Darren Comments

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  • The truth about GodMode, the "World's First Brain Booster for Gamers"

  • Darren 16/12/2017

    A better test would be if someone slipped two pills into your diet every day without you being aware of it and for it to have made a noticeable difference to your lifestyle after, say, a month once you had been told.

    Otherwise, for some the thought of taking something that will improve their life in some way will undoubtedly make them *believe* it does, which in turn will make them have a more positive and optimistic outlook that can lead to the thing the pill claims it does even if it doesnít actually do anything. The so called Faith Effect.

    In my opinion, most of it is just in the mind. It canít really be proved or disproved so save your money and donít bother. If I have a headache and it goes after taking a paracetamol every time then I know that it works. However, this GodMode pill doesnít work like that so its effect can be just as much mental as physical; there really isnít any way to prove it does 100% work.
    Reply +1
  • Bayonetta 3 is coming exclusively to Switch

  • Darren 08/12/2017

    While I welcome the news that Bayonetta 3 is being developed, I do wish that it was multiformat as I don't believe the Switch, great as it is, would not do full justice to the game due to its relatively weak hardware compared with the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. This was certainly true of Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U which ran at an inconsistent 60 fps framerate and without any anti-aliasing. Reply -29
  • Is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 too ambitious for Switch's mobile mode?

  • Darren 05/12/2017

    Yes the sub-native resolution and, especially, the sharpening filter are very obvious in handheld mode but despite that I think the game is a technically stunning showcase considering the hardware it is running on. The visuals are gorgeous, the characters are terrific, the voice-acting is great and, more importantly since Xenoblade Chronicles X was lacking in this area IMO, the story and dialogue are compelling so far.

    I'm really enjoying the game thus far which is about 31 hours in on Chapter 4. I have been playing the game mostly in docked mode where it does admittedly look better but apart from some alarmingly blurry combat combo animations in handheld mode I've enjoyed the game just as much played that way as well. The art style means the low resolution of 720p even in docked mode isn't so bad and I quickly forget that it isn't 1080p on my 1080p TV as I get immersed in the excellent gameplay and characters.

    After the disappointment of X on the Wii U which I just could not get into, this game was a real surprised and I'm extremely glad I decided to give it a try because, for me, this is up there with the best J-RPGs released on consoles even if the map and quest guide are near useless and the sound-effect quality is a bit sub=par in terms of audio quality (very obvious when using headphones). There's also some texture draw in issues, reminiscent of Unreal Engine 3 games, when using Fast Travel which honestly could have been solved easily by just displaying a loading screen for a few seconds longer until the textures have been completely loaded.
    Reply +1
  • Star Ocean 4 is a console game with a PC settings menu

  • Darren 30/11/2017

    Having never played a Star Ocean game before - for whatever reason I missed the original on the Xbox 360 and PS3 - I jumped at the chance to buy the PC version for just under £13 on GreenManGaming yesterday.

    Played about 3 hours so far and while it's a typical J-RPG in terms of art, world design and real-time combat, the sci-fi setting does at least make it stand out from all the other fantasy-based games. The story so far is fairly standard but I like the characters and the combat has been enjoyable with the one boss battle thus far being long and challenging. Looks very promising.

    As far as remasters go, this looks absolutely fine although the draw distance out in the field is disappointing with shadows, foliage and enemies popping into view just metres away making it harder to work out where to go and where not to go. It's all too easy to run into an enemy that simply wasn't there a second or two ago. Apart from that flaw the rest of the visuals and presentation are good. I like the graphics more due to its vibrant colour palette than the art itself which is pretty interchangeable with any number of other J-RPGs (not that makes it bad, just nothing outstanding or unique). Cutscenes look good though but character lose a lot of detail and have distractingly shimmery self-shadows outside of those which is a shame.

    A good game at a good price. Nice to see this released on PC.

    P.S. One thing to note is that when played on a G-SYNC display the game engine runs faster over 60 fps so at 120 fps it runs effectively double-speed which then results in out of sync audio. Fortunately, I was able to fix this by setting a Framerate Cap of 60 fps in RTSS (part of MSI Afterburner).
    Reply 0
  • Revisiting Crysis, the last great bastion of PC elitism

  • Darren 27/11/2017

    I remember buying a (then) ATI RADEON HD3850 graphics card to play this on my aging PC which still had AGP slot at a time when PCI-e had just become the norm.

    The game ran at 15-20 fps at 1280x1024 and maxed out settings (because anything lower was just not on!) but I was completely blown away by how good the game looked and how well it played compared with everything else out at that time. It really was a ground-breaking game that still looks and plays great to this day. It is arguably a better game than either of its sequels, and only tarnished by a lacklustre finale against the aliens on board a ship.
    Reply +4
  • New ruling forces ISPs to make their broadband speed ads more accurate

  • Darren 24/11/2017

    I am still stuck on a copper wiring internet connection that costs me nearly £50 a month for a measly 14 Mbps download/0.9 Mbps Upload here in Hull (of a max. of 24 Mbps download speed), despite living near the city centre here in Hull.

