GAMING AND THE PROBLEMS THAT PLAGUE IT
MICA (P) 135/05/2012
CONFIRMED TOO SOON?
GEARS OF WAR:
JUDGMENT OBJECTION OVERRULED
YOUR PORTABLE PERFORMANCE PC
CHARACTERS of SOLID STATE DRIVES ARE THE BOMB, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT IS TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO MECHANICAL DRIVES, MORE IN
REVIEWS: TOMB RAIDER, DEAD SPACE 3, GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT, GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION, CRYSIS 3 & MORE
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02 - Issue 07, 2013
RetailerTOP5 THE HOTTESTGAMES OUTNOW
Company of Heroes 2
Beyond Two Souls
1. Gears of War: Judgment 2. Tomb Raider 3. Crysis 3 4. Dead Space 3 5. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
The Last Of Us
Metro: Last Light
Grand Theft Auto V
TEAM PUBLISHER Jacky Choo firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gibbson Ang email@example.com
1. God of War: Ascension 2. Tomb Raider 3. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 4. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate 5. Fire Emblem: Awakening
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Rainbow Six: Patriots
Killer is Dead
1. Tomb Raider 2. God of War: Ascension 3. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate 4. Nino Kuni 5. Dead Space 3
SENIOR REGIONAL CREATIVE DESIGNER Marcus Greiert firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN CONTRIBUTORS Joyce Lee Kai Ting email@example.com MEDIA GROUP HEAD Candice Cheong firstname.lastname@example.org MEDIA MANAGER Johanna Kuan email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Michael Khoo firstname.lastname@example.org
TOP 5 XBOX LIVE ARCADE GAMES
1. Tomb Raider 2. God of War: Ascension 3. Dead Space 3 4. Nino Kuni 5. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
WRITERS Justin Choo ADVERTISING SALES AND MARKETING Media Group Head Candice Cheong email@example.com Media Manager Johanna Kuan firstname.lastname@example.org Philippines Correspondant Josephine Oliver PRINTING Printer Colourscan Co (Pte) Ltd 53 Ubi Avenue 3, Singapore 408863
1. Sim City 2. Tomb Raider 3. God of War: Ascension 4. Crysis 3 5. Sniper Elite 2
GG is a monthly publication of Playworks Pte Ltd, 42 Kaki Bukit Crescent, Level 3, Singapore 416267 www.playworksonline.com
Copyright© 2009, Playworks Pte Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored in, or introduced to a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means without the prior consent of Playworks Pte Ltd.™ and © for all other products, characters and its graphical depictions contained therein are properties of their respective trademark and copyright owners. PLAYWORKS PTE LTD 42 Kaki Bukit Crescent, Level 3, Singapore 416267 Tel: +65 6339 3083 Fax: +65 6339 3079 Playworks would like to thank the publications; PSM3, XboxWorld 360, Ngamer, PC Gamer, Edge and GamesMaster for their excellent content, help and support for making the new Playworks magazine possible.
Skulls of the Shogun
Serious Sam Double D XXL
WINNER OF OVER 80 AWARDS
© 2002-2012 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Developed by Irrational Games. BioShock, BioShock Infinite, BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution, Irrational Games, 2K Games and their respective logos are trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. “PlayStation”, the “PS” Family logo and “PS3” are registered trademarks and the PlayStation Network logo is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Kinect, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. The ratings icon is a trademark of the Entertainment Software Association. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
04 - Issue 07, 2013
The Problems that
PLAGUE GAMING Lag / Poor Netcode Culprits : Red Faction: Guerilla, WWE 12
We’re not rocket surgeons, but we remain optimisitic that we’ll live to see that day where we can have a match with someone on the other side of this planet and feel like they were sitting right next to us. Competitive gaming is all about precision and precision is all about timing. Every game can be affected by lag, it doesn’t matter if it is a FPS, sports game or fighting game. Some games receive a poorer score simply due to how laggy online interactions can be, and it is sad to see solid games like Red Faction: Guerilla suffer because of the game’s netcode. In simple terms, netcode refers to the chunk of code that manages the data transfer between client/host players, so it’s not just how speedy your internet connection is. Imagine a world without lag… just imagine a world where no one complains about lag...
Every game is a sequel Culprits: Too many…
We’d love to play the next Gears of War, God of War and GTA, and we love how developers introduce new elements to keep things fresh but that doesn’t mean we should only be looking forward to playing sequels right? Sequels are almost guaranteed to fly off shelves and the very fact that a sequel is made means the game before that did well, and that’s pretty much how the world works. Sequels have never been more bankable and that is why we’ve been seeing a surge of sequels since 2008. The possibilities are endless if you imagine, right? Well, not really… We’re not expecting developers to invent an entirely new genre here, but we (the gamers) need to start encouraging new IPs because you’re going to want to be able to choose from a wide variety of games unless you’re a soul-less gamer who only plays Call of Duty or FIFA all-day and everyday. 2013 looks exciting as hell and it’s great that we’re hearing about so many new IPs like Watch Dogs, The Last of Us, Remember Me and South Park: The Stick of Truth. New IPs bring the possibilities of new gameplay experiences as well as new stories. Think of games like Dishonored, Sleeping Dogs and Journey, and you’ll understand why we’re all for new IPs.
Imagination, good. Reimagining, eh… Culprit: Syndicate
Re-imagining a game can be a good thing, because today’s gamers are a sophisticated bunch that will gladly dismiss a game that is being revived by prettier graphics. Today’s gamer can also identify if a game is trying to latch on to the popularity of military shooters, so either way, there is no fooling the gamer. Think of re-imaginings like covers of famous songs; 95% of the time, the original is better and for that 5% of covers that were better, they are usually more than outstanding. The other problem with bringing back games of the past is dealing with their legacy. Those games are in the past, and we remember them to be a certain way. By reimagning a game, you risk tampering with memories that gamers hold close to their hearts. Kudos if you do it right, but if you don’t, we’ll always be here to give you the obligatory “I told you so…”
Issue 07, 2013 - 05
Clients, clients and more clients
Culprit: Everything else besides Steam and Battle.net This is actually a bigger issue for PC gamers because Xbox 360 players have the rock-solid Xbox LIVE and PS3 owners have PSN. It can be frustrating to be a PC gamer because besides the almighty Steam, you’re going to need to download other clients for EA games, Blizzard games, Windows games, and now, Ubisoft games. These clients ususally take no time at all to download and set up, but it does feel like jumping through hoops just to be able to play a game that we already paid for. One of the biggest problems is that there is really no incentive to to register and create an account, and no, newsletters and updates cannot be considered incentives. If you’re an avid gamer who will give any good game a shot, you probably have more accounts to your name/gamer ID than you can remember.
Always-online DRMs Culprit: Diablo III, Sim City
We get that piracy is a big issue, and always-online DRMs (like Diablo III and Sim City) help keep the pirates at bay, but it does feel like the people who suffer the brunt of this measure are the people who bought the original copies of the game. Diablo III is a fine example of a game that forced players to be online even though many would argue that it was a game that could very well be played solo, offline, and without the need to connect to the servers. Rumours of Microsoft’s next console are as exciting as they are worrysome, because the next Xbox might be one that adopts the always-online model. So instead of being able continue playing while your internet is out, you’ll be stuck with a useless machine when your service provider starts giving you problems. Ideally, everyone should be online whether they are playing single or multiplayer games, but to have your console gaming experience bound by your internet connection sounds a little too much to take.
