Darren Comments

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  • Goofy slapstick replaces the run-and-gun action in the Ratchet & Clank movie

  • Darren 28/04/2016

    I am really looking forward to this movie, particularly as the superb new game has whetted my appetite for more Ratchet and Clank. They are such great characters and the games have always been packed full of great gags and humour aplenty. I hope the movie does well and appeals to more than just gamers who are familiar with the franchise. Reply +3
  • Why insiders think we'll see a new Xbox One at E3

  • Darren 28/04/2016

    Hmmmm, not really sure what Microsoft can actually do to improve on the Xbox One controller really. The Xbox One Elite controller, which I use for PC gaming, is pretty much perfect. In fact, I cannot think of anything that I dislike about it unlike the DualShock 4 controller for the PS4 (which IMO has shockingly poor battery life and very cheap-feeling, plasticky R1 and L1 buttons that could definitely be improved upon).

    As for the Xbox One console itself, well the hardware design could definitely do with an overhaul if only to make it smaller and less like something from the early 1990s, not that I spend too much time actually looking at it, mind.
    Reply +6
  • In Theory: Can next-gen Nvidia tech offer Titan X power for GTX 970 money?

  • Darren 28/04/2016

    My wallet is ready for a new graphics card in July but having upgraded from a GTX 980 to a GTX 980 Ti within (from memory) six months common-sense is telling me I should wait it out and buy the inevitable GTX 1080 Ti at the same price as the GTX 1080 when it launches some months down the line.

    The GTX 980 Ti is an absolutely outstanding card for sure and the best graphics card I've owned to date but having upgraded from a 1920x1200 to a 2560x1440 display I am finding some games, such as the recent Hitman and Tom Clancy's The Division, are no longing holding that ideal 60 fps framerate I like at maxed out settings, being that I am a no-compromises guy and someone who is against multi-GPU setups (having experienced both CFX and SLI I find them to be poorly supported by both NVIDIA/AMD and game developers in general)! :D
    Reply +4
  • Nintendo's NX console launches March 2017 globally

  • Darren 27/04/2016

    @specialgamer - I highly doubt that the NX will be as powerful as the PS Neo; in fact, I suspect it won't even surpass the PS4 and possibly not even the Xbox One.

    For one thing, cost is going to be a big factor in how well the new machine sells; price it too high due to higher spec components and it'll flop. Nintendo have never been a company to put technical specs before gameplay anyway and I doubt that will change with NX. I'd be very surprised if it did and, of course, that would push the price of the new machine up to 300 or more, something they need to avoid if they want to repeat the success of the Wii (which I believed launched at 200 here in the UK). To catch the public's attention and those people who bought the Wii in droves, the NX needs to have some unique appealing feature and sell at a reasonable price point (250 or less IMO).
    Reply 0
  • Darren 27/04/2016

    I cannot say that I am surprised that the new Zelda game has been delayed, although as an owner of a Wii U I am still very disappointed. :(

    I really fear for Nintendo with the NX though, mainly because they are in a precarious situation where their new console could be a huge success or a massive flop. They've gone from massive success with the casual appealing must-have Wii to the lacklustre selling core gamer only Wii U in the space of one generation. And with the Wii U's life being cruelly cut short to pave the way for a new console, which some might argue is premature, then Nintendo risk upsetting even their core user base.

    The success of the NX depends on how well Nintendo market this new machine (they messed up with the Wii U IMO) to a wider audience, particularly the people who bought the original Wii, and how well third-party publishers support it. They are also up against the well-established Xbox One and PS4 which both have the kind of third-party that Nintendo's last few consoles have lacked. It is absolutely going to be a tough battle for them, I'm sure.

    I'm definitely interested in the new console for sure but my decision as to whether to buy it at launch depends really on whether it will be backwards compatible with Wii U games and what games will be available at launch (Zelda aside as I could just buy that for my Wii U if I wanted).
    Reply +2
  • PS4 exclusive Ratchet & Clank tops UK chart

  • Darren 25/04/2016

    Funny how two old-school third-person shooters are released the same week under the guise of a reboot so it is hard not to draw comparisons between them (even if Star Fox 64's origins are older than Ratchet & Clank's).

    While I have been thoroughly enjoying and completely addicted to the new Ratchet & Clank game, I have been really struggling to get any enjoyment out of the disappointing Star Fox Zero, mainly due to its (IMO) awful controls and the distracting way I have to keep switching between looking at the TV and the gamepad screen. If the motion-controls could be turned off completely then I reckon my appreciation of the game would increase tenfold (in spite of dated visuals and lacklustre audio that has character voices only audible through the gamepad's tinny speakers!).

    Ironically, Insomniac's game feels more like a classic family Nintendo title than Nintendo's own franchise!
    Reply +8
  • Face-Off: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture on PC

  • Darren 23/04/2016

    Doesn't CryEngine have problems with POM and anisotropic filtering being used at the same time, or has that been addressed now?