    And in the last two weeks my internet has changed from being stable regardless of downloads to constant disconnections and slow browsing/time-outs if anything is so much as downloading on my Switch, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X or PC (which they nearly always are in this age of large patches and games). Add to that the fact that TVs, mobile phones and iPads all require the internet plus Sky+HD catchup, Netflix and Amazon Video and it's obvious that I *need* fibre internet. I can watch 1080p60 videos on YouTube and 1080p content on Netflix fine but 1440p is stutter and 4K is an absolute no-no.

    It's a frustrating experience made worse by the fact that I have *no* other choice of provider due to Karoo monopolising the Hull area (apparently, other ISPs are free to move in but they don't because Karoo charges too much for them to use them cabling). The rollout of Lightstream has been worryingly slow here as well; I was originally quote October 2014 to receive Lightstream and it is now November 2017 and it is still not available where I live. The rollout map has changed over the years from 2016 to 2018 to 2020 for everyone to have it.

    Karoo are either useless or hopelessly oversubscribed and unable to cope with the demands. Almost, everyone I talk to has nothing but bad things to say about Karoo and that includes people on Lightstream. Not great really. Not that Karoo have to advertise really as they have zero competition in the city. If they did then I'm sure they would be offering a better level of service right now.
    Reply 0
  • The Switch's special year is set to end as it began, with another 100 hour classic

  • Darren 23/11/2017

    I normally love Japanese RPGs but I never really got into Xenoblade Chronicles on my Wii U for whatever reason. I think the opening didn't grab me like other JRPGs, the characters were unmemorable and the initial quests felt more like something from a MMORPG like World of Warcraft, though it did look and sound nice enough. Or maybe that's just how I am remembering it...?

    Still, I'm willing to give the sequel another go on my Switch. Hopefully it will click with me this time round...
    Reply +2
  • "This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money"

  • Darren 22/11/2017

    It's an obnoxious practice to charge for loot crates with real money inside games that already cost £40+ so I'm happy that it is attracting the attention it is if only to make greedy publishers like EA and, well, any publisher really (since they're all out to fleece as much money out of their customers as possible) think harder about putting them in full priced games in the first place.

    I used wonder why EA, a videogames publisher of all things, used to attract so much hatred that they were voted (I believe) the worst company in the USA but now I'm starting to see why... it's all about keeping their shareholders happy first and their paying customers last.
    Reply +8
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2: Frostbite stress-tested on Xbox One X

  • Darren 18/11/2017

    Oh how the tables have turned with Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro comparisons reading like the PS4 vs. Xbox One articles. Does sound like the dynamic scaler needs tweaks though for a locked 60 FPS but itís an impressive showing all the same.

    When does The Witcher 3 update for Xbox One X come out? I was surprised not to see it at launch given the PS4 Pro version has been out, what, a month now.

    P.S. I own both consoles so these articles are useful as well as interesting technically.
    Reply +12
  • Final Fantasy 15 on Xbox One X: improved over Pro but issues persist

  • Darren 17/11/2017

    @Delthenar - Actually, I wish the developers would add an option to allow their games to run in Boost mode as well as enhanced modes as well. At the moment, when they patch games you are forced to use whatever modes they've added which in some cases can mean the game doesn't play as well as it does on base hardware or when it was unpatched (this is certainly the case for some games on PS4 Pro).

    I can't but wonder how well Rise of the Tomb Raider would run in this Boost mode on Xbox One X. I suspect that the game would have ran a locked 30 fps with no screen tearing at all since the additional CPU and GPU resources would be used to keep the game at its target 30 fps and 1080p.
    Reply -1
  • Darren 17/11/2017

    I just don't get why so many Japanese developed games seem to have framepacing issues and why one console version of this game can have correct framepacing and not the other! It's quite franking baffling... I can only assume that correct framepacing must something that is difficult to do?

    Much as I am enjoying my Xbox One X at the moment, the one thing I do not like is seeing games that are pushing higher resolutions than 1080p such as this one but at the expense of erratic framerates and/or screen tearing. This issue completely negates any improvement to image quality from the higher resolution IMO and is an eye sore.

    It's why I was underwhelmed by the Rise of the Tomb Raider patch on Xbox One X which in the Geothermal Valley area I am currently shows screen tearing, albeit in the top third of the screen, in all three of its rendering modes. It is clearly using adaptive v-sync and cannot maintain a solid 30 fps (or 60 fps in Performance mode) without dipping below that and tearing. That is a real letdown in comparison to the PS4 Pro version which has no screen tearing whatsoever, yes, on the inferior hardware! Maybe the Pro version is using triple buffering or the equivalent; if so then why isn't the Xbox One X version? It has 50% more memory than the PS4 Pro.