Platform Exclusive content Culprits: Street Fighter x Tekken, Mortal Kombat
This sucks in so many ways and third-party developers should be ashamed that they are facilitating all this silly exclusivity in anyway. Pre-ordering bonuses, we get, but to offer more content on a certain platform is just plain obnoxious – gamers are already making noise over graphical differences, so why shouldn’t they be furious to know that players on another console are getting more content for doing absolutely nothing. The most apparent examples are both fighting games; Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter X Tekken. Mortal Kombat is actually much easier to tolerate – since Kratos represents (well, sort of) and is already an exclusive to PS3 – but Mega Man and Pac-Man will never appear on the Xbox 360, despite hackers finding data for the two Capcom legends. Include Kuro and Toro, and that’s four characters that PS3 players get just for chosing to play on the PS3. As a gamer, you may be fortunate enough to have access to all the consoles available but one ends up being your platform of choice, for more reasons than one. Perhaps you prefer the PS3’s controller over the Xbox 360’s. Maybe Xbox LIVE is too user friendly to deny or maybe all the people you love playing with are on Xbox LIVE. The exclusive content another console offers isn’t enough to make us prefer one console over the other. In SFxT’s case, PS3 and Vita players got a bonus while Xbox 360 players were left shortchanged and bitter.
06 - Issue 07, 2013
CONFIRMED So you now know that there will definitely be a PlayStation 4 and that this new console will definitely be called “PS4” rather than PS Dingo or whatever gave them the inspiration for PS Vita – we still don’t understand why they chose to name it the Vita instead of PSP 2. So, what do we know about the PlayStation 4? The answer is, not enough. Excited fan boys woke up to watch the live stream at 7am (Singapore time) only to be disappointed by the close-to-zero information that was revealed about this much anticipated system. All Sony did was bring out guest after guest, and these guests would go on to sell the console, telling everyone how powerful it was and how their developers could take advantage of the console’s processing power and it ends with them showing a trailer/preview of a game that would be coming to the PlayStation 4. It feels like a watered down version of an E3 press conference, with trailers placed between short speeches that praise Sony’s upcoming console. Games move consoles off game store shelves, and it is hard to argue otherwise, but besides some not-somouthwatering exclusives and improved graphics, you can expect the PlayStation 4’s launch line-up to be pretty anti-climactic since most of the games hitting the PS4 will also hit the PS3. Why would anyone put money on a next gen console just to experience a bump in graphics and load time? With all the information we have on the PlayStation 4, it still doesn’t sound like the proposal to die for. Of course, it isn’t unlike Sony to surprise us at E3, so from now till E3, keep your fingers crossed and take everything with a pinch of salt.
On paper, the PS4’s X86 CPU and 8GB of DDR5 memory (on top of local hard drive) sounds impressive and expensive, but it wasn’t too long ago that the PS3’s Cell processor looked this intimidating. Looking back, it was only the games that were created for the PlayStation 3 (exclusives) that were able to take advantage of the PS3’s potential. Besides PlayStation exclusives, the PS3 didn’t really shine the way we hoped it would, and we’re pretty sure that the PS3’s full potential has yet to be realised. The best part of it all? We haven’t even seen the PS4 yet. We’ve seen the controller though…
This new controller comes at no surprise at all, and it was probably a shown at Sony’s conference partly because news and even images of the new controller had already been leaked prior to any official announcements.
When 3 become 1
The DualShock 4 looks like what would happen if the DualShock 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation Move controller had a baby (after consentual means of reproduction of course) and we aren’t too sure which side of the fence we’re on at this point in time, really.
It has lights! Wow!
According to Sony’s press release, the PlayStation 4’s wirelesss controller features
a light bar on the top of the controller that illuminates in various colours., and this offers a more friendly way to identify players even when playing side by side. The light bar also changes patterns during gameplay to provide useful information to gamers, such as when a character is critically low on health, or has taken major damage. Here are some questions we had immediately after reading: • Who the hell looks at their controller when they are playing a game? You definitely don’t game enough if you have to look at your controller (when you are playing). Even if the light could be used as some sort of indicator for your character’s health, and you aren’t meant to look at the light as it is supposed to be
something that lingers near the edges of your periphery – this just means gamers will have to hold this controller a specific way in order to achieve the desired effect. What if I like holding my controller in a different way? • Why would you need a friendly way to identify players when you live in an era where everyone else would rather play online than couch co-op? We’re not discouraging local co-op, but in a time where everyone has their own consoles, this controller identifying thinggie doesn’t make much sense, since consoles are going to ship with one controller anyway. But let’s just say you prefer local co-op. How noob do you have to be if you can’t identify which player you are? What’s wrong with the current system (DualShock 3) of identifying players?
Issue 07, 2013 - 07
Everything’s social these days A dedicated “Share” button on the DualShock 4 let’s you upload and share gameplay pictures and footage and while sharing stuff can be a pretty cool concept, having your Facebook feeds flooded with spoilers may be an issue. It’s a sweet concept that pretty much renders capture cards useless, but if anything, this “Share” button won’t be any of the main reasons why you own a PS4.
What Backwards Compatibility?
Sony made it pretty darn clear that you won’t be able to use your PS3 discs nor previously downloaded PSN games on the PS4. This comes as no surprise since they took the backwards compatibility out of early batches of the PS3 (scumbags…), forcing people to either download games – they already own – on the PSN or through HD Collections. It isn’t concrete, whether the PS4 will stream past gen content through Gaikai or if you can actually download whole games onto your console, but it looks like you’ll be the proud owner of more than one copy of God of War, Metal Gear, Killzone, InFamous and many other stellar PlayStation exclusives no thanks to the PS4.
PlayStation – PlayStation 2
It isn’t always about better graphics!!!
Even if you ignore the legendary consoles that came before the first PlayStation, gaming has improved expanantially throughout the years, and although games look better than they have ever looked, the gamer of today should hunger for games that are more than just eye candy. New games should offer more interactivity along with a handful of new ways to experience video games.
Besides being able to orient the console (standing or laying), the PS2 was one of the most impressive leaps the gaming industry has ever seen. Besides being able to render and display more polygons, the PlayStation 2’s tech allowed games that had more interactive environments, more units on screen and although the first PlayStation played host to games with 3D environments (ie: Metal Gear, Siphon Filter) 3D games really took flight on the PS2 (think Dynasty Warriors and Metal Gear and God of War). The leap in graphics was awesome, but more importantly, the PS2 offered a lot more interactivity along with a handful of new ways to experience video games.
PlayStation 2 – PlayStation 3 Which Sony fanboy can’t remember drooling over how good MGS4 looked? The fact that games look as good as they do is already worth celebrating, but the PlayStation 3 also brought about an era of online interactivity on the PlayStation 3, and although the PS2 did offersome online fun, the PSN really matured thanks to the PlayStation 3. Though the PS3 did offer better graphics, it opened up gameplay possibilities such as GTA 4 as well as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It also allowed for developers to patch and offer DLCs to the games we love. The PlayStation Move also offered new ways to play, and no matter how much naysayers may frown, the PlayStation Move remains the most accurate motion controller to date.
PlayStation 3 – PlayStation 4
We’re excited to see how the PlayStation Vita integrates itself with the PS4, and the DualShock 4 seems to offer touch and motion controls on top of regular controls. While the PlayStation Vita did show some promise with touch controls, we aren’t quite convinced since games that feature touch controls will very likely be PS4 exclusives and these exclusives only make up a small fraction of games on the PS4. The way games are experienced is heavily dependant on the developers and what they can do with the hardware provided. The PlayStation 4 does lay some pretty exciting looking tools on the table so it’s going to be in the hands of the developers now.
We can speculate all we want, but the important thing to bring home is that games that look good are longer a novelty nor a reason to own a game/console. There was the golden era where every game was a platformer and there was another era where every game was a hack and slash. The current era seems to be all about shooters and freedom of choice, so what’s next? The evolution of gaming has always been about new experiences and lets hope the PS4 brings some.
08 - Issue 07, 2013
CHARACTERS Developer: Irrational Games Publisher: 2K Games Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now
Elizabeth Booker DeWitt
This is you, the main protagonist, the hero, the villain, the creep. We don’t know how BioShock Infinite’s narrative will play out, so we can’t be certain. What we do know is that there are very few things you can chalk up to coincidence and rescuing Elizabeth isn’t one of them. After all, you aren’t just an average guy… You were a former agent of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency until you were dismissed for unacceptable behaviour as a result of excessive drinking and gambling. You’re knee deep in old debts (probably from gambling) and successfully returning Elizabeth to New York City would be your last chance of ever clearing your debt. Besides this, there isn’t really much being revealed about Booker DeWitt but symbols (a tattoo) on your wrist quickly causes quite a stir in the religiously staunch city of Columbia. Something about being a “false Shepard” to that will bring Comstock down by taking away his “Lamb”, Elizabeth.
