BioShock Infinite PC Review

One of this year’s biggest game releases is finally out in the wild, and while the game has been with us a few weeks now, it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally sit down and enjoy it, but with so much hype and anticipation prior to the games release, has it lived up to the expectations of the games hardcore fans, not to mention the desires of a new generation of gamers who may never have played the first two games in the series?

While this is the third title released in the BioShock series its set some time before the events of the first two games, a prequel if you will. Yet it’s not directly tied to the plot lines of either of the previous games either, although there are still some connecting themes as it is still set in the same universe and timeline. New comers to the series can easily pick up and play this new title without a worry about story lines and knowing what is going on.

BioShock, in its simplest explanation, is a first person shooter. The first two saw you tackling foes with an array of weapons just like any other FPS, but with a more dynamic, deep and downright passionate story to tell along the way, as well as some difficult and unique moral choices that set the games aside from typical FPS games, even going as far as re-inventing large sections of the gaming industry and setting gaming trends that can be seen in many other games since their release.

The original games were also quite controversial, with the presence of children in the game that could be harvested for their powers, or saved, that choice was yours and its one that raised some moral eyebrows both inside and outside of the gaming community. So how does the new entry to the Bioshock series fit in, is it still the engrossing, story rich, moral choice filled, dark and twisted FPS that it always way? Of course it is!

The story is easily the best in the series and while it took me a little time to get into the depth of it, the free-flowing pace and narrative does take a hold of you and leads you through the game with gentle pace. The NPC’s of the game world comment as you pass, while enemies taunt, your friendlier counterparts baffle and amaze with regular pace and it all helps build the story of the world around you as you work your way through the rather strange and dark plot.

Set in one of the most, if not THE most stunning looking gaming environment ever created, BioShock is a tour-de-force for both your eyes and your graphics card, with a floating world of sky ships, floating buildings, majestic clouds and fog, warm beams of sun shine, the twinkle of water and the lights of a carnival all seem to blend together to create a world that moves like it truly does have a life of its own, there really is nothing else quite like it. I personally couldn’t help but walk slowly through some of the early sections of the game just to admire what was going on around me.

After 12 hours of playing through the game on Hard, I was left wanting more of the majestic world of BioShock but I didn’t want any more of what the game had to offer in terms of gameplay mechanics. While I really enjoyed the story, truly and deeply, I got a little bored of the shooting sections at times and it’s something that has become true of many shooting games for me in recent years. I find it wears me down when you get enemy after enemy pouring into a courtyard as you fend them off, then when they die you go to the next hall, room, courtyard and do the same, its less skill and more repetition half the time. There are also far too many health packs and ammo pick ups that make the game much less of a challenge, even on hard more, so I would suggest looking in to upping the difficulty further to the games hardcore “1999 mode” if your a well versed FPS player looking for a challenge.

This isn’t the fault of the game of course, as I just think I enjoyed the games ambience and narrative more than I did the actual shooting, fortunately though the FPS mechanics are some of the finest in the industry. The guns feel snappy and fun, plus a full range of powers are unlocked through the game that allow you to throw fire, electricity and even crows from your fingertips, not to mention taking over enemy turrets, throw enemies into the air and many other crazy things that do keep things entertaining.

The biggest factor of this game however isn’t the guns, the magic, the game’s world or anything of that other stuff, it really boils down to Elizabeth, the side kick and escort mission that gamers have been wanting since games began! She never gets in your way, she never slows you down, she’s highly entertaining and she’s incredibly powerful.

Elizabeth has the ability to open up “tears” in the fabric of the game world, these act like portals to what are essentially other dimensions, you can even use these “tears” to grab cover while in combat, you can explore inside them, find ammo there and all sorts of other madness, it’s an interesting dynamic and one that really sets this game apart from…well…anything else.

As bright and colourful as the game is, no matter how many parades you see, carnivals, candy floss and balloons that adorn the gaming world, there is one thing that you can miss, the dark tones that quietly echo the streets that something is awfully wrong about this paradise. Torture, violence, sex and extreme racism are abounding in this city and it doesn’t take long to realise that there is plenty of evil behind the smiles of its inhabitants.

