware fix-ups – this shuttle, that tram system, this alien genocide machine. 

But at the same time, Isaac fights wave after wave of monsters while saying things like, “I turned my back on the world because I couldn’t face what had to be done,” – and he’s not talking about an oil change or repairing a carburettor.

“Should it be a     lean horror or an explosive shooter? The game opts to be both.”

The debate over Isaac-as-engineer versus Isaac-as-action-hero feeds into Dead Space’s genre identity crisis. Should it be a cold, lean horror, or an explosive shooter? The game opts to be both. This is possible because it consists of big, distinct sections: a breathless high-stakes opener (in the James Bond tradition, appropriately enough), a claustrophobic few hours in a debris field of broken ships orbiting a planet, a lengthy action push on the planet’s icy surface, and a climactic section in an ancient city. 
The segments feel episodic, as though they were built by different teams and bolted together to create a varied, lengthy whole. The first major stop is a floating scrapheap, with Isaac exploring a series of derelicts looking for a way to reach the planet below. It’s an expanded echo of the original Dead Space – not just repeating the haunted ship routine, but bringing the quiet, tense and considered approach to a frozen flotilla of craft with Isaac shuttling between them. 

Dusty airlocks and the grand, muffled spectacle of Isaac drifting through space are the foreground to the game’s hard sci-fi style, and it fruitfully resurrects the old, effective mix of mundane tasks performed amid calamity. The first moment of dread I’ve experienced since crawling through the guts of the Ishimura – “but I don’t want to find out what’s blocking the tram system” – confirms that this is partly the faithful sequel to Dead Space that people who still resent Isaac for learning to talk or daring to display his human face – have been waiting for. 

“The game fruitfully resurrects the old, effective mix of mundane tasks performed amid calamity.”

A change of pace on the surface of the planet moves Dead Space 3 into more conventional action territory. The snowstorms and wind-battered outposts are a nod to the influence of The Thing on Dead Space, just as surely as the Ishimura paid tribute to the devastation of the Nostromo in Alien, but the combat here introduces elements of cover-based shooting. There are still encounters with skittering necromorphs in corridors and vent-heavy rooms, but there are also more clearings and open spaces, and action set-pieces in the form of cliff-face rappelling (both up and down), boss encounters (tiresome), and an industrial drill that’s transformed into a giant rusty flesh-whisk (loud). 
It feels as though Dead Space 3 has settled on volume and value as part of a big-fisted approach to appealing to everybody. The game feels laudably substantial, although sometimes the pacing suffers. The inclusion of any level that requires players to double back through a now-repopulated section justifies a call of shenanigans; Dead Space 3 does it more than once. And while the inclusion of optional side-missions is definitely a good thing, not just for the added content but also the opportunity for resource gathering, they can feel at odds with the urgency of the larger objective at hand. Near the close, I was offered the chance to explore one such cul-de-sac, and declined in order to continue my in-progress race against a religious fanatic to reach a control panel in time to prevent the extinction of mankind.


Dead Space 3 system requirements (minimum)

  • CPU: 2.5 GHz dual core 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU
  • RAM: 2GB of system memory
  • Graphics: DirectX 10 compatible 512 MB graphics card, Nvidia 200 series series or AMD Radeon 4000 series.
  • Operating system: Windows Vista
  • DirectX compatible audio card
  • 14 GB of hard drive space

Dead Space 3 system requirements (recommended)

  • CPU: 2.8 GHz quad core 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU, Core i5 preferred
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible 1 GB graphics card, Nvidia 500 / AMD 6000 series.
  • Operating system: Windows 7 64-bit
  • DirectX compatible audio card
  • 16 GB of hard drive space