She has been imprisoned in the flying city of Columbia since she was five, and her only friend ever since is Songbird. As you may already know, she is more than just your average girl. She’s skilled in various powers such as telekinesis, weather manipulation and even the ability to create and manipulate tears in the fabric of time. Elizabeth is the only known person in Columbia capable of manipulating contingencies within the space-time continuum – sounds dangerous doesn’t she? Her powers are probably why she is kept from the world to and the extent of her potential suggests why she needs and overwhelming figure of a warden (Songbird) to keep her away. It seems that Elizabeth has yet to master her abilities, as we have seen her transport Booker and herself to another city unintentionally. We have also seen her drained from using her abilities, to the point where she is physically threatened. If we’re right, practice will grant Elizabeth more control over her powers, and she’ll get very, very good with her abilities as she seeks to understand the powers she has been given.
Fun Fact: You wouldn’t be able to tell at all, but Elizabeth is twenty-one. She seems naïve for a twenty one year old, but that’s what captivity does to a person. Her child-like behaviour may be why you’ll find it hard to accept her age, but she’ll reveal her mature side as you make your way through the plot of BioShock Infinite.
Issue 07, 2013 - 09
The Heavy Hitters of BIOSHOCK INFINITE
This winged mechanical behemoth was created for the sole purpose of keeping Elizabeth in her prison. Songbird is easily Columbia’s most feared creature, but it could very well be the most misunderstood character in the entire game, wait, make that the most misunderstood character the gaming world has ever seen. Elizabeth had been imprisoned for fifteen years, and Songbird was her only form of company, bringing her things such as food and books. Elizabeth grew to love Songbird as her only friend but the tension between them will grow as she escapes with Booker DeWitt (you). It is Songbird’s duty and intent to put Elizabeth back in her prison, but Elizabeth is never going back into Monument Tower, and would rather die than return. As her warden, protector and only friend, Songbird will put stress on your (Booker DeWitt’s) relation with Elizabeth. Like Big Daddy, Songbird’s eyes also reveal its different moods using green, yellow or red. Irrational’s Ken Levine also revealed that the relationship between Songbird and Elizabeth is similar to the Big Daddies and Little Sisters of Rapture.
Fun Fact: Songbird also happens to be the name of an app that plays and recommends music that you might like. The music that Bioshock Infinite’s Songbird might “play” probably involves a lot of bone crunching. Jokes aside, if you pay close attention to the game’s surroundings, you’ll run into Songbird more often that you think.
Zachary Hale Comstock
As you can already tell, Comstock’s status is one that is as pious as it is, religious. Known as the Prophet of Columbia, Father Comstock is one who is greatly celebrated as the leader of his religion and he’s pretty much a god in the eyes of the people of Columbia. He claims to have the ability to predict the future of Columbia and even knows of you (Booker) and your arrival in Columbia. Comstock remains a largely mysterious character and it may be just a hunch, but we don’t like him already. Elizabeth believes that Comstock will be able to help her control her powers and there is even speculation that Elizabeth could be Comstock’s daughter. Elizabeth is pretty persistent on finding Comstock and she won’t leave Columbia until she does, so you (Booker) are going do a fair bit of travelling through Columbia to reach Comstock before you can proceed with the your mission.
Motorised Patriots This enemy type will come at you relentlessly and he’s completely fearless. He’s armed with a gatling gun (called the Pepper-Mill) and Booker can use this weapon after scavenging the remains of a defeated a Motorised Patriot. Like many of the Heavy Hitters in BioShock Infinite, the Motorised Patriot doesn’t only look creepy (with its scary unanimated porcelain-shell face and Terminator-like resilience), it’s downright terrifying, as this menacing machine will force you into cover.
You’ve probably seen these guys before, since they are the most popular of the bunch. The Handymen are the armored class of enemies with huge porcelain hands. For their size, they are quite agile and powerful, leaping great distances and “bouncing” all over the place. They are so handy that they can pick up nearby characters (even fellow AI) and toss them at Booker. Handymen have an exposed heart, and this is because they are actually humans that have been grafted to this great big mechanical suit. Think Franken-hulk-bot.
Boys of Silence
They are so creepy, and they are the “cameras” that move around in the world, “looking” for you. They cannot see, but they can hear you and players can either sneak around them undetected or attack. He can alert nearby enemies with his screeching cry, so you’ll hardly face him one on one.
Siren She raises the dead because she is in contact with the “other world” and she can bring Booker’s enemies back to life. You’re going to want to deal with her first since taking her down automatically downs of the enemies she reanimates, but you’d be a fool to think you can march right up to her and kill her – we’re pretty sure she isn’t going to appear alone. The Siren’s revival animations are pretty epic, so you should really check them out if you haven’t.
10 - Issue 07, 2013
GG Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Square Enix Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now
TOMB RAIDER More than just a pretty game I
t’s about time video gaming’s most
Not too loud though... The first 30 minutes of Tomb Raider involves Lara Croft being thrown around like a rag doll, falling into and sliding through rapids, almost falling to her death a couple of times as well as a couple of other cringe-worthy hard knocks. She moans, grunts, and screams a fair bit, so it’s going to sound a lot like a fetish-filled X-rated film. We thought you might want to know just in case mom/the wife gets the wrong idea.
prolific female lead got her own origin story and if you’re a fan of Lara Croft, you couldn’t ask for a better game than Tomb Raider. Besides some subtle (and not so subtle) throwbacks to past Tomb Raider games, fans get to walk Lara Croft through the heroine shaping ordeal that starts with being shipwrecked on a tropical island in the Dragon’s Triangle. Because of the game’s RPG-like system, you slowly upgrade and acquire skills that will open up areas that are otherwise inaccessible without these upgrades. But it isn’t just about the physical growth of our beloved (and coincidentally gorgeous) protagonist. A lot of what (or who) we know Lara Croft to be resides in her psyche and Tomb Raider is where it all begins. It’s actually a little unsettling to see Lara Croft without the confidence and charisma we’ve all come to know to know her for. You’ll start the game with an inexperienced, frightened and fragile Lara Croft who looks like she’s on the cusp of losing her sanity. Besides being separated from her friends, Lara gets subjected to a very brutal series of unfortunate events (fitting of any action movie) but no matter how traumatic instances may be, Lara never fails to display a ripe amount of strength, grit and determination. This is where Tomb Raider successfully bridges the gap between a green Lara Croft and fans of the franchise. Don’t worry about your beloved Lara Croft drifting away from who you’re familiar with, because you’re going to love Lara Croft
more after picking Tomb Raider up. Tomb Raider adopts a hub-style gameplay with some fairly linear and structured sets but almost each level is worth revisiting, as levels are designed to “open up” as your abilities and tools get upgraded. Most levels will feature areas that aren’t immediately accessible and this makes players exceptionally eager to upgrade/acquire new tools/parts (via craft system) as well as abilities (via skill tree) so that they are able to explore new areas, hidden tombs, attain items as well as other secrets. Although Tomb Raider isn’t the open world game that Batman: Arkham City is, revisiting areas feel just as rewarding, and there is both the joy of finally being able to reach certain areas, as well the reward that each “hidden” area promises. Combat is tight, gripping, and satisfying, though not as satisfying as the cleverly crafted puzzles. Puzzles form one of the major columns holding up the Tomb Raider franchise and this installment absolutely delivers. The puzzles in Tomb Raider vary (some being trivial, and some requiring intellect and wisdom), and players will get a sense that the puzzles aren’t just there to stretch the game. The island is as beautiful on the PC as it is on the console that we tested the game on, and apart from some watered down textures and hair physics, Tomb Raider makes current gen consoles look and feel like an even more impressive machines that it already is. Lighting, in particular, is exceptionally realistic (thanks the modified Crystal Engine) and Tomb Raider is as vivid and visually exciting as any AAA game on the market. This game does well in the audio department as well, with tense suspenseful scoring to serenade stealthy approaches and intense beat thumping tunes to escort you into gunfights. The single player experience in Tomb Raider is near perfect, if not for its slightly disjointed pacing in the initial stages of the game. It’s no secret that Tomb
Raider starts you off as a frightened young greenhorn or a character, killing for the first time and struggling to cope with the morality of killing for self sustenance. All this is fine up until you acquire lethal weapons such as arrows and guns and start pulling of headshots like the veteran gamer you are. It seems like Lara gets over the life altering experience of killing pretty quickly, but things could be worst. Crystal Dynamics could’ve put players through a few more arbitrary (and often, draggy) sequences before answering all the questions she has about her humanity but that would’ve weighed the game and character down too much. We are a generation of impatient gamers so upping the tempo and handing us lethal weapons is definitely the right thing to do. Multiplayer, on the other hand, sees some hits and misses. On the whole, the game’s multiplayer is cool, with an array of weapons, attachments, perks as well as abilities and skills. There are also different traps that you can utilise to your advantage. Traversal also plays a role in Tomb Raider’s multiplayer, and on the whole, it does indeed feel slightly similar to Uncharted’s multiplayer One of the more annoying things is how you can’t hip-fire. In order to shoot at someone, you would have to pull down on the left trigger to have your reticle pop up. This would’ve been fine if not for players who spam the Y button (melee) as they approach you but nothing beats “noob tubing” with the grenade launcher. Everyone has a grenade launcher and it is so powerful that you’re likely to start off with it than any other weapon. You only get one shot each time you respawn, so it really isn’t such a big problem until you play on the smaller maps, because it will usually end up in a vicious cycle of “tubing” each other. Your online experiences may differ, so you may not end up with a bunch of whiney pre-teen Noob tubers on the other team.