    I seem to recall the issue in the PC version of the first Crysis and Everyone's Gone to the Rapture uses this engine, albeit a newer build. Also, the PS4 version uses POM but does not use anisotropic filtering, which might explain why it isn't working in the PC version, no?
    Reply +4
  • Star Fox Zero review

  • Darren 21/04/2016

    I got my copy of this game yesterday and played it last night. I am trying really hard to like the game, having previously played all the Star Fox games on N64 and GameCube since the superb Star Fox 64 which I imported for my U.S. N64, but it just feels so underwhelming overall that it's hard for me to not to be disappointed. For starters, the game looks pretty average at best and if someone told me it was a GameCube game then I would believe them because it is chock full of flat-looking, simplistically modelled and textured environments and ships and explosions on level 2 as you destroy the ships is just laughable. The only time the game looks moderately good is in the cutscenes.

    But graphics do not a good game maketh right? Very true but but even the gameplay is spoilt by the horrid controls that, by default, rely on you having to constantly glance at the gamepad to target enemies from the wireframe cockpit view. It feels completely unnatural and distracting. You can switch the cockpit view from the Gamepad screen to the TV but the game just feels 'off' playing what is supposed to be a third-person shooter in first-person (plus you're in a nuch closer viewpoint to see those dated graphics... not a good thing IMO).

    I did find that you can turn set the motion controls to only kick in while pressing ZR but that option is only available in the pause menu as the game itself lacks any kind of Options settings in the main menu (sadly, a common issue with many Wii U games, especially those published by Nintendo). The game does play better but it never feels as comfortable or intuitive as the N64 original and since gameplay IS everything here then the game ultimately fails to be quite as entertaining and fun as I'd hoped. Even the audio is weak with voices seemingly only coming from the Gamepad rather tinny mono speaker and not my surround sound system plus as with many Wii U games there's no option to adjust the volume levels of the music (which can barely be heard) and sound effects.

    Believe me, I hate to be so negative about this game as I absolutely loved Star Fox 64 (and Star Fox Adventures, hell even Star Fox: Assault was fun) but this game just feels undercooked and uninspired. The controls though are what really let this game down; there should be a way to completely disable the motion-controls and just be able to play it with a Pro Controller as I personally do not think they add anything at all to the game; they just make it more awkward and frustrating to play.

    Just so disappointed to be honest. :(
    Reply +6
  • Why you should install Dark Souls 3 patch 1.03

  • Darren 14/04/2016

    @GreyBeard - I don't understand your logic here.

    Digital Foundry have shown that the PS4 version is running at 30 fps for the majority of the time with dips here and there. This is similar to many other console games that run mostly but not quite at a locked 30 fps. However, most games manage to do that without framepacing issues. The only time they feel less smooth is when the framerate actually dips below 30 fps.

    Take the recent Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the underpowered (in comparison to PS4) Wii U for example; this game runs with a similar level of performance to Dark Souls III on PS4 but it does not have framepacing issues so feels smooth for 99.99% of the time. If Dark Souls III is anything like Bloodborne then it won't feel smooth for 99.99% of the time.

    IMO, the issue is a result of sloppy coding. Other developers have fixed this issue, e.g. Bungie for Destiny and Blizzard for Diablo III on PS4.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 13/04/2016

    @Kain1 - The lighting is the most noticeably improved aspect of Dark Souls III in my opinion and textures look more realistic but otherwise it is really the game's stunning art design that makes it look so damn breath-taking at times. However, if you look closely then the cracks do show (object pop up and a lack of tessellated surfaces for example... just look ugly and blocky the faces and head geometry look in the character editor for example with hair and beards looking particularly pixellated and shimmery?). Reply 0
  • Darren 13/04/2016

    @GreyBeard - A game can run at a locked 30 fps but still have framepacing issues.

    Framepacing is about delivering frames evenly, in this game's case, one new frame every 33ms. However, as the video clearly explains the game sometimes delivers a frame in 50ms then tries to make up for it by delivering the next at 16.7ms so that two frames still took 66ms even when it is holding a perfect 30 fps. It is this uneven delivery of frames which makes the game feel far less smooth than it should. Compare Bloodborne with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on the PS4 for example. The latter runs at a locked 30 fps with evenly delivered frames whereas the former does not even though it may be running at the same 30 fps as Black Flag. The problem with Dark Souls III (and Bloodborne) is not that it dips below 30 fps from time to time but that the frames are not delivered evenly when it *is* running at 30 fps.

    I would liked to have played Dark Souls III on my PS4 but after Bloodborne, a magnificent game by the way, I decided I was not going to put up with framepacing issues and went instead for the PC version. So far that version of the game is running smoothly for me (at 2560x1440 Ultra settings at 60 fps) and without any framepacing issues. It is a night and day different in comparison to Bloodborne and makes the game far more enjoyable to play.
    Reply +10
  • Quantum Break UK's best-selling boxed game

  • Darren 11/04/2016

    Quantum Break is a great game which I started playing on Xbox One to half way through Act 2 then continued on PC through to the start of Act 5, thanks to the cloud saving feature that allows to use the same save game on both platforms.

    Luckily for me, the game runs fine on my PC (i7-4770K, 16 GB, GTX 980 Ti using the v364.91 developer drivers) feeling IMHO as smooth at worst but usually smoother than the Xbox One version and having less in the way of texture pop in issues and certainly no screen tearing. Even the Episode streaming (since you cannot pre-load them on PC) has worked fine for the three I've watched so far on my PC. I have not experienced any crashes either in the 6 hours or so I've been playing it on PC. Reload times on PC are also much quicker than on Xbox One (game is installed to a hard drive by the way not an SSD), which is a relief as I have died quite a few times!