God of War Ascension Review

 Remember the first time you were appalled by the gratuitous violence and blatant sexism of God of War? OK, so maybe you—specifically—were not appalled. Maybe pressing plastic buttons while listening to the sounds of ancient mythological love-making felt like the pinnacle of the maturation of videogames as an art form back in 2005. Maybe the muscle-bound protagonist, swords firing from his arms in a dance with bare-breasted demons, seemed cool in the same way keg-stands once seemed like a great idea. 
But eight years have passed, and Kratos is the perennial senior who just keeps showing up to the same frat parties with the same old tricks. Everyone else has grown up and moved on to a new life, but the Ghost of Sparta calls you up every couple of years promising he’s really changed this time.
One could argue God of War: Ascension is afforded a pass for trotting out the tired, well-worn path blazed by three major console releases, two handheld titles, and even a dismal mobile game. After all, Ascension is a prequel—you know, that place stories go when they’ve run out of gas. Kratos is only starting his adventure as an incredibly angry dude who will apparently spend his entire life ripping the heads off of pretty much anything. He’s been in a perpetual bad mood for almost eight years, but Sony thinks we should still love him.
Unfortunately, even if the sneering anti-hero is unaware of his fate, you know how this tale ends. You would probably scream at the screen, letting Kratos in on the secret if you cared about him whatsoever.
And frankly, the future looks awfully redundant. Take the admittedly stunning set pieces of the first three God of War games, the simply gargantuan boss fights, and the combo-driven hack-and-slash swirling of blades, and you have basically experienced the whole of God of War: Ascension. Jump on this weird beast plucked from some obscure mythology book because the developer already exhausted all the better-known monsters. Marvel at the exhilaration of pushing the X-button at the precise moment. Swoon over the obligatory scene with topless women talking in gross phone-sex voices.
But it’s unfair to act as if Ascension is merely a line-tracing of its predecessors. A change definitely worth noting is the inclusion of the worst camera to ever grace the God of War series. Occasionally, Ascension seems to forget you’re even in the room, with Kratos disappearing far into the background on the back of some vaguely Greek abomination. Landing perfectly timed combos and parries takes some patience, and the experience is somewhat diminished in appeal when the proceedings are akin to observing a flea circus from a mile away.
god of war ascension screen 1.jpg
Mercifully, Ascension does dredge up a couple of new and enjoyable ideas. During one sequence, the time-shifting Sacred Mist of Delphi alters Kratos’ surroundings, eventually leading to a new ability which changes Ascension‘s otherwise lackluster environmental puzzles into something worth talking about—it’s essentially a manifestation of Prince of Persia’s sand, letting you manipulate time without altering Kratos’ physical location. The unique ability is a welcome adjustment, despite its appearance halfway through a relatively short 8-hour campaign, if for no other reason because it’s something different.
Once the uninspired single-player mode comes to a close, Ascension does introduce multiplayer, which is a first for the franchise. The battle-arena action and its upgradable heroes are a blast. Matches play out quickly, with your avatar earning points through unlocking chests or brutally taking out an opponent. It’s easy to lose a couple hours in the thrall of this simple yet immediately appealing combat. Strangely, it’s almost impossible not to discern the clear polish and care afforded the multiplayer mode, which makes the primary story feel like an afterthought.
God of War: Ascension is a whirling, maniacally violent journey still entrenched in an era of blood-soaked action games which are, in many ways, beginning to show their age. To be fair, maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe God of War is starting to show the age of its players—a demographic that thinks splitting open the heads and stabbing the oozing brains of elephant-like creatures with a quick-time event is the height of entertainment.
But for anyone who remembers Kratos at the beginning—the real beginning eight years ago, not the manufactured origins of Ascension—the whole thing is just depressing now. You tell yourself maybe this is the last time, maybe the Ghost of Sparta is finally ready to grow up and move along. And if not, well, maybe it’s time to stop answering the phone.

Call of Duty: Ghosts News, rumours, release date


Call of Duty: Ghosts News

Activision has officially confirmed that its next COD instalment will take the form of Call of Duty: Ghosts. the focus of intense speculation for the past couple of weeks, Activision unveiled Call of Duty: Ghosts with a new teaser trailer and dedicated website last week on May 1.

Originally thought to be called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts is said to be the COD game for "the next generation."

"Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do. But we're not resting on our laurels," said Mark Rubin, executive producer of Infinity Ward. "We saw the console transition as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter for Call of Duty. So we're building a new sub-brand, a new engine, and a lot of new ideas and experiences for our players. We can't wait to share them with our community."

