Darren Comments

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  • Doom gets November release date for Nintendo Switch

  • Darren 16/10/2017

    Much as I would love to play DOOM on my Switch, the thought of that 30 fps framerate just puts me right off it. Hopefully, there will be a demo but I cannot imagine that this fast-paced first-person shooter will feel that great to play at half the framerate of all the other versions. I would rather they have toned the visuals down to keep that 60 fps framerate personally. Reply 0
  • Shadow of War highlights the strengths and weaknesses of PS4 Pro

  • Darren 15/10/2017

    4K be damned. The game benefits far more from running at 60 FPS in my experience (and higher framerates ... thank you, G-SYNC).

    The Xbox One X version might look like the PC version maxed out but, disappointingly, it wonít play like it as it will still be 30 FPS. Yeah, 30 FPS is perfectly playable on consoles but once you play it at 60 FPS then it would be hard for me to go back to 30 FPS. In my humble opinion, 60 FPS at a lower resolution is *always* better than 30 FPS at 4K. Sorry, Sony and Microsoft but it just is.

    Iím playing the game at 3200x1800 on maxed out settings at 2560x1440 on a 165 Hz display which is the sweet spot for my GTX 1080 Ti, offering great image quality *and* a framerate that never dips below 60 FPS and usually runs at 75-90 FPS. At 4K the game dips below 60 fps (to 52 FPS, still fine with G-SYNC to be fair...) but not having a 4K display makes the improvement hard to see so 3200x1800 it is.

    A great game in my opinion; more variety than the first and although the combat can get repetive, it is made up by the skill and Nemesis system. Last night I had an epic confrontation with not one, not two but FOUR Orc captains at level 12 to 18. It was terrific and I killed all four as well for some nice loot.
    Reply 0
  • How Star Wars Battlefront 2's stunning tech scales across consoles

  • Darren 12/10/2017

    The game is certainly a looker and surprisingly enjoyable for someone who does not normally play or enjoy online shooters (the campaign is the main allure for me however) but, dear lord, the pop in on that ground-based forest Strike Assault level was atrocious and really distracting even though I was playing the game completely maxed out on my PC. I really hope they fix that for the final release as it is an eyesore IMO. Reply +3
  • Are loot boxes gambling?

  • Darren 12/10/2017

    For all the controversy regarding the addition of loot boxes in Forza Motorsport 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War, I am finding them incredibly easy to ignore and have felt no urge to buy let alone use them.

    Should they even be there in full-priced games?

    Well, on that point I would say absolutely not and I really hope that this kind of practice does not become the norm. Publishers are already becoming a bit too greedy with threadbare DLC add-ons and Season Passes and I'd hate to think what could potentially happen to games if it does catch on and every game includes loot boxes. They have the potential to unbalance a game and make them more "grindy" otherwise why would you even consider loot boxes in the first place if they weren't made even slightly tempting?
    Reply +1
  • Forza Motorsport 7 physical sales down slightly on Forza 6

  • Darren 09/10/2017

    @PKMaxx - Yes, I've had the track gradually disappear piece by piece across two 5-lap races leaving me to race using only the racing line!!! It was extremely tense! I've also had three instances where the game crashed to the desktop during a race.

    This is on the PC version which I've put about 15-16 hours into now. Other than some minor stutters with G-SYNC at 165 Hz, which seem to have been fixed with the last patch, the game has been running great and it looks fantastic at 4K running at 85+ fps on my GTX 1080 Ti and 27" ASUS monitor.

    I suspect the game has some kind of memory leak though as the RTSS on-screen overlay shows extremely high pagefile usage of 21-22 GB while playing with 12 GB of system RAM used. I've also noticed some odd slowdown during the pre-race score/award screen - once this even froze for 10 seconds - before the game resumed as normal. It's like the game is running out of physical RAM and caching data to and from the hard drive at these points, although I've have to say that this has never affected the in-game performance which remains solid (well, apart from those three crashes...).

    I am playing it maxed out on Ultra settings with 8xMSAA though and 4K but VRAM usage has never gone above 6 GB (out of the 11 GB my card has). My PC has 16 GG of memory.

    Although the game is 99.5% stable, it does look like it needs a few more patches to iron out the kinks IMO.
    Reply 0
  • A Hat in Time review

  • Darren 09/10/2017

    Thank you for reviewing this game, EG. If it is wasn't for this then I would not have even know about this wonderful little platformer. I've been having an absolute blast playing this game (on PC).

    My only complaint is the extreme ramp in difficulty for the first boss on Chapter 1 - it literally took me 20 attempts to beat him, mainly due to the unfair mega charge attack he uses on the second part of the fight and the fact you can only have 4 units of health. Oh and I'm not so keen on the dithering effect used to mask scenery blocking the character but that's just minor niggle.