Issue 07, 2013 - 11
Breathtaking View Crysis 3 does look like the result of marrying the foliage and vegetation from Crysis 1 and the war-torn rubble-filled city from Crysis 2. The resulting art direction is unique and breathtaking enough to stop you in your tracks just so you can admire the art that CryEngine 3 is capable of producing.
Predator Bow Just like the SCAR mod and any other weapon, you will be able to arm and equip the bow with different sight attachments as well as use different ammunition types. Bows are already ridiculously cool and the Predator Bow you’ll acquire (pretty early in the game) is the boss. The Predator Bow comes in very handy for when you’re stalking enemies stealthily, but you can’t really hold a lot of arrows, so you’ll have to strategize your takedowns if you want to retrieve your arrows. The bow isn’t your best bet when you’re going head on with several enemies who take turns to pelt you with lead. Using that one weapon over and over again is usually a concern, but the Predator Bow is just too irresistible to ditch.
Developer: Crytek Publisher: EA Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now
CRYSIS 3 Take a Bow I
WINNER OF OVER 80 AWARDS
© 2002-2012 Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Developed by Irrational Games. BioShock, BioShock Infinite, BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution, Irrational Games, 2K Games and their respective logos are trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. “PlayStation”, the “PS” Family logo and “PS3” are registered trademarks and the PlayStation Network logo is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Kinect, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. The ratings icon is a trademark of the Entertainment Software Association. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
f there ever were a game to make your beastly PC feel like a heap of yester-year’s scrap metal, it would be Crysis 3. Without a doubt, the PC editions will look better thanks to generally higher resolutions and textures that are far superior. The people at Crytek are technical geniuses and thankfully, their skills are translated rather nicely onto your gracefully aging Xbox 360 or PS3. For PC players, Crysis 3 is a beautiful game that’ll nudge you towards that upgrade you’ve been putting off since BF3 and for console players, this game looks as good as any this-gen gem should. We’ve gotten over how technically brilliant this game is, but without its gorgeous levels and level design, Crysis 3 wouldn’t be able to set it apart from other first person shooters. You’ll spend most of your time in New York City (or what’s left of it) and it’s a beautifully envisioned reclamation of urban architecture by nature All of this is rendered with remarkable detail – as if Crytek would have it any other way. This spectacle of detail that is Crysis 3 is ever present as you play through a less scripted sandbox-type game (compared to Crysis 2). This game also has exceptional pacing and Crysis 3 easily serves up an adrenalin pumping experience that places it comfortably amongst genre leaders like Black Ops 2. Crysis 3 plays very similarly to Crysis 2, and you could say that Crysis 3 feels like a refined version of Crysis 2. You can also hack enemy turrets (via a mini game) to help dispatch hostiles when you’re running low on ammo and this offers a little bit of variety when it comes to tackling situations. Most of the time, Crysis 3 lets you tackle situations as you please – Rambo style or like a ninja. Arm yourself with the most destructive weapon and turn the nano-suit’s Armor (or “Tank mode” as we like to call it) and brave the barrage of otherwise lethal impacts. Turning into a ghost using cloak can help you get close enough for executions or getting pass totally undetected, but it is the inclusion of
the bow that lets you feel like a true predator and that much smarter than the AI. Since controls are so well mapped to the Xbox 360 controller, you never feel stifled at any given time. You’re going to step into the shoes (or suit) or Prophet once again, and you’re freed by your former squad mate Michael ‘Psycho’ Sykes to topple the oppressive CELL Corporation and eliminate the alien Ceph. You have always been a badass squad leader (since first game) but you are now the owner of the last remaining nano-suit. The Crysis series have been very entertaining games that tell forgettable stories, and while this game’s premise is straightforward enough, there are moments in this game that are truly moving. After that, Crysis 3 turns back into that concentrated testosterone on a disc that we all love. If you’re into multiplayer shooters, you can’t go wrong with Crysis 3 because a multiplayer game is only successful if there is no shortage of games and players to join online. You can be sure that there will be online matches eagerly anticipating your participation the moment you leave the store with your copy of Crysis 3, and while different modes do offer gamers a little spice, it’s a taste in your mouth you’ll hardly remember in time to come. Multiplayer in Crysis 3 isn’t a shame, but with such clever level design, we felt that the game’s multiplayer could’ve been much more.
12 - Issue 07, 2013
Developer: Visceral Games Publisher: EA Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now
DEAD SPACE 3 Horror Returns? I
t seems like every other game’s taking
Weapon Crafting Choosing to pick apart pesky Necromorphs have never felt more rewarding thanks to the ability to strategically dismember them with your weapons, but Dead Space 3’s weapon crafting system gets our approval because it offers variety as well as replayability to gameplay. There is only one type of generic ammunition, so you will not be “forced” into using weapons you don’t want to (again, we approve). In our play through, we rarely ran out of ammo, and we guess much of it was probably due to the generic ammo. Critics may argue that the game left players feeling a lot less vulnerable (and thus, less terrified) because generic ammunition continuously fuels your weapons, but if you take the big picture of what direction Dead Space 3 is headed in (which is conveniently action-driven), having different various ammunition types would be more detrimental than constructive.
