Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Samsung 960 Pro review: Blistering speed that costs an absolute bomb

Samsung 960 Pro

There are several things that make the Samsung 960 Pro a bit special. The first is its ridiculous speed. With a claimed sequential read speed of up to 3500MB/s and a sequential write speed up to 2100MB/s, this is essentially a Formula One car crammed inside a drive no bigger than your index finger. It was also the first NVMe SSD aimed at us normal, non-enterprise folk to come in a 2TB capacity, offering caverns of space in a pint-sized package.

For many, it’s one of the best SSDs ever made. The other thing that makes it stand out, however, is that it costs an absolute fortune, with the smallest 512GB model starting at £260 / $300, going all the way up to over £1000 / $1249 for that oh-so-special 2TB version. You could buy yourself a new graphics card with that kind of money, or even an entire PC. Why, then, should you consider getting this over its significantly cheaper 960 Evo sibling? Let’s find out.
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Samsung 960 Evo review: Still the best value NVMe SSD money can buy

Samsung 960 Evo

When Samsung first launched their pair of flagship 960 SSDs at the tail-end of 2016, they were the fastest NVMe SSDs on the planet. Coming in 960 Evo and 960 Pro flavours, they were five times faster than your typical SATA3 SSD and offered almost as much speed as their PCIe-based interfaces could manage.

Today, little has changed, and both remain widely regarded as the best SSDs around, NVMe or otherwise, with the 960 Evo in particular often being the favoured choice over its more expensive sibling. Available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB size options, the 960 Evo is still a lot more expensive than SATA3 SSDs like the Crucial MX500 or even Samsung’s own 860 Evo, but with 250GB sticks starting from around £110 / $120, at least it doesn’t feel like you have to remortgage your house just to get your foot in the door.
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Wot I Think: Octogeddon

The creator of Plants Vs Zombies returns after nine years with Octogeddon – an arcade-inspired game of cephalopodic mayhem. One angry octopus takes on the world in his vengeful quest to destroy all that humans hold dear: large tourist attractions. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Rust’s designer on casting off the early access ‘crutch’

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In Rust, everything comes from a single rock. From rifles to radiation suits, it’s all thanks to a naked caveman hitting things with a big stone. Today, if you were to examine a family tree of the survival genre, you’d see Subnautica and No Man’s Sky sitting on the same level. Distant cousins who can’t stand to be in the same room as each other. Whether they like it or not, Rust is their common ancestor, their rock. Of course, you can trace Rust’s lineage back further into DayZ, Minecraft and eternity. I just wanted a flowery intro metaphor so you’d come and read an interview with its chief creator.

Today, Rust leaves early access. So we spoke to Garry Newman, head of Facepunch, about survival, Plunkbat and whether leaving early access even means anything anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Dandara puts a fresh new idea in very familiar settings

Dandara does something important. It has an original idea. And then very smartly puts that original idea inside lots of very familiar ones. It’s a metroidvania where you cannot walk, run, jump, let alone double-jump. Instead you move by zapping yourself from surface to surface, only able to stand on the white-marked ground, while the enemies have free reign. Read the rest of this entry »

Has Smite been improved by its updates?

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Update Night is a fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of the Hindu faith, is legendarily generous, wise, and optimistic. He’s a patron of the arts and sciences, and busies himself by working to remove obstacles in the path of honest and caring people.

It’s not really on then, I’d say, to call him a “fucking idiot.”

That’s just what my teammates in deity-themed MOBA Smite kept doing, though. Maybe they had it in for the kind, gentle, and benevolent god? Maybe that was why they spent half an hour just absolutely roasting him? Or maybe it was my fault. You see, this was my first time playing Smite as fairly recent addition Ganesha, and I didn’t really get how he worked. I died. I died a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

AOC Agon AG352UCG review: The Final Fantasy XII monitor quest continues

AOC AG352UCG

As I continue my quest to find the best ultra-wide monitor for playing Final Fantasy XII, the next display in my party roster is the AOC Agon AG352UCG. Equipped with a 100Hz refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync support and an LED-laden lower bezel, this curved, 35in 3440×1440 monitor has almost everything you could possibly want for the ultimate 21:9 experience. Almost.
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How Dead Cells’ pokeball keeps me coming back

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Hey, remember Dead Cells? You should, because it’s not even out of early access and we named it our game of 2017. It’s a combat-focused platformer roguelike that John refuses to call a metroidvania (although it is).

The game’s received another large update since anyone on the site wrote about it, though I’ll save most of what’s in the Foundry Update for another time. This is an article about one little item that solves one very big problem. It’s about how the Hunter’s Grenade gives me something to work towards with every fresh start, and why I was still playing at a point when I’d seen almost everything the game had to offer.

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Exploring Assassin’s Creed Origins with a camera

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I have been, since November, utterly enamoured with digital Ptolemaic Egypt. Assassin’s Creed Origins’ snowglobe version of the kingdom makes it excellent fodder for long, meandering walks and screenshots of tantalising vistas, but it’s the small vignettes of daily life and scenes of mundanity that make Egypt feel less like just another theme park.

Since the first Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft Montreal has used scale as its default weapon. Huge towers, massive crowds, more map icons than the eye can handle. But while, yes, Origins is still a gargantuan game, it’s one that spends a lot of time zoomed in on the streets instead of hovering around the rooftops. It’s inspired me to do the same, accompanied by the game’s impressive photo mode. It pauses the action and unlocks the camera at the press of a button, letting you tweak the image with filters and by changing things like contrast and depth of field. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: My Time at Portia

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Premature Evaluation is the weekly column in which we explore the (well-tended agricultural) wilds of early access. This week, Fraser’s taking a break in My Time at Portia, a crafting sim with shades of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley.

