Darren Comments

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  • Performance Analysis: Final Fantasy 15

  • Darren 30/11/2016

    @Outpostmodern - It's not just consoles than can have bad frame pacing; I've come across plenty of PC games that have the issue too although it can be fixed or reduced on that platform by using something like MSI Afterburner to force even delivery of frames.

    Of course, you don't get that choice on consoles so you are at the mercy of the developer, e.g. Bloodborne a great game but one seriously marred by pathetic frame pacing.
    Reply +2
  • Darren 30/11/2016

    What is it with Japanese developers and frame pacing issues on consoles? Dark Souls III, Bloodborne and now this game? Bloodborne had nine patches at least and the issue was never once addressed or fixed, meaning that the game feels like it is running at a lower framerate than it actually is. Are developers really proud of their games when they have this issue? Do they not notice it?

    On fixed console hardware, IMO there is really no excuse for it and if the Xbox One version can run fine then why can't the PS4 and PS4 Pro versions, especially as their hardware is more powerful anyway. :confused:

    Seems like poor frame pacing has replaced poor anisotropic filtering as this year's most annoying console issue...
    Reply +5
  • I'm still searching for the SSX in Steep, but there's one thing it absolutely nails

  • Darren 22/11/2016

    I found the beta to be competent but dull, and I say that as someone who has enjoyed many of these kinds of games over the years from Amped (a personal fave on the Xbox) to the over the top and stylish SSX series.

    Of course, it didn't help that I missed the first orange marker during the opening Wing Suit tutorial without realising it only to land and find that I was unable to reset to the starting point, only the point I had reached. Duh! Instead I had to walk/climb back which took me 20 minutes!!! Sure this is a beta but I was astounded that there was no way to reset the tutorial or that said tutorial did nothing to warn me or reset me once it became obvious I'd missed the checkpoint by some way (I was literally half way down the mountain).

    Poor tutorial design aside, I found the game to be devoid of any personality and excitement. The sense of speed is there but the courses all looked and felt the same. True, this is a more realistic take on winter sports than SSX so course design is going to be subdued and normal in comparison but, even so, this just never felt thrilling even when racing at speed. The trick system, which should have offered the most fun, was also lacking.

    Maybe the final game will be much better? I certainly hope so because it has been a long time since anyone made one of these games. I will keep my eye on it in hope it turns out great but secretly I am hoping EA announce a new SSX title! :D
    Reply 0
  • Dishonored 2 to receive a New Game Plus mode in December

  • Darren 18/11/2016

    The PC beta patch is a staggering 6.4 GB by the way for what is basically a mouse fix!!! The second performance patch is supposedly coming next week.

    It can't come soon enough because the game runs like crap on my machine which has a 4.0 GHz i7-4770K, 16 GB of memory, a GTX 1080 and Windows 10 Pro v1607. 35-45 FPS on the Royal Conversatory mission at 2560x1440 with a handful of enemies and in an enclosed area is not good IMO... :confused:
    Reply +3
  • Dishonored 2 review

  • Darren 16/11/2016

    The game itself is fantastically entertaining to play and explore but performance is absolute garbage on my PC (i7-4770K, 16 GB, GTX 1080, Windows 10 Pro v1607) at maxed out 2560x1440 settings.

    Peformance rarely feels smooth with the framerate frequently dipping below 60 fps (this is even with dynamic resolution at 75%, which it annoyingly resets to every time I load game!). Aesthetically the art style is really nice as is the lighting but I'm not really seeing a huge leap in terms of level size and detail over the older Dishonored which ran absolutely fine on Unreal Engine 3.

    I think the performance issues may be due to the engine being a heavily modified version of idTech5 as CPU usage seems unusually high for a game of this type. I am currently playing through the Royal Conversatory level and the framerate is tanking to 27-35 fps even though there's only a handful of enemies and the area is basically enclosed. Even when the game is running at 60 fps, it constantly feels stuttery, like it has framerate pacing issues and Xbox One controller input response feels really sluggish/laggy. It's truly shocking and has put me off playing it further until it is patched.

    I've also had the chance to play the game on PS4 Pro and it at least feels more consistent in terms of framerate than on my PC but even that still has stuttering and laggy controller response.
    Reply +3
  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild to miss Nintendo Switch launch

  • Darren 15/11/2016

    I'm sure that news is going to do wonders for the console's launch...

    No matter, I was planning on buying the console because of that game but if it is delayed then I will just buy it for Wii U instead and pick up the console later on once it has enough games to justify purchasing it. I may not even buy one at all if sales are poor.
    Reply 0
  • Why are some PS4 Pro titles running slower than base hardware?

  • Darren 15/11/2016

    I think it is ludicrous that Watch Dogs 2 runs with screen tearing and framerate drops that are not present on the base much less powerful PS4, all for the sake of outputting an 1800p upscaled 4K image. As soon as I noticed that in a YouTube Pro stream over the weekend I immediately cancelled my pre-order.