the “action-Jackson” route and Dead Space 3 doesn’t differ, but you may have already noticed the score (big 2-digit number at the bottom) that the emphasis on action hasn’t defiled the third installment of Dead Space the way Operation Raccoon City was. If you know your Dead Space, you know what goose bumps are and you know that a well-crafted environment and exceptional scoring can do wonders for the overall gameplay experience and Visceral Games have got this down to a tee. Gameplay in Dead Space 3 is extremely immersive thanks to the skillful handling of game atmosphere, scoring and thanks to the awesome graphics, Dead Space 3 is as much a visual spectacle as it is an absorbing experience. PC users will definitely get the best out of their game, but it is also worth noting that for consoles, very few games come close to how good looking this game is. You must be wondering why the term “horror” hasn’t surfaced yet, and we won’t be the first to tell you that Dead Space 3 isn’t really the survival-horror game its predecessors were. This sounds like bad news, but it won’t be unless you want it to. Apart from a few “shock” moments, Dead Space 3 doesn’t feel as creepy as the previous games. This may be due to how powerful some weapons can be, or how Dead Space 3 is considerably less difficult than the first two games. Another reason is the introduction of co-op. Though done
relatively well and pretty exhilarating, playing a game that is supposed to induce fear with someone else works against the survival horror genre and until someone gets it right, co-op on survival horrors remain a no-no. With that being said, co-op works very well with action-adventure games and if you have a mate to go on Dead Space 3 together with, we recommend that you do just that. Story-wise, Dead Space 3 tells a story that is passable at best, so it is a good thing that artifacts and journals flesh out humanity’s disturbing history with the alien Markers, events on the moon, etc. You’ll be doing a decent amount of fetch quests because nothing ever goes right in your crappy life if you’re an engineer named Isaac Clarke, but these chores aren’t as painful as they could be thanks to how the impressively rendered planet of Tau Volantis is. If you loved the previous installments of Dead Space for their survival-horror gameplay, you might be disappointed with how action-driven the game has evolved into. That said, we can’t think of any other survival-horror game that has transitioned this well into the action-adventure genre. It does suck that the horror is gone/faint, but if you treat Dead Space 3 as its own game, it’s actually a solid action-adventure
sci-fi game with a campaign that is very replayable. Much of Dead Space 3’s replayability can be accredited to an awesome weapon-crafting system (that offers seemingly limitless options), and if you’re willing to, “horror” can be found in the game’s hardcore mode where you only have one life to play the entire game.
One of EA’s big three Go ahead and buy Dead Space 3 if you’re planning to populate your library of games on Origin. You WILL need this game to complete EA’s big three (Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Dead Space 3) anyway. Console gamers can rest assured that this is one of the most graphically spectacular games to grace this generation’s consoles, and if you’re sitting on the fence, giving in to the graphics isn’t such a bad idea.
Issue 07, 2013 - 13
Developer: Ninja Theory Publisher: Capcom Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: Out Now
DEVIL MAY CRY New game, New look W
REVENGE SOLVES EVERYTHING
© 2012 Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company. Revenge Solves Everything, Dishonored, Arkane, Bethesda, Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax and related logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of ZeniMax Media Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.
e usually try to structure our reviews in a way that you’ll only find out if the game is worth buying closer to the end of the review. We’re not going to do that for Devil May Cry, because the franchise is back, especially for those who played and loved the first and second DMC. A quick (and rather excruciating) flashback to the third Devil May Cry was where Dante (the character) took a turn for the worse. Dante became a loudmouthed, wise-cracking smart ass protagonist in DMC 3 and it was actually painful to see what used to be a too-cool-for-words Dante being defaced like that. Then came DMC 4 and HOLY SH*T, Nero made Dante (from DMC 3) look like a mute – think Deadpool with a truck load of cheese. Combat was awesome but due to the awful crafting of the protagonists in both DMC 3 and DMC 4, the overall experience of both games suffered. True to the franchise, DMC delivers adrelin-pumping combat system and a wide variety of moves and weapons at your disposal to string up fanciful combos that are pleasing the first time, everytime. You’ll start with your sword and your pistols (Ebony and Ivory) but you’ll unlock other weapons and guns as well as abilities. Switching between weapons won’t take too long to get a hang of, and more often then not, you’d wish that enemies lasted longer. Dante goes through a little makeover in the latest DMC, and the short do is actually rather pleasing to the eye after awhile. Dante doesn’t trash talk as much now (or at least it feels like it) and overall, the guy’s a bad ass – in a good way of course. That said, there will be more than a couple of cringe worthy lines that will pop up every now and then. DMC tells a new origin story but gamers who have played the first Devil May Cry, you’ll be reminded of Dante’s origins quite early in the game. The story is one where the protagonist is a renegade badass that is
mankind’s only hope and of course, the odds are stacked against you. DMC’s story isn’t bad, but the cutscenes that break up the game’s awesome, fast-paced action happen all to frequently. There is also a fair bit of platforming in DMC and while it may be fun to grapple your way to the next level, these platforming sequences occur far too often and take you away from what the game truly shines at; slicing baddies up. Ninja Theory has crafted a game that looks gorgeous and plays like a dream. It isn’t the perfect game, but it isn’t the awful reboot that many thought it would be either. If anything, the DMC franchise is successful at, it is making you feel like a complete badass everytime you start dishing the damage. DMC is definitely worth a shot if you like your combos, or if you happen to have enjoyed previous Devil May Cry games.
14 - Issue 07, 2013
Developer: Santa Monica Studio Publisher: SCE Platform: PS3 Release Date: Out Now
GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION
Gods of War We have always wondered how cool it would be to be able to play God of War on co-op and the time has finally come. Ascension also lets you go crazy with variations of classics like Capture the Flag and Domination and there are even classes within the combat driven multiplayer modes. Each class will offer specific attacks that, when strategically paired in team-based play, is better than a dream come true. Combat in Ascension’s multiplayer is just as fluid as whatever the campaign can offer. A rich upgrade system will also keep avid players coming back for more and overall, multiplayer is a lot of fun. It gets hard to locate yourself when things get hectic, but it is still awesome fun and definitely a value-added introduction to the franchise.
Origin of Anger
ou know who he is and you know what
carnage he is capable of. We’re not fond of sequels, but we’re always willing to make an exception for the angry man. We try to stay unbiased, but Santa Monica Studio is just so good at putting out epic experiences one after another that it’s hard to remain calm when a new God of War game becomes available. The God of War franchise has always welcomed players with dramatic feats of strength, generous brutality and stuff waiting to be impaled, but it is the sheer scale of the levels that make God of War such a spectacle to behold. You are but one angry protagonist in this huge world that is epic is both size and content. More often than not, bosses or major encounters change the way a level is perceived and you feel like a mouse in a cage that has been toppled by a brat, the ground as you know it suddenly becomes a wall. You truly get a sense of the odds that are stacked against you and on a psychological level, this makes it all the more satisfying when you clear levels and defeat bosses. Since Ascension tells a tale that is chronologically situated before the instances of the first God of War, players get to see a more human and less furious Kratos. He has broken his bond with Ares and is needs to face the music – the Furies. They are neither god nor human and they are in place to make the lives of those who breaks their oaths to the gods a living hell. This is pretty much the premise of the game, and the game starts as soon as Kratos breaks free from captivity. The bosses in God of War are as epic as they
come, but Ascension has fewer bosses than God of War 3. You will be littered with regular enemy types pretty frequently as big encounters usually involve the continuous spawning of smaller enemy types rather than you versus a colossal boss. This isn’t a bad thing, especially if you consider how ridiculously fun stringing combos together can be, but even if the game’s harder difficulty settings don’t get to you, the camera will. While the camera work in Ascension can be spectacular at time, it can pull so far back that it’s hard to even locate yourself, especially when you’re up against a group of enemies. This is a re-occuring problem and can be the most frustrating cause of death you’ll experience in the game. It’s not a game breaker, but it’s infuriating as hell. We’ve mentioned, time and time again that we wouldn’t want to live in a world of sequels, and although Ascension looks like just another God of War game, it brings a lot of new and refreshingly satisfying experiences in true Santa Monica Studio fashion. The first God of War was one of the most enjoyable games to have graced the PlayStation 2, but it was also one of the first few games that displayed discerning amounts of violence, brutality as well as sexual content. Now that the world is somewhat numb to
violence and sexual references in video games, the God of War franchise still stands tall when stacked against the biggest games in the industry. God of War Ascension is one is one of the greatest God of War games you’ll ever play, and now that you can play with a friend, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start getting a little angry. If you have always liked the God of War franchise, you can expect more of what you like in Ascension. That said, there are enough new things being introduced to stop this game from being just another “more of what people like” title.
Braving the elements Gone are the gauntlets, boots, whips and claws that distracted you from using your Blades of Chaos. Instead, you will use different elemental effects (fire, ice, lightning and soul) in different levels. Each element has its own unique strengths, characteristics and animations, but they hardly change the way you use your blades. This means you will be able to focuss on the skills that you will learn along the way.