    Reading about screen tearing in this game as well, makes me think that it is happening because Microsoft are so determined to push developers to deliver games with better specs and visuals than its rival Sony PS4 Pro console that their machine is being pushed just a *bit* too far beyond its capabilities. We really should not be seeing any screen tearing in games on a £450 console that is targeting 4K resolutions, whether they've native, using dynamic resolutions or checkboard rendering.
    Reply 0
  • EA has switched off Star Wars Battlefront 2's microtransactions

  • Darren 17/11/2017

    I bought this game for PC last night, mainly for the campaign but I will try the other modes too. This is good news and shows that a major publisher does listen and adapt even if it begs the question of why they thought it was ever a good idea in the first place.

    Perhaps publishers need to do more surveys to ask the gamers what they think of their controversial ideas (surely EA must have realised that is what this was?) before implementing them in games? It would then avoid the kind of negative reaction/backlash/reviews and potential damage to sales that games like this one receive.
    Reply -5
  • Outcast - Second Contact review

  • Darren 16/11/2017

    Bought this yesterday for £22 and while it's certainly a nice upgrade visually and fun to explore with surprisingly good NPC interaction (everyone has something to tell you even if they all look the same!), I am finding the volume of the speech to be far too loud (I have to lower the volume which means the ambient sound and computer voice are barely audible) plus, more annoyingly, the character feels clunky and lethargic to control. It doesn't help that his jump animation is terrible, actually it's laughably bad, making traversing slopes and getting out of tight spots/places where you get snagged on scenery more difficult than it should be. Now I know why there are so many steps scattered around...

    While I appreciate that the developers want to retain the flavour of the original game, which I think this remake does very well - I only played the original demo but I remember it being a game that bypassed hardware accelerated graphics in favour of voxels - it's a shame more wasn't done to update the controls to the standards we expect from a third-person game in 201X, e.g. Just Cause 3 or Mad Max. Combat can also be a chore as enemies are initially bullet sponges until you work out how to weaken them. The A.I. certainly doesn't stand still and let you shoot at them at least but at the same time they are still dumb, frequently running past you taking shots. The laser fire is easy to avoid as it is slow but the number of enemies can lead to quick deaths.

    An above average game for sure IMO and a better remake than I was expecting, granted its mechanics are dated (understandably). Needs better controls though as, for me, the game becomes more irritating the longer I play it. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed the original though.
    Reply +2
  • How well does Skyrim on Switch compare to PS4?

  • Darren 16/11/2017

    I think this game is a much better fit for the Switch than DOOM, mainly because the original console versions all targetted the same 30 fps this version also runs at. That is far more important than the resolution or graphical settings IMO. I could not imagine playing DOOM at 30 fps since it is such a fast-paced shooter; it's why I skipped it on Switch.

    I will be picking up Skyrim for Switch though. It might be six years old and somewhat dated compared to, say, The Witcher 3 (now that would be something I'd like to see running on Switch!) but it's still a great RPG and perfectly suited for Switch.

    I'm finding I play more Switch undocked than docked these days anyway. In fact, there are quite a few Switch games I've never played docked (Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for example).
    Reply -1
  • DICE fails to quell Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy in reddit AMA

  • Darren 16/11/2017

    I feel sorry for DICE to be honest.

    If an EA acquired developer doesn't get dissolved by them after a few years as has happened to so many then they are, IMO, being forced into adding these micro-transactions and loot crates by the publisher in order to milk as much money out of their customers as possible. EA have never struck me as being a publisher that puts their customers first anyway but they certainly aren't the only ones doing it - Activision and Ubisoft, even Microsoft are doing it (Forza Motorsports 7 for example).

    How do you ruin potentially great games?

    Just ask any of the major publishers as they seem hellbent on aggravating everyone at the moment in their efforts to make as much profit as possible, everyone else be damned! As if Season Passes and micro-transactions weren't bad enough, we now have to contend with things previously reserved for free mobile games in games that cost £40+. It's a disgusting tactic that would not be so bad if it did not affect the balance of the game but so often they are designed to make playing the game more of a grind so you are more tempted to pay for these things.
    Reply +28
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 review

  • Darren 14/11/2017

    Looks like the £3.99 EA Access might be a good deal for this game (I usually opt in then immediately cancel it so I just get 30 days access without worrying about being charged) as it gives you 10 hours of game time for the full version of the game on Xbox One and PC.

    I am only interested in the single player and not the multiplayer (the loot crates pretty much kill any chance of me playing that dead!!!) so I may just download the game that way, complete the campaign and put whatever time I have left towards the free DLC. Obviously, PS4 owners are at a disadvantage but anyone I'd suggest that anyone with a PC or Xbox One that is only interested in the campaign play it this way. £4 for the campaign is much better value IMO (as it is for the disappointing Need for Speed: Payback too).
    Reply -4
  • How does Call of Duty: WW2 look on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro?