Tirelessly exploring early access games takes its toll, so this week I’m off somewhere relaxing: a post-apocalyptic town. Portia is more Ghibli than Fallout, thankfully. It’s a brightly-coloured, charming place, surrounded by vast green fields and gargantuan ruins from the time before the cataclysm. A perfect spot for a holiday, then.

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The great GPU crisis – why are graphics cards so expensive now, and just how bad is it?

ZEC tales

Updated to reflect the latest, even more horrifying graphics card prices & availability, plus the concurrent RAM shortage.

If you’ve made a point of leaving any conversation as soon as you hear the sound ‘bitc…’ start to emanate from someone’s face-hole, I’ve got some bad news for you. The effects of the cryptocurrency goldrush are no longer confined to twitchy-eyed evangelists and screechy news headlines – for the second time in recent memory, it’s caused a huge spike in graphics card prices, both new and second-hand, as the crypto-clan rush to snaffle up any GPU they could possibly use to mine blockchain currencies such as Ethereum and Zcash. Even the recent decline in crypto exchange rates hasn’t brought GPU pricing back down to Earth – quite the opposite, in fact.

This means two things for us, in practice. 1) Now is the worst possible time to buy a new graphics card for gaming 2) now is the best possible time to sell on any unused old graphics cards you own.
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Wot I Think: Dragon Ball FighterZ

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Dragon Ball was the hallmark of nearly every Thursday night when I was growing up, especially during the infamous run of Toonami on Cartoon Network. I never did keep up with the show’s evolving story, but I was always enamored by the way Goku and pals decimated the world around them as they fought at super Saiyan speed. And that’s the first thing that hit me when I jumped into Dragon Ball FighterZ – Cell flew directly into an asteroid behind him and blew it to bits after I landed a heavy kick directly to his gut. You beat up your opponent and watch the world crumble and collapse.

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The creator of the Civilization V superintelligence mod on AI safety

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Last month, the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk released a mod for Civ V that introduced superintelligent AI to the game – not in the form of AI opponents, but as a technology that can end the game for every player if it’s left unchecked. It’s a novel overhaul to the science system, as well as an attempt to teach people about AI safety.

While I had some problems with the mod, I also thought it was a fascinating idea. Keen to learn more, I spoke to project director Shahar Avin about how the mod came about, the issues that it presents both poorly and well, and how people can get involved with AI safety themselves.

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How Iconoclasts makes platforming flow

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Iconoclasts [official site].

Iconoclasts is a platformer that feels great to play. As Robin, a daring mechanic armed with a wrench and a stun gun, you’ll run, jump and shoot your way through sprawling multi-level areas, enjoying precise movements which balance detail and nuance with smoothness. It’s a feel that’s down to developer Joakim Sandberg’s taste in games. ”Something I always enjoy in a videogame is that feeling, usually when you’ve played it a few times, of being able to push through,” he tells me. “Flow, essentially.”

Almost all of Iconoclasts’ design features are directly about maintaining this sense of flow, of momentum in which you feel like nothing is getting in the way of your intention. And one feature you’ll notice when you first start playing the game is kind of shocking. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Lost Sphear

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a ragtag group of orphans wake up one day and decide to slay some monsters, as all small-town gangs are wont to do. This is the opening of Lost Sphear. After bonking some bunny-mutants to death in a nearby field, they discover that their idyllic hometown has blinked out of existence, replaced by a gaping white void. But, soon enough, one of our heroes has a dream that reveals that he and he alone possesses mysterious power that can restore these “lost” objects through the power of memories. Together, the gang embark on a quest to save the world from ruin.

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Samsung 860 Pro review: Just say no and get the 860 Evo instead

Samsung 860 Pro

Samsung’s Pro range of SSDs have always had a hard time in the face of their cheaper Evo counterparts. On the face of it, they’re meant to be faster and longer-lasting – the best of the best SSDs, so to speak – but when the Samsung 850 Evo and 960 Evo proved to be pretty much just as quick as their respective Pro siblings for a lot less cash, they’ve become increasingly hard to justify. Unless you regularly move hundreds of GBs of files around your PC on a daily basis, Samsung’s Evo SSDs are more than enough for your typical gamer.

The 860 Pro is no different. Speed-wise, Samsung claims it’s a fraction faster than both the outgoing 850 Pro and incoming 860 Evo with a sequential read speed of up to 560MB/s and a sequential write speed of up to 530MB/s, but in reality they’re all pretty much identical. Why, then, should you consider the 860 Pro? It’s all to do with endurance.

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Samsung 860 Evo review: Improved endurance, but just as fast as the 850 Evo

Samsung 860 Evo

For the past three years, Samsung’s 850 Evo has been consistently one of the best SSDs money can buy. It’s often been more expensive than the competition, but its speed, endurance rating and generous five-year guarantee have all helped it secure its place as one of the mainstays of any PC gaming build. Finally, however, it looks like the 850 Evo’s time at the top is about to end, as Samsung’s just replaced it with the brand-new 860 Evo.

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Underworld Ascendant wants you to break all the rules

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Underworld Ascendant is a game for anyone who has ever tormented a GM during a tabletop RPG session. The maps have been drawn up, the traps have been primed and all of the plans are coming together. You’re deep in a dungeon and the story is about to take a very unpleasant turn. And then…

“You said the spikey pillars are made of the same wood from which the ancient throne of Catharsia was carved? Fine. I’ll set fire to them.”

“You can’t do that…there are another six distinct phases of this particular peril…”

“I’m pretty sure I can. They’re wood. They’ll burn. Let’s get out of here.”

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Have you played… The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

‘Played’ in the title suggests something concluded, but clearly if you did ever play The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (plus its various expansions), you’re almost certainly still playing it. Forever and ever. Read the rest of this entry »