You win some, you lose less So the Gears of War franchise has been plagued with rather drab tales, but what it lacks in story, in makes up for in multiplayer goodness, with interest. It’s a formula they have perfected and you can expect new experiences with every new Gears or War game. In Judgment, you’re introduced to a new mode called OverRun and this mode is a class-based fusion of Horde and Beast mode. Teams will take turns playing as either COG or
Locust, and while the COG have to defend Emergence Hole covers and generators, the Locusts have to attack and destroy. In OverRun, communication is key as coordinating your attacks/defense is the way to go. Think of OverRun mode like Left4Dead’s multiplayer and you’ll have a pretty good idea why we found it more entertaining to play as the attacking Locust. Besides OverRun, there are also the usual suspects; TDM, Free-for-All and Domination. Survival Mode is the new Horde 2.0 Mode, and that pretty much sums up Judgment’s multiplayer offering. It may not sound like much, but the moment you get your feet wet in OverRun, it’ll be the only mode you play.
aybe age is catching up and we aren’t as sharp as we were, but Gears of War: Judgment looks like it has a slightly more vibrant palette than previous Gears games. In fact, it seems like the colours get less gloomy with each installment. Colours aside, Gears of War: Judgment is the brilliant looking game Xbox 360 owners have been waiting for and it is indeed a technically astounding game. It’s no Crysis 3, but if there ever were to be an award for most graphically stunning game on the Xbox 360, Gears of War: Judgment would definitely be a podium finisher. The sound department for Gears of War: Judgment is no slouch either. Every gib, snap, slush, crackle, boom and everything in between sounds weighted and authentic. Atmospheric scoring isn’t too shabby either, but if there was one major improvement that Judgment brings to Gears fans, it has to be the story-telling aspect of the game. Gears of War is a fantastic franchise, but this franchise isn’t without its flaws. The franchise’s Achilles heel has always been the lack a substantial narrative presence. Everything else about the franchise seemed A-OK, but playing we never really felt like we wanted to keep playing the game because of the story (or lack of it) it told. We played it for the gore, for the weapons, for the gorgeous graphics, and maybe even to ride a Brumak, but never for the tale. Judgment is slightly better than the rest of the Gears games and we saw ourselves unwilling to let go of our Xbox 360 controller because we were in suspense and wanted the story of Judgment to unfold. The game begins in a courthouse with Kilo squad giving their testimonial of the instances that led them to be trailed. You take turns playing as each of the four characters in reenactments as they are being narrated and recapped. While gripping, Judgment’s storyline is one that will
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Platform: Xbox 360 Release Date: Out Now
soon be forgotten, even though it successfully ties the game together. Gears of War: Judgment manages to feel like its own game (rather than the shameless milking of the franchise) with dismissible improvements on its campaign mode and a wicked new multiplayer mode that will definitely relight the fire of Gears fans.
Prequel Problem Ok, it makes perfect marketing sense to go with prequels when you can no longer move a franchise forward, but the problem here is that things get better as you move back, and that makes no sense at all. You have more weapons to play with and a bigger variety of enemy types and all of that just ceases to exist the moment you move the franchise’s narrative forward (to the first game). But then again, would you rather NOT have new weapons to play with?
GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT
Issue 07, 2013 - 15
Chasing Stars You will be rated on how well you clear each level, and you earn stars depending on how well you do in each section of the game. You gain merit for gib kills, executions, headshots, and the like, and lose points for getting downed. Included in every level are difficulty modifiers known as Declassify Missions and you are tasked to clear the level with this added criteria if you activate them. You’ll be tasked to clear levels within a specific time, reduced visibility, less ammo, or even restricted to use only certain weapons. All of these modifiers actually make the reenactments more dramatic, and some of them can be pretty tough (especially the timed ones) so you might want to attempt them after you have finished your first play through. You know, that mandatory second run through where you either try to clear the game at the unlocked higher difficulty or to get all the collectibles. The difficulty you choose to play the campaign matters as well. You’ll get more prestigious stars as you move up in difficulty. Earn bronze stars for playing on casual, silver stars for playing on normal, gold on hardcore and onyx on insane.
It pays to be a fan boy Gears of War: Judgment includes an extension to the Gears of War 3 storyline, but you’ll need to earn the right to play this extension. 40 stars unlock Aftermath (that’s what its called) and you can also play up to 4-player co-op on this extension. Local (Singapore) copies of Gears of War: Judgment also comes with a code for you to redeem the first Gears of War on Xbox LIVE via digital download. You’ll need 6.27GB of free space though.
Details and entrails It wouldn’t be a Gears of War game without gore and Judgment presents its fair share of gore as well as violence towards the locust. Weapons are a part of this violence and it’s comforting to know that you’ll start with whatever weapons you end the previous level with. This is good news since gamers have the tendency to want to hold on to their favourite weapons.
GRIND! Beware of the bigger Locusts because it is impossible to dive out of harms way when they have you cornered.
16 - Issue 07, 2013
WD Hard Drives Know your WD drives Solid state drives are the bomb, but that doesn’t mean that it is time to say goodbye to mechanical drives. Mechanical drives still play a big role in performance PCs and they won’t be going anywhere in the near future, not with the growing population of digital horders. Knowing what drive works for you may mean saving (or spending) a little more, but it’s about having the right tools for the right job as far as we are concerned, because contrary to popular belief, the most expensive hard drive isn’t always the best solution. Western Digital drives no longer bare the “Caviar” label and their drives are simply colour coded. The colours are a convenient way of differentiating the various drives that Western Digital offers.
WD RE Western Digital’s RE drives are the most reliable drives you can get your hands on, simply because these are enterprise-quality SATA hard drives that are built to take a beating. If you’re going to be using a drive for a 24/7 application, streaming media or even server applications, you’ll be better off with WD RE drives because applications that constantly access the drives – whether it is reading or writing – without taking a break (shutting down or idle) can really wear and shorten the lifespan of regular mechanical drives. Although their consumer drives are definitely reliable, WD validates their enterpise drives much more. It connects the same way, has the same kind of platter technology, except it is likely to last longer than a regular drive. All WD RE drives have a 5 year warranty to go along with their 1.2 million hours of MTBF (mean time between failure), but they do pinch a fair bit more than any of WD’s 7,200 rpm drives.
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: 10,000 Cache: 64MB Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: 7,200 Cache: 64MB Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
WD VelociRaptor Any PC enthusiast will recognise the Mack Daddy of drives and these drives were the OS boot drives of every top-tier gaming system that was built. This of course, was before SSDs came a long, but you won’t see Western Digital’s speed demon being chucked because they are the fastest mechanicals around. The VelociRaptor looks different from other 3.5” mechanical drives because it is the only drive that spins at 10,000rpm. If you look closely, the VelociRaptor is actually a 2.5” drive that is mounted on its very own heat sink, and this is because you’ll definitely generate a decent amount of heat when you have so much speed on hand. Unless your pockets are lined with money, we wouldn’t suggest a VelociRaptor drive for general storage per se, but when your OS installed SSD runs out of space, using this 10,000rpm beast to save games and applications isn’t such a bad idea, since mechanical drives are more reliable that SSDs. This is the most expensive mechanical drive on the market, and every high-end desktop PC deserves one.
WD Black These are performance drives that have been used for operating systems, and you might even use a SSD cache with black drives to get good performance as well as storage. These can actually be considered the poor man’s Velociraptor (minus 2,800rpm) and although Black drives don’t really hit the sweet spot for dollar to gigabyte ratio, rest assured that they are the sensible choice when it comes to performance per pound.
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: 7,200 Cache: 64MB 4TB Capacities: 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 2TB,
Issue 07, 2013 - 17
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: 7,200 Cache: 64MB/32MB/16MB 1TB Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 750GB,
WD blue drives can be used for operating systems and it is more balanced when it comes to price versus performance. This is a 7200rpm drive and it is pretty speedy but it isn’t quite as desireable because its lower capacity drives only have 16MB-32MB Cache. If money wasn’t an issue, we’d highly a WD Black drive instead of this, but if your budget is a tight, you’re going to save a couple of bucks by going with Blue drives.