  • Darren 13/11/2017

    @Rogueywon - I install the vast majority of my games on 7,200rpm SATAIII hard drives and play them on maxed out 2560x1440 or 3840x2160 settings with no streaming issues beyond those that already exist in the engine (e.g. Unreal Engine 3's notorious texture pop in issue).

    The only real advantage to installing games on my 1 TB SSD is to have faster loading times but otherwise there is no difference in asset streaming as far as I can see.

    That isn't that surprising though given that most games are developed for consoles with slower 5,400rpm laptop drives so even 7,200rpm drives have a speed advantage on PC.
    Reply +1
  • Super Lucky's Tale review

  • Darren 10/11/2017

    I am a big fan of platformers, and cute ones at that. Banjo-Kazooie was my favourite until the sublime Super Mario Odyssey arrived a few weeks ago. Heck, I admit I loved Yooka-Laylee in spite of its flaws. It was still charming, looked and sounded lovely and was mostly fun to explore and play. It had lots of personality, something that Rare were always very good at IMO and Nintendo are masters of (obviously).

    How could I not resist Super Lucky's Tale on that basis? Well, I bought it on the Windows Store last week for my PC and was very much looking forward to playing it.

    Well, having played it, all I can say is that, yes, it looks quite nice visually (though not a patch on Super Mario Odyssey or Yooka-Laylee IMO) but in terms of gameplay it's as generic and mediocre as it gets. Lucky himself looks cute, especially the way he moves, but is a blank slate in terms of personality otherwise. The restricted camera and small levels also give the game a really claustrophobic feel IMO. Why is this even 3D at all when you can barely manoeuvre the camera? In the few hours I played it there didn't seem to be much in the way of variety either.

    Even at £20 I think this game is disappointing. It's not terrible, it gets the platforming right with tight controls and the appeal is certainly there for young children in terms of colourful world design. It's just completely forgettable. Maybe, if I hadn't been playing Super Mario Odyssey I might have enjoyed it more...
    Reply -3
  • Unpatched, the disc version of The Witcher 3 runs at 60fps on Xbox One X

  • Darren 09/11/2017

    Article title should read "Unpatched, the disc version of The Witcher 3 runs at *up to* 60fps on Xbox One X" as it certainly does not manage a locked 60 fps even with the 900p resolution. Just saying! ;)

    Not surprising though given the current console's uber-weak CPUs but if you don't mind the stuttering that comes with a v-synced 30 to 60 fps framerate then it's nice to know the option to play it at up to 60 fps is there, albeit with an unpatched and, thus, more buggy version of the game.
    Reply -11
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: Xbox One X is improved, but to what extent?

  • Darren 09/11/2017

    I've played well over 30 hours of this wonderful game on PC where I am running it maxed out at 2560x1440 and a mostly 60+ fps using G-SYNC on a 165 Hz display and a GTX 1080 Ti.

    There are dips below 60 fps in the busier areas such as Alexandria but for the most part the game stays north of 60 fps and those dips are smoothed out, thanks to G-SYNC. The game looks absolutely gorgeous and in terms of gameplay I actually think this surpasses Black Flag which was my favourite Assassin's Creed game until Origins came out.

    I did try running it at 4K and it does manage to hold 50-60 fps for long periods of time but in order to get a completely locked 60 fps I would have to lower the settings and personally I like to sacrifice resolution for eye candy *and* framerate, which is why I opted for a 2560x1440 display rather than a 4K one for PC gaming. That is the sweet spot IMO, allowing to max out all my games and still have 60+ fps and native or higher resolutions (for downsampling).

    This game feels so much better to play at 60 fps IMO; so much so that I don't think I could go back to playing it at 30 fps (which is how I played most of Black Flag on PS4 before I got the PC version).

    P.S. There's a strange bug with cutscene playback on my PC which I noticed when I capped the framerate at 60 fps (to see how consistent it was) and that is some bizarre slowdown even though RTSS's framerate overlay showed them running at 60 fps throughout! Looked like some kind of streaming hiccup, although the game is running from my 1 TB Samsung EVO 850 SSD so that shouldn't have been happening. First noticed it in v1.02 but it is still happening from time to time in v1.03. Doesn't affect every cutscene though, only a few. Game bug?
    Reply +2
  • Need for Speed Payback review

  • Darren 08/11/2017

    I guess this is only of interest to PS4 owners since Forza Horizon 3 exists for both Xbox One and PC owners and looks to be a much, much better game given what I've seen of this game. NFS Payback certainly looks nice visually but the environment looks completely lifeless and there's a lack of traffic too which only adds to the sense of it being set it some post-apocalyptic world where something wiped out most of humanity and the only ones left are the ones stuck in cars and cutscenes!