    No-one is more surprised than me to be writing that after all the bad press the PC version was getting last week. I'm not excusing the PC version, which could and should have been much better. The only thing I've done is to force 16X anisotropic filtering and a 59.7 fps frame limit in the driver game profile using NVIDIA Inspector. Whether that has smoothed out the framepacing issues, I couldn't say, as there's no way to current monitor it but I certainly never noticed any and I am usually very sensitive to issues like that (it marred Bloodborne on PS4 for me).
    Reply +3
  • Digital Foundry: Hands-on with Star Fox Zero

  • Darren 10/04/2016

    I am looking foward to the day but it is disappointing to read that it is yet another exclusive that is bereft of even post-process anti-aliasing at 1280x720. Not a game-killer by any means but it does highlight how weak the Wii U hardware is when games actually make proper use of its game pad screen rather than just mirroring it. After the beautiful crisp 1080p visuals with AA of the Zelda: Twilight Princess conversion it is going to be hard to go back to 720p and no AA. Reply -2
  • What went wrong with Quantum Break on PC?

  • Darren 08/04/2016

    Kind of ironic that Iron Galazy, who coded the god-awful PC port of Batman: Arkham Knight, are the same developers who also coded Killer Instinct on PC, which is the only triple A game since Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Windows Store that actually isn't fundamentally broken on PC!!! It's a strange old world, aint' it? :lol:

    Mind you, Killer Instinct is not using DirectX 12 apparently so make of that what you will! ;)
    Reply +4
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    @mega-gazz - Well UWP is perfectly fine for mobile style apps and smaller games which is really what the Windows Store is selling. The triple A releases like this game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Killer Instinct all seem tragically out of place amongst, what is let's face it, 95% casual mobile rubbish.

    These games deserve so much better IMO. Steam might not be perfect but it is far less restrictive than the Windows Store and games are generally promoted much better. Hopefully Microsoft will realise that sooner rather than later...
    Reply +2
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    @mkreku - Oops, my bad, missed that line.

    You can fix that apparently by forcing 16X AF globally through the graphics driver control panel. From the screenshots I've seen it makes a night and day difference on mid-distance signs and so forth.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    @itusuk - That's the sad thing though... if people don't buy the games then Microsoft will see this initiative as a failure and go back to not supporting the PC at all for gaming.

    I don't think anyone really wants that if we have the chance to play Microsoft owned IPS like Forza and Quantum Break.

    Actually advertising Quantum Break on PC would be a start but possibly they might want to wait until the issues have been fixed first... ;)
    Reply 0
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    Quote: "Until these limitations are removed from UWP, it's really hard to recommend purchasing any game that runs on it."

    I hope you do an article on it but Killer Instinct seems like a decent PC port in my experience and I was able to play it without any issues other than an abnormally slow download time. I understand that owners of high refresh monitors are experiencing speed up issues due to the way the game's code is tied into the framerate but the developers are supposedly working on that. And from what I've read, Rise of the Tomb Raider was working fine on the Windows Store at launch. It's really just Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Quantum Break that have been released basically broken.
    Reply -2
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    I've just read the article and I am GLAD that Microsoft have not yet sent me the code? I shall enjoy the game on Xbox One instead but maybe that was their plan all along... to make the console version seem better in comparison to PC then it would have otherwise? Yeah, call me cynical! :D

    But seriously, this game has far too many issues to excuse and I am absolutely delighted that Digital Foundry have published this article if only to embarrass Microsoft into actually fixing them. Did they not test this game at all or were Microsoft so committed to launching the game on both platforms at the same time that they released what is basically an unfinished and untested PC build? The framepacing issues are utterly inexcusable as is the poor anisotropic filtering (not mentioned in this article). The capped framerate issue (50 fps tops on a 60 Hz display) is downright laughable IMO.

    Is this port possibly more borked up than Batman: Arkham Knights on PC? Do we now have a new benchmark for how NOT to do a PC game?

    I suspect a parity clause is the reason for the lack of some obvious features in the PC game such as native rendering rather than the sub-native reconstruction technique that is used on Xbox One. It makes sense to use that on a platform that has limited hardware but on PC it really should be an option. Would the game run better at the native resolution with post-process SMAA? It would almost certainly look sharper and clearer IMO.

    P.S. I have not mentioned the developers, Remedy, because I absolutely do not blame them for the state of this game. The blame for that lies solely at Microsoft's feet because we know from past games that Remedy are a more than capable developer and the Xbox One version of the game is excellent considering the limitations of the hardware it is running on.
    Reply +7
  • Darren 08/04/2016

    Why am I not surprised?