    Looks lovely, sounds terrific and plays like a dream with perfectly responsive controls. What not to like? :D
    Reply +1
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War review

  • Darren 05/10/2017

    I liked the first game, especially the combat and Nemesis system, but it quickly got repetitive, unfortunately, due to the lack of variety in the environment and enemies. I've been keeping my eye on the sequel in the hope that it would offer more variety but it's not a game I'll rush out to buy. More likely I will wait until nearer Christmas when it is discounted in a sale before buying it. This review doesn't exactly sell the game to me anyway. Reply 0
  • Here's what The Witcher 3 looks like at 4K on PS4 Pro

  • Darren 05/10/2017

    @DampCloth - It goes without saying that the Xbox One X won't be able to guarantee native 4K for all games either as it is held back by a weak CPU.

    Of course, it will have more than the PS4 Pro, that goes without saying since it has 50% more memory and a faster GPU. Even on my PC though with an i7-4770K and GTX 1080 Ti, I can't run every game at 4K with all the eye candy on unless I lock them to 30 fps and/or reduce settings. I can run many at 4K/60 fps though but this is a significantly more powerful setup than either console.

    Of course, the Xbox One X will be able to run its Forza games at 4K, as it will Forza Motorsport 7 next month and at 60 fps too, but Forza Horizon 4 for example will undoubtedly be locked to 30 fps even on that platform. This is the most disappointing thing about these more powerful consoles IMO; that they're pushing for higher pixel counts at 30 fps rather than optimising for 60 fps at 1080p. Personally, I'd rather have better framerates than better pixel counts, which is something that Nintendo seem to prioritise (ironic considering they have by far the weakest hardware).

    This 4X higher pixel count means that come the next generation of consoles we still have games that run at 30 fps and many that don't even manage that as developers strive for prettier games with more effects and higher polygon counts... unless we get significantly more powertful CPUs too.

    Anyway, while this PS4 Pro is nice to have, I did not notice that much difference when testing it last night on my 1080p TV. It looks a little sharper but not massively so and the rest of the visuals are exactly the same so there's no improvements to shadows or draw distance or anything like that like what Rise of the Tomb Raider offered. That a little disappointing really. I would have liked a higher detail 1080p mode with a more stable 30 fps personally.
    Reply +3
  • Forza Motorsport 7 review

  • Darren 05/10/2017

    Apart from two days of utter hell trying to get Forza Motorsport 7 to download on my PC because of the irritatingly wonky Windows Store - in the end I had to upgrade to Windows 10 Build 16299 to even get it to start downloading - I've been thoroughly enjoying playing this game. It's great to be able to play a full Forza Motorsport on PC at last after the cruel tease that was Forza Motorsport 6 Apex earlier on this year (or was it last...?).

    That I can play it at 4K with a framerate of 90-120 fps on Ultra settings with 8xMSAA and solid performance is the thing that finally killed off any chance of me buying the Xbox One X. It isn't all perfect though; initially the game suffered from, what felt like, microstuttering due to, I believe, poor framepacing on my 165 Hz G-SYNC display (I'm using an unlocked framerate and V-Sync is off in-game). At first I didn't really notice it too much, it just seemed like the framerate was lower than the figure displayed in the top-right hand corner of the screen (the RTSS overlay) but a brief play of the Xbox One version revealed that version of the game felt smoother. I forced a 165 fps Framerate Limit in RTSS and since then the game has ran smoothly with only the odd rare split-second hiccup now and again (thanks, Windows!!!).

    This is a great game, one that I'm liking all over again due to being on PC. It's a shame though that the only way to get it on PC is through Microsoft's god-awful Store. The Store is not suited for large game downloads at all; pause the download or click Retry and you could find that 65 GB of the 95 GB you've downloaded reset to zero! There's no verify or backup option, and the game files themselves are stored in a hidden folder that is inaccessible by default. I've had download issues with most large 30+ GB games from the Store, including last year's Forza Horizon 3 and Quantum Break. The larger the game then the more likely it is the download will error out. Forza Motorsport 7 is 95 GB!

    Yet I have no problems at all downloading anything from Steam, Origin or Uplay. Those just work, the Store doesn't. Often it feels like you have to jump through hoops to get it to do anything but download small smartphone-type apps and games (and even then it can't always download those either!). Forza Motorsport 7 needs to be available on Steam IMO where I'm sure it will sell ten-fold. I fear for the success of the game when it is only available on the Store, which is quickly getting the reputation of Games for Windows LIVE when it comes to games. Remember that?
    Reply -1
  • Road Redemption review

  • Darren 04/10/2017

    I bought this game in early access but even now performance is absolutely *dire* on my GTX 1080 Ti running on 2560x1440 maxed out settings on a 165 Hz G-SYNC monitor. The framerate frequently drops to and locks at 30 fps at the start of the race then a few seconds later jumps to 110 fps when the screen gets packed with enemies then drops back down to 30 fps on a long quieter stretch of road!!!