It’s a difficult mix to put in to words, but the game is like a big fun house and a house of horrors all at the same time. You’ll often find yourself enjoying the graphics and the view of the game world, before putting your melee weapon in someone’s scull and being attacked by a bunch of racist nut jobs, it’s certainly an eye opener.

This is easily on the best shooters of this generation and while yet, I did find the shooting to get a little tiresome at times, it’s because it’s the one bit of the game that isn’t new, FPS has been well covered in the games industry. Yet this game offers you so much more, it’s not just about guns and killing, it’s about escaping and surviving in a world gone mad and it’s a gaming experience that you simply don’t want to miss out on.

Pros:

  • Superb sound & graphics
  • Original and exciting game world
  • Well realised characters and story

Cons:

  • Gun scenes can drag a little at times
  • Too many health packs and items in the game world

Battlefield 4 Demo PC Specs Revealed

With Battlefield 3 coming to an end after the release of the final expansion pack “End Game”, DICE is gearing up for the release of Battlefield 4 by giving us a 17 minute gameplay reveal trailer to tease us with the stunning graphics of BF4. Still in the alpha testing phase, DICE/EA wanted to show off the some of the gameplay, and I must say it is looking awesome!

The preview shows us the opening cinematic which is fairly crisp in effect, then they take us back nearly 14 minutes earlier going through what appears to be a school in Azerbaijan with the goal to get to the “Safe House”. We go through a series of short quests with some short cutscenes in between. We get to use vehicles, shooting up buildings and cause explosions, giving the game an almost too realistic feeling. The first few minutes of the campaign make you feel like you don’t have a second to spare, it is GO GO GO!!! Running from the enemy and causing destruction everywhere you go!

Looking into the making of this short 17 minute DICE used an epic machine to display their game to us. Using an Intel i7 Quad-core CPU and two Radeon 7990 GPU’s, currently the one of the most powerful PC GPUs and each featuring 6GB of GDDR5 graphics RAM for a total of 12GB! The game was able to run at a constant 60 FPS, with the graphics cards down sampling from 3K resolutions to 1080p. Personally, I doubt as an end user we will need to purchase or even have such a setup, we need to remember that the game is still in pre-alpha testing, so it is not optimized yet. Also, there is a significant draw when recording gameplay.

Will this give EA a new found redemption? Or will they continue to be considered the “Worst Company in America” champions? Only time will tell.

Battlefield 4 is due to release fall of 2013, pre-order to receive a Battlefield 4 premium expansion pack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8HVQXkeU8U[/youtube]

Unfortunately, due to YouTube restrictions they were only able to upload at 30FPS, if you’re interested in viewing the video at 60FPS you can download them from these links for either 720p or 1080p. Enjoy!

Source 1 Source 2

Counter-Strike Saves 3 Local Kids In Phillipines


While many politicians and ‘experts’ will make a conclusion that violent video games promote violence (Ironically, one following such ‘logic’ isn’t pointing fingers towards Hollywood Action Movies), at the very same time, whatever one may think about action/ violent games, it saved the lives of 3 children who were playing with grenades unaware of what it was if it wasn’t for another kid who had seen the game of Counter-Strike.

Three children were found playing with live grenades in Barangay Looc, Manduae City located in the Phillipines. Police immediately rushed to recover and defuse those grenades that were found in a vacant lot of a scrap yard.

Credits to a 12-year-old Jose Darwin Garciano who warned his friends not to play with it as the grenades can explode and kill them, just like how it happens in Counter-Strike. To those who don’t know, Counter-Strike is a tactical first person which started as a mod for Half Life where player either play as terrorist or counter-terrorist team with a goal of eliminating eachother.

The grenades were found by Elmer Rigodo when he heard a crack coming from a biscuit container after they were goofing off with their cartwheel. What’s even more disturbing was that one of the kids, Salili, tried to polish the bronze coloured grenade by rubbing it on the oil. That’s when Garciano saw the grenades and immediately warned his friends.