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: IntelliPower Cache: 64MB Capacities: 1TB, 2TB, 3TB
WD Red The Reds are optimised for storage in NAS (Network Attached Storage) enclosures or RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configurations. WD Red drives have special firmware tweaks that makes them the most ideal choice for NAS’ and RAIDs, which is why they are slightly more expensive than Western Digital’s Green drives. Red drives are very energy efficient as well, and they consume less power while producing less heat, resulting in a much more reliable solution for NAS or RAID enclosures. Since NAS systems are always on, robust and reliable drives are a must, and WD Red drives have a 35% MTBF improvement over standard desktop drives. That, and a 3-year warranty ought to put anyone’s mind at ease.
WD Green These are the eco-friendly solution and the latest green drives are lead free, halogen free, and are built using less rare earth minerals. Because WD Green drives are generally low powered, they produce less heat and noise, so they are most suitable for secondary storage or in external enclosures. Green drives are for situations when performance isn’t top priority, and they come in at a really attractive price, especially if you’re looking for a drive that is going to be used for general storage or if you’re thinking of reducing the size of your carbon footprint. They are also the least expensive of the bunch featured.
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s RPM: IntelliPower Cache: 64MB 3TB Capacities: 500MB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB,
18 - Issue 07, 2013
NVidia Titan S
o they’ve dropped the whole numbers thing and Titan is what they call they’re calling this single-GPU card. NVidia had to be very aware of what they were doing when they were naming they’re latest product because this thing is a beast. The very first thing you’ll notice about the GTX Titan is how gorgeous it looks. It’s styled pretty similar to the GTX 690 (now the world’s second fastest dual-GPU card) having a noise-dampened fan, aluminum casing as well as a polycarbonate window that shows off the card’s extended fin stack. This is a high-end card, and since people have been complaining about the having inadequate frame buffer (on high-end cards), the GTX Titan addresses this issue by slapping 6GB of RAM on the Titan. The GTX 690 had 4GB of RAM, but because it is a dual-GPU card, the 4GB only equates to 2GB per GPU. With this much RAM on a single GPU card, you will be able to render 3 monitors with NVidia surround and an additional monitor as an auxiliary display, no sweat. The NVidia GTX Titan also brings with it a new version of GPU boost. GPU Boost is essentially an automatic overclocking tool that dynamically changes the how the card works, in terms of its clock speeds, temperatures, volts and voltages. The GTX Titan is more than ready to be watercooled, and unlike a water-cooled GTX 680, it won’t run
into a situation where it’s clock speeds can no longer be increased due to power-draw limit. In other words, if you keep the Titan frosty, it will overclock itself like a dream without manual overclocking. GPU Boost 2.0 also lets you control more things, like fan profile, maximum voltage and clock speed. This allows you to set target temperatures instead of power-based targets and this is a lot more accurate as the software will dynamically adjust the clock speeds and voltage of the card to make sure that it runs at a specific temperature. This application lets you have the freedom to choose between a low-noise graphics card versus a high noise (high performance) card. So if you’re a layperson, what do you need to know about the GTX Titan? We won’t be the first to tell you that it is way faster and much quieter than the GTX 680 and it surely isn’t a coincidence that it also happens to be the largest and most complex GPU ever built (with almost three times as many transistors as a Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU). Expect to pay a handsome premium for this handsome card, and if you consider how much the GTX 680 cost at launch, the Titan isn’t really that demanding on your wallet – that’s if you keep more than a grand in your wallet at all times.
The GEFORCE GTX words light up, and you can even set the lighting’s intensity to match the GPU load.
Yes. With the GTX Titan, you will be able to overclock your monitor. Included with every GTX Titan is a driver that will allow you to check and see if your monitor is capable of overclocking. Nothing is concrete, and you may or may not be able to squeeze another 10-30 frames per second on your monitor. Your monitor’s lifespan may or may not be compromised as well, but it is nice to see something that was once a hack being offered to us as an option.
Issue 07, 2013 - 19
Asus ROG Ares II C
ollectible computer hardware may sound ludicrous to the average gamer but when you’re serious about performance, collectible hardware is no different from collectible action figures, games or even bicycle parts. In the geeky world of overclockers and benchmark obsessed techies, there comes a breakthrough in engineering every now and then that is like a masterpiece in a museum – a work of art, even to the passerby, and exceptionally pricey. Such is the case with Asus’ Republic of Gamers (ROG) branded, dual GPU Ares II card, and this is the most powerful dual GPU graphics card today. Unless you are plagued with sever ocular disorders, you would’ve noticed that the Ares II features its own custom closed-loop liquid cooling kit, complete with a relatively thick 120mm radiator and two cooling fans for push-pull config. The two HD 7970 GPUs in the ROG Ares II aren’t going to melt your computer, but when you take the intense heat of Singapore into consideration, temperatures higher than a super nova suddenly sounds possible. All jokes aside, liquid cooling the Ares II with liquid (rather than air) doesn’t just allow for the card to be 13% faster and 31 degrees Celsius cooler than a reference GTX 690 (NVidia’s dual GPU
card). It also allows for a build that is much quieter and even leaves some room for tweaking with Asus’ one-stop overclocking tool, GPU Tweak. Liquid cooling the ROG Ares II allows the card to adopt a svelte 2-slot design as well. 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM means you have a lot of memory buffer for multiple display setups, and there is even a 80mm cooling fan on the card to cool the Ares II’s memory. Yes, you know a card means business when it has a fan dedicated to cooling its RAM. There are only 1000 units available worldwide, so it isn’t just about how much money you’re willing to pay, but also how lucky/connected you are. We should add that the Asus ROG Ares II carries a price tag of SGD$ 2,499 and that it is already sold out. The graphics card itself comes with a high-end hard case (with lock) for transportation (for whatever reason) and every bit of this entire kit feels like a collectors item, with every minute detail oozing premium build quality. The Asus ROG Ares II may be about exclusivity, but it is more than a very powerful and rare piece of equipment. It is what can be achieved when you put the biggest enthusiasts with the best minds together.
t was only a matter of time before Jabra put their magic into high-performance headsets and it is finally here, and it is indeed a remarkable specimen from start to finish. You’ll get a sense of how well built the Revo is even before putting it on, as this headset is designed and engineered for the roughest mobile users. It immediately feels like it was built using premium materials (synthetic titanium, steel, aluminium) and there are many durability tests that have been conducted throughout the Revo’s development. These include 2-metre drop tests, bend-testing 10,000 times as well as fold-testing 3,500 times. Its cable is even reinforced to withstand 15kg of pull-force. The experience of the Jabra Revo is excellent. Despite a feeling a little rigid, the Revo’s on-ear-type fit is remarkably comfortable and manages to seal in the sound scape without feeling like a vice. There isn’t an uncomfortable pressure on the headband (associated
with on-ear headsets) and considering the materials used, this headset is surprisingly light. The audio experience and noise isolation of the Revo is easily comparable to a premium headset with circumaural ear cups, and this is something that very few on-ear headphones can boast. Its 40mm drivers are complimented by a Jabra Sound app that gives users a full Dolby experience that is tailored to the Revo. The Jabra Sound app adds a lot of depth and dimension to Revo’s already-broad sound scape. This stereo headset folds up the same way the Jabra Halo folds, and it even comes with it the same dust-proof bag that the Jabra Solemate comes with. In-line mic and music controls make the Revo an awesome companion for your smartphone and although SGD$ 248 sounds like a lot of money to spend on a set of cans, but it is worth every single cent if you have this pair in your sights.