    It makes no sense whatsoever and neither CPU nor GPU usage are ever close to being stressed. The game is poorly optimised in my experience and the wavering framerate just kills the gameplay for me.
    Reply 0
  • Cuphead review

  • Darren 02/10/2017

    Looks absolutely stunning in terms of visuals and sound but I'm afraid this is not a game I would enjoy playing unfortunately, due to the predominantly boss fight nature of the gameplay and its difficulty. I was really interested in the game though when I first saw it earlier on this year. Reply -1
  • Forza Motorsport 7 is delivering something few other driving games offer anymore

  • Darren 29/09/2017

    I cannot wait to play this over the weekend although I'm having to play it (Ultimate Edition) on my Xbox One since the PC version, which is the primary reason I bought the game to play it on, absolutely refuses to download on the god-awful Windows Store despite the unlock date of midnight, 29th September 2017 for the Ultimate Edition being 12.5 hours ago.

    Of course, I had no issues downloading the 67 GB Xbox One version and playing it for an hour in the early hours of this morning (naughty, I know!) but yet despite the fact that other Store apps and games are updating fine on my PC, Forza Motorsport 7 seems to be stuck in some kind of error code ridden version of Hell, which are as typically unhelpful as you would expect from Microsoft. Lots of numbers and no meaningful explanation of what the error actually is.

    The Forza Motorsport 7 forum is full of posts and threads from people suffering the same issue and at one point the excuse for the pre-loads failing and restarting was due to "internet interruptions"! Cannot you believe that? In the end Turn 10 posted that the failed downloads would work once the release date had elapsed; basically admitting that the pre-load was broken on PC. I don't blame Turn 10 for this at all but their game is going to get a lot of bad rep due to the Store and for that I blame Microsoft who seem completely unable to deliver a reliable digital distribution platform on PC even though Steam, Origin and UPlay have been doing it for years!

    I half suspect that the issues are due to the layers of encryption and hidden, inaccessible folders that the Store uses (and which make modding impossible in these UWP games). While this kind of closed system might work fine on a console like the Xbox One (and, indeed, it does as I've had no issues downloading anything from there, not since the console's launch anyway), on PC it can be a frustrating nightmare. It's like Games for Windows LIVE all over again but that didn't have to deal with 95 GB downloads! People are downloading 60+ GB and finding the game erroring out and downloading everything again on retrying it. It's a ridiculous situation in 2017 to not have a digital store that can cope with paused and resumed downloads properly for large games like this.

    My advice if you are thinking of buying this for the PC is to wait until the problems are fixed. Of course, if you have an Xbox One then you can play it on that but if you only play games on PC then you are more likely to run into issues than not right now.
    Reply -1
  • Layoffs at Saints Row developer Volition

  • Darren 27/09/2017

    To be fair, Agents of Mayhem wasn't really a bad game per se, just a very ordinary one and, thus, a disappointment. I can't but wonder if it might have sold better if it had been named Saints Row 5 instead... Reply +6
  • How does Forza 7 improve on Xbox One X over base hardware?

  • Darren 24/09/2017

    @Decaf - Doubtful. PD seem to prioritize visuals over framerate and, while GT Sports does appear to have addressed the seriesí screentearing issue at long last, I will be very surprised if this game is a locked 60 FPS even on the Pro. I guess weíll have to wait and see... Reply +4
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 roars out of the gates to nearly 500K sold

  • Darren 18/09/2017

    I bought this game when it was in Early Access on Steam but the numerous updates which made earlier saves incompatible meant that I ended up not playing it that much until it was properly released last week. So far, I'm amassed around 12 hours of the campaign and I've been really, really enjoying; far more than the first game, in fact, even though this is really just more of the same, just more polished, better presented and now 100% voice-acted (even the narration) except for your dialogue choices. I'm finding the combat to be challenging but not frustratingly hard so far but I admit that I am getting a bit lost at times knowing where I am supposed to go.

    Not come across too many bugs either; just two instances were the voice-acting has cut-out for some reason and a replicable crash when the Load/Save screen shows an incompatible save from an earlier build of the game (I am unable to delete it because the game freezes and crashes to the desktop before I can select it!).

    A great game so far. I'm even playing it with an Xbox One controller which works brilliantly for this game. In fact, I actually prefer it to using the mouse/keyboard in the same way I preferred playing console Diablo III with a controller over the PC version (having direct control over character movement and the camera just feels more natural for me with a controller).
    Reply +3
  • Destiny 2 review

  • Darren 15/09/2017

    So can Destiny 2's campaign be played from start to finish solo?

    I don't care for the playing it online after my brief play of the PS4 original in which I realised that it was desperately lacking in story, characterisation and anything remotely resembling a Halo-like campaign.

