Thursday, er, Thownloads

By Alec Meer on January 10th, 2008 at 11:03 am.

What a lot of words we posted yesterday. You must be exhausted from all that reading, bless you. Is ickle baby tired? Does ‘is ickle eyes need a resty-poos? Well, why not take some time out to play some games instead? Here’s a quick round up of recent free digi-delights (and, um, some more reading. Sorry.) potentially worthy of your exacting attention…

- The Crysis 1.1 patch is live at last, promising, amongst others, these things to the four people who bought the game (KIDDING I’M KIDDING): “Improved SLI / Crossfire support and performance; Improved overall rendering performance (DX9 and DX10); Enabled VSync functionality in D3D10.” I’ll be giving that a go myself shortly, as I had massive slowdown problems on my quad core, GeForce 8800 PC even at miserable Medium settings. Apparently the patch too is not without problems – there’s a long thread here containing some solutions should you number among the cursed.

- While I’m on a Crysis tip, IGN has a post-mortem with Crytek’s Cevat Yerli about the divisive FPS. No great revelations, unfortunately – mostly it’s just an exercise in how many different ways a man can say “everything is fine.” Love it, hate it or, heaven forfend, quite like it, Crysis turned out to be a troubled game, and it’d be fascinating to hear its developers’ unfettered thoughts on it at some point.

- Speedball II: Tournament, the remake of the era-defining, one-button sport’n’violence mash-up, gets the demo treatment. No-one at RPS has played anything of this beyond preview code as yet, which didn’t really seem to capture the requisite spirit of fizzy pop and Monster Munch we associate with such halcyon 16-bit days. But hey, try the demo and tell us if we’re wrong.

- World of Warcraft gets itself a system benchmarking tool in its latest patch. Given this is a game that barely troubles a PC made of steam and cheese, such a toy seems a little futile at this stage, but mayhap I’ll end up using it in my other, tech writing life when testing low-end hardware.

- The final version of acclaimed Half-Life (1, not 2) singleplayer mod Paranoia is out. Its creators claim they’ve done all the work they need to on it, which may mean they’re turning their attention to a new project. Paranoia HL2 perhaps? Not looked at this yet, to my shame.

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28 Comments »

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  1. Meat Circus says:

    About the Crysis post mortem:

    It’s not really a post mortem at all is it? That would mean Crytek admitting that they screwed up with Crysis. They’re either still in the denial phase, or Yerli (correctly) realises that he should keep quiet lest when the axe falls because of budgetary constraints caused by Crysis’s flopping, his job be firmly on the block.

  2. Andrew says:

    A post mortem doesn’t need to be after a failure, does it?

    In critical terms.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    It does to Meat Circus. He’s got a “thing”.

    KG

  4. Andrew says:

    Ooh, matron.

  5. Lou says:

    Still doubt the whole “Crysis is a failure” thing. All we have yet are US sales figures, and even these sales, low as they were, were allegedly above expectations. You can’t walk for Crysis copies in any games store in Germany – um, of course you could see this as a sign of the game not selling well, but it’s still in the No.1 slot of all the store-internal charts racks, for example.

    And there’s absolutely nothing to “admit”. One gamer being on an irrational crusade doesn’t make a game a failure. Other wise Knights of the Old Republic is a failure as well, because I hate it with a passion.

  6. Andy Johnson says:

    Personally I think Crysis was as good as we could have expected, looking back at Far Cry.

  7. matte_k says:

    Crysis bashing? hmm, that’s odd. I gathered from all the publicity and hyperbole that it was liked by many people, and considering how its raised the bar in some respects, isn’t that a good thing? Or are we used to setting them up to knocking them down again (Bioshock, i’m looking at you) too often. I haven’t completed Crysis yet, but what i have played i’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and given some of the tat that gets sequels greenlighted we should be grateful for something of the quality of Crysis, Bioshock, Stalker, etc.

  8. kuddles says:

    I don’t know why people keep saying Crysis is a flop, when all we have is the US numbers, which is only getting attention because we usually don’t see US numbers. 86,000 copies is actually on par with the vast majority of PC game sales nowadays in the US unfortunately.

  9. Butler` says:

    The Crysis Flop™

    1. System reqs. If it doesn’t run well on medium settings with a quad core / 8880 setup, what will it run on?

    2. Piracy. Sales got hit hard by pirated copies circling torrent communities very near retail release (possibly even before in some areas).

    Probably more reasons, but in my eyes it’s nothing more than a tech demo.

  10. kuddles says:

    I have a dual core and an 8800GTX and I could run it on a mix of high and very high at 1680 X 1050 just fine.

    Also, I disagree with the tech demo comment. It was easily the best first person shooter I played last year.

  11. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Aside from the sooper-dooper graphics no casual gamer will be able to run, the game itself isn’t really revolutionary or exceptionally good. A good game, but not much that hasn’t been done before.

  12. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    I think Crysis just decides it hates certain individuals, and whisper sweet nothings into the ears of others. Sure it’s only a dx9 system, but it runs mostly fine on high settings on my X2 4800+ and 7900GTX.

  13. Butler` says:

    @kuddles

    On my dual core/8880gts rig it ran at pathetic frames per-second on ‘medium’ settings/resolution, and of course didn’t look good enough to warrant such crap performance.