    I pre-ordered the Xbox One version at 44.99, mainly for the 'free' PC code, as I figured that the PC version on the Windows Store would cost the same or more (as it happens it cost 5.00 more but it seems to be in a state of flux at the moment alternating between showing as 49.99 and 44.99 on the Store for some reason for me here in the UK!!!). Needless to say I am STILL waiting for this code to arrive but last night I got pre-maturely excited when my phone beeped to alert me to a message from Xbox Live and I read the part of the text that was showing "Your Quantum Break pre-order..." but it turned out not to be the PC key but the code for the Xbox 360 version of Alan Wake's American Nightmare (which I already had anyway). So thanks for getting your priorities right, Microsoft (...though to be fair they likely assume most people pre-ordering the Xbox One version are playing the game on Xbox One...!). Still, in this digital era of no production costs on serial keys, why are we having to wait 7-10 business days for keys that should have been available at midnight on Tuesday when the game launched?

    While it is great to see Microsoft actually releasing games on the PC - with four so far this year - after years of claiming to support the PC for gaming when clearly it only extended to its Windows operating system, it is just so disappointing that they seem to just mess everything up at the moment. The Windows Store seems designed solely for mobile (cr)apps and not for triple A major releases. Case in point, Quantum Break was released with no fanfare on the PC and featured on the Store front for all of an hour before being replaced by a mobile game (it was Jetpack Joyride when I looked this morning). The game is nowhere to be found on the Store unless you actually search for it!!! Seriously, how is a game like this supposed to sell if it is hidden among hundreds of rubbish mobile apps? That is the first big mistake that Microsoft made by releasing the game only through the Windows Store. It really should be available on Steam, Origin and Uplay if they want it to actually... you know... sell! Why limit it to just one distribution platform? It really doesn't make any sense! :confused:

    The Windows Store is ill-suited to larger games as well. Downloading games is painfully slow for me (Killer Instinct at 22 GB took almost a day!) whereas Steam etc are much much faster. There's no backup option, there's no means of verifying the files and there isn't even an easy way to create a desktop shortcut to run the game. Also, Windows Store games are running in borderless window mode so that means if you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen (which I do when I'm using a controller as many games do not hide the damn mouse pointer!!!) then the taskbar appears; move it to the top and the minimize/exit bar appears! Add these to the issues with the games themselves and I am starting to think that Games for Windows Live actually wasn't that bad! No, really!

    This game does not need DirectX 12 on the PC in my opinion, which so far has proven to a disappointment as it offers no performance improvements over DirectX 11 on my GTX 980 Ti system in the games I've played (in fact, many of them actually run worst!) nor does it offer any visual improvement either. I suspect that if Quantum Break had been released on Steam and using DirectX 11 that the game would not only have ran better but also would be selling better too.
    Reply +9
  • Tech Analysis: Final Fantasy 15 Platinum demo

  • Darren 04/04/2016

    I thought this Platinum demo was charming but suffered from such horrible framepacing issues that it actually felt like it pre-dated the Episode Duscae demo!!! Also, while the visuals are pretty nice, the amount of aliasing is at times at eyesore and really tarnishes the lovely art work. The combat, likely due to the wavering framerate, however never felt satisfying or particularly responsive. A very disappointing demo in my view so thank goodness they still have another five months to fix it.

    P.S. What it is of late with Japanese developers and framepacing issues (Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3 and now this game)?
    Reply +6
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 review

  • Darren 03/04/2016

    So what about the sound quality? Does the S7 still have crappy mono sound, one of the main reasons I ditched the Samsung Galaxy brand for an HTC M8? Also what is the call quality like? I am amazed that sound does not get mentioned in phone reviews on this site. Reply +36
  • Tech Analysis: Quantum Break

  • Darren 02/04/2016

    Wow, so the 75 GB of videos are not in the expected MP4 format but using Bink?!?!?! I'm astounded by that because Bink videos, IMO, usually suffer far more from artifacts like macroblocking and colour-banding. I would have thought MP4 would have been a far better codec to use for a game that uses a lot of live cutscenes? Is Bink cheaper to licence or something? :confused: Reply +30
  • Quantum Break review

  • Darren 01/04/2016

    One thing that puzzles me and it's something I hope Digital Foundry will cover is that the episodes are 75 GB in size but yet only contain 4 x 20 minutes = 80 minutes of content. That's roughly one and half hours for video that is 50% larger than what a dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold, say, for a three hour plus movie.

    So why is this file so large? Are there actually more episodes in there than the four the game currently has?
    Reply +5
  • Darren 01/04/2016

    This game seems to be attracting some mixed reviews and scores with the lowest being GiantBomb, who gave it 2/5, and sites like Destructoid, Jim Sterling and IGN scoring it much better at 80%+.

    What amuses me from reading the comments in the more negative reviews, is how many people are saying they are glad they did not pre-order/will pick it up in a sale based on that SINGLE review!!!

    Do people put their complete trust in one site for reviews or something because that to me is just outright stupid because no two people can possibly have the same opinion on EVERYTHING! If I only read EG and bought games based on what they deemed as worthy/good (as in Recommended or Essential, which seems to be what some people only consider to be "good" games!) then I would have missed out on some truly great games that I have thoroughly enjoyed in spite of their flaws.
    Reply +4
  • Darren 01/04/2016

    Quote: "The live action sections ask for an optional 75GB download, though you can [CONTENT BUFFERING] choose to stream them if you wish."

    And that is sadly what will happen for many PC gamers playing the game next week, I'd wager, because, unbelievably, the Windows Store does NOT support the pre-loading of these episodes and so can ONLY be streamed according to Remedy. After the fiasco of Gears of Wars Ultimate Edition on the Windows Store, you just know that it is not going to go smoothly on PC...