    It just defies belief that Sony would rather have games running at 4K (or rather not-quite-4k in the case of most games on PS4) for seemingly bragging rights rather than using the Pro's extra power in a more logical manner to deliver a more impressive 1080p game with higher quality visuals, a locked 30 fps framerate and NO screen tearing.

    Hell, at least give us a choice instead of forcing inferior versions of games on us 1080p TV owners. Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Last of Us at least give us a choice of rendering modes and that is how ALL PS4 Pro games should be. At worst, we should always be able to fall back to the base console version if the 4K version is running worse as is the case with Skyrim, Dishonored 2 (which is horribly stuttery on the Pro) and this game.

    *sigh*
    Reply +9
  • Darren 11/11/2016

    This is exactly why I feel that ALL PS4 Pro games should not only offer a choice of the same base performance of the PS4 version but have enhanced 1080p modes with the same or better performance (and visuals if there's sufficient headroom) as well as the 4K option. The PS4 and PS4 Pro are fixed hardware unlike the PC so there really is no excuse not to offer this and for performance to be adequate in all modes.

    It's really not good enough to only offer the 4K mode if performance is going to be worse. I mean a 1-2 fps might not sound like much but if the game is targeting a locked 30 fps at 1080p like Skyrim Special Edition then any dips below 30 fps are going to be noticeable to varying degrees depending on the person as stuttering.

    Perhaps developers and publishers don't really want the hassle of having to support several different modes on the PS4 Pro; after all we see games coming out that have issues on the standard version so it's not hard to see why supporting PS4 *and* PS4 Pro might not be popular. I can see two things happening if this is the case; one, if the PS4 Pro sells well then we might see more and more games running better on PS4 Pro at 1080p due to the superior hardware and noticeable worse on PS4 to the point where there's no point owning the base model anymore (something Sony claim won't ever happen...); or, two, if the Pro fails to sell as well as expected then the number of PS4 Pro enhanced games drop except for Sony published exclusives as publishers deem it not worth the hassle supporting it.

    The decision by Sony to lock out not only the extra GPU but also the CPU performance in all games is also something of an oddity and one I hope they change their stance on because it works perfectly fine on Xbox One S where games with sub-optimal framerates and/or screen tearing immediately benefit from the superior hardware even without patches. If Sony do change this so that all PS4 Pro games benefit then it makes the machine a much more appealing buy IMO even if the game has no PS4 Pro enhancements. For example, Thief on the PS4 runs with framerate drops below 30 fps but it should be running much better on PS4 Pro due to the faster framerate. Skyrim Special Edition could also easily manage 1080p at 60 fps too bearing in mind that at native 4K it is rendering FOUR 1080p images 30 times a second, equivalent to TWO 1080p images 60 framed a second. Yet all we have on the Pro is a 4K mode that runs at 30 fps but with overall performance less than that of the base PS4 at 1080p.

    Rise of the Tomb Raider is a perfect example of what all PS4 Pro games should be if not in performance then certainly choice of resolutions/graphics. This has not only an enhanced 1080p and 30 fps mode but also a performance mode that runs at mostly 60 fps and an upscaled 4K mode at 30 fps, something for everyone really. Personally, in that game I much prefer the higher 50-60 fps framerate than the modes with improved IQ because the game just feels so much better to play with a smoother camera and responsive controls. It's hard to go back to 30 fps after playing it IMO even though there's nothing wrong with the 30 fps mode since it is locked at 30 fps for a consistent experience. It really is a case of not missing it until you've tried it then it's hard to go back.
    Reply +13
  • We're set for a rollercoaster video game face-off next week

  • Darren 11/11/2016

    Rollercoaster Tycoon World is supposed to be a bit rubbish, isn't it? I went ahead and bought Planet Coaster instead after watching early alpha footage that showed real promise. Reply +2
  • Arkane looking into Dishonored 2 PC performance complaints

  • Darren 10/11/2016

    Thankfully, I have a fairly beefy PC with an i7-4770K, 16 GB and a GTX 1080 running Windows 10 Pro so the game runs reasonably well at 2560x1440 Ultra settings with TXAA (for some reason the Adaptive Resolution was set to 75% though so I set that to 100% for a native 2560x1440 image at all times). Indoors in holds 60 fps but outdoors the performance can drip to 50-55 fps and even 35-45 fps for no real reason. That and the poor framepacing in form of microstuttering, which makes the game feel slightly juddery, makes the game a little disappointment in terms of performance but otherwise I'm really enjoying it even if it is just more of the same.