    I would be buying this for PC anyway, which isn't out for another month, but none of the reviews I've read make it very clear if Destiny 2's campaign can be played 100% solo and still have an enjoyment experience. The original game was frustratingly to play solo and even in groups the enemies were ridiculously bullet-resistant which eventually led to me getting bored of it.
    Reply 0
  • Switch's Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is far from definitive

  • Darren 12/09/2017

    Couldn't they have just compressed it *slightly* from 9 GB to fit onto an 8 GB SD card? That way the Switch wouldn't have much to do to decompress the data?

    It sounds like they've compressed it heavily to fit onto a 4 GB card, presumably because 4 GB ones are cheaper than 8 GB ones. Cheapskates!
    Reply +6
  • Ark: Survival Evolved is out of Early Access but still needs work

  • Darren 09/09/2017

    Dear lord... 720p on the base consoles and it still cannot even manage a stable 30 FPS?!!!? That is appalling IMO. It's not like the game even looks *that* good; there's a shockingly short shadow draw distance for example. What on earth is the engine doing to warrant such poor performance? :eek: Reply +11
  • LA Noire coming to Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and a spin-off to VR

  • Darren 07/09/2017

    L.A. Noire on PS4 etc? I would rather have had Red Dead Redemption instead! :( Reply 0
  • Everybody's Golf review

  • Darren 30/08/2017

    @HokutoNoKen - 4K isn't supported if you use a 1080p TV though which is hugely disappointing, especially as the only negative with this game IMO is that it can look rather jaggy at times.

    Why do developers continue to lock out the downsampled 4K option for 1080p Pro users? It makes absolutely no sense to me since there's no performance difference between running 4K on a 4K TV or a 1080p TV!

    I suspect this is one area where the Xbox One X will improve upon the PS4 Pro as at the moment it seems like there is no consistency on Sony's platform. Some developers add excellent support for both 1080p and 4K users but many don't; some choosing not to add anything at all. Sony really need to do something about this if they want to remain competitive against the Xbox One X.
    Reply +3
  • How Ark survived Steam Early Access

  • Darren 29/08/2017

    This game is shockingly badly optimised still even on PC despite receiving hundreds of patches (literally one per day). I have a GTX 1080 Ti and saw framerates around 25-40 fps on Epic settings at 2560x1440. It's not even like the game looks that good in my opinion; lowering the settings doesn't significantly improve performance but the game looks much worse. The developers promised DirectX 12 support a year ago, ironically at a time when games using this API were rare, but it is not released.

    When I realised this game was wasting 67 GB of my hard drive space I decided to uninstall it. There are much better open-world survival games than this out there that run and play far better than this. Not recommended.
    Reply +10
  • Hands-on with 10 Xbox One X games that show us what it's really capable of

  • Darren 25/08/2017

    As a PC gamer who aims for 1440p gaming at 60+ fps with maxed out visual settings and only uses 4K when I am guaranteed a framerate of at least 60 fps then it is disappointing to see consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X focusing on 4K over 60 fps.

    Yes, I know the weak Jaguar CPUs are to blame and those consoles cost much less than what a decent gaming PC does but hearing that F1 2017 runs at 4K on the Xbox One X with adaptive v-sync (i.e. bouts of screen tearing) is hugely underwhelming. I mean what is the point in amazingly crisp 4K visuals if you are going to get distracting tear-lines down the screen on every corner?

    I own a PS4 Pro but in all honesty the biggest improvement I've noticed in games is having 1080p as a base standard (mostly...) and the lack of screen tearing in games. Otherwise the console hasn't really delivered a game-changing experience in my book. I don't have a 4K TV and even if I did then 4K gaming would not be a game-changer in my book, just a crisper-looking version of the same games I'm already playing.
    Reply +1
  • The big Xbox Gamescom interview

  • Darren 23/08/2017

    @freddones - It's too early to say the Xbox One X will be a flop - after all everyone was saying the same about the Switch, myself included, and look how that turned out - but the lack of exclusives and the high price point of £450 aren't going to do it any favours in my opinion, no matter how much Microsoft goes on about how powerful it is versus its rival PS4 Pro.

    I think they're hoping that people who bought the original Xbox at £429, again people like me, will be eager to pay the same again (well £20 more) for the privilege of owning the most powerful console yet. I'm sure many hardcore Xbox owners will upgrade but the cheaper and more popular enhanced PS4, the Pro, hasn't exactly been flying off the shelves - the cheaper base model still outsells it because, well, it's cheaper and plays the same games - so I expect the same will be true of the Xbox One X. It may be a moderate success but just how well will developers actually support it going forward?