    Thankfully, these parts of the game are optional so having already pre-loaded the Xbox One version (all 125 GB of it, including the Episodes content), I may just watch these non-interactive scenes on my Xbox One and skip them entirely on my PC (the digital version comes free with the Xbox One version by the way, which is nice).

    Despite the shallowness of the gameplay, which I was kind of expecting, I am absolutely sure that I will enjoy this game as much, if not more so, that the excellent Alan Wake or Max Payne games. Can't wait for next week to be honest.
    Reply +1
  • Dirt Rally console review

  • Darren 30/03/2016

    It took Codemasters long enough but they finally released a great and proper rally game with none of that Americanised nonsense that threatened to spoil the previous DiRT games. It is just so refreshing to race stages that are longer than a few minutes and not being able to rewind adds to the tension. A really great game IMO, one that I've been enjoying on PC. It is terrific that console owners can finally get a chance to play this game.

    Hopefully it will do well enough or better than the previous instalments to encourage Codemasters to stick with this type of rally game for future sequels.
    Reply +6
  • It sounds like Hitman's online saves issue is here to stay

  • Darren 25/03/2016

    Such a dumb save system considering the game is SINGLE PLAYER ONLY!!! Sheesh, did IO Interactive really not consider the online/offline issue or do they live in an imaginary world where 100% stable and reliable internet connections exist? It's the same stupid setup that the much despised and thankfully now dead Game for Windows LIVE used on PC. ;) Reply +6
  • We know PlayStation 4.5 is real - but why is Sony making it?

  • Darren 24/03/2016

    I think this is a terrible idea personally and likely to upset the existing user base unless Sony are releasing this new model as a cheaper 4K BD player which plays games identically to the existing model. I don't have an issue with that since I do not yet own a 4K TV to take advantage of 4K or the new BD format and likely won't for a few years yet.

    If the PS4K plays games at a higher graphical quality at 1080p and with better framerates then I personally would likely buy one, somewhat reluctantly though, rather than be stuck playing less impressive looking and running games on older hardware.

    There's a real danger though that Sony could confuse the market, in much the same way Nintendo did with the Wii U. I know the Wii U was a new machine but that was launched on the back of the massive success of the Wii and it flopped badly. Could the PS4K suffer the same fate?

    IMO, Sony should focus on delivering quality exclusives for the current model rather than introducing a new model and all the potential problems that come with that (developer support, increased costs to the user, additional work for developers to test games on two different setups, etc, etc). 4K for games on a console is such a waste though since the consoles struggle to maintain good framerates at 1080p so any improvement to the hardware should benefit 1080p in my opinion not be used for 4K which few people currently have access to anyway. Considering we've had 480i/480p for 50 years then 720p for the last decade, 1080p for the last five years and now we're expected to adopt 4K? Seems to me that they're pushing these new formats onto us not because we need it but because they can. I have seen 4K and agree that it looks nice but I only have a 40" TV and no plans for anything larger which makes 4K a total waste for me. You need 55"+ screens to appreciate 4K from normal viewing distances IMO.

    The cynic in me says that Sony are only releasing this new machine because Microsoft said they were doing the same for the Xbox One and the lastt thing thiey want is to be seen as the company with the inferior hardware... ;)
    Reply +2
  • Dark Souls 3: see how the Bloodborne engine runs on Xbox One

  • Darren 23/03/2016

    @cloudskipa - Sorry but for me bad frame pacing can pretty much mar my enjoyment of a game, making the framerate feel lower than it is and character movement feel overly heavy and laggy. In a game such as this which requires careful of bat then it can be frustrating.

    And, yes, I can enjoy a 30 FPS game as long as it holds that framerate and has even frame pacing, e.g. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Destiny and Far Cry Primal on PS4. It's not the framerate that is the issue here, it's the poor frame pacing. There really is no excuse for it other than bad coding.

    P.S. I didn't mention 4K and 60 FPS for Dark Souls II because those things are the only things that made it better than on console; no, I mentioned them to show how well optimised and coded the sequel was in comparison to the disappointing original which ran at 30 FPS with a resolution of 1024x576, or whatever it was. I expect Dark Souls III will be more demanding but if should still run at 60 FPS on my hardware at 2560x1440. Any frame pacing issues can also be fixed using third-party apps such as RTSS (part of MSI Afterburner), one of the nice things about gaming on PC.
    Reply +8
  • Darren 23/03/2016

    @Mr_Bump - Dark Souls was a technical disappointment on PC (thankfully a mod fixed all of its issues) but Dark Souls was actually very good IMO. It ran perfectly at 60 fps with no frame pacing issues and at 4K too. Reply +6
  • Darren 23/03/2016

    I can't believe that From Software have not fixed that damn framepacing issue that threatened to ruin Bloodborne for me on PS4. It was only because the game was so good that I put up with it but I always hoped that would fix it (they didn't). If Bungie could fix it in Destiny between its beta and final release then I really don't see why these developers can't for this game. Reeks of sloppiness IMO.