    I'm sure that patches and new graphics drivers will improve performance bot that I'm excusing the issues. However, this is sadly the norm for PC gaming these days and it is very rare to get a well-optimised PC game at launch.
    Reply -1
  • Skyrim on PS4 Pro runs at native 4K - but there's a catch

  • Darren 10/11/2016

    @kirankara - I was speaking generally about 4K on PS4 Pro not specifically Skyrim SE. My concern is that Sony are so focused on PS4 Pro games running at 4K that we'll end up with the same situation as on PS4 where games are not quite hitting 30 or 60 fps. That would be ridiculous given the extra power that the Pro has over the PS4 but then I still think that 1080p60 should have been the priority for the Pro not 4K. But, hey, I'm not having to sell 4K TVs so... ;)

    The fact is that a locked 30 fps game on PS4 is going to feel smoother than one that has 1-2 fps dips on the Pro as that would introduce noticeable stuttering. While not crap per se it is a downgrade over the standard version which is why it perhaps should have used a slightly lower than 4K resolution to allow for a locked 30 fps experience.

    The lack of a 1080p60 option on the Pro is a big disappointment IMO as I'm pretty sure that it would be possible given the age of the game. I suspect the PS4 could run the game uncapped at 40-45 fps so the Pro would certainly be able to manage the rest.
    Reply -1
  • Darren 10/11/2016

    This game really should have 1080p 60 fps support on PS4 Pro IMO. As for the lower framerate at 4K; I can't say I'm surprised. I've said this before but the PS4 Pro's hardware is not really suited for native 4K except in less demanding Indie/PSN games and is best used for either 1440p with higher visual fidelity than PS4 or 1080p at 60 fps.

    Whatever, the fact that this game runs worst than on the PS4 goes against Sony's "rules" for PS4 Pro games. Who on earth wants to play a game at 4K if it runs like crap?
    Reply 0
  • How to transfer data from PS4 to PS4 Pro - transferring saves, games, trophies, settings and more explained

  • Darren 10/11/2016

    This would have been the easiest option for me but since I had a three-quarters full 2 TB drive in my old PS4 and only a 1 TB drive in the new Pro then I've had to do the backup method. It took around 10 hours to backup yesterday and I've just started the restore on my Pro about an hour ago after swapping the drives around. It is currently about 15% complete.

    I really don't understand though why Sony don't just allow you to swap out a drive and keep the data on it when fitting it in a new machine instead of re-initializing it. It would makes things so much easier. :(
    Reply +4
  • Final Fantasy 15 to have 1080p60 mode for PS4 Pro

  • Darren 10/11/2016

    I really hope that these two modes 1080p60 and 4K30, become the standard for PS4 Pro games going forward. I got my Pro today purely for improved 1080p gaming as I won't be buying a 4K TV for a few years. I've played a few games so far and the improved image quality/better AA is really nice to see in games like Uncharted 4 and Ratchet and Clank, both of which look better than ever. Would have liked the choice of 60 FPS as well but it will do for now. Reply +5
  • The Last Guardian is getting PS4 Pro support

  • Darren 10/11/2016

    The PS4 Pro is not more a 4K console than the PS3 was a 1080p one, it's just one that supports 4K, is all.

    I sit here waiting for my Pro to arrive sometime between 2 and 3 this afternoon, very much looking forward to checking out games on the new system. However, I have a 1080p Sony TV and have no intention of buying into 4K for several years, when hopefully the specs for things like HDR will be established.

    I personally feel the PS4 Pro is more suited to gaming at 1080p with better framerates and image quality, certainly better anti-aliasing, rather than being pushed to deliver (not quite) 4K games with the same or slightly worst framerates than on the standard console. Really do not see the appeal of playing games at 4K if the experience is going to be tarnished by sub-30 or 60 fps framerate drops. At 1080p, the PS4 Pro has more overhead to deliver better framerates and more detailed graphics so I really hope that developers put as much effort into supporting 1080p as not-quite-4K because I believe core games who are interested in the Pro are more interested in solid framerates over higher resolutions.

    Tell me I'm wrong?
    Reply +9
  • PlayStation 4 Pro unboxed - and what's next for Digital Foundry

  • Darren 04/11/2016

    I would like to know if PS4 games with sub-30 (or 60) fps dips and/or framepacing issues run better by default on the PS4 Pro without any additional updates due to the 30% improvement to the CPU speed? After all, Xbox One games benefit from the faster Xbox One S CPU so one would imagine the same would be true for PS4 games on the PS4 Pro. Reply +1
  • Nintendo refuses to say whether Switch has a touchscreen

  • Darren 21/10/2016

    Personally, I hope the Nintendo Switch does NOT have a touchscreen. I hated using it on my PS Vita as the screen then gets all smeared with greasy fingerprints not to mention you end up blocking parts of the screen as you play. I've never found it particularly comfortable which is why I no longer play games at all on my smartphone or iPad. Reply -2
  • Inside PlayStation 4 Pro: How Sony made the first 4K games console

  • Darren 21/10/2016

    Quote: "First, we doubled the GPU size by essentially placing it next to a mirrored version of itself, sort of like the wings of a butterfly. That gives us an extremely clean way to support the existing 700 titles," Cerny explains, detailing how the Pro switches into its 'base' compatibility mode. "We just turn off half the GPU and run it at something quite close to the original GPU."

