Tech Comparison: Dead Rising 2 PC • Page 2

This time it's personal computer.

Gameplay-wise, there's nothing really to write home about with Dead Rising 2 on PC that you won't already know from the 8/10 review. It's exactly the same game. While there are mouse and keyboard controls, as is the norm, the fact is that its console heritage means that it feels more natural with a control pad attached.

There's an odd sense that the movement and animation of Chuck in Dead Rising 2 is somewhat outdated on all formats though, and this extends to the PC game too. Upping the frame-rate from the console standard 30FPS up to 60FPS doesn't seem to make the control system that much more responsive, though a decent PC will at least level out the response which varies on console when the frame-rate drops.

The PC version of Dead Rising 2 also uses the much maligned Games for Windows Live, which means you can tie in your Achievements to your Xbox Live account and add the gamerscore to your 360 tally, and it also means that the PC version makes use of the Live features for its built-in matchmaking. This is one area where the PC platform in general should perhaps get its act together: PSN and Xbox Live work because of a single unified online space and maybe we're misreading the community here but the preference seems to be for Steamworks over the less than fully supported Microsoft offering.

While Dead Rising 2 works well enough on PC, you still can't help feel that with the advanced tech available even in budget gaming machines, it could've been so much more. You can't help wondering if that latent power will remain forever untapped.

At GDC China, Crytek outlined its vision for future game engines. You can read the full presentation yourself, but the R&D developers behind the state-of-the-art CryEngine technology agree with the theory that PC gaming is being held back by the current-generation HD consoles, and there will be no new rendering paradigms while the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are still the dominant forces in the market. There will certainly be nothing as radical as the shift to deferred lighting that we've seen in recent years.

Interestingly, Crytek points to 2012 as the year when everything will change, the clear inference being that this is when we will see the emergence of true next-generation hardware. In the meantime, GPU vendors are pushing features like EyeFinity and 3D Vision to offer added value, and to make more use of the raw power available in their cards that is horrendously under-used in games like Dead Rising 2.

In the here and now, Capcom's zombie massacre is a solid PC release and the fact that it is directly converted across from a fixed architecture also means that the level of CPU and GPU hardware required to get the game running at an acceptable level is pretty low. As is the usual state of affairs with console conversions, a fast dual-core processor combined with something along the lines of a 9800GT should allow you to effortlessly outperform the 360 version, and in a market where less than 120 gets you a very powerful GTX460 with an impressive 768MB RAM, that's an embarrassingly high level of raw graphical power for a relatively minor cost. All the limitations of the console in terms of resolution, frame-rate, anti-aliasing and texture filtering can be effortlessly overcome through sheer horsepower alone, and it needn't cost the earth.

There's also the undeniable fact that - for the moment at least - the PC version of Dead Rising 2 is also the cheapest. Until the console games get their inevitable online reductions, there's no doubt that the PC version offers the highest level of value. At the time of writing, Amazon still wants a hefty 27.30, but Sendit's price of 17.89 is phenomenal value for a brand new game.

However, what the PC version gains in graphical boosts, it loses in additional content. In this respect it's identical to the PS3 game in that there's no sign of any DLC: the Case Zero prologue remains an Xbox 360 exclusive, and the forthcoming Case West add-on - which sees Frank West (and his camera) returning to Dead Rising - will also appear only on the Microsoft platform, in the short term at least.

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