    Guess it's another reason to avoid the game on consoles and buy it for PC then if you have the choice?
    Reply +14
  • Nintendo plays down claim it will end Wii U production this year

  • Darren 23/03/2016

    Given the massive success of the Wii and the comparative failure of the Wii U, I cannot help but worry that Nintendo might struggle again with their next console too, seeing as it will launch three years into the life of the more popular and well-established PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

    It is unlikely to be more powerful than either of those, given Nintendo's history of targeting innovative controllers over technologically advanced hardware. As such it is unlikely to appeal to the core gamers looking for better graphics so unless Nintendo have another Wii-like gimmick up their sleeve for the NX then I fear it'll struggle to gain a foothold in the market as well and may lose third-party support as quickly as the Wii U did. I would dearly love to be wrong though as Nintendo games have a certain charm and soul that is generally lacking on the other platforms in my humble view.

    Personally, I don't regret buying the Wii U at all, in fact I prefer it tenfold to the Wii with its innovative (for the time) but gimmicky and ultimately tiresome and inaccurate motion controls. It's telling that I am thoroughly enjoying Zelda: Twilight Princess far more on the Wii U than I did on the Wii because of the absence of mandatory motion controls (plus the Wii U controller aiming is actually surprising good, though it remains optional).

    So, yeah, I feel Nintendo did a lot right with the Wii U but it just failed to capture the public's attention like the Wii did. Not really sure quite why that happened really. Possibly the majority of the people who bought the Wii were those that generally didn't play or play games before then, enticed as they were by the motion controller. As such, they weren't the sort who would buy new hardware or even many games. My parents are a perfect example of this; they still both play on their Wii but only ever bought three games, including Wii Fit, and the one they played the most is the free Wii Sports!
    Reply +3
  • Why Gears of War Ultimate fails to deliver on PC

  • Darren 20/03/2016

    I bought the game at launch (it was cheap after all) but I was annoyed to find that I was not prompted as to where to install the game. Bearing in mind that this was a 52 GB download and my SSD only had 55 GB free, I was lucky that the game even installed at all. Then once installed, I had to find out how to relocate to it to one of my hard drives where I normally install games. Hell, the game did not even put a convenient shortcut on my desktop. Not a great experience at all.

    As for the game itself, well it ran OK on my system since I have decent specs but I encountered stuttering and image quality, in my opinion, is inferior to the DX10 original which used MSAA, thanks to it only having FXAA. And those cutscenes, while technically OK for 1080p FMV, again are a let down after seeing the original game render them natively in realtime at 2560x1440. Seems a bit of a step backward really to go from realtime cutscenes to prerendered ones in a remaster. :confused:

    The whole experience has me deeply worried for what Quantum Break will be like on PC... I mean all signs are that it will be a disastrous launch, particularly since I've read that the FMV cutscenes (in 4K apparently) will be streamed and not downloaded. Yeah, I can see how that is going to pan out on my internet connection... watch 5 seconds of video, long pause, watch another 5 seconds and so on... :rolleyes:

    I don't know what is going on with Microsoft lately but they seem to be completely out of touch with PC gamers and seem to make one bad decision after another.
    Reply +9
  • Face-Off: Hitman

  • Darren 16/03/2016

    @caribou-poo - I think you might be alone with that. Granted, some types of ambient occlusion can look a bit fake or overdone but I personally find that games without look really flat and unrealistic. Reply +6
  • Darren 16/03/2016

    @Malek86 - Agreed.

    It doesn't help either that NVIDIA seem to be dragging their metaphorical heels in regards to asynchronous compute either, one of the things that can boost DX12 performance over DX11. At the moment, the Maxwell cards, including my own GTX 980 Ti, do not support it leading to worst performance in DX12 than DX11.

    Which is insane really when you think about it as DX12 games so far do not even look better or boost extra graphical settings that might account for similar or worst performance!!!

    On the one hand you could argue that NVIDIA have great drivers for DX11 and that's why DX12 seems so lacklustre so far but even early DX10 and DX11 titles offered something tangible to see, usually improved visuals which we're not seeing in any of the DX12 games released so far. And all the talk about improved performance seems empty too.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's early day... give it time to mature, etc, etc, etc. I know but I was at least hoping for something positive to see from the four DX12 games I have so far (Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Gears of War Ultimate Edition and Ashes of the Singularity). :(
    Reply +3
  • Darren 16/03/2016

    I really love this new game even if the episodic nature means that currently it is lacking in content with just two very small training areas and one large campaign map. Makes me wish the game had just shipped complete even though the Paris map took me hours to fully explore.

    Anyway, the PC beta for me proved to be oddly more stable than the final game. I played the beta for some 15 hours without a single crash but within minutes of playing the release build in DX12 the game froze as I climbed some stairs and approached a large crowd on the initial Boat training mission. This bug was repeatable and occurred in the roughly the same place (perhaps the crowds are the cause?). Switching to DX11, gave me far more stable performance but I have still had the game freeze two or three times during the 11 or so hours I've been playing it.

    i7-4770K, 16 GB, GTX 980 Ti, Windows 10 Pro with the latest v364.51 WHQL graphics driver. I am playing maxed out with SMAA at 2560x1440 and generally getting framerates north of 50 fps for the majority of the Paris map. Predictably the performance suffers most in areas with large crowds and/or reflective surfaces such as mirrors.