    Disappointing but not that surprising given the previous few games. Another glossy but soulless EA game.
    Reply +6
  • Call of Duty: WW2 review

  • Darren 07/11/2017

    @Ragnor - I've only seen 5/10 scores for Need for Speed: Payback so far which is what I was expecting as compared with Forza Horizon 3 it looks very lifeless and uninspired. Reply -1
  • Darren 07/11/2017

    I must admit to being surprised to see a Recommended review for this game having played a few hours of the campaign on PC over the weekend. Yeah, different opinions and all that.

    Yes, while it's a refreshing return to the more grounded World War II setting of the original games, this is still a very scripted linear game that lacks innovation and personality IMO. Why are Call of Duty games filled with forgettable characters? Why are there so many walled off areas (often grass barriers that are intentionally solid to prevent you straying too far off the preset path)? And why does it seem like enemies contiunally respawn until you reach a specific checkpoint? Why are the levels so unmemorable? The opening Normandy beach assault should have been an epic set-piece like Call of Duty 2 but here it's so scripted that it practically plays itself, interrupting you with cutscene after cutscene. It just ruins the pacing IMO.

    In comparison to the superb and creative Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Call of Duty: WWII feels like a game from 15 years ago, which it kind of is really.

    Based on the single player alone, this game is mediocre to just above average at best. It looks nice and sounds great but everything else is what I've come to expect from Call of Duty which plays more like a movie than a game. And there was me thinking that this really would be a return to form. Disappointing.
    Reply +40
  • Should you buy an Xbox One X?

  • Darren 07/11/2017

    Quote: "Microsoft counters this point by declaring the Xbox One X is the best place to play this year's biggest games."

    ... which is untrue. It might be the best console for such games but it is definitely not the best platform in my opinion.

    There's absolutely no mention of the fact that Forza Motorsport 7 and Super Lucky Tale's and Gears of War 4 can all be played on PC and that is a perfectly valid reason for not needing an Xbox One X. I was playing Forza 7 in 4K at 90+ fps since launch over a month ago. Apart from the Halo 3-5, all the Xbox One's exclusives are available on PC. It's both a blessing and a curse really.

    The only mention of PC here is in regards to Minecraft!!! :lol:
    Reply -3
  • Darren 07/11/2017

    In my case the answer was, unfortunately (as I like playing with new toys), no because I have a high-end PC with a GTX 1080 Ti that can run games on higher settings and better framerates (thanks to G-SYNC) than the Xbox One X. The lack of exclusives is crucially what kills off any chance of me buying one.

    I like cute platformers so I had Super Lucky's Tales pre-ordered originally for my launch Xbox One only to find out that it is yet another PlayAnywhere title that I can own digitally for both my PC and Xbox One so I cancelled that and bought it that way. Played that game this morning on my PC; it's pretty, though not a patch on Yooka-Laylee, but ultimately mediocre and a bit lacking in personality. Granted it isn't a system seller by any means, I did think it was at least exclusive to Xbox. Uh-oh! Wrong!

    The fact that Xbox One games are available on PC is definitely a good thing after years of Microsoft claiming to support the platform but really ignoring it except to sell Windows on. However, it means that it is hard to justify owning an Xbox One nevermind an Xbox One X, especially as I do not own, and likely won't for several years yet, a 4K TV.

    I won't knock the hardware though; it looks like an excellent machine and fixes most of the issues with the original underpowered, disappointing hardware. It is more what the Xbox One could have been had Microsoft not invested in the pointless Kinect (what a massive success that turned out to be on Xbox One, eh?).
    Reply -3
  • The best of Assassin's Creed Origins photo mode

  • Darren 03/11/2017

    Origins is my favourite Assassin's Creed game (previously it was Black Flag). Love the Egyptian setting, the story and characters plus the variety and detail on show in this game's environments makes for a really immersive experience (even if you do play it entirely in third-person). Visually the game is a stunner with my only wish was that it had 4K textures. C'mon Ubisoft, release an HD texture pack please?

    For the most part, the textures are very good for a massive open-world game like this but every now and then, like when you're squeezing through a gap in a rockface, you cannot help but notice the low-res flat blurry textures. The game only uses 5 GB of my GTX 1080 Ti's 11 GB of VRAM even after hours of playing it so there's definitely overhead there for better textures for those with 8 GB+ graphics cards.
    Reply +1
  • Microsoft Xbox One X review

  • Darren 03/11/2017

    Xbox One X sounds like an impressive piece of hardware, one that Microsoft have clearly put a lot of thought into regarding its design. I believe that Microsoft will do a better job than what Sony have done in pushing developers to support enhanced games for both 4K *and* 1080p users.

    All that said, it's a shame that I have no reason to buy one as (a) I already have a capable PC that runs almost all of the Xbox One's exclusive games except for Halo; and (b) I don't own a 4K TV and won't for some time so the UHD Blu-ray player would be wasted.