    The PS4 Pro has turned out to be a bit underwhelming with inconsistent support from developers not to mention not quite living up to its 4K hype (most of its games use checkboard rendering or run at 1440p). While the Xbox One X might be more powerful than the Pro, I suspect that it won't be much more capable of delivering 4K either for the majority of its games because its hardware simply isn't up to the task (its CPU is still woefully weak for example).

    As an owner of a high-end PC though, the consoles are all about their exclusives and the Xbox One simply doesn't have enough of them any more, not since Microsoft started publishing most Xbox games on PC as well. That's both a blessing and a curse really.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 23/08/2017

    So this guy is happy with the Xbox One's lacklustre lineup of exclusives in the run up to Christmas, primarily because they have yet another online first-person shooter (because we really don't have enough of those, right?) as a console exclusive?

    Forza Motorsport 7 will be a terrific game, absolutely no doubt, even if I know exactly what to expect (it is the sixth sequel after all) but I will be playing that on my PC? Where are the RPGs, where are the Uncharted-like third-person action games? Not only where are the exclusives but where is the variety? I get the impression Microsoft think the Xbox is just for online shooters and racing games only!

    Despite what he says, I somehow cannot see many people with gaming PCs buying the Xbox One X unless they have a really underpowered system. I'm actually really disappointed in Microsoft because as a multi-platform gamer there's nothing I love more than playing with new console hardware. However, if the console has no games worth buying that aren't available on other systems (and better such as on PC which at least CAN do true 4K) then why would I buy it?
    Reply -3
  • Microsoft's final sales pitch for Xbox One X falls flat

  • Darren 21/08/2017

    I've decided against buying an Xbox One X simply because of its lack of exclusives that aren't available or going to be available on PC. Even if those games weren't available on PC, the number of exclusives the Xbox has is already threadbare compared with the PS4 which at least has Japanese RPGs to beef up its games portfolio.

    I'm not too upset though, that £450 I save can go towards new PC games and hardware.
    Reply +1
  • Angry Gameseek customers call aggressive discount promotion a "scam"

  • Darren 18/08/2017

    GameSeek are okay but I've only use them now as a last resort and only for orders that are actually out rather than pre-orders. This is because they used to take payment straight away rather than charge my credit card when the game was actually sent as most e-tailers do. I don't know whether they still do that though. Reply +1
  • Agents of Mayhem review

  • Darren 17/08/2017

    I must admit that despite the performance issues (on a GTX 1080 Ti no less!) that I have been mostly enjoying this game although it does feel very derivative not to mention a bit rough around the edges.

    Par for the course for a game from Volition in my experience; they certainly know how to make entertaining games but Agents of Mayhem is quite possibly their least funny one yet (people swearing a lot does not make a game amusing!) and it does feel very lightweight overall. Missions lack variety and overall I'm reminded very much of Crackdown (which this game does resemble visually), especially with the collectibles. Crackdown was also a game that I felt lacked substance as well although I ended up enjoying what time I spent with it.

    It does seems odd though that a game where you have a team of three agents, only one of them can be played at once. Surely, the other two could have been controlled by A.I. with an option to have online co-op too so up to three people can play? That seems like a missed opportunity to me.
    Reply +3
  • Crackdown 3 delayed until spring 2018

  • Darren 17/08/2017

    @marcsmashing - Well, to be fair, I haven't pre-ordered an Xbox One X, so I was on the fence so to speak anyway (and definitely more on the "not buying" side). However, I was hoping that the platform would have some proper exclusive games that weren't available on PC to justify buying one. At least the PS4 Pro has enough exclusives to support owning one and I do play games on that more than any other system (Switch included) except my PC.

    I was already contemplating selling my existing Xbox One anyway as I haven't played any games on it in months. I've been playing ReCore, Dead Rising 4 and Forza Horizon 3 on my PC. It's great that Microsoft are supporting the PC after years of ignoring the platform but even if they weren't available on PC there's a real lack exclusives anyway on Xbox One compared with other platforms. That is disappointing and it's almost like Microsoft aren't even trying at this point. I would argue that more exclusives were needed not more powerful hardware but what do I know? ;)

    It makes me wonder just how well the Xbox One X will sell once the thrill of seeing older games at 4K (or not quite-4K!) has worn off, especially when it is going to be selling for £450.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 17/08/2017

    So there's no reason at all for me to buy an Xbox One X in November then since I can play Forza Motorsport 7 at 4K and above 60 fps on my PC?

    I must admit that the decision whether to buy one was already looking threadbare even before that. I'm kind of disappointed, I like playing with new toys, but also relieved since the £450 price point makes it hard to justify buying the X when I already own the original Xbox One (and even that is barely used except as a passthrough for my Sky+HD box!).