    Great game but DX12 is a huge disappointment offering neither visual nor performance improvements making it a complete waste of time for NVIDIA graphics cards owners. In fact, my experience with DX12 in other games is equally underwhelming as I do not see any visual upgrades (in the case of Rise of the Tomb Raider you lose the highest ambient occlusion setting) and certainly little in the way of performance increases. Ashes of the Singularity actually runs SLOWER in DX12 than DX11 for example on my system. Remind me again what all the hype was about for DX12? :confused:
    Reply +2
  • King's Quest: Chapter 3 dated for April

  • Darren 15/03/2016

    I absolutely loved the first chapter which was brimming with humour and charm but the long wait for plus the repetitive tasks and dull setting of the second one made for a tedious experience which I really did not enjoy at all, it saddens me to say. :(

    I only hope the next chapter is much better but really waiting four months between episodes is really killing my enthusiasm for this game as I invariably forget what has happened and who all the characters are. These should be spaced one month apart, two at the most.
    Reply 0
  • The Division review

  • Darren 15/03/2016

    I really like this game and I've been only playing it solo so far; challenging admittedly but doable. This is a much more satisfying game than last year's pretty but uber-dull Destiny, which suffered from poor storytelling, pathetic loot drops and a lack of compelling single player gameplay IMO. Well done, Ubisoft.

    My only gripe with the game is the checkpointing system which means that despite completing a mission objective if I should die by the hands of one of the last tough waves of enemies the game throws at you then I have to repeat the entire section again from the last checkpoint. This can be frustrating to say the least and feels a tad unfair. Also, it would be nice if solo players could exit a mission part way through and resume from that point rather than have to restart them again. The main missions are 30-60 minutes long with only temporary checkpoints during play.

    Oh and the lack of detailed character customisation is a disappointment too given this game is third-person. The limited choice of faces and hair styles etc means that you end up with a lot of similar looking players which kind of jars along side the realistic setting. Or are The Division all clones of a dozen men and women?
    Reply -1
  • Star Fox Zero adds invincible mode for beginners, internet reacts

  • Darren 14/03/2016

    If that was the ONLY difficulty mode then I could understood the outburst but what's wrong with catering for everyone by making your game more accessible? It's not like you are having to pay extra for it or anything! Sheesh! ;-) Reply +3
  • The Division datamined, at least 26 missions in campaign

  • Darren 07/03/2016

    Really loved the beta personally even though I only played it solo. I bought the game last Friday on that basis and have already pre-loaded it (PC version). Very much looking forward to checking out the final game. Reply +1
  • Face-Off: Heavy Rain on PS4

  • Darren 04/03/2016

    I got my retail boxed copy of this game along with Beyond Two Souls yesterday and played Heavy Rain last night. I had only previously played the PS3 demo and was instantly put off by the screen tearing so never bought the full game.

    While the game itself is interesting, for me conveying the feel of loss, sorrow and confusion very well in the opening hour or so, it is less of a game IMO and more akin to an interactive movie. Visually the game looks mostly decent with good facial detail. Some of the multi-camera cuts though show signs of screen tear which is not nice. Movement however is extremely clunky, requiring the use of R2 to move so it feels unnatural with characters having to turn on the spot to move in the direction they're facing. This seems to have been done to allow for the use of the right analogue stick for the numerous quick time events and prompts but why could they have not been mapped to the PS4's touchpad? All the swipes and stuff would be perfect for it yet the game uses the touchpad only as a means of displaying the control mappings!!! What a waste. :confused:

    Worst of all though, the game's performance is a mess on my PS4. The game did not seem to require any initial install (although I would guess it is still installing data in the background as I play?) but on starting the game the animations would stutter and the audio would cut out. Not a very good first impression, I have to say. And despite playing the game for over an hour, it was constantly stuttering/hitching/juddering (whatever you want to call it) whenever my character moved and really diminished the entire experience for me. Why is the game running this badly on the PS4? Surely it should be a mostly (if not entirely) smooth 30 fps experience?

    Can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed here despite actually liking the underlying game. It just does not run as well as it do and I surely cannot be the only one bothered by it.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 01/03/2016

    Sorry... but the game runs without screen tearing but the pre-rendered FMV cutscenes have them?!?!?! How on earth does that make sense? :confused:

    More importantly, is this a bug that can be fixed?

    I refused to buy the PS3 version because the demo suffered from (for me) distracting amounts of screen tearing so I jumped at the chance to purchase the double pack of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls on PS4, simply because there was a high chance that the issue would be completely fixed. That is apparently true of Beyond Two Souls so why not Heavy Rain as well?

    This analysis reads to me like Heavy Rain has not been given the care and attention that Beyond Two Souls got, what with the FMV tearing and bugs.
    Reply +3
  • Face-Off: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

  • Darren 02/03/2016

    @Fragtaster - Personally, while anisotropic filtering is nice to have and essential in most games, I do not think the lack of filtering hurts Nintendo's games too badly, mainly because they're prominantly cartoonish in design and tend to have simplistic, flat-looking texture work anyway.