    Still, it's a great mid-generational upgrade for those people who don't have gaming PCs and want an enhanced experience, especially those with 4K TVs. It is pricey at £450 but having bought an Xbox One at launch for £429, I would rather have paid the extra for more powerful hardware that made the games look and run better than the uber-fail that was Kinect! Xbox One X is evidently a more capable 4K gaming system than the PS4 Pro I own which mostly targets 1440p (and all too often has little or no support for 1080p TV users).
    Reply 0
  • Xbox One X comes hand in hand with massive downloads

  • Darren 03/11/2017

    I really do think the Xbox One X should have shipped with a 2 TB hard drive rather than 1 TB one personally. When the unit costs £450 already, a 1 TB 5,400rpm hard drive does seem a bit measly IMO. With downloads that large, you will want to keep the game's installed for long as you are playing them, not have to delete and redownload up to 100 GB each time you run out of space for the latest games. Not everyone is on a fibre connection so these can take 12-24 hours to complete.

    My internet connection is rated as up to 24 Mbps for example (in reality it's 14-15 Mbps tops) so I have to leave my PC downloading large games during the day and overnight if I want to play them for release day.
    Reply +6
  • What does the Metal Gear Solid 5 PS4 Pro patch actually do?

  • Darren 01/11/2017

    I must admit to feeling a bit underwhelmed at the inconsistent support PS4 Pro games have been getting since launch. I am a 1080p TV user and while downsampling from higher resolution is nice to have as it improves image quality, a lot of games don't support it even though run at 1440p or higher.

    Sony should be doing more to set mandatory requirements for Pro enhanced games IMO and that includes supporting downsampling for 1080p TV users. I suspect that this is one area where Microsoft will fare better with their forthcoming Xbox One X.

    If it wasn't for the lack of exclusives and the fact that I already own a PC capable of 4K native rendering at higher quality settings then I might have bought the Xbox One X for that reason. It is, on the basis of what I've seen and read so far, a more powerful machine than the PS4 Pro. However, Sony does at least have the exclusives which make it worthwhile owning the console (as does the Switch for that matter).

    If I was Microsoft I would be more focused on delivering exclusive games that sell the console to people torn between buying a PS4 or Xbox. I don't believe 4K (at 30 fps!) quite has the same selling power beyond the initial launch period when core gamers buy them.
    Reply +6
  • Super Mario Odyssey sells 2m copies in three days

  • Darren 31/10/2017

    It's a stunning game IMO and deserves to be a huge success. I have been playing it over lunchtime at work and it's is perfect suited for short-term play. While relatively easy, a Moon is never far away and the game has a very generous checkpoint system as well.

    Super Mario Odyssey might well be my favourite Mario game to date and a serious contender for my Game of 2017.
    Reply +3
  • Nintendo Switch's handheld mode more popular than playing on TV

  • Darren 31/10/2017

    I use my Switch about 95% of the time in portable mode, mostly to play games during my lunch hour, and the rest on my TV at home. I haven't played Splatoon 2 or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on my TV yet for example.

    Switch is a great handheld IMO, easily the best to date actually and only let down by its pathetic battery life of around 2-3 hours. Sure, it's enough to get me through my one-hour lunchbreak each day plus some time in bed at time but it would be sufficient for long trips without some sort of portable recharger.

    Also, I still have the annoying bug where the Switch will show 100% battery charge when I take it off the dock but play on a game in portable mode for 15 minutes and it will drop to anywhere from 57% to 14%. Then when it gets to 10%/5%/1% shortly after, I will get a warning that battery is low but yet it lasts upwards of 1 to 2 hours!!! I only know when it really is almost out of juice when I get the second warning that the Switch is going into sleep mode. Nintendo really should fix this issue IMO.
    Reply +1
  • How Super Mario Odyssey pushes Switch to its limits

  • Darren 27/10/2017

    @mostro - Ha! I kept a small 21" Sony CRT TV with RGB SCART specifically for playing Wii games on when I discovered how awful they looked using component video on my then 32" Samsung HDTV.

    Anyway, this game, which I got yesterday and played for five hours or so, is absolutely and utterly superb. Tons of fun to play and to my old eyes it looks fantastic on the Switch's 6.2" screen, arguably better actually than it does on my 40" Sony 1080p TV. What is especially impressive is playing a game of this quality at what seems to be a 99.999% locked 60 fps framerate. I've been enjoying it too much to notice any jaggies while playing it and only noticed them when I was checking out the screenshots I'd taken.