    That is such a waste of the extra power in my view. PC games scale with hardware such that a more powerful CPU and/or GPU gives better framerates and allows for higher graphical settings.

    By locking down the performance of games on the PS4 Pro to that of the PS4, it means that we are still going to get the exact same experience despite them running on much more powerful hardware. Take Assassin's Unity for example, a game on PS4 that runs at 900p with a very unstable 30 fps. On the PS4 Pro that game should be running better due to the higher CPU speed and could even manage 1080p too.

    Why not let the console utilise the power to give its users a "free" performance boost for all of the existing games?
    Reply +4
  • Darren 21/10/2016

    I would much rather see the PS4 Pro's extra power devoted to delivering better framerates and higher quality visuals rather than being pushed to render "fake" 4K at the same inconsistent 30 or 60 fps framerates as 1080p on PS4. It's like trying to run before you've learnt to walk properly IMO. Reply +2
  • Nintendo to unveil NX this afternoon

  • Darren 20/10/2016

    @cowell - With the release of the PS4 Pro in a few weeks and the Xbox One Scorpio next year I think the NX will be SIGNIFICANTLY underpowered myself. Not that prevents a console from having good games but with the utter failure of the Wii U this console absolutely needs some kind of gimmick akin to the Wiimote to make it appealing to the masses.

    I think this could be the console that makes or breaks Nintendo...
    Reply +1
  • Watch Dogs 2 delayed two weeks on PC

  • Darren 18/10/2016

    Quote: ""The extra time will be used for additional polish and will help ensure the game runs smoothly across a broad range of PC hardware," Ubisoft stated in a blog post."

    Bet it doesn't... ;)
    Reply +14
  • Gears 4 debuts ahead of PlayStation VR game flood

  • Darren 17/10/2016

    I bought Dragon Quest Builders and was shocked that the entire game is less than 1 GB in size when installed!

    While I realise game install size doesn't correlate to pricing, I am glad that I bought it from Amazon for a more reasonable 31. Everywhere else seems to be selling the game for 38+ which IMO is a bit too high for what is basically a Minecraft clone. I can't help but wonder if the game would have sold better at a sub-30 price point though, say, 24.99 RRP.
    Reply +4
  • Mafia 3 review

  • Darren 12/10/2016

    I've been enjoying this game (on PC) but it really is a glitch, unpolished and unoptimised mess in my experience. A.I. acts odd, lighting can often look very strange (the main character takes on a silverfish appearance when wet for example), there's frequent clipping errors, textures flicker and the skybox can go from looking beautiful to hideous in the blink of an eye. Yet despite all that the gameplay, story complete with great voice-acting and superb soundtrack help overcome the technical issues. This game clearly needed a bit longer in the oven and I don't think the developers will ever be able to fix all the issues and bugs this game has (no doubt DLC will become a priority sooner rather than later).

    Disappointing, I guess, but perhaps I was expecting too much? Not every game can be as polished as GTA V.
    Reply +16
  • Face-Off: Gears of War 4

  • Darren 11/10/2016

    The amount of options to tinker with just blew me away as does the quality of the PC version in general. The developers should be commended for not only delivering a great game but one that is superbly designed to make the most of the host hardware. Even the built-in benchmark is as comprehensive as you could hope for and, unlike others, actually does represent what you can expect for the game.

    Gears of War 4 is astonishing, it really is. :)
    Reply +8
  • Gears of War 4 review

  • Darren 11/10/2016

    Bought this for my PC and Xbox One digitally last week although I've only played a couple of hours of the campaign so far on PC. Looks and runs great on my settup at 2560x1440 Ultra settings with Dyanmic Resolution scaling up to 4K.

    I haven't really played a new Gears since Gears of War 3 but this one, while familiar, looks like it is going to be very entertaining. Can't wait to get home later and play some more.
    Reply +1
  • Mafia 3 is locked at 30fps on PC, much to Steam users' chagrin

  • Darren 07/10/2016

    You know I accept that 60 fps is better, heck I prefer it for all my PC games obviously (it's why I bought a GTX 1080 for my 2560x1440 display), but 30 fps is fine as long as the framerate is locked at a solid 30 fps. Unfortunately, very few PC games feel "right" at 30 fps compared with the console version running at the same speed but Forza Horizon 3 is one of the few that does get it right (even if the input latency is a teensy-weensy bit higher than on Xbox One).

    Sure, you can unlock Forza Horizon 3's framerate but on my system with an i7-4770K, 16 GB of memory and Windows 10 Pro v1607 I am unable to maintain a solid 60 fps at 2560x1440 even if I lower settings. With Framerate Smoothing on the game has a bizarre slowing down/speeding up effect and with it turned off the game stuttering badly every few seconds. Neither are ideal so I settled for a locked 30 fps at 4K with maxed out 8xMSAA settings, which runs perfectly fine, thanks to excellent motion-blur, great controls and a superb sense of speed.