    So what other exclusive games DOES the Xbox One have in the run up to Christmas that isn't also out on the PC? Does it even have any? :confused:
    Reply +4
  • LawBreakers review

  • Darren 12/08/2017

    There are now so many online-only shooters that getting the player count for them to avoid tedious waiting around in lobbies or low numbers in matches must be a real problem. And aren't they all really just the same thing with different rules and visuals anyway? The first-person shooter must surely be the most over saturated genre ever by now...

    Anyway, this is why I don't buy multiplayer only games, not that I'm interested in competitive gaming anyway when it's stripped of an interesting narrative and geared toward mind-numbing (for me) repetition. At least if a game has a single player then you still have something to play when the player counts drops or the server goes down/bugs out. I didn't buy Titanfall for that reason but I did buy its sequel on PC, which I really enjoyed, even though I've never played it online. I hated Star Wars Battlefront too, though it does look gorgeous, but I am very interested wait to see how the sequel's single player turns out. If it's decent then I may even buy it but, again, not to play online.
    Reply 0
  • One year on, is No Man's Sky the game it should have been?

  • Darren 09/08/2017

    @davidknowles - They deserved it though as they blatantly lied about what the game was, even going as far as to claim it had multiplayer for example. It made me cringe to watch the YouTube video interviews prior to the game's release. If ever a developer a developer deserved the flack they got then it was Hello Games IMO! Reply 0
  • Darren 09/08/2017

    In answer the question asked in the article header, for me it's a big NO!

    Although improved from its terrible launch build, the game's randomly generated worlds still look and feel too samey and clinical to be interesting to explore beyond the first few hours. The entire universe feels oddly lifeless not helped by the lack of intelligent alien races or the measly variation in buildings and outposts and so on. There's no cities, there's very few aliens walking around; the entire universe feels exactly like what it is: a random generated world with bizarre physics and objects that often don't sit flat with surfaces. Also, the user interface, despite improvements, is still bloody awful and a chore to navigate and inventory management is still a mess.

    What was a 3/10 game at launch is now, possibly, a 4 or 4.5 but the game will always be a massive disappointment for me because, as they say first impressions last and my first 20 hours of the game - the majority of my playtime - was before the developers made any changes so that is the game I will always remember. The changes they made since have done little to change my overall impression of the game mainly because I cannot summon up the interest to play it for any extensive length of time. Who'd have thought that a game that offers you the universe to explore could be so damn boring!!!

    It is still a below average game in my eyes. If it had been a £10 Early Access game then I wouldn't have minded so much as I got my money's worth. As a full-priced release though... well, I don't think I need to say any more really.
    Reply +5
  • Ni No Kuni 2 has a season pass

  • Darren 08/08/2017

    Well, the Season Pass means the game has DLC which means additional content on top of the game itself so that is good.

    However, I've yet to buy a Season Pass that hasn't been heavily discounted in a Steam Sale some months after a game's release in order to acquire its DLC at a bargain price. Now this may not be an option on the PS4 but I will just buy the content I want as it is released.

    Sure, you save a bit of money with the Season Pass but since you are often paying money upfront to the publisher often months before the content is released it doesn't immediately strike me as being "good value" (in fact, it's poor value literally since you are paying for something that isn't even out!). Personally, I would rather buy the content individually at a higher price than pay for something that isn't even guaranteed to be released. I may even just wait until all the content is released and then buy the Season Pass but I don't think that is what the publishers want... ;)
    Reply 0
  • Hellblade deletes your save file if you die too many times

  • Darren 08/08/2017

    I bought the PC version last night and was able to play about 30 minutes of it this morning. After a slow but atmospheric start, I reached this very fight and knew straight away that the battle was unwinnable when the creatures starting spawning and I was unable to even hit them (they were basically ghosts/smoke!). At that point the game then warns you that dying means permadeath, something I was not aware of when I started the game.

    While I understand why some people might like it due to the added challenge it offers, I feel that in a game that offers multiple difficulty levels (it defaults to Auto) that the Easy option should allow unlimited deaths and a restart from the last checkpoint and only the Normal and higher difficulties should use permadeath/delete the save file.

    Of course, Easy difficulty may be so easy that it is near impossible to die, I haven't tried it yet, but even in a game that is reputedly 6-8 hours long, I would be very annoyed to get near the end only to die and lose all of my progress. It's a silly mechanic if there's no gain from the progress you have made like, say, in the Dark Souls franchise and Bloodborne, which at least let you keep equipment and skills gained up to the point with the option to recover what you've lost. If you just die and the save is deleted so you basically lose EVERYTHING then have to restart from the beginning then that is likely to put many people off even bothering to replay it. I know it would for me.
    Reply +1
  • Nintendo Switch system update fixes battery charge issue

  • Darren 01/08/2017

    I took my Switch off charge last week to take to work and turned it off (powered it down) before putting it in my bag. It was at 100%. When I turned it on at lunchtime the charge was 58%!!! I knew the battery life of the Switch was poor (to say the least) but that was just ridiculous... nice to know that it was just a bug.