    Perhaps too early to say for sure with Assassin's Creed: Origins and Wolfenstein II to also play this weekend on my PC but I suspect that this game may be my personal Game of the Year on the basis of what I've seen so far. An must-buy if you have a Switch and if you don't then this is the game to buy one for IMO (unless you don't like platformers, in which case why are you even here?).
    Reply +3
  • Super Mario Odyssey review

  • Darren 27/10/2017

    I got my copy yesterday and played over five hours of this superb game - four in portable mode and the rest on my TV. It's supremely entertaining and charming and funny. It feels very Nintendo and full of child-like wonder that just makes it feel so unique compared with games on other platforms.

    I've enjoyed every level so far of which I've unlocked, I think, six to reach the first, hardly a spoiler really, Bowser fight. I think the game is quite easy but that isn't to say I haven't died, I have mostly during boss fights or falling off the edge of the map due to some slightly twitchy controls when Mario is moving at speed. Nothing major and there are no lives any more; you pick up coins and when you die you lose so many coins but I've found that I have so many and that I usually *gain* coins when dying that I have yet to see a Game Over screen (if there even is one).

    An absolute joy to play, listen to and look at in my opinion. This for me is the Switch's first exclusive killer app; it's system seller. Yes, Zelda: Breath of the Wild and MArio Kart 8 Deluxe were fantastic game too but they were made for the Wii U so didn't feel quite so special on Switch. Mario has always been Nintendo's system seller, more so than The Legend of Zelda IMO.

    This could well be my favourite game of 2017 although with Assassin's Creed: Origins and Wolfenstein II (which are both currently downloading on my PC) also out today it is up against stiff competition!
    Reply +1
  • Assassin's Creed Origins review

  • Darren 26/10/2017

    This looks superb, I have to say, and I think the two year break has done it good from what I've seen of it. Initially, I wasn't that bothered about it after the disappointment of Unity and, to a lesser degree, Syndicate, at which point I was a bit bored of the franchise.

    However, when I found out this is by the same team who made my favourite Assassin's Creed game to date: Black Flag, then I became very interested in it but I've tried to avoid watching too much of it to avoid spoilers (20 minutes of Jim Sterling playing it, complete with hilarious floating boat bug, was all I needed to convince me to buy it). The setting definitely gives the game more of the feel of the first few ganes as well - I thought the closer the series got to the present day the less unique it was - but historically this period is certainly intriguing for me.

    Very much looking forward to playing this on my PC when CDKeys actually send me the game key! This is the first time in years, I believe, that an Assassin's Creed game has launched on console and PC at the same time; usually the PC version is delayed a few weeks from memory.
    Reply +2
  • Gears of War 4 campaign runs at 60fps on Xbox One X

  • Darren 24/10/2017

    That's pretty damn impressive IMO.

    I only wish that Sony and other PS4 games publishers put as much effort into their enhanced PS4 Pro games but it seems to be a mess at the moment; some games have no support for the Pro at all (in spite of being out a year), plenty do not support downsampling for 1080p users and some games even run worse on Pro than they do on base hardware with no choice at all to switch back to it. Digital Foundry do a good job of highlighting these but publishers do not seem to listen or care.

    While I won't be buying the Xbox One X myself due to having a high-end PC, I do hope that Microsoft will set an example and show Sony et al how it should be done in terms of enhancing games and giving gamers a choice of different modes as standard. Downsampling for example should be supported this way for all 1080p TV users. The kind of support that Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn had should be included in every major release.
    Reply +7
  • Xbox One X Shadow of War shows profound improvements over PS4 Pro

  • Darren 20/10/2017

    The decision to add an extra 4 GB was a good one by Microsoft as it is clearly going to give the Xbox One X an advantage over the PS4 Pro in terms of texture quality if this article is anything to go by. While I'm not keen on this push for 4K when console games are still struggling to hit locked 30 fps framerates nevermind 60 fps, at least if you are going ultra HD then you have the textures to match. This will almost certainly be a bigger advantage over the PS4 Pro than the small resolution bump over it IMO.

    As for me, well the Xbox One X certainly looks like a decent piece of kit, if a little pricey, and I suspect it will support 1080p TV users far better than the PS4 Pro does currently (quite frankly Sony need to set standards such as downsampling for all games etc) but unfortunately I have no reason to buy one since I already own a high-end PC that can run games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Forza Motorsport 7 and many other games at 4K maxed out settings.

    Without the exclusives that my PS4 Pro still has (e.g. Gran Turismo Sports) then it is hard to get excited about the Xbox One X let alone justify me buying one. This IMO is the Xbox One's biggest problem: it's lack of exclusives if you own a PC. If you own a gaming PC then, in my humble view, the PS4 Pro and/or Switch are actually better buys.
    Reply -4
  • Halo: Master Chief Collection will be enhanced for Xbox One X

  • Darren 18/10/2017

    I would definitely like to see this come to PC along with Halo 5 Guardians. After all, just about every other Xbox exclusive from the past 2-3 years has made its way to PC so why not that was as well? I wouldn't need to keep my Xbox One console then! :D Reply +3
  • The Evil Within 2 shines on PS4 - but Xbox One and PC fall short

  • Darren 18/10/2017

    @Dgzter - Ah, that would make sense given that the console versions currently target 1080p.