Call of Duty Ghosts: Gameplay trailer coming on Sunday, June 9

The first Call of Duty: Ghosts gameplay trailer will be officially released on Sunday, June 9 ahead of any E3 showing by Microsoft or Sony. Activision is choosing to release the first gameplay trailer prior to the annual E3 gaming conference and will showcase "an exclusive first look at gameplay levels from the title".

Promising some "behind the scenes footage, interviews with the Infinity Ward team and more", the Call of Duty event will start at 11am local time, British COD fans can expect the gameplay footage around 7pm BST. 

Activision will serve up the Call of Duty: Ghosts first look during a dedicated webcast, with the trailer available on the official Call of Duty site alongside "additional broadcast outlets", so we're thinking YouTube.

We expect to see a lot more of the upcoming FPS at E3 2013, especially since it was featured in Microsoft's Xbox One E3 trailer released earlier this week.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call of Duty: Ghosts Features

Call of Duty: Ghosts features showcased during Xbox One reveal

Call of Duty: Ghosts was given its world première during the Xbox One reveal on May 21, revealing more of the game's features. Speaking directly to the Activision developers, Microsoft provided fans of the series with more details on they game.

Featuring “a whole new story with brand new characters in a whole new world”, Activision said it aims to produce a cast of characters that the player can feel more connected to. For this, the developer has brought in the writer of Syriana and Traffic, Stephen Gaghan.

Set ten years after a "massive attack" on the US, you play as a group of special forces soldiers known as The Ghosts. "You are the underdog fighting back against a superior force."

What's a huge new addition to the Call of Duty: Ghosts squad is their new canine companion. The first COD game to feature a dog, the mutt will aid the team by sniffing out explosives and protecting the soldiers in other, as yet undisclosed, ways. 

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Said to be a key aspect as to how players strategise throughout the game, we can see many a level where the squad will have to protect their new canine buddy.

The new gaming engine used by Call of Duty: Ghosts utilises Pixar's SubD technology to improve the smoothness of graphics, especially noticeable on the weapons at close range notes Activision developers. 

Stating that the key word for the new graphics engine is "immersion", the Call of Duty: Ghosts developers say this game will have the best graphical fidelity of any in the series. Characters now automatically leap over any low cover in their way and can intelligently lean in and out of cover. New AI technology also allows for a more responsive environment, including fish that will intuitively move out of your way as you near them. 

Also revealing "just two of the new features coming to the next-generation of Call of Duty multiplayer", Activision explains the new dynamic experience and character customisation. 

Similar to Battefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer will introduce a new dynamic experience driven by large scale events like floods and earthquakes, but also by smaller player-driven incidents like buildings collapsing from explosions.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will introduce voice commands via Xbox One Kinect

CEO of Activision Publishing, Eric Hirshberg, has also confirmed in a separate interview that anyone playing the game on the Xbox One will be able to use voice commands to direct their squad.

 “We think the improvements to Kinect really excited us because of the level of responsiveness and detail”, said Hirshberg. “I thought that the demo they did with the voice commands on television, the instant changing between games and music, was really compelling. You’ll see more of this coming from us as we get closer to the launch.”

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call of Duty: Ghost Release Date

Activision has confirmed that a Call of Duty: Ghosts release date is scheduled for November 5, shipping on current generation Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles as well as PS4 and Xbox One.

Fans are so eager to get their hands on the game that just 24 hours after Activision officially unveiled Call of Duty: Ghosts, the game soared straight to the top of the charts for Amazon pre-orders. Six months before the game will ship to consumers, the game is currently occupying the number one and number two spots in the gaming chart for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions respectively on Amazon UK. 

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call of Duty: Ghosts Trailer

Following the release announcement, a 90-second Call of Duty: Ghosts teaser trailer was posted to YouTube, but lacks any gameplay footage and offers no hints about the game's context or plot. 

Instead it depicts a host of historical warriors in their traditional 'masks' before focusing on the skull mask worn by Lt. Simon "Ghost" Riley, who is expected to be the game's central character. 

The voiceover says: "There are those who wear masks to hide. And those who wear masks to show us what they stand for. To inspire. To unite. To defy. To strike fear in the hearts of their enemies, and hope in the hearts of their followers."

"There are those who wear masks to protect themselves, and those who wear masks to protect us all."

Tomb Raider PC System Requirements Revealed!