    That said, my Switch has always been a bit weird when it comes to battery charge as despite turning it off when charged at 100% to take out when it is turned back on the battery is always less than 100%. Once it was at 89% after being powered off for just four hours! This is in contrast to my iPad Pro which when charged to 100% will stay at that for days even in stand-by mode (and months if turned off).

    Not sure what battery the Switch uses but it seems strange that its battery drains while off unless that too is a bug? Even my PS Vita doesn't do that; when I recently turned it on after being off for most of the year the battery was still at 100%.
    Reply +1
  • Tacoma review

  • Darren 01/08/2017

    I must admit that I tend to prefer these style of games these days, primarily because they are free from combat and are heavily focused on story-telling, something I really enjoy.

    Of course, I could read a book but there's something compelling about being placed in a digitally created world and having the freedom to explore and learn about it, while taking in the scenery and sounds, perhaps solving the odd puzzle. It's relaxing. And it's always refreshing to play something that doesn't rely on some form of violence for gameplay.
    Reply +6
  • Ark: Survival Evolved's full release delayed

  • Darren 31/07/2017

    I uninstalled this game when I realised that it had grown to 67 GB and, more worryingly, that it had had (literally) hundreds of patches, usually one per day, for over a year yet NOT one single one improved the abysmal performance I was experiencing on my GTX 1080 then GTX 1080 Ti!!!

    It's not like the game looks that great anyway, even maxed out, and lowering the settings to get performance to stay above 30 fps at 1440p seems insulting IMO on a high-end system.

    I seem to remember the developers promising DX12 support over a year ago as well and that failed to appear. So when is that supposed to be coming? Ahead of DX13? ;)
    Reply +1
  • MS Paint has had a bit of an upgrade

  • Darren 28/07/2017

    I've been using the free paint.net for years personally. I can't remember the last time I actually used MS Paint. Reply +1
  • PlayStation Plus price hike announced for Europe

  • Darren 28/07/2017

    Although the price rise works out at less than £1 per month (83p), the fact that it represents a 25% increase overall for no apparent reason comes across as Sony either exploiting its user base because it thinks it can or trying to get people to resubscribe early before 31/8/2017 so they can save £10. Either way, it does come across as a bit greedy, especially when the monthly games on offer are generally inferior to those on Xbox One and are only rented for as long as you keep paying the subscription (on Xbox Live, I believe the games you get as part of the subscription are yours to keep even if you cancel the subscription but correct me if I'm wrong).

    I originally paid the subscription to take advantage of the "free" games each month as I do not play games online at all. I think it might be time for me to consider cancelling as the price hike makes the service poorer value for money. It wouldn't be so bad if the price increase, say, included access to music/video streaming or even PlayStation Now (which is another service which Sony is ripping people off with IMO).
    Reply +4
  • PS4 opens beta registration for next system update

  • Darren 20/07/2017

    I signed up for it yesterday. I'd like to see an option to pin games and folders but other than a revamp of the interface (which is looking a bit tired in these days of post-XMB menus) there really isn't much else I'd like to see added or changed on PS4.

    My PS4 Pro does have an issue with stuttering audio and video in games installed to my external 4 TB Seagate drive though (the same one Digital Foundry tested a while back), although it varies from game to game. Final Fantasy XII works flawlessly for example but the Mafia III demo, though improved from firmware v4.50, does still have some video and audio "hiccups" from time to time. Persona 5 was especially bad such that I had to relocate it to the 2 TB internal drive (where, surprise surprise, it works perfectly).

    I'm not the only one with this issue either as I've seen threads on other forums from people experiencing the same issue. Oddly, this issue has never happened on Xbox One, which continues to play games seamlessly whether on the internal or external drive. I know there is nothing wrong with the drive because moving the game from the external to internal drive fixes the issues.
    Reply 0
  • Here's how Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Remastered looks

  • Darren 20/07/2017

    It's a great game on the PC but it does understandably look dated. At least it runs better than it ever did when I played it on my PS3.... /shudders

    I would expect the PS4 and Xbox One versions to be pretty much a straight port of the PC version and given the age of the game and the engine it is running on it should also be running at 60 fps.
    Reply +1
  • Can PS4 Pro really deliver Destiny 2 at 4K?

  • Darren 20/07/2017

    Having seen the PC version running at 60 fps, I know which version I would rather play, as improved image quality is nice and all that but I only crank up the resolution in PC games (using DSR) when the framerate is at least 60 fps or higher.