    Maybe that will be fixed once the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro get support added via patches?

    Incidentally, does anyone else think that given the janky performance on the Xbox One that the Xbox One X version is going to be just the same only running at a higher resolution? Personally, I don't find the idea of playing a game at 4K, checkerboarded or native, that appealing when the framerate is still 30 fps or dipping below it as I suspect it will on both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

    I really despise this push toward 4K gaming on consoles; platforms that cannot guarantee 1080p for every game or a locked 30 fps nevermind 60 fps. It wouldn't be such a bad thing if by targetting a higher resolution on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X it meant running the base version at 1080p would guarantee more stable performance and with better visuals but that's not the case as many games that support 1080p simply use downscaling anyway. In some cases on the PS4 Pro the games run worst than the do on base hardware and there's nothing you can do about it.

    It's all a bit of an inconsistent mess at the moment, thanks to a lack of focus by Sony. I can only hope that Microsoft set a better example with the Xbox One X and show Sony how it should be done. Framerates might not be 60 fps but at least we may get more choice in how we can play the games. Very few games so far offer the kind of choices that Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn have.
    Reply +1
  • Darren 18/10/2017

    @kirankara - Yes, G-SYNC does remove most of the stutter. There is still some but for the most part I've had a pretty smooth experience; it's just those dips below 60 fps can be noticeable even with G-SYNC.

    Given that the engine is barely taxing my GPU or CPU it is baffling as to why it isn't performing better just on the brute power alone. It generally runs over 60 fps for the most part - cutscenes can dip below 60 fps but that's not really an issue when you're just watching - but it really should be running at over 60 fps at all times based on the GPU/CPU usage.

    Tellingly, if I stand and face a wall, which fills the whole screen, the framerate does not go up to 165 fps (which is the max. refresh rate of my screen) as it does in other well-optimised games but hovers around 85-90 fps! It's almost like the performance is being capped.

    Still, despite the sub-60 fps framerate drops the game does at least run much better than Dishonored 2 which was a stutter-fest at launch and still does not run smoothly. Bethesda sure do like to use crappy engines...
    Reply 0
  • Darren 18/10/2017

    @Dgzter - Yes, I've also noticed the weird low-res loading screens and text. Actually, you can see during the initial loading screens too with the copyright text on the two with white backgrounds that are shown being almost unreadable even on my 2560x1440 screen.

    Goodness knows what is going on there? Maybe the game switches to 1280x720 or lower at certain points for some reason?
    Reply +1
  • Darren 17/10/2017

    This game is just so entertaining so far on PC (up to Chapter 13) but the performance is pretty disappointing in my experience. I am playing at maxed 2560x1440 settings on a G-SYNC monitor and performance is mostly 65-90 fps but the game does dip below 60 fps frequently despite GPU usage being under 70% and CPU usage being even less at under 45%. If it ran at a locked 60 fps then I would be fine, as G-SYNC helps smooth out those dips, but it feels like a game that just isn't very well optimised.

    What is it with Bethesda and sub-par game engines? Dishonored 2 was another game with performance issues and here we have another.
    Reply -1
  • Gran Turismo Sport review

  • Darren 17/10/2017

    It's absolutely staggering that this game is so cut down from the previous game, given how long it has been in development, but it looks like it was for the best. Polyphony Digital clearly struggled to deliver a consistent experience for Gran Turismo 5 - the car models from the PS2 era, the wonky framerate/screen tearing and the clunky menu system, the weak audio - all made for an inferior experience compared to its rival Forza Motorsport franchise on the Xbox 360 IMO. I was put off so much that I didn't even buy Gran Turismo 6. I was curious about Gran Turismo Sport though but not especially looking forward to it.

    So imagine my surprise on playing the demo to find what appears to be a very polished game; the framerate feels like its locked at 60 fps at all times, there's no screen tearing, the menu system is fast and responsive (as are the loading times) and there's just an overall polished feel to the game just not present in previous Gran Turismo games. Graphically the game looks stunning too (on my PS4 Pro), perhaps even better looking than Forza Motorsport 7 and Project CARS 2, both of which I'm playing on PC. The replays look absolutely amazing as well; they're good in those other games but they just look so much better here. Polyphony Digital really know how to show off the cars in their games, that is a fact!

    My only concern as a solo player is how much the focus on online racing has affected the career mode. I'm pleased that about the fictitious tracks because of their appearance in those other games (and F1 2017!) but I hope there's enough offline stuff to keep me addicted in the same way as the excellent Forza Motorsport 7. I really want this to be the first Gran Turismo game I absolutely love.
    Reply -1
  • 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 +1
  • 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