    Mafia III on the other hand is one of those PC games that just does feel good to play at 30 fps. On my system, the game stutters from time to time and the controls feel heavy and unresponsive. Camera motion also looks bad, not helped by the overall blurry image quality the game has. It's not completely unplayable but I suspect that 30 fps on consoles feels and looks better than it does on my PC.

    Disappointing but not altogether unexpected given that 9 out of 10 PC games these days launches with issues. It's like developers don't test these games on enough hardware setups and instead rely on paying customers to do the beta testing for them. When you've just bought a new game and are eager to play it then the last thing you want to hear is that the devs are working on optimisations to improve the game, fixes that are likely days or even weeks away.
    Reply 0
  • Face-Off: Forza Horizon 3

  • Darren 30/09/2016

    Quote: "...it's interesting to note that Forza Horizon 3 is one of the very, very few PC titles that actually frame-paces 30fps correctly - each update persisting for the required 33ms. The downside is that controls seem slightly muggier than the Xbox One version operating at the same frame-rate."

    I absolutely agree that Forza Horizon 3 is one of the few games that feels perfectly fine running at 30 fp on PC. I think Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was another. Too many PC games seem to feel horribly laggy when locked to 30 fps yet aren't on PS4 or Xbox One. In fact, I prefer 30 fps on PC to the inconsistent 35-60 fps I get otherwise. It allows me to run the game at 4K with 8xMSAA and everything maxed out on my i7-4770K, 16 GB, GTX 1080, Windows 10 Pro system whereas the game fails to hold 60 fps at 2560x1440 (the native resolution of my display) even with MSAA turned off and just FXAA enabled. Running the game on this kind of hardware and having to turn off MSAA, which the Xbox One version has, just does not sit right with me so 30 fps it is until the developers optimise/patch the game further.

    My PC is far more powerful than either my PS4 or Xbox One so you'd expect input latency to be better overall and certainly the same at worst. And why is it that so many developers fail to get framepacing right on PC, forcing us to have to resort to MSI Afterburner or NVIDIA Inspector to fix it?
    Reply +9
  • Forza Horizon 3 review

  • Darren 27/09/2016

    Like the big kid I am (I'm 49!) I waited until midnight for the game to unlock on my PC to play it for 15-30 minutes but it ended up being more like 90! This game is fantastic and is brilliant to see Microsoft (finally) committed to releasing its games on PC alongside the Xbox One versions. That I can switch between the two and continue my progress depending on whether I'm in front on my TV or 25" monitor is also a superb feature and almost (almost) makes up for the steep 49.99 asking price on the Windows Store.

    The game defaulted to 5K Ultra dynamic settings on my system but I dropped the resolution down to 4K, left the framerate at 30 fps and turned off the dynamic optimisations, in favour of maxing out the settings including using 8xMSAA. The game runs very good, maintaining a solid 30 fps except for some rare but very noticeable half second freezes (which I thought was the game about to crash but it wasn't). The game is installed to a 7,200rpm hard drive rather than an SSD so I assume these are streaming 'hiccups'. Nevertheless, the feel of the game is identical to that of the Xbox One demo I played last week, which is rare with PC games as while I find 30 fps on consoles to be perfectly fine (if not exactly ideal), usually I find them annoyingly laggy on PC. Not so with this game which seems to play identically to Xbox One except for the aforementioned stutters. I have an i7-4770K @ 4.0 GHz, 16 GB of memory and an EVGA GTX 1080 FTW graphics card running on Windows 10 Pro v1607 and using the latest v372.90 drivers for my card.

    I did try the game at 2560x1440, the native resolution of my Dell display, and a 60 fps framerate but the game just felt too inconsistent in terms of controller response and movement so I switched back to 30 fps. I did also encounter some weird issues with parts of roadside fences disappearing and reappearing as I raced by plus distant hills and mountains seem to have some kind of flickering going on that oddly seems to pulsate with the music (I don't think it's intentional).

    Even with those issues, I am thoroughly enjoying this game. It's built in a way that keeps you entertained and it is always rewarding or praising you. It's a game that is a delight to play IMO and I can see this replacing PGR 4 as my favourite arcade racing game to date.
    Reply +12
  • Digital Foundry: Hands-on with COD Infinite Warfare on PS4 Pro

  • Darren 25/09/2016

    I still think Sony should be focusing on 1080p60 games with better overall performance and image quality than this fake 4K (FakeK?) thing on PS4 Pro. The PS4 struggles to run many of its games at stable framerates so the extra power really should be used there IMO. But as usual Sony want to run before they've learn to walk... ;) Reply +66
  • FIFA 17 review

  • Darren 23/09/2016

    So on the one hand we have PES 2017 which plays great but suffers from a lack of licenses, slapdash presentation and odd menus and on the other we have a polished looking game with all the licences and players you'd expect, the atmosphere and the looks but that doesn't play quite as well as the competition? Seems neither offers the best all-round package this year.