    It's disappointing to see PS4 Pro and Xbox One X games targeting 4K (fake or otherwise) in a first person shooter running at 30 fps. I guess the blame falls entirely on their underpowered CPUs but this push for 4K (and I know I keep saying this...) does seem like running before learning to walk. 60 fps at 1080p really should be the priority for any console FPS even if it means sacrificing resolution and graphics settings to achieve it.
    Reply +1
  • Nintendo's new online service looks like it could be every bit as bad as you feared

  • Darren 19/07/2017

    How many years has Xbox Live been around now? And Nintendo STILL do not know how to create a user-friendly and reliable gaming network structure...? Sheesh! :confused: Reply +5
  • PlayStation Now's PS4 game performance analysed

  • Darren 14/07/2017

    I would use a streaming service to try out a game before buying it but I would never play a game fully that way because macro-blocking and other compression artifacts tend to annoy me (as they do with Sky+HD movies), nevermind the additional input latency. I'm also only on an up to 24 Mbps (actually around 14-15 Mbps) broadband connection so bandwidth is an issue, especially if other devices are downloading in the background.

    £12.99 a month is very steep though; I feel Sony might get more subscribers if they lower the price to £4.99-£6.99. Even EA's own Access service, where you can download full games, is only £4.99 albeit there is a lot less choice than PlayStation Now and they are not streamed.

    That said, if I wanted to play older games then I would prefer to play the original game via emulation like on the Xbox One rather than streaming it anyway.
    Reply +1
  • Gran Turismo Sport gets a new (and final) release date

  • Darren 13/07/2017

    In the meantime, Turn 10 are about to release their third Forza Motorsport game for Xbox One when Polyphony Digital have yet to release their first Gran Turismo for PS4. I know they say that the best things come to those who wait but, well, it's ridiculous how long PlayStation owners have to wait between releases... Reply +8
  • Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy smashes UK chart top spot for second week

  • Darren 10/07/2017

    The remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy is great fun (although the fact that it doesn't run at 60 fps is a bit disappointing) but I am genuinely surprised that it is selling so well. Maybe the platformer isn't quite dead after all and we will get more in future?

    It's certainly one of my favourite genres (I really enjoyed recent Yooka-Laylee too) and I would love to see the original Spyro games from the PSone also get a remaster too. IMO, those games were even better than Crash, offering proper 3D exploration. Pandemonium and its sequel would be terrific to have too, although those are certainly more obscure games.
    Reply 0
  • Four months on, BioWare still patching Mass Effect: Andromeda facial animations

  • Darren 10/07/2017

    I have been really enjoying this game on PC in spite of all its rough edges at launch.

    Yes, it should never have been released in the state it was - shame on you, EA! - and overall the characters and story are nowhere near as interesting as the original game (and trilogy) but this is far from being a bad game IMO.

    It's just a bit rushed and it lacking in overall polish but each patch continues to improve it even if it is too late as, sadly, the damage has already been done. I only hope that EA and other big publishers can learn from this; it is better to delay a game, even it is six months or more, than push it out unfinished and ruin the reputation of both the developer and the franchise itself.
    Reply +3
  • PlatinumGames is still working on a Nier: Automata PC patch

  • Darren 08/07/2017

    I think Platinum Games make great games but, boy, is their post-release support for them dire or what, especially on PC?

    I just don't understand why this great game has been basically ignored by them; instead left for a third-party to create a mod for it that fixes most (although not all) of its issues. If that was my game I would be deeply embarrassed that it needed a third-party mod to work properly! The game has an extremely aggressive LOD which basically means there is lots of noticeable and ugly pop in and when using Ambient Occlusion with the Anti-Aliasing setting it actually compounds the issue.

    What irks is that the publisher still went ahead and released paid-for DLC for the game when they really should have been focusing on addressing the game's issues first. I noticed this article mentions that they've only successfully fixed "some" of the issues and not all of them which isn't great news considering the game has been out four months... :confused:

    Personally, I will not buy future Platinum Games until I know that they are working properly. If not then I will wait, four months if I have to, before picking it... and likely at a cheaper price too. It's somewhat ironic that the two best PC Platinum games are Bayonetta and Vanquish but that is because neither was (I believe) ported across by them!!! Maybe Platinum should just stick to designing games and let someone else do the coding... ;)
    Reply +3
  • Halo 5 will have 4K support on Xbox One X

  • Darren 06/07/2017

    Bet Hao 5 not 100% native 4K though on Xbox One X but a dynamic resolution that scales from 1080p to 4K depending on workload. This is a game that runs at 60 fps after all and I don't think even the Xbox One X can run this at a locked 4K and 60 fps without some kind of dynamic scaling due to its weak Jaguar CPU. Guess we'll see... Reply -8
  • The Tomorrow Children shuts down in November

  • Darren 06/07/2017

    The Tomorrow Children had a really nice and unusual visual style but the actual game itself was dull beyond belief with repetitive tasks and far too much waiting around. And to think I actually paid for it too as I bought it for £15 not realising that it was actually a free-to-play game. Needless to say I've learnt my lesson and am more careful when buying games now on the PS Store. Reply +1