    I suspect the decision to make Twilight Princess HD 1080p rather than 720p is the reason for the lack of texture filtering, particularly as DF mention framerate dips that weren't present on the Wii/GameCube versions.
    Reply -3
  • Darren 02/03/2016

    I played this game for 2.5 hours last night to the point where Link with Midna meets the Twilight Princess for the first time. I've been really enjoying it and the 1080p presentation and sharper textures make it look lovely at times despite the fact everything else is exactly the same. Shame about the framerate drops but while I have noticed a couple I can't say that I found them intrusive due to the pace of the game so far in the opening stages.

    My only complaint is that the music seems really muted in-game, not an issue with the volume as Midna's voice and the sound effects all sound fine. Also the title music sounds as it should too. Looks like it is set at that volume by the developer, possibly to not overpower everything else. Sadly, there are no options, that I could see, which allow me to change the volume levels. Oh well, at least I have the soundtrack CD to listen to. :

    Also, one minor issue I have noticed is that the game's palette can look a little washed out in places but that might be because I played the Wii version on a CRT TV with incorrect colour calibration and I'm seeing it how it is supposed to look for the first time now. Not a big deal though.
    Reply +5
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD review

  • Darren 02/03/2016

    I got my copy today from ShopTo.net along with the terrific Wolf Link amiboo and the CD soundtrack; a great package for 40 IMO.

    Played around three hours of the game tonight and was surprised at how much I'd forgotten despite having played the Wii version. Well this version is much better by default just from not having shoe-horned in motion controls plus the camera can be controlled easier here too. Although the remastered visuals are a little disappointing in places, at least the additions of widescreen support, 1080p and better textures make the game look much nicer on an HDTV than the Wii version ever did. The game is good as well and does feel more in the mould of Ocarina of Time (my favourite Zelda) than Wind Waker. The 30 fps framerate is also fine. 60 fps would have been nice but it's not really needed in this game in my view.

    The only disappointment for me is the quietness of the music. The title music sounds fine but in-game it sounds surprisingly muted against the sound effects and squeaky voice of Midna, and, of course, there are no options (that I can see) to adjust the audio levels.
    Reply +1
  • It looks like Forza is heading to PC

  • Darren 01/03/2016

    The words "free-to-play" sends a shudder down my spine when attached to a great franchise and with it being published by Microsoft then I suspect the game will well and truly be ruined by annoying micro transactions, something they almost ruined Forza Motorsport 5 with.

    Sorry to be so negative as we should be grateful that this game is even coming out on PC but the fact is that I would rather have the same Forza Motorsport 6 that the Xbox One has coupled with the graphics options we expect from a PC release. I'm sure the majority of PC gamers would too, I'd wager. :(
    Reply +8
  • Twilight Princess HD includes a Legend of Zelda Wii U Easter egg

  • Darren 01/03/2016

    Really looking forward to revisiting this game, which I originally played on my Wii at launch with those really annoying motion-controls and limited camera control. Wii U version should be a revelation, I think.

    DHL have just delivered my copy along with the Amiibo figure this morning from ShopTo.net which was a nice surprise. Annoying to be stuck at work... roll on home time! :D
    Reply +1
  • Digital Foundry's guide to the best PC controllers

  • Darren 28/02/2016

    @El_Palabragris - Yeah, the game incompatibilities compared with the 360 controller are really the XBO pad's only real weakness in my opinion.

    It would be nice if Microsoft could add support for both DInput and Xinput in the form of Xbox 360 controller emulation for stuff like the first two Final Fantasy XIII games and those older Unity Engine games that will never be fixed/patched/updated.
    Reply +2
  • Darren 28/02/2016

    I bought an Xbox One Elite controller from Amazon this week for use on my PC and, while it is certainly very pricey, it is superb quality piece of kit that looks and feels premium. So much so that the original pad actually feels like a cheap knock off! :lol:

    I especially like the paddles, two of which I have mapped to right and left analogue clicks as they are just much more comfortable to use, especially in the few games that require you to hold them down for, say, crouching or running. Also the way you can switch the pressure setting on the triggers is a great feature too. Finally, the default D-pad is even better than the one on the original controller (which was already a vast improvement on the 360's awful one). Absolutely love this controller (but at that price how can you dare not?). ;)

    The only niggles I have are the lack of a rechargeable plug and play battery in the package (c'mon, Microsoft, this is a 120 premium controller and you ship it was Duracell batteries?!?) and the fact that an alarmingly number of games seem to have issued with this controller in Windows 10, mainly those that use the Unity Engine. The latter issue manifests itself as ghost movement to the left in these games, affecting character movement and even the ability to change menu settings!

    I am surprised that Digital Foundry have not mentioned this as Unity Engine is very popular with many indie developers on Steam. Some of the games have been updated to fix this issue (since it seems that the problem lies with the engine not the driver, although maybe DF can confirm this?) but there are many older games that haven't and never will be. These games work fine with the older Xbox 360 controller so if you are going to upgrade to a newer Xbox One pad from that then make sure you keep it for those incompatible titles which include Beyond Eyes (character will keep turning and walking on her own), The Last Tinker: City of Colors (mostly works except in main menu and the upgrade store) and Mini Motor EVO Racing (the car spins continuously on the spot), etc, etc. Given the number of Unity Games on Steam it is not hard to find ones that do not work properly so be warned.
    Reply +21