    I know gameplay is the most important aspect of any sports game but I find it difficult to commit myself to PES for long periods due to its lack of licensing and its scrappy, sometimes ugly presentation (more so on PC where Konami continue to churn out inferior hybrid versions of the last and current gen versions).

    This year's The Journey in FIFA 17 is exactly what I've been waiting for in a game like this as someone who likes to play games solo and isn't interested in competitive multiplayer. In fact, I started playing the full game briefly on PC this morning, thanks to EA Access, and I am really looking forward to checking out this new mode more tonight. From the demo and opening to the full game, it does a great job of showing off the new engine IMO such that I suspect that this is the reason why EA changed from IGNITE in the first place. The Journey at least is adding something fresh to the genre and EA should be commended for that even if the gameplay itself is as refined as it could/should be.
    Reply +2
  • Firewatch Xbox One suffers last minute delay in Europe

  • Darren 22/09/2016

    I noticed Firewatch was updated for the first time in ages on my PC last night. Not had the chance to play it yet but is that the free-roam mode being added? Reply 0
  • BioShock Collection PC patch takes aim at mouse, graphical issues

  • Darren 20/09/2016

    I've been (re)playing BioShock Remastered on my PC at 4K and really enjoying revisiting this excellent game, my personal favourite in the trilogy so far. The only issue I've been experiencing (since I'm playing it with an Xbox One Elite controller) are crashes to the desktop, which usually occur after 2-3 hours of playing and almost always while saving the game (in fact, I'm sure it has ONLY crashed while saving).

    I actually lost 2.5 hours of progress in Fortune's Bounty due to these crashes, which results in a corrupted and, thus, lost save file. Fortunately, I had been saving to a new slot when entering each new level/area but I now save to alternate slots and save every 5 minutes so I never lose much progress. The original game has always been 100% stable, I even replayed a few hours of it before the remaster came out, so it is rather surprising that the new version is so crash-prone.

    I that shoehorning DX11 support into the positively ancient Unreal Engine 2.x this game runs on might account for some of the instability but it's still annoying all the same.

    Much as I am enjoying replaying the game, I feel that the remaster itself is disappointing overall, mostly because it looks and feels exactly how it was back in 2007. The improvements, such as they are (mostly textures, although some are still depressingly low-res, and higher resolution videos), are not really that noticeable IMO unless you compare the games side-by-side. And that is not something you do while playing it. Still it was free so it's hard to feel cheated by it or anything.

    P.S. Oh and when the game crashes it stupidly resets the options meaning that I have to change them back every time I reload the game since 9 times out of 10 I have not been exiting the game by choice!!! Of course, you can set the config read to read-only to prevent this but it means the golden reels you find cannot be saved since they are part of this file!
    Reply +1
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will not support PlayStation 4 Pro features

  • Darren 20/09/2016

    @avluis - If an old PS4 game with a dodgy "up to" 30 fps framerate still runs exactly the same on the PS4 Pro then it isn't going to do much for the machine's reputation of being more powerful is it once word gets around?

    This is why I was puzzled that Sony are promoting a fake 4K machine (fake because they've admitted the machine will mostly upscale games to 4K rather than render them natively) over one that is simply more capable of running games better at 1080p than the existing PS4.

    I think that is insane personally and it is undoubtedly driven by their need to sell their 4K TVs over common sense. Yes, have a machine that can upscale 4K by all means but the focus, IMO, should be on the performance and IQ improvements offered at 1080p with 4K upscaling being a bonus. The PS4 Pro is really not a all-round 4K machine anyway not only because it lacks the grunt to render everything natively at 4K but because it lacks an Ultra Blu ray drive.
    Reply +8
  • Darren 19/09/2016

    @Auntie_Social - That makes no sense. Even the Xbox One S offers a small performance boost in some CPU- limited games due to having a faster clock speed.

    Why would Sony prevent the PS4 Pro from running existing 1080p and lower games at more stable framerates? If they do then they are stupid because that's one less reason for existing PS4 owners to upgrade.

    The PC has games that can run as well as the hardware they are on (i.e. better performance/visuals with faster CPUs and GPUs) yet the PS4 Pro is a fixed platform and the majority of the games are designed to hit 30 or 60 FPS. If a game is coded properly then it should still look the same but have higher minimum framerates and better overall performance as a result. I mean how could it possibly make sense to run an old PS4 game like, say, Thief, which has performance dips below 30 fps and not have it run better on the PS4 Pro?
    Reply +5
  • Darren 19/09/2016

    The PS4 Pro's faster GPU and CPU should at least ensure a more stable 1080p 30 FPS experience, right?

    I am not bothered about 4K gaming at all, on consoles or my PC for that matter, but I am hoping for better performance at 1080p on the PS4 Pro by virtue of its better technical specs. In theory every game with inconsistent 30 and 60 FPS performance should immediately benefit even if it is only a few frames per second.
    Reply +5
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: the first PS4 Pro vs PC graphics comparison

  • Darren 14/09/2016

    @SuperShinobi - The focus on 4K and HDR, something that can not be demoed for the majority without seeing it on a compatible TV for yourself, is a huge mistake IMO. They should have focused on offering higher fidelity visuals and framerates at 1080p in my view, something that can be more easily demonstrated. This would then get around that lack of Ultra BD as standard since the machine would no longer be focused on 4K first and foremost.

    As always though, console manufacturers seem to want what is trending on PCs, preferring to metaphorically run before they can walk. In other words, we have a more powerful machine in the PS4 Pro that is better for 1080p gaming but instead Sony want to focus on 4K when most current gen games struggle to run at 1080p and 30 FPS!!! Of course, they have 4K TVs to sell so I suspect this is one reason; the other is they want to jump the gun on Microsoft and be the first to sell a 4K gaming console even if the machine is really far from being 4K capable natively for most games. Upscaling, no matter how you do it, is still upscaling and inferior to native rendering due to having less detail.
    Reply +10
  • Darren 14/09/2016

    @berelain - Will Microsoft allow for Xbox Scorpio games to come on Ultra Blu-ray discs? There's plenty more space on those compared with 50 GB on a standard BD.

    The more I read about the PS4 Pro the more disappointed I am. It's clear that not only is the machine not really capable of delivering a solid 1080p60 gaming experience but it can't even muster 4K30 either without sacrificing image quality. Add to that the lack of an Ultra Blu-ray drive and the fact that Sony (laughably) see the PS4 Pro as a competitor to the PC rather than Xbox One and it's just baffling really who exactly it is they're aiming the new machine at.

    4K purists are hardly going to be impressed by a machine that cannot offer native 4K games as standard nor at the lack of a 4K BD drive (which offers vastly superior IQ over streamed media) and anyone with a decent gaming PC not going to blown away either.

    I guess this is why Microsoft's Scorpio is nowhere near release but even at this stage it is likely to be a far more impressive machine both for 4K gaming *and* 4K movie viewing.
    Reply +39
  • Valve finally takes on Steam user review score manipulation

  • Darren 13/09/2016

    @stoopidgreg - That's what I'd like to know.

    I buy very few of my games direct from Steam as they are usually the most expensive option outside of their sales. I buy all my new games from CDKeys or GreenManGaming. I only buy sub-20 games on cheap when they're heavily discounted and/or unavailable elsewhere.
    Reply +1
  • PS4's big new update (the one with folders) goes live

  • Darren 13/09/2016

    Been testing the beta for the last few weeks without any issues.

    The only real noticeable improvement for me was the addition of the folders but I am still unable to order them so that they appear at the far left of Games/Apps bar. You can at least sort out the ordering inside the folders but I would like to see some kind of pinning option added so I can prioritise my folders over anything else.
    Reply +1
  • The Forza Horizon 3 demo is out now on Xbox One

  • Darren 13/09/2016

    Downloading the demo to my Xbox One now.

    I'm not surprised that there is no PC demo or that the PC version won't launch until after the Xbox One version, though if Quantum Break was anything to go by we would not have gotten the PC codes on day one anyway but something like a week and a bit later.
    Reply +2
  • Forza Horizon 3: still the only racing game for everyone

  • Darren 12/09/2016

    Really looking forward to playing this on my PC. The previous Xbox games were fantastic but I'm most excited about playing this game at 60 FPS, something not possible on Xbox 360 or Xbox One with the stunning graphical fidelity on show. Reply +4
  • The Last Guardian delayed again

  • Darren 12/09/2016

    Delayed to add PS$ Pro enhancements as well? Reply -4
  • How to upgrade PC copies of BioShock, BioShock 2 on Steam

  • Darren 12/09/2016

    Humble Bundle are selling all three BioShock games for a heavily discounted price (BioShock 2.49, BioShock 2 3.49 and BiosHock Infinite 4.99) if you want to pick them up cheap ahead of the remastered versions being released later on this week.

    I already have BioShock 2 (entered my GFWL key on Steam last year) and BioShock Infinite (which is not getting a remaster on PC, I believe) but only had BioShock on disc. Rather than waste my time contacting 2K Support for the key I just went and bought the game from Humble Bundle to add to my Steam library.

    CDKeys.com have the complete trilogy for 9.99: http://www.cdkeys.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=bioshock if you don't own any of the games on Steam. That is probably the cheapest way to get the remasters (plus original games).
    Reply 0
  • The Crew is free to download on PC mid-September

  • Darren 08/09/2016

    The Crew is excellent? That's news to me as someone who bought the game on PC when it came out and quickly got bored of it. Seemed to be to be a competent but completely mediocre racing game. As a freebie though it is definitely worth checking out even if you only get a few hours entertainment out of it. Reply 0
  • Redout is the next-gen WipEout you've been waiting for

  • Darren 08/09/2016

    The game is very good but the loading times are sometimes a bit long and the overall presentation and menus are a bit bland, certainly nothing like as striking or memorable as Wipeout. The music is also relatively low-key and not as pounding and memorable as I was expecting it to be.

