State of the GPU wars, Windows 8.1, and Battlefield 4
On episode #213 of the No BS Podcast we continue our reporting from the front lines of the GPU war between Nvidia and AMD. Next, we break down Battlefield 4's launch issues and compare them to Battlefield 3's. Finally, we ruminate over the arrival of Windows 8.1 and the state of Microsoft before wrapping things up with our editor picks. Gordon then delivers an epic rant on the ever-present anti-PC bias in the media.
Yes, a year has passed since we last feted our favorite pastime—PC gaming. In some ways it feels like it’s been much longer, so rich was the quantity and quality of titles that PC gamers had to choose from. That abundance served to make our job as awarders especially challenging. Nevertheless, we holed up in an office as we do every year and collectively reviewed the highlights and lowlights of the last year in PC gaming. Now it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy the spectacle that is Maximum PC’s 2011 Gaming Awards!
Modification of the individual has been at the core of the gaming experience since the inception of the role-playing genre. It wasn’t until System Shock (1995), however, that designers started probing the deeper issues beneath these newfound powers. System Shock’s spiritual descendants—the BioShock and Deus Ex series—continue to explore this nexus point where issues of gameplay intersect with one of the developing moral and ethical issues of our time: what it means to be human.
I love shooting things in the face. Monsters, aliens, mice, men – all are equal in the eyes of my trigger finger, which itches with such fervor that I should probably have a doctor look at it. But – even in the ammo-casing-coated world of videogames – there's a time and place for violence. (And no, smartasses in the audience, it's not “always.” Always isn't even a place.) More and more, I've noticed recent games tripping over their own feet because they choose to reign with unfaltering bloodlust instead of reining it in. In some games, it's but a speck-sized sticking point. Others, though, choose to live by the sword, only to fall flat on their faces and die by it in the most gruesome fashion imaginable.
Evidence A: Deus Ex. For the most part, it's an amazing game, but bring up its boss fights and watch as a room full of fawning admirers turns into a torch-flashing, keyboard-smashing angry mob. And why not? The game's bosses are horribly designed strategic dead ends that eat headshots and excrete pure, unfiltered sadness. To me, though, the biggest problem is that you have to fight them at all.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution gave us a game-over screen seconds after the opening credits, and we loved it. We were about to tiptoe into our first mission—deftly defusing a hostage crisis—when we encountered a trio of friendly SWAT guards. “Good guys,” said our brain. “No can hurt,” it concluded in caveman. There is, however, a certain comedic appeal in watching large objects bounce harmlessly off people’s faces, so we assisted a nearby garbage can out of earth’s pesky gravitational pull. THWACK. Immediately, the three future musketeers whipped out their firearms and turned us into cybernetically enhanced Swiss cheese. That’s when we knew: It was love at first murder.
File-swapping gamers turning to torrents to get their illicit game on may have found themselves scratching their heads earlier this year after downloading a copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Back in May, a leaked copy of the game hit the ‘Net, and while it was listed as a Beta version it was anything but. Instead, it was an experiment carried out by the Vigilant Defender anti-piracy group. While it began with fun – offering up the actual game’s first few levels – it ended in… a questionnaire?
If you’re in the market for a copy of the awesome-looking Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you might want to pick it up pretty much anywhere but GameStop. Square Enix, the publisher of the game, decided to include a coupon in the retail packaging of the PC version that allows you to play Human Revolution for free on Square’s OnLive gaming service. The problem is, GameStop plans on offering its own streaming gaming service soon and already doesn’t take kindly to competitors. The bigger problem is, GameStop began ripping open all the new copies of the game and yanking out the OnLive coupons.
Turn off your phone, grab some popcorn, and dim the lights. We come bearing a trio of those newfangled “movement pictures,” you see, and wish to create the optimal viewing experience for you, our dearly cherished [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]. On the docket today, we have BioShock Infinite's entire game-of-the-show-winning E3 demo, 12 minutes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Planetside 2's trigger-happy emergence from a long, lonely cryostasis. So sit back, click past the break, and see the future of gaming in tiny rectangle form.
Behold! More fruit from E3: Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshots. We’ve played the first ten hours of DX: HR, and communicated our excitement for the game with an entire week of diaries that showed the variety of ways in which it can be played. The game’s close to launch now – August 23rd in North America, 26th in August – and these shots represent a fairly well-finished game. That first one also represents the way Tom likes to play.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution looks good. Really, really good. And though other less innovative FPS games will fuel our gamer fire until its August release, we've got videos to swoon over. The video below showcases the very nature of Deus Ex and why we grew to love it in the first place--you can choose many ways to attack any given scenario. As proof, check out a this video showing off a level from the actual game, approached three different ways.