LOS ANGELES, USA - Square Enix Ltd. is excited today to announce TOMB RAIDER®, the new game from Redwood
 based studio Crystal Dynamics.

"After a brutal storm destroys the boat she was travelling on, a frightened young woman is left washed ashore 
on an
 unknown beach. On her own but not alone she has only one goal, to survive."

Here begins the first adventure for a young and inexperienced Lara Croft in a story which charts the journey of
ordinary woman who finds out just how far she must go in order to stay alive.

"Forget everything you know about TOMB RAIDER, we are exploring things that have never been done before 
 this game,
" said Darrell Gallagher, Head of Studio, Crystal Dynamics. "This is an origins story that creates Lara Croft and
her on a character defining journey like no other.
Tomb Raider PC System Requirements Revealed! 

We’ve been a bit quiet about the PC version of Tomb Raider the past few months, but it’s all been building up to 
sharing some anticipated news today.

The PC version of Tomb Raider has been developed in tandem between Crystal Dynamics and long-time partner 
Nixxes, and we’re proud to be continuing this tradition. The relationship has spanned over a dozen PC titles, and
 dates back fifteen years. The PC edition also has the benefits of an ongoing partnership with AMD, with Tomb
 Raider extensively optimized to include unique AMD tech that supports AMD HD3D, AMD Eyefinity for capable
 PCs, and more.

So here it is – the full list of PC enhancements and features for Tomb Raider, including minimum and recommended
 system requirements!

System Requirements

Minimum system requirements for PC
  • Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista,7,8 (32bit/64bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics card with 512Mb Video RAM: AMD Radeon HD 2600 XT, nVidia 8600
  • Dual core CPU: AMD Athlon64 X2 2.1 Ghz (4050+), Intel Core2 Duo 1.86 Ghz (E6300)
  • 1GB Memory (2GB on Vista) 
Recommended system requirements for PC
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM: AMD Radeon HD 5870  nVidia GTX 480
  • Quad core CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 955, Intel Core i5-750
  • 4GB Memory 
PC Enhancements

General Features
  • Full integration with Steamworks to offer cloud storage for saves, multiplayer matchmaking, achievements,
  •  as well as automatic updates and new content.
  • Support for Steam Big Picture Mode.
  • Configurable mouse and keyboard support.
  • Gamepad support. 
High-end Graphics
  • Very high resolution textures with up to 16x the amount of data
  • Detail Tessellation to enhance the detail on many surfaces in the game
  • Higher quality shadows
  • High quality bokeh depth of field with near-blur
  • Tessellation algorithms used to smooth out geometry
  • Improved cloth, SSAO, quality wetness effects, and post-filter effects.
  • LOD quality is adjustable for better quality on higher-end machines. 
Low-End Graphics
  • Crystal cares about TR fans being able to run on older systems, unlike many other games they still support
  •  Windows XP.
  • A lot of scalability options to suit a range of machines.

Eyes-Free Typing App Fleksy Coming to Android

   Eyes-Free Typing App Fleksy Coming to Android
Fleksy, the new mobile keyboard that debuted on iOS back in August, was showing its stuff at CES this year. The trick of automatically predicting what you’re typing without requiring much more than your relative tap position and word length is no less impressive than it has been in the past, but Fleksy now has a new trick up its sleeve, too: an Android version that can actually replace your stock keyboard, something that isn’t possible on iOS.
Fleksy also adds a space bar to its default, extremely sparse UI as part of making the move to Android, which can be optionally hidden if the user so chooses. Likewise, you can actually make it so that the entire keyboard chrome itself disappears and you can type using the trademark Fleksy no-look method. The Android version is still in limited beta, however, so you’ll have to sign up and wait to get let in by the Fleksy development team.
The tech takes a little getting used to, but only because it’s so intuitive  I found myself typing nonsense to see what it would come up with instead of just trying to make actual words. It’s also almost like you can’t quite bring yourself to trust Fleksy to get things right, which makes you slow down, but after a little while it’s clear this is much better than your standard input methods and predictive text engines.
On iOS, Fleksy is really little more than a tech demo, since it can’t be used to replace the default keyboard. Android is the platform where it’ll really shine, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of response the beta receives from users.