The hero of the 3 kids said in Filipino,”We got curious as it’s our first time to see what an explosive looks like!” and also said that he knew it would explode as he has seen it in a counter strike game.

Once the kids told to one of the residents, he informed the police who have sent a special weapons and tactics team who then placed a bomb blanket over the grenades. One of the bomb technicians said the children were lucky that the grenades did not explode while they were playing with it.

Source: Cebu Daily News

Corsair Vengeance M65 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair is one of the biggest names in the business when it comes to computer components, with a range that includes many award-winning products such as their SSDs, RAM, Chassis, Keyboards, Mice and more. There is no doubt that Corsair have a strong following in the gaming community thanks in no small part to some of their high performance gaming peripherals, but there is certainly much more to the company that just gaming, with a strong history of producing reliable products since they company formed back in 1994.

“Founded as Corsair Microsystems in 1994, Corsair originally developed Level 2 cache modules for OEMs. After Intel incorporated the L2 cache in the processor with the release of its Pentium Pro processor family, Corsair changed its focus to DRAM modules, primarily in the server market. In 2002, Corsair began shipping DRAM modules that were specifically designed to appeal to computer overclocking enthusiasts. From its roots in  high-performance memory, Corsair has expanded its award-winning product portfolio to include ultra-efficient power supplies, builder-friendly cases, ground-breaking CPU coolers, blazing-fast solid-state drives, and other key system components.”

In the last 20 years Corsair has gone from strength to strength and right now they have one of the strongest product lineups of any brand on the market, and I’m hoping quite a bit that the M65 gaming mouse I’m looking at today not only lives up to my standards as a gamer, but also as a fan of some previous Corsair products.

Gaming is big business and when you start to get to the standards of a performance gaming mouse, which in most cases cost £50 and beyond, your starting to get pretty serious about it. The M65 is prices at a fraction under £50 at most popular retailers and for a gaming mouse that’s pretty good value, so long as the performance is up to scratch of course. Yet £50 is still a fair bit of money to a lot of people (myself included) and once you start paying that for a product like a gaming mouse your going to want to see a good amount of performance, build quality and overall reliability for your money, all of which I will be looking for today.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/P1rHAjiAvAU[/youtube]

In terms of features, the M65 doesn’t disappoint and with onboard profiles (selectable from the mouse), aluminum frame, weight adjustment system and more, which is a very impressive feature set for a mouse in this price range.

  • Onboard Profile Storage
  • Aluminum Unibody Design
  • Adjustable Weight System
  • Selectable Response Time
  • Tune the performance for your desktop surface by choosing between 1000Hz, 500Hz, 250Hz, or 125Hz (1ms, 2ms, 4ms or 8ms).
  • High-Mass, solid metal, rubberized scroll wheel
  • Switches Rated for 20 Million Clicks
  • Soft-Touch Materials
  • PTFE Glide Pads

The M65 comes neatly packed with the Vengeance branding and a plastic window so we can get a great view of the mouse its self, not too important today of course as I will be taking it out of the packaging. There we no extras in the box other than a simple user leaflet, but in fairness, that’s all we really need and any software required can be downloaded from the Corsair website with ease.

Finished in a high gloss white, the top shell of the mouse is a single mould of plastic that forms the left and right mouse buttons. In the middle we have a DPI sensitivity up button, a 3 LED sensitivity indicator and a DPI sensitivity down button, perfect for calibrating the mouse on the fly while gaming, or even while your just browsing the web.

In the centre we have a very high quality metal scroll wheel with a rubber grip coating, the mouse wheel also features a light but nicely tactile “bump” when rolling and a much stronger “click” when pressed, both of which are important for feedback while gaming. Here you can also see the custom shape of the aluminum chassis as it arches under the mouse, not only does exposed aluminum look seriously cool, the shape also reminds me of the air intakes of a fighter jet or sports car.