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20 - Issue 07, 2013
Logitech G710+ I
t’s been a long time coming but Logitech has finally delivered a mechanical gaming keyboard. The box of the G710+ gives you a fair amount of information, but it fails to tell you what switches they use, so it’s a good thing you’re holding on to a copy of GG, because we’ll be the first to tell you that the Logitech G710+ uses brown switches. The G710+ has 6 additional macro keys that are located along the left and profile buttons located along the top-left of the keyboard. It has dedicated media keys which are a big plus since most mechanical keyboards are rather basic in terms of form and function. There are also dedicated buttons to adjust the backlighting intensity as well as zones but you won’t be able to change the colours of the individually backlit keys (white). We’re also big fans or the volume scroll and we’re glad Logitech decided to keep elements that made their previous keyboards great, such as included wrist rest, USB pass through as well as a volume scroll located on the right, just above the number pad. Gamers will also rejoice to know that the uber useful Game Mode button (that deactivates the Windows keys) is present in the G710+ as well. It’s no surprise that this keyboard uses brown switches, as many gamers prefer the almost effortless actuation and awesome sensation when bottoming out the keys. Bottoming out the keys on the G710+ does feel slightly different when compared to Duckys and
Filcos that are fitted with the same, brown switches. Instead of having a plastic-meets-plastic and slightly loud sensation, the keys on the G710+ have a rubber ring to cushion and reduce the amount of noise made when the keys are bottomed out – a very thoughtful touch indeed. It’s hard to find fault with a product that has all the bells and whistles that a gamer would want, including awesome cable management options, 110-key anti-ghosting as well as 26-key rollover.
Issue 07, 2013 - 21
Aftershock Titan T
hink of the Aftershock Titan as a desktop replacement that is easily relocate-able rather than a laptop, and everything will start making sense. This is one of the best spec-ed performance gaming laptop that Aftershock offers and it packs a third generation Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 – 3630QM (up to 3.4GHz), two GTX 680Ms (with 4GB DDR 5) running in SLI, and 8GB of DDR 3 RAM. The sum of these drool inducing parts will shine for you on a 17.3” matte full HD display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. While the NVidia GTX 680M (for laptops) is certainly no GTX 680 (for desktops), a pair of GTX 680Ms are probably the best you can get in any laptop and you’ll have no problems with almost all of the games that are out today. A 256GB Crucial M4 SSD ensures speedy boots, restores as well as application launch times while a zippy 750GB WD Scorpio Black will provide more than enough storage for any hardcore gamer. This gaming-grade laptop is also equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a standard DVD ODD, a fingerprint sensor, webcam and Windows 8 keeping everything in place. It sounds remarkably beastly (and expensive) but the beauty of Aftershock laptops are that they can be spec-ed to your liking, from the GPUs, processors, RAM and even down the brand of SSD you want your boot
drive to be on. Aftershock’s website also has a couple of pre-configured setups for those who just want a decent gaming laptop, and because they area based in Singapore, you can even pop by their cozy showroom for a hands-on yourself. This is a beast of a laptop and its heft does suggest it means business, so while the Aftershock Titan won’t be the most portable of performance laptops, it is an awesome desktop replacement that is perfect if space is a big issue, or if you need to shift your gaming/ working computer around from time to time.
22 - Issue 07, 2013
Lenovo IdeaCentre W
indows 8 touch screen PCs have the tendency to be pretty low spec-ed simply due to how touch screen interfaces tend to have an emphasis on form rather than power. The Lenovo IdeaCentre strikes a comfortable balance, and it does so with some impressive options that won’t break the bank. With only 4GB RAM, the IdeaCentre will do most of your dirty work for you without kicking a fuss, but when you (or your applications) decide that you need more RAM, you won’t have much problems accessing the memory and hard drive panels on the back of the unit. This means that even if the default 1TB 7200rpm hard drive fails you, you’ll be able to replace it yourself with ease. The IdeaCentre’s NVidia GeForce 615M graphics card isn’t something to write home about, but it is a plus when compared to other options available on the market that don’t even have a discreet GPU onboard. This means that you’ll be able to experience and appreciate most games on low to medium settings, instead of ripping your scalp off trying to play a game. The wireless mouse and keyboard combo that comes with the IdeaCentre isn’t too shabby either. Curved chiclet keys on the low profile keyboard and good tracking from the mouse are indeed bonuses that anyone would appreciate, gamer or not. For a computer that isn’t booting from a solid-state drive, the IdeaCentre boasts rather speedy boot times,
and this is thanks to its high speed mechanical drive combined with the low requirements of Windows 8. Waking the PC up (from sleep/idle/hibernation) is also surprisingly fast. The Lenovo IdeaCentre seems to be positioned as a system that is a Jack-of-all-trades, offering a HDMI out, SD card reader, more than enough USB ports and even a Blu-ray ODD. Our only gripe with this unit was how little its stand allowed the IdeaCentre to tilt, and although a GTX 660M would be nice, it would cause the price of this sweet setup to get a little uncomfortable for the basic user.
Issue 07, 2013 - 23
Razer Orbweaver L
ike the Ouroboros, the Razer Orbweaver aims to be as ergonomically complimenting to the user, or in this case, the hardcore gaming maniac. We say maniac because it takes a gamer of a different class/level to game on a keypad. The build quality of this keypad is excellent, and the mechanical switches (blue) give a tactile feedback similar to what you would get from the Black Widow Ultimate. The Orbweaver’s customisability comes into play the moment you lay your hands on it, simply because the mechanical keys are very specific in their locations and not everyone has hands and fingers of the same length. The adjustments can make a really big difference because unlike the Nostromo, you are almost guaranteed a “fit” even before you take it out of the box. This translates to a much more gentle learning curve on the road to mass ownage. After spending some time with the Orbweaver, it is very clear that there is no going back to the wimpy-feeling Nostromo, but this comfort and level of prestige does come at a price. We meant it when we said this keypad was made and designed for the maniac, and its price is one of the biggest reasons behind our statement. US$10 is the difference between the Orbweaver and the Black Widow Ultimate gaming keyboard, so while the Orbweaver might cater to the palms of many, its price tag may be to heavy for most pockets.
e had a good amount of time with the Ouroboros and it may just win over fans of Razer’s flagship, Mamba. This is a premium mouse with packaging that rivals the Mamba, and just like the Mamba, the Ouroboros can be used wirelessly or corded. The Ouroboros also has 4G dual sensors (optical and laser) and its DPI can be set as high as 8200. The key difference between the Mamba and this mouse is obvious, since the Mamba doesn’t offer any ergonomic customisability, but these adjustments make a world of difference to any gamer, adopting any grip. Being able to adjust the palm rest back and forth as well as its height means your fingers will be positioned
in their most comfortable and optimum positions. Hot-swappable magnetic side panels offer either pinkie rests or rubberised grips on either sides which means on top of everything else, the Ouroboros is ambidextrous as well. The Ouroboros uses a single rechargable AA battery, so while attaching a cord charges the mouse, you can easily pop in a fresh battery when you’re gaming wirelessly. This kit comes with a single rechargable AA battery which, on a full charge, will last up to 11 hours. Being able to retreive your macros and custom settings with Synapse 2.0 is the icing on this very, very impressive specimen.
Epson L-Series Printers
rinters are cheap, but printing isn’t. This is the common consesus for people who own their own printers and for the longest time, no one can argue against this. A printer is supposed to provide convenience and a hassle-free experience, but the cost of refills doesn’t make using our printers a pleasant experience. The L-series printers feature ink tank systems that is set to offer users the lowest printing cost ever, without having to worry about printer-compromising third-party ink. Each L-series printer will use genuine Epson ink bottles and each of these bottles will retail at only SGD$9.90 per bottle, but you don’t have to worry about purchasing one anytime soon since all
the printers come with a starting set of three colours (CMY) and one black (K), each containing 70ml of ink. Higher-end models like the L800 come with two additional bottles (light magenta and light cyan). Epson claims that one 70ml bottle of black ink can print 4,000 pages. Excluding the price of paper, that translates to SGD$0.003 per A4 (draft, black only). We’re no engineers, but even if your print is ten times as demanding, it’ll cost a mere SGD$0.03 per print. Epson’s Micro Piezo print head technology is also in place to ensure high reliability as well as longevity of the printer, and the L-series has enough variety in its line-up to ensure that everyone is able to find a printer/ all-in-one that suits their needs/budget.