FPS games are shrouded in arcane mythology pertaining to the accuracy of mouse input, with never-ending debates over acceleration, smoothing, mouse input filtering, and raw input detection. Call of Duty: Black Ops III doesn't escape from this.

One of the first questions we encountered upon publication of our Black Ops III benchmark related to mouse smoothing and acceleration. Namely, “how do I get rid of it?” 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 arrived on PC at midnight, bringing with it high-fidelity graphics that stress PC components – all the way down to the memory. We set forth on benchmarks for Call of Duty: Black Ops III immediately, with our first FPS tests focusing on GPU performance, alongside some RAM & VRAM insights. More tests are forthcoming, so be sure to follow us for those.

Before jumping into the BLOPS 3 benchmarks, let's explain the game's graphics settings. Until our graphics optimization guide for Call of Duty arrives, this detailed list of game settings should assist in determining which options can be disabled or tuned for a higher framerate.

Update: Our Black Ops III graphics optimization guide is now live for per-setting analysis.

The ever-increasing pile of computer hardware coming into our labs has been backing us up lately, as is usual for this time of year, and we've had to pull-on some additional help to clear the review inventory. As a part of this, we thought it would be a fun idea to start running a recurring “In the Lab” segment to provide a sneak peek to active hardware being tested. This content will provide some introductory technical coverage of the products, talk about testing methodology, concerns we're encountering, and initial thoughts, all before publication of the finalized reviews.

Out first episode overviews the Steam Link & Steam Controllers, for which our reviews go live next week, the Corsair VOID headset, MSI's B150A Gaming Pro motherboard, and some Skylake CPUs.

 

Sword Coast Legends is a newly-released D&D cRPG that has entrenched itself deeply within Wizards of the Coast territory, all the way down to adoption of the 5th edition core ruleset. For those of us who haven't yet dug our way out of the insurmountable pile of 3.5 books, the ruleset may be unfamiliar, but it's still D&D.

We've previously covered Sword Coast Legends, with our first round of coverage from GDC – near the game's unveil – and the most recent at PAX Prime. Until recently, our only hands-on sessions with the game were as players, with one limited on-the-fly DM session. This DM session dropped me in to a premade dungeon crawl with my staff (“with,” not “against,” because we're playing co-operatively to enable a good experience); my role here was limited to staying one step ahead of the players, trying to plant mobs and traps according to current challenge. I did not get to look at the actual DM toolkit – the utilities used for making longer campaigns and custom modules – until the last two weeks.

This time, I spent about eight hours building a fully fleshed-out module, complete with back-story, multiple levels, and custom quests. The objective was to give my old D&D group a run that'd remind us of the tabletop days.

Kingdom Game Review - Capitalism in the Feudal Age

By
in Games
Published October 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

Kingdom is a 2013 flash game by developer Noio, greatly expanded and brought to PC/Mac/iOS/Android with the help of fellow developer Licorice. As we noted back in our August preview, despite being an indie game, Kingdom was, for once, not funded by Kickstarter --surprise! Let's see if the retail release keeps that overly-addictive-flash-game charm.

In the beginning, there is a King (or Queen) and a pile of money. Such is the way of life. The "tutorial" is short and sweet: ten coins are enough to light a campfire, build two walls, and hire/equip a builder and an archer--after that, there's not much else to learn. Coins are the only resource in the game, and are used to create buildings, upgrade the settlement, hire workers, and buy tools. At night, mischevious green creatures scurry in to tear-down buildings and run away with tools (or brutally devour innocent townsfolk, as the game progresses). If one snatches the crown, that's it--time to start a new kingdom. This is a permadeath game.

Epistory - Typing Chronicles is an “atmospheric action/adventure game” from developer Fishing Cactus, available on Steam Early Access since September 30th. The game mechanics focus on two of my favorite things: typing long words as fast as possible and riding a giant fox. What more do you really need?

The basic premise of Epistory is that you’re a girl who’s lost her memory, and—again—you’re riding a giant fox. The forest is in danger, and it's the player's job to clean house by ridding of various patches of bramble and giant snakes. That was about as far as the narrative got in the time that I played, and there was no indication that it would get more elaborate than that, but possibilities abound in a title so early in development. Additional “chapters” of the game will be released over the course of its time in early access, leaving plenty of room for expansion through its 1Q16 release target.

CitizenCon 2015, the fan event dedicated to Cloud Imperium Games' Star Citizen, today opened with an emotional speech from VP of Marketing Sandi Gardiner. The team then moