Darren Comments

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  • Latest Assassin's Creed Unity patch boosts performance

  • Darren 23/12/2014

    When I first tested the PS4 game with Patch 4 the first thing I came across was Arno clinging onto an invisible wall and maintaining the climbing posture for several minutes afterwards as I ran around Paris. A most amusing glitch to be sure and one that I never encountered prior to Patch 4. :confused:

    The game sadly remains a disappointment in terms of performance. It runs better, yes, but it never feels completely smooth unless you're on the rooftops or climbing with the camera pointing upward. On the ground, the framerate is still all over the place, especially in busier scenes. Add to this the appalling LOD issues, where NPCs literally change when standing still and panning the camera, and it's hard not to feel letdown by the rushed mess of a game. Even on PC at the highest settings the wonky LOD is jarring. The game looks fantastic admittedly but it breaks apart somewhat in motion.

    Hopefully, Ubisoft will learn a valuable lesson from this game, i.e. do NOT release a game until it is properly finished. Even now I'd argue that the game is still a beta and I will certainly not be pre-ordering any future games from Ubisoft until they get their act together.
    Reply +1
  • Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Year One

  • Darren 22/12/2014

    @SeeNoWeevil - Sorry...what Leaderboard position was I putting in in Driveclub?

    Well how about none because the online mode was essentially not working for the best part of two months which was when I spent the majority of time playing it!!! Every race would begin with a red server connection error message and most of the modes, including the Clubs, were greyed out and unselectable! :lol:

    The game shipped in a broken state and that is inexcusable IMO. I will not defend a game now just because they've got it working. I played if briefly last week when the weather patch was released and I still consider the game to be merely competent at best. Sure, it looks lovely but those graphics are married to a very, very ordinary arcade racing game IMO.

    I completely agree with EG's 6/10 assessmnent of the game (and they played a version that was less broken that the one everyone had). My opinion of the game is based on the first two months I tried to play it, i.e. when it wasn't working as advertised, so how I can I honestly praise it?
    Reply -8
  • Darren 21/12/2014

    @SeeNoWeevil - That is clearly where the majority of the effort went into in Driveclub and certainly not the gameplay or network code, the former of which is very ordinary IMO and the latter of which was basically broken for the best part of two months. Certainly not one of the PS4's finest momemts IMO, especially after the truly embarrassing launch - the game essentially shipped incomplete as well (those glorious weather effects and a Photo Mode only just having been added and there's still no replays) - and overall Driveclub remains one of this year's big disappointments for me personally. I expected better from Evolution. :(

    Both consoles have failed to deliver a defining "next-gen" experience IMO despite the massive increase in memory. Part of the blame lies in publishers still developing for the aged last gen platforms but also it mostly comes down to them simply playing it safe. When a game costs millions of dollars to develop then it is far less risky to stick with what you know will sell. This is why Activision continue to churn out annual Call of Duty games that visuals and setting aside all play exactly the same and why Ubisoft continues to release Assassin's Creed every year that are structured the same and play identically (even Unity is only a graphical update with minor tweaks to the parkour and combat).

    I have enjoyed playing a lot of great games this year though - Dragon Age: Inquisition is the highlight of 2014 for me despite it's lack of originality or innovation. I bought my PS4 and Xbox One knowing full well that I would mostly be playing prettier versions of familiar genres and franchises. I am actually fine with that as the sharper visuals, improved framerates and larger, more detailed worlds add to the immersion and my enjoyment of them. However the latter half of this year has been spoilt IMO by too many broken, rushed releases such as LittleBigPlanet 3 (leading me to cancel my pre-order), DriveClub, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
    Reply -11
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker goes on sale two weeks before official release date

  • Darren 19/12/2014

    ShopTo.net sent my copy this morning. I must admit I was surprised because their website stated, at least when I checked earlier, that the release date was still 9th January 2015. A pleasant surprise to receive a game earlier than expected and it will no doubt run perfectly out of the box (unlike some recent major releases that I won't mention which required multiple and multi-gigabye patches to work properly!!! ;) ). :D Reply +4
  • Sony beefs up PS4 20th Anniversary Edition sales system after thousands use exploit to gain unfair advantage

  • Darren 18/12/2014

    Bloody stupid idea anyway. Why not just produce a limited number of consoles and just sell them on a first come, first served basis directly from the Sony or GAME website? This is not a competition where you WIN a 20th Anniversary PS4, in which case I could understand why it was done like that, but a means of PRE-ORDERING a £400 console! They did not do this in the U.S., did they?

    Sony seem to doing some really dumb things of late... :confused:
    Reply +5
  • Judge allows lawsuit over Killzone Shadow Fall's 1080p graphics to proceed

  • Darren 18/12/2014

    I wonder if this Douglas Ladore would have realised the game he was playing was not actually 1080p native had Digital Foundry not published their findings because I do not remember seeing much complaining prior to that article?

    Whatever, it's tragically sad in my opinion that an individual such as Douglas Ladore feels the need to sue because a game he was likely enjoying anyway was not running at its stated resolution. I mean of all the evil nasty things that happen in the world and people like him feel they have to sue over something as trivial and inconsequential as a game resolution?!? Sheesh! Grow up, will you! :rolleyes:

    I think shotbyascot summed it all up well in the first post though.
    Reply 0
  • Ubisoft delays Assassin's Creed: Unity's next major patch

  • Darren 17/12/2014

    Post-patch 4 (PS4 version), the framerate is a little better in places in my experience, although it hard to be absolutely certain as the difference is definitely not night and day IMO, but what I noticed was that in large crowds the game still chugs, sometimes really badly, and it is only when running along rooftops and climbing buildings that the framerate ever feels like it hits 30 fps on a consistent basis. In emptier areas at ground level though the game does play OK but overall this patch feels a bit disappointing. The performance improvements are likely there but they do not give the game the same perfect 30 fps framerate that last year's wonderful Black Flag had on PS4 (and at 1080p too, not 900p).

    It is clear to me now that Ubisoft are never going to wholly fix the framerate issues on the consoles but any performance increases, no matter how slight, are an improvement. I look forward to reading Digital Foundry's verdict on this supposedly 'miracle' patch though.
    Reply +4
  • Darren 16/12/2014

    I must admit that I am very doubtful that Ubisoft will be able to fix the appalling performance issues in the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed Unity that I have not been playing recently! So it came as no surprise to me when the much-awaited Patch 4, the one that promised to fix the performance issues, was delayed literally at the last minute to, and I quote Ubisoft here: "refurbish Paris". Forget the fact that they mention quality control as being important to them so as not to disappoint their customers (if that was the truth then they would have delayed the game until it was working properly in the first place!), what is more interesting (read: worrying) to me is what exactly this "refurbish" comment means.

    I can only guess that Ubisoft have realised that their performance tweaks and optimisations are either not enough or not noticeable at all (like 1-2 fps at most) and so they've taken the decision to adjust/retweak large sections of the game in a desperate attempt to fix the framerate issues. That may mean thinning out the crowds, reducing the geometry detail on the buildings, adjusting the level of detail (which is already appalling IMO as models switch between low and high detail just a couple of game feet away!) and even the draw distance, post-process effects and/or lighting. This impressive-looking game (at least when it isn't moving at 20 fps) could suddenly look a lot less impressive post-Patch 4 and I'm sure there will be those who will argue that taking a hit to the graphics is better than having a wonky framerate. I would actually agree with that (though the question has to be asked as to why they did not do that in the first place) but it will be hard to shake off the disappointment if that is what happens, especially in a game that is already running at 900p on the current gen platforms.

    I somehow doubt that the PS4 version will miraculously running at a locked 30 fps like last year's superb Black Flag. More likely we will end up with a graphically inferior game that runs at 2-3 fps more at best in a game that already feels like it is sub-20 fps for the majority of the time anyway. I know I should be more optimistic but this is Ubisoft we're discussing here.
    Reply +3
  • Last-gen revisited: Dragon Age Inquisition

  • Darren 16/12/2014

    Considering these versions of Dragon Age Inquisition are running on almost-decade old hardware, it really is impressive that these games even look and run as well as they do in my opinion. The point is that 360 and PS3 owners can play the exact same superb game that PS4, Xbox One and PC owners are playing and that has to be a very good thing for people who cannot afford to (or won't) upgrade yet. Reply +22
  • You can move Dark Souls from Games for Windows Live to Steam next month

  • Darren 16/12/2014

    @JonFE - I have the retail boxed collector's edition (with the artbook and poster etc) and I cannot register my GfWL key on Steam as it states it is registered to another account that is not my own (I only have one Steam account and have had it since it started in 2004 when Half-Life 2 was released). When I select the option to recover the game then an email is sent but never to me.

    My guess is that someone is using the same key as me, either due to a hiccup with the publisher issuing a duplicate or possibly fraudulently. Either way, despite contacting Valve about it they have no absolutely no interest in helping me and my only recourse with them is to buy the game again unfortunately. In fact, I got the feeling that they thought I was the one who had stolen the key. :(

    This kind of thing makes me realise how despicable DRM really is if a publisher goes under or the service the game uses is terminated like as happened with GfWL (which was a god-awful service anyway, even by Microsoft's standards, let's be frank).

    I see ghostgate2001 has the exact same issue as me. Makes me wonder just how common this issue is.
    Reply +1
  • Eurogamer readers' top 50 games of 2014 voting

  • Darren 12/12/2014

    There's been a lot of great games this year but my list is as follows:

    1. Dragon Age: Inquistion
    2. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
    3. GTA V
    4. Wolfenstein: The New Order
    5. Bayonetta 2
    Reply 0
  • DriveClub revisited: is dynamic weather a game-changer?

  • Darren 11/12/2014

    The game looks absolutely fantastic, more so now they've added fully dynamic weather, but the actual gameplay still remains a bit of a disappointment for me. It just isn't that exciting with a dated single player mode and really iffy CPU controlled cars that still crash into me way too often. Also, it's odd how many of the tracks appear the same in terms of layout and only differ in terms of scenery; there isn't the variety that you get from, say, a GRID or DiRT game.

    It's not terrible by any means but I still feel that EG's 6/10 score still holds even with the superfluous additions (the weather as far as I know as not implemented into the main single player mode and the Photo mode is almost wasted without the replay facility). It's hard to love a game that for two months was essentially broken and missing most of its promised features and even now it still feels a tad unfinished (the omission of replays for example).

    Hopefully, Evolution will learn from this and the inevitable Driveclub 2 will be a much, much better game.
    Reply -11
  • The Crew review

  • Darren 11/12/2014

    It's not often that I give IGN any credit for writing good reviews but in the case of this game I find their's to be a far more accurate summing up in my experience than EG's (IMO) overgenerous review and score. They gave it 6.0 here, citing dated visuals and dodgy A.I. as shortcomings of the game: http://au.ign.com/articles/2014/12/02/the-crew-review

    And 5/10 from Gamespot: http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/the-crew-review/1900-6415988/
    Reply +3
  • Darren 10/12/2014

    Quote: "The AI rubber banding in particular is outrageous, ensuring that if the game has decided that you're only worthy of battling for third in a race, then barring a massive accident on the final stretch that's exactly where you'll finish."

    That reads like something that would utterly kill any other racing game where the prime focus is on its racing because if your driving skills are hampered by cheap rubber-banding then it just sucks all enjoyment out of the game, especially if you have to repeatedly do missions. Yes, it can make races more tense and exciting but it can also turn a racing game into a joyless exercise in frustation in my experience if it goes too far.

    I think the game (PC version) is competent overall; the driving and handling is fine, the graphics are dated and average at best (except for some nice lighting) and the missions and side activities are plentiful and reasonably varied. What sells it for me though is the huge open world as it is just fun setting a waypoint and driving there while listening to the radio (or custom music on the PC). Hell, anyone remember that otherwise awful World Racing game on Xbox with its atrociously complex menu design? I spent hours just driving around to music in that game and I will likely do the same with The Crew, even though I have no interest in playing it with others!

    I would not rate the game more than 6.5 personally though, it just doesn't do anything especially well IMO and some of the missions are very annoying (I absolutely detest the ones where you have to chase down and ram vehicles which are always faster than the car you have!!!).
    Reply +34
  • Square Enix confirms Microsoft will publish Rise of the Tomb Raider

  • Darren 09/12/2014

    It makes no sense to me to have what are traditionally multi-platform sequels then be exclusive to one console and that applies both to Rise of the Tomb Raider (exclusive to Xbox) and Street Fighter V (exclusive to PlayStation 4). Why would a publisher want to limit their sales/revenue by restricting the game to fewer formats? It makes no sense to me unless the amount of money they receive exceeds the amount paid for the exclusivity in the first place, which somehow seems unlikely.

    Of course, Sony and Microsoft will be hoping these exclusives sell more of their consoles but I do not believe that will happen because, in Rise of the Tomb Raider's case it is a timed exclusive anyway therefore it makes no sense to go out and buy a console for one game when it more than likely will come out on that platform anyway...provided you're prepared to wait six to twelve months. As for Street Fighter V, I'm not convinced that the franchise carries the same prestige as it did back in the SNES/Megadrive days and Capcom have been milking the previous entry to death with numerous different versions (including another for the PS4!) that I'm surprised everyone isn't sick and fed up of the franchise!
    Reply +4
  • Video: Uncharted 4's demo dissected

  • Darren 09/12/2014

    Maybe I'm easily pleased but I thought the gameplay demo looked incredible and I do not care one iota whether it has been toned down from the E3 2014 trailer or not. All I know is that the game looks great now and in ten months or so time when it is released it will look even better.

    That said, it's obvious that these in-game engine rendered but *not* necessarily real-time trailers that publishers such as Ubisoft seem to favour needs to stop as they are grossly misleading and not representative of the final game at all, leading to inevitable disappointment and much complaining on the internet when the game fails to match the target render. Better to show a trailer from a game when there is *actual* gameplay footage to show as Rockstar have always done with their games, including the recent PS4 and Xbox One releases of Grand Theft Auto V.
    Reply +32
  • BioWare outlines big Dragon Age: Inquisition patch due out today

  • Darren 09/12/2014

    This patch is long, long overdue in my experience.

    I've played the PS4 version for 80 hours now and have thoroughly enjoyed it (an understatement if ever there was one; the game is absolutely awesome IMO) but the bugs, glitches and crashes are a constant irritation unfortunately, though thankfully none of them have been game-breaking so far. I've had countless instances of dialogue tree options not appearing and cutscenes stalling (all fixable if I wait long enough and keep going to the Home screen and back) plus five CE-34878-0 crashes. The latter was repeatable as well; at one point the Combat overlay was permanently enabled in the bottom-right of the screen and everytime I picked the romance option with Dorian the game would crash to the home screen with that error. I've also experienced some weird split-second freezes while running around but that is relatively rare compared with the frequent dialogue tree issues. There have also been many times when I've been unable to even switch characters on the D-pad and last night I could not select a Health Potion from the menu until I travelled to a different area!!!

    It's kind of odd to say this but Dragon Age: Inquistion has certainly been the buggiest game I've played this year, by miles, but one that is nevertheless still my Game of the Year, simply because the game is so good that the issues pale into insignificance (well almost, those crashes are damn annoying).

    I've actually had fewer issues on PC which I've only played for 20 hours, certainly no dialogue tree hiccups or crashes. Performance has been a bit of a lottery though, with the game sometimes running well for a few hours then freezing and hitching constantly, or it constantly hitches as soon as I start playing. It is just so random. My PC is more than capable of running this game (an i7-4770K, 16 GB, GTX 980, Windows 8.1 Pro system) at 1920x1200 Ultra quality with Very High Tessellation, Fade Touch quality textures and 4xMSAA. The game on my PC also has unbearably long loading times too, far longer than on the PS4. My PC takes around 3.5 minutes to go from clicking on the icon to actually resuming my save game. On the PS4 it is around a minute to continue my game. Area loads are also longer (long enough to read the text on PC!). Ironically my PC has a much faster hard drive than the 5,400 rpm one on in my PS4 so lord only knows why the loading times are so bad on PC. It's not like the game's textures (on Fade Touch quality) look that much better than the PS4 either.

    I'm hoping this patch fixes most if not all of those issues on the PS4 and PC.
    Reply +1
  • Final Fantasy 10 / 10-2 HD Remaster coming to PS4

  • Darren 09/12/2014

    That is great news. I was not expecting that. I hope that it is Cross-Save compatible so I can resume my save from the PS Vita/PS3 versions. Reply +1
  • Is Uncharted 4 the generational leap we were hoping for?

  • Darren 08/12/2014

    Interesting article, especially the "An E3 Downgrade?" side box which goes into more detail about the implications of releasing trailers that may be running on the in-game engine but may not actually be real-time as could well be the case here with Uncharted 4.

    Personally, I thought the 15 minute Uncharted 4 gameplay looked superb and there's still 10-11 months (at least) to go before release so the game is undoubtedly going to look even better. Somehow though, I doubt it will quite reach the visual fidelity of that E3 2014 trailer unless the game uses in-game engine rendered FMV to mask the loading times, like the PS3 games, including The Last of Us, only this time at 1080p rather than 720p. Then there's the framerate which is 30 fps in the gameplay versus 60 fps in the trailer, and the gameplay has lower visual fidelity. If it had the same visual quality but ran at 30 fps then I think it would be easier to believe that the developers could achieve the trailer quality in real-time by this time next year. It is hard to imagine Uncharted 4 gaining both the visual fidelity of that E3 trailer *and* the flawless 60 fps framerate though. More likely, we'll get a noticeably better looking game than what it looks like now in the recent gameplay with possibly a 60 fps framerate (perhaps with a 30 fps lock too if it is a variable 60 fps).

    That said, if Naughty Dog do deliver the quality of that E3 trailer for the final game, even if it's a locked 30 fps, then that would be an impressive achievement for a piece of hardware that costs £350 IMO. And if the game looks as it does right now and runs at 30 fps then I would be perfectly fine with that as well as even on the PS3 the Uncharted games and The Last of Us were better looking games than just about anything else on console. I've no doubt that whatever Uncharted 4 ends up looking like that it'll be a stunning game, both in looks and gameplay.
    Reply +20
  • 1.4GB DriveClub update adds dynamic weather

  • Darren 08/12/2014

    Do we have replays yet? No?

    Might be time to give this initially underwhelming game a second chance if they have now added dynamic weather to make things a little more interesting. Still cannot believe anyone would release a game with nice graphics like this game and not include a replay mode (only a Photo mode, which without replays is less useful IMO, though even that had to be patched in).
    Reply -14
  • Ubisoft racer The Crew enters UK chart in sixth

  • Darren 08/12/2014

    @A_FAN - It's not bad. Graphically it's ropey bar the lighting but there's a big open world to explore, lots of missions and side activities to do (some of them are more frustrating than enjoyable though, e.g. the chase ones where you have to take out a vehicle) and the handling is fine (speed is a bit lacking however even with nitros). It is a competent game overall but not an exceptional one IMO and it feels very familiar because it's basically a mixture of the best bits from every other open world arcade game you've played, including Burnout Paradise, Driver, Midnight Club, Need for Speed and even FUEL. I'd give it 6.5 out of 10. Reply +10
  • Troy Baker joins Uncharted 4 as Nathan Drake's brother

  • Darren 08/12/2014

    I know the gameplay shown in the 15 minute Uncharted 4 preview was the familiar mix of platforming and gunplay but that still nevertheless has me extremely excited to play it. This is running at 1080p and 60 fps as well, isn't it, which makes the game's stunning visuals and draw distance all the more impressive and it is a notable improvement over the last Tomb Raider game on the new consoles too. Character faces and hair look incredible, eyes (which are often the weakest aspect of cutscenes) look realistic and bring the characters to life and you can still see most of the detail even when the camera pans out. Enemy A.I. looks much improved, animation flows much better and I saw only minimal pop up on some of the foliage; it's only going to look better by the time it is released. :D

    The only thing that will make the long wait for this game's release less painful are remastered versions of the original PS3 trilogy. After the success of The Last of Us on PS4 that must surely happen?
    Reply +4
  • Bethesda shows glimpse of The Elder Scrolls Online's console version

  • Darren 05/12/2014

    I played this game for around six weeks on PC (including a month in beta) before I grew bored of it. It looks, sounds and has the setting and lore of the Elder Scrolls games, even the fully voiced but mostly static dialogue scenes, but it just does not feel like one when you actually play it for any length of time. The quests are pretty much ruined by seeing dozens of other players completing the same ones as you and it just breaks the illusion of the solo games where you feel like the great lone hero who is doing good deads for the world and saving it from an upcoming threat. I really cannot emphasise how much that dilutes the Elder Scrolls experience.

    That is something that is true of all MMORPGs, yes, but if your expectations of this game are based solely on the previous games such as Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim (which it will be for most people, I'd wager) then you are going to be disappointed. Most of the things from those games is present and correct but it all feels dumbed/stripped down to fit the MMORPG template. Exploring simply is not as rewarding in this game as it is in the solo games unfortunately and that ultimately is what killed the game for me. A shame really because unlike the standalone games this game gives you a much larger play area but the truth is that it just makes me want to play an offline Elder Scrolls game that is this big instead.

    I honestly cannot see this game doing very well on the consoles. My understanding is that the numbers have dropped significantly on the PC version as well. It could and should have been so much better in my opinion not a reskinned World of Warcraft clone.
    Reply +11
  • Face-Off: PES 2015

  • Darren 05/12/2014

    I'm not defending Konami but they are a small publisher and their developers have clearly prioritised gameplay over graphics for the game's current gen debut. That is how it should be; after all if a football game plays poorly then no amount of pretty "next-gen" visuals are going to make up for that (as EA know with their lacklustre NHL and NBA Live franchises!). Still, it doesn't change the fact that visually PES 2015 is underwhelming considering the hardware it is running on is so much more powerful than either the 360 and PS3 and they've had two years to work on it.

    Why is there no ambient occlusion, tessellation or sub-surface scattering to make the player's look life-like in the close-ups? IMO, this game looks like a 1080p (well, on the PS4 anyway) port of the last gen version visually with better lighting and not a lot else in the way of obvious improvements. Crowds are now 3D but the lack of depth of field just highlights how ugly they are in replays and any place where the camera zooms in close to the sidelines. The 30 fps animation doesn't help either. Sure, these are just aesthetics that do not affect the gameplay in any way but this is one area where EA are light years ahead of Konami in terms of creating a reasonably authentic match atmosphere with a TV-style presentatio.
    Reply +4
  • Darren 05/12/2014

    @pomegran - Is the PC version the same as the PS4 and Xbox One versions though, i.e. using the Fox Engine?

    I read some comments from people on a PC forum who said that it looks inferior to the new console versions. Perhaps that is also why Digital Foundry have not included the PC version here?
    Reply +3
  • Darren 05/12/2014

    @Dijon - In Mario Kart 8's case, the cartoon visual style and fact that it is a fast racing game (where you are rarely still) definitely helps to draw attention away from the aliasing and poor texture filtering but even so there's absolutely no doubt that the game would look even better if it had had both. It's hard to ignore them when you're just watching replays for example, which gives the option of slowing the game down. Reply +9
  • Darren 05/12/2014

    Just noticed that not only is the Xbox One version running at 720p but that the user interface is too; the text in the PS4 version looks much crisper than on the Xbox One, making the Microsoft version look more like it is running on the Xbox 360! Normally, these sub-1080p games are upscaled from a lower resolution to 1080p and output with a native 1080p HUD and text but that is clearly not the case here as EVERYTHING is upscaled from 720p to 1080p.

    What also amazes me though is that Konami could not get the Xbox One running a mere football game at 1080p60 in the first place. PES 2015 is certainly no graphical showcase IMO anyway - there's aliasing on the stadiums and along the advertising boards, the 30 fps crowds while 3D are poorly defined and look ugly close up (worst on the Xbox One due to the lower resolution; some heavy depth of field would be very welcome here!), the side line models such as cameramen and so on look like they've been carried over from the PS2 (check out those thin straight polygon legs and arms!!!) and the lack of ambient occlusion lighting makes everything look a bit fake when viewed close up. The latter especially makes the otherwise nicely modelled players and faces look cartoonish at times. That in itself is a disappointment for me as I was expecting this game to look a lot more impressive due to the use of the Fox Engine and it skipping the PS4 and Xbox One last year. It looks alright, I guess, but it's nowhere near as photo-realistic as, say, this generation's NBA 2K or MLB: The Show.
    Reply +3
  • Performance Analysis: The Crew

  • Darren 04/12/2014

    @MrMeX - I suspect there will be one at some point now all the major multi-platform releases are out this year. Digital Foundry did do a tech analysis of last year's Super Mario 3D World after all. Reply 0
  • Darren 04/12/2014

    One thing that puzzles me about this game though is who thought having a solid blue line hovering above the road and showing the route to the next waypoint was a good idea? At times it can be distracting and other times you can lose sight of it entirely when using the more restrictive view of the cockpit camera. I would have preferred the game to either have had a standard racing line actually on the road itself or for the route to just be highlighted on the map and not have to have the floating blue line at all. Reply +2
  • Darren 04/12/2014

    @CptBritannica - Is your wife not tessellated then? ;) Reply +10
  • Darren 04/12/2014

    @abeeken - The story is definitely not the game's greatest strength and in the early stages it feels like it gets in the way of actually playing the game with cutscene after cutscene, granted none of them are more than a couple of minutes long. Racing games do not really need a story anyway but the one here doesn't strike me as being anything original or special, just a way to link the cities and missions together. Its story seems reminiscent of both NFS: Most Wanted and NFS: The Run. It is certainly not on a par with, say, GTA V, from what I've played so far in terms of writing or characters with a bland protagonist (who seems to be modelled on Breaking Bad's Walt White!) and I actually hope that the story takes a back seat so I just get on with exploring and racing.

    Story, as I understand it, is basically this: a guy's brother gets killed and he is set up and imprisoned but a woman from the FBI recruits him after serving 5 years of his sentence to get him to infiltrate a gang called the 5-10 whom they suspect a corrupt FBI agent is involved with. The aim of the game is to do missions and earn 'ink' (tattoos that denote your rank in the 5-10) and so on. The most interesting thing about the game for me is the size of the game world and that is really the main reason I bought it as I love messing around in huge open world sandbox-type games.
    Reply 0
  • Darren 04/12/2014

    @salxicha - Trying enabling 2xMSAA or 4xMSAA in the game and forcing the equivalent 2x or 4xSGSSAA in the driver game profile. It does work with other games that support DX9 and DX11 so it may also work with this game. SGSSAA is very good at getting rid of texture shimmering/flickering in my experience will minimal blurring. Reply +2
  • Darren 04/12/2014

    I skipped the console versions after seeing how ugly the aliasing was in the XBO version when Ian Higton played it the other day. From what I saw of the PS4 version in the beta, that did not look much better to my eyes either with very distracting shimmering/flickering on fences, power lines and anything else consisting of thin lines. Coupled with the fact that the game is visually medicore anyway (IMO), this aliasing issue along with the pop in and low-poly car models just serves to make the game look very dated. There was also some nasty screen tearing as well (yuck!).

    I picked up the PC version last night (for £27 from Simply Games) and played it for just over an hour this morning on maxed out 1920x1200 settings, including TXAAx4, a form of anti-aliasing exclusive to NVIDIA graphics cards (I have a GTX 980) that is supposed to reduce shimmering at the expense of some loss of texture detail, and a 60 fps framerate (the game defaults to 30 fps by the way).

    The good news is that the game does look better than the PS4 and Xbox One versions in terms of anti-aliasing but even with TXAA there is still a surprising amount of shimmering. I haven't tried the other options yet but the game does support MSAA so it may be possible to force SGSSAA in the driver control panel's game profile to get rid of the shimmering completely as it works in other DirectX 11 games (e.g. Max Payne 3). Visually the game is still a bit ropey while playing it, only looking decent in the heavily post-processed cutscenes and pre-race cinematics but that can be alleviated somewhat by using the cockpit view (which is my preferred racing view anyway).

    Game seems decent so far if nothing particularly special as far as arcade racing games go (it reminds me a lot of Driver: San Francisco, a game I still play from time to time on PC). The handling of the few cars I've driven, including the latest Ford Mustang, feels weighty and not at all twitchy or light and there's a very big world to explore, which is the main reason I bought this game anyway. There's a story, dialogue and cutscenes, similar to the old 360/PS3 Need for Speed Underground etc games from EA. The game would definitely not lose anything if they weren't there IMO. I intend only playing the game solo though, I have no interest in playing or relying on others so I'm hoping that I can play it this way, though it is annoying how the missions default to co-op rather than solo (there should be an option to select one as a default IMO).

    Seems like one of those fun but shallow 6/10 games so far. Probably best picked up when it's cheap in a sale though in my view, especially on PS4 and XBO where the game costs £40+.
    Reply +12
  • Video: Watch us play The Crew live from 5pm GMT

  • Darren 02/12/2014

    Sheesh, the graphics are really average, aren't they, bordering on poor in places. And those jaggies and that tearing! Youch! :( Reply +1
  • Game Of Thrones: Iron from Ice review

  • Darren 02/12/2014

    I've stopped buying Telltale episodic games on the release of the first instalment and from now on will only buy the complete series when the final episode has been released, if I'm interested in it. That's partly because it gets annoying having to wait a month or longer between episodes, as it runs the risk of me losing interest in the series, but also because the quality can vary from one game to the next, which matters less when playing the games as a collective whole. You simply cannot know how good the full game will be based solely on the first episode so that also carries a risk if the remaining episodes are not very good. Also, the games will likely be discounted by the time all the episodes are released and, thus, be better value. Reply +1
  • Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire UK's biggest Pokémon launch ever

  • Darren 01/12/2014

    Unlucky 13 for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U then? That is a disappointing showing...I was honestly expecting it to appear in the top 5 if not the top 10. :(

    Also, I am very surprised to see that Dragon Age: Inquistion has been pushed out of the top 10 already. For me, that game is easily my favourite game of 2014 and I was expecting it to stay in the top 10 for the rest of this year at least. Absolutely wonderful (if somewhat buggy) game.
    Reply +1
  • The case for 30fps PC gaming

  • Darren 30/11/2014

    I'm fine with 30 fps on console games, heck I'm enjoying Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS4 and have not once given a thought to its framerate. However, 30 fps on PC is another matter as the combination of being sat a few feet from a 24" IPS screen with a slower screen update is not enjoyable in most games. PC games have to run at 45+ fps for me to qualify as 'playable' and 'smooth'. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was a much more enjoyable game on PC than Transformers: War for Cybertron for example because the former was not capped at 30 fps.

    I would have had nothing against including a 30 fps cap as a standard option, the excellent Ghostbusters game from a few years ago had both a 30 fps and 60 fps option as do some of Ubisoft's games if you set V-Sync to 2 instead of 1 (useful for Watch_Dogs in reducing that annoying stuttering that plagued the game for months). However, I suspect that it may 'encourage' some lazier developers to simply lock their PC games at 30 fps period if it became an industry standard rather than bother to properly optimise them for a range of hardware. It still happens anyway as there are lots of multi-format games out there that only run at 30 fps on PC unless you disable the in-game v-sync and force it outside of the game via the graphics driver control panel (the three Dead Space games for example).
    Reply +11
  • Assassin's Creed, Diablo, Mordor reduced in Xbox Black Friday sale

  • Darren 28/11/2014

    @CaptainKid - Titanfall's discount may be a way to encourage more interest in a game that is perhaps no longer as popular online as it was now that the new Call of Duty game is out? That is exactly what publishers should be doing though IMO. Reply +1
  • Assassin's Creed Unity patch analysed

  • Darren 28/11/2014

    @Lepanto - They also made Windows Me, Vista and 8! Need I say more? ;) Reply +1
  • Darren 28/11/2014

    @Darksjeik - I strongly disagree with your comment about controller response. This game more than last year's Black Flag on PS4 suffers from controls that feel very "heavy" and sluggish due to the erratic sub-30 fps performance. I have not encountered any bugs in the single player yet fortunately (unless you count the Sainte-Chapelle jerk-fest as such) but the framerate really does suck the life out of this game IMO when it is all over the place. The game seems good so far but it really was not fit for release in its current state. Reply +3
  • Darren 28/11/2014

    I thought Ubisoft had already said that this patch was not focused on performance optimisations but was mostly to fix 300 issues and that people *may* see some improvements (presumably, the slideshow that was Sainte-Chapelle? That is one such area as it is mentioned in this article but oddly not commented on so is that fixed in this patch then?).

    They said that a future patch (presumably the next one?) would be the one to offer performance improvements, though I have to say that considering this game's biggest issue on PS4 is its lacklustre performance that Ubisoft should have made that the priority and addressed that first.
    Reply +9
  • WWE 2K15 review

  • Darren 27/11/2014

    Quote: "It's [WWE 2K15] not quite a travesty, but it's also certainly not the game wrestling fans were hoping for."

    Yet you gave it 3/10 which is certainly in the range of scores for sub-standard (read: bad/poor) games? I don't think anyone is going to take that score as being anything other than a travesty really, especially from a franchise that generally delivers average or above, though unexceptional, games. :confused:
    Reply -3
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition bug preventing companion banter

  • Darren 27/11/2014

    The game has a lot of bugs in my 30 hour playthrough of the PS4 version, such as:

    1. CE-34878-0 crashes (I've experienced three so far, none have occurred while saving, thank goodness!)
    2. Dialogue tree bugs ranging from options not appearing (so I could not do anything, not even exit the conversation!) to the command overlay appearing over them and not being able to choose any dialogue options at all to one where I kept moving everytime I tried to select a dialogue option. In all cases, those issues cleared up after a few minutes, usually after I'd returned to the Home screen and back.
    3. NPCs randomly jumping from one spot to another, including those of my party.
    4. Being unable to switch between characters using the D-pad (though thankfully this issue fixed itself when I travelled to a different area).
    5. Cutscenes failing to advance automatically unless I pressed a controller button even though there were no prompts on-screen to do so.
    6. Weird split-second freezes while my character is running but it is only my character that does this not the rest of the game. This issue only started occurring at the 25+ hour mark and prior to that the game was running fine. It also seems to occur mostly in Haven.
    7. Quests failing to register as completed then several hours later I see messages informing me that those quests have been completed. I had messages for half a dozen quests appear last night for example while exploring the Hinterlands.

    In fact, many of these issues seem to have occurred after I had been playing it for over 15 hours (the crashes for example) suggesting there may be a correlation between the frequency these occur and the length of time the game has been played.

    And not a bug per se but the sound mix is awfully low in this game when using DTS surround sound on my Sony amp. Dialogue is too quiet (and can vary depending on who you're talking to) and the music is barely audible on a volume setting that works fine for almost every other game.

    This game is superb but it definitely needs a patch to address these issues, especially the dialogue tree ones and crashes.

    P.S. I've heard plenty of banter between my party so I don't think I've been affected by that bug! I've just experienced all the other ones!!! :lol:
    Reply +9
  • Digital Foundry vs Watch Dogs on Wii U

  • Darren 26/11/2014

    @Badassbab - No, as I own a PS4, PS3 and Xbox One anyway plus a PC for multi-format titles. I did pick up Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed for Wii U though very cheaply (£15 from memory), purely for the split-screen mode. All my other games are exclusives though. Reply +1
  • Darren 26/11/2014

    @IronSoldier - No, engaging v-sync just caps the framerate to the refresh rate of the display, which on most modern 60 Hz TVs is 60 fps. Developers can choose to cap the framerate to 30 fps to increase graphical details, giving the engine twice as long to render stuff, but for whatever reason the developers of Watch_Dog's on Wii U choose to let it run at up to 60 fps (looking directly up at the sky might achieve that!). Reply +6
  • Darren 26/11/2014

    What's really interesting from that article, I think, is the fact that this is yet another game that had scren tearing on PS3 and 360 but none on the Wii U.

    It seem to imply that Nintendo are much stricter when it comes to image quality on their consoles than Sony or Microsoft are (and we already know that they tend to favour 60 fps too in many of their own in-house titles; Super Smash Bros. is not only running at 60 fps but also 1080p apparently!). This is backed up by the fact that out of the 20 games I own on my Wii U not one single game has any screen tearing at all. That is in stark contrast to the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One where about 40% (at a guess) of the games I own on both formats have tearing to some degree or other even if it is minor and/or restricted to the top part of the screen in some games.
    Reply +36
  • Ubisoft details third major Assassin's Creed: Unity patch

  • Darren 26/11/2014

    @Saapa - Yup, which does little to make me feel like I'm an idiot-paying-beta tester for Ubisoft! :mad: Reply +1
  • Darren 26/11/2014

    @Cba1 - My understanding is that the performance issues are NOT related to the number of NPCs on screen, and in my experience that seems to be true as the game can run fine in large crowds but drop frames in empty areas (like the Saint-Chapelle for example, near the large round stained glass window).

    They have already claimed to have identified what causes the performance issues, namely a command queuing bug or something like that but here we are a month after the game's launch and they have still not implemented the fix!

    If they know what causes it then why have they not fixed it yet? My answer to that is probably because they are not being entirely truthful (Ubisoft do seem to "bend" the truth a little in my experience; they did the same thing with Watch_Dogs on PC) and that the performance issues are a result of something else as well, something that cannot be fixed quite so easily.

    We'll see though. With the Watch_Dogs and Far Cry 4 issues on PC and the bugs/poor performance on AC Unity on PS4 I do not think I will be pre-ordering any future Ubisoft games. In fact, I have already cancelled the one for The Division. I know I keep saying that but 2014 has really been a particular bad year for broken, buggy, unfinished launch games and I have had enough of it.
    Reply +2
  • Darren 26/11/2014

    Oh Ubisoft...you really are dragging your heels over the consoles' biggest issue which is the poor framerate. That really should have been the priority in my opinion as it really is not acceptable to make people wait a month for the fix, if it ever comes. :lol: Reply +4
  • Limbo launches on Xbox One free for early adopters

  • Darren 25/11/2014

    I noticed a message last night on my Xbox One and it turned out to be a code for LIMBO. :) Reply 0