    I also wish the game had some kind of adjustable difficulty as it is very punishing at the start with very obvious rubberbanding A.I. that meant I could find myself leading a perfect race then exploding because I hit the sides of the track literally on the last stretch and coming in 4th or 5th. The game also lacks decent tutorials and does not do a very good job of telling you how to upgrade as I missed this feature altogether for the first four or five races and did not realise I could actually upgrade the ship!!!
    Reply +2
  • Microsoft's bullish response to Sony's PS4 Pro and slim

  • Darren 08/09/2016

    I think that Microsoft make a valid point about the lack of an Ultra BD drive in the PS4. It is a strange omission given the PS basically drove DVD sales and the PS3 did the same for BD. It looks as if Sony are not interested in Ultra BD at all, which again is odd when they also sell 4K TVs!

    I mean if Microsoft can sell an Xbox One for 249 with one included then why couldn't Sony also include one in the PS4 Pro even if it meant pushing the price up by 10-20? It's adds much more value to the machine and gives people another reason to upgrade from a PS4.
    Reply +1
  • Digital Foundry: Three hours with PlayStation 4 Pro

  • Darren 08/09/2016

    @Gamerfiend - The Xbox One Scorpio, is on paper at least, a more capable 4K system all-round than the PS4 Pro too for gaming and movies/TV viewing on disc. The CPU is unknown but could be potentially more powerful considering the machine is nowhere near release. It may be why Microsoft are in no rush to release or officially announce it.

    Sony do seem to be in a hurry to push 4K but then they do have TVs to sell so that might be a big factor for them (even though you obviously do not have to buy a Sony TV to view $K content).
    Reply +4
  • Darren 08/09/2016

    Also, the lack of 4K disc support is disappointing. I understand why it isn't there (to keep costs down) and Sony could always release a 4K BD add-on later for the rear USB port but it does mean the new machine is not quite the whole-4K package IMO. If anything would persuade me to upgrade to a 4K TV then it's the inclusion of a 4K BD player in a system costing 350 or less.

    P.S. Just pre-ordered a PS4 Pro on Amazon this morning with the option to cancel if it turns out that the machine is not a worthwhile upgrade for 1080p TV owners.

    P.P.S. Has the DualShock 4 controller changed in any way? For example, does it have a larger capacity battery that lasts longer than the underwhelming 3-5 hours of the current PS4 version? I can get 20+ hours out of an Xbox One controller so the DualShock 4's battery life comes across as a massive letdown second only to the Wii U's controller but that at least has a second screen to explain its short battery life. What does the DualShock 4 have... a pulsating controller light???

    P.P.P.S. Does the new machine support both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands for Wi-Fi? I was a bit disappointed that the PS4 only supported 2.4 GHz.
    Reply -2
  • Darren 08/09/2016

    Does the rear USB port mean that Sony might actually support the installation of games on external hard drives on the PS4 Pro?

    I really hope so because while swapping out the internal drive for a larger capacity one is relatively easy, the largest one that can be installed is currently 2 TB. However, adding a 2 TB or larger external drive on top of the existing 1 TB one is clearly the better option, particularly as this method works extremely well and almost transparently on the existing Xbox One.

    I really hope Sony change their policy as regards game installations on external media. The current PS4 only has front USB ports so even if it supported external drives for games you'd have to have a lead hanging out the front anyway which while not a major inconvenience does look a bit untidy IMO. On the Xbox One the external drive and lead can be hidden away behind the console.
    Reply +3
  • Darren 08/09/2016

    I want a PS4 Pro but only to run games at 1080p on a conventional 1080p TV with better framerates, i.e. a perfect 30 fps with better image quality and AA or, ideally, same settings as the PS4 but at 60 fps.

    I am really not interested in 4K, any more than I am on my PC where I game at 2560x1440 with a GTX 1080 simply because that is the sweet spot in terms of maxed out image quality and high framerates (60 FPS). I am not interested in HDR either; I've seen the effect simulated in games and while it does add realism I'm not sure that it is worth upgrading to a new 4K TV to have. I also have a collection of over 3,000 Blu-rays so I am in no rush to upgrade to 4K any time soon.

    Besides my current Sony TV is 40" (and less than a year old) and 1080p BDs and games look fantastic already. Unless I got a 50"+ TV then I doubt I would notice the difference between 1080p and 4K at the distance I view my current TV. However, I certainly notice bad framerates and I'm betting that this push for 4K gaming on PS4 Pro will result in games that still run at 20-30 fps rather than with stable 30 or 60 FPS. That Rise of the Tomb Raider can only run at 40-60 fps at 1080p on the Pro is disappointing but we always knew that the CPU was the bottleneck in the new machine.
    Reply +30