    Personally id struggle to label any one first-person shooter as “the best”, as I got significantly different, yet equally great experiences from CoD4’s, HL2:E2’s and BioShock’s single player components.

  14. Fumarole says:

    Crysis ran great with all High settings on my dual core AMD and 8800 GTS. That makes me a very happy panda. Unfortunately, some people will just never be pleased, no matter the game or performance.

  15. WibbleWobble42 says:

    My dual core/8800 runs the game at very high at playable fps (not measured it yet but its very playable)

  16. Alec Meer says:

    There is some discrepancy in the game’s performance from PC to PC, as far as I can tell. RPS-chums with inferior systems to mine had it perform much better, while another chum with a similar system to mine also reports mysterious sluggishness.

    I don’t know what it is that causes the difference – I’ve checked drivers and BIOS settings again and again. Hopefully the patch will fix ‘er up for me.

  17. Schadenfreude says:

    So has anyone actually played the Speedball 2 remake? And is it any good?

    I got a hold of the X-Box Live Speedball 2 and it’s just a little off. The gameplay and graphics are spot on (In classic mode) but they’ve changed all the sound effects and the between game menu-UI and it just feels wrong.

    I’d be a sad panda but I still have a working Amiga and a copy of the game. Only one joystick though :(

  18. Cruz says:

    @Alec

    Pause the pr0n downloads.

  19. AbyssUK says:

    I wanted so much more from Speedball 2.. its fails to deliver on all fronts am afraid.

  20. Meat Circus says:

    Oi, Gillen.

    Leave my thing out of this.

    Look, it’s true, I feel hurt an betrayed by Crysis, especially after I caught it doing…

    Well. I won’t go into details, suffice it to say, I’ll never be able to look a nanosuit in the eye again.

  21. dhex says:

    well, my crysis experience was very smooth. dual core opteron, 8800gts ssc (640 edition) and i had naught but good framerates (avg 55, most settings on medium except game effects and shaders on high) and not a single crash. i can’t install the patch because i didn’t install punkbuster (i don’t play online) but i might go back and reinstall crysis and the patch to see if it improves framerates.

    i went in not expecting that much and got a whole lot more. it was one of the more compelling games of the year, and had i played it in 2007, would have tied for goty with stalker. (another game i had no problems with, even with a 7800gt)

  22. Piratepete says:

    Personally I just found Crysis hellishly difficult and got sick to death of hiding in the shrubbery while 20 blokes scoured the undergrowth for me. It’s me I know i just like to be held by the hand by FPS’s a bit.

    Also any chance of some lovely RPS vibes, i’m feeling crap as I got made redundant today :(

    Just be glad you are in IT and not engineering as it really is on its arse in this country.

    (I know its not game related but thrrrp)

  23. dhex says:

    man to me that was a feature, not a bug.

    like all oh oh oh i’m running of out invisible i’d better lay some waste down and maybe jump off this cliff.

  24. divergentbeing says:

    See, what bothers me about everyone’s “It doesn’t run on medium with my ” is that the game still looks extremely good on medium. Do some people just refuse to play a game unless their settings are maxed out?

    I haven’t installed it on the new system I recently built myself, but I was able to play with my old parts and it was still an incredible looking game, even just on medium with a slightly low frame rate.

    Am I missing something here?

  25. coldacid says:

    @Lou: You do realize that those “Top Seller” racks in most game stores aren’t usually the top sellers? They’re just the games that the publishers are bribing the store to pitch, the most.

  26. Seth Tipps says:

    @ Alec. Kudos for using forfend to the fullness of it’s great potential for rediculousness.

  27. Chris R says:

    First, as others have mentioned, Crysis looks great on Medium settings, seriously, I’m not joking. I thought it looked just as good as other games that were running at max settings. And with a few tweaks (http://www.tweakguides.com/Crysis_1.html) you can make it look even better for hardly any hit to your performance.

    Secondly, Crysis has an odd FPS thing going on… I was getting an average of 30 frames per second on High settings, and it actually felt closer to 45 or 50 frames. I was actually a little shocked when I turned on the frames and it was telling me I was at 28-30. I was sure I was getting 40 or higher. That TweakGuides site even mentions that Crysis doesn’t need as high a FPS rate as other games to still feel smooth. It’s very odd.

    And lastly, I had the most fun playing on Delta difficulty, where you have to play the game like Thief or Splinter Cell (or basically any ‘sneaky sneaky hidey stabby’ game). So if you like sneaking around in games all invisible and popping out of cover to kill bad guys, then you will love Crysis. If you “run’n’gun”, it’s not as fun because the game doesn’t really have any great scripted sequences for a run’n’gun player.

    I’ve had so much fun with Crysis, I’ve replayed the maps with just the North Koreans around probably 4-5 times each. And each time I had a different experience. Best $50 I’ve spent. I bet I’ve put well over 100 hours into Crysis since it came out.

  28. kuddles says:

    @Chris R. I assume it has something to do with the motion blur utilized in the game, that it’s close enough to the kind of motion blur utilized in film that keeps things smooth at 24 frames per second. I can’t explain otherwise why Crysis seems to be smoother at lower framerates then most other games.