Down the left side of the mouse we have a soft touch textured panel, a stark contrast to the high gloss textureless top panel of the mouse, here you will also find the forward and back tab buttons which are also lightly textured and finally the one that you cannot miss, the cool looking big red button. This is your on the fly DPI switch that can be used to change you sensitivity when the button is held, perfect for dropping down and getting maximum precision on those all important long-range shots, hence the cross hair logo on the button.

The back of the mouse features a steep curve that fits nicely into the palm of your hand and the cutaway between the side panels are well placed, so don’t feel like they’re sticking out in any way.

The right side panel also features the textured surface of the left side, both panels combined give you something you can really get a grip on, it compliments the glossy top quite nicely and I really like the mixture of textures. Here you can also see the back part of the exposed aluminum chassis which runs under the mouse, featuring finned cut-outs that certainly adds a touch of coolness to the overall design.

The underside of the mouse is constructed of the same single piece of aluminum and this will go a long way to making the mouse strong, durable and hopefully reliable, not to mention it looks fantastic. There’s a selection of five teflon slipmats here and this should provide a good amount of glide on almost any gaming surface.

Aside from the center laser sensor we also have three removable weights, each of which is held in by a weighted screw and removing or added each of these will help you balance the weight and feel of the mouse to your liking.

Setup & Installation

initial setup is as simple as plug-and-play, your good to get on with your work and gaming out of the box without any issues. However, if you really want to explorer that the M65 has to offer, the included software must be installed, here you can customise macros, button configurations, sensitivity, lift off hight, DPI presets, sniper button sensitivity, monitor your gaming surface quality and more, its impressively versatile and much more than I expected within this price range.

Gaming

Given that this mouse features a sniper button it only seemed fair to use it in a game that is really going to allow me to reap the benefits of such a feature. Straight into Battlefield 3 and got my self into a few good camping spots and while it took me a few attempts at calibrating the sensitivities to my preference, once I had the right ones dialed in there was an immediate and massive improvement in my accuracy, especially at long-range. Having a quick turning speed is vital in games like BF3 yet having it set high can really effect your shooting accuracy, where most mice require you to use the DPI toggle up/down keys, being able to push that sniper button is far more effective, quicker and it means you never have to take your finger off the trigger, literally.

General Performance

The customisable weight and the plentiful slipmats on the base of the mouse make it ideal for just about any gaming surface, while I prefer a softer mat, the M65 performs flawlessly on cloth, padding and even just the wood of your desk without missing a beat.

Browsing the web, working in Photoshop and other general day-to-day tasks are well suited to the M65. It features nice ergonomics and the buttons are nicely placed to make for a comfortable experience over long periods of time and being able to go from work to gaming isn’t a problem for the mouse thanks to its customisable profiles and on the fly DPI adjustments.

Overall I think Corsair have out done them selves here, the M65 is easily one of the most feature packed mice within this price range and while I expected to be impressed by it given Corsairs reputation in the industry, I wasn’t expecting a level of build quality, performance and features as what I found here today.

When I look around the reviews I have done in the past and my own general knowledge of other products as a consumer and a gamer myself, I see quite a lot of choice for around £50 from just about every major peripheral manufacturer and while they all offer something great for around £50, I can see any that offer the same as Corsair for such a modest investment. Most mice within this price range usually feature a two piece plastic mould construction that is simply screwed or clipped together, yet Corsair have gone the extra mile in terms of build quality and of course style by giving this mouse an Aluminum chassis, with three high quality ergonomic top panels bolted on top that looks and feels like a product that should cost nearly twice as much as it does.

Extra value for money can be found with the customisable macros, the very cool looking sniper button that actually does improve gaming performance, rock solid all round performance for day-to-day tasks and being able to customise and balance the weight of the mouse thanks to the included weight system on the underside is a massive bonus for many.

Gaming is big business and having the best tool for the job can make or break your gaming experience, while this won’t necessarily make you a better gamer it does go a long way to making your gaming experience more enjoyable and the less you have to worry about your peripherals performance and settings, the more you can focus on your mission. I really like this mouse and I think Corsair have hit on a winner here, a verdict I expect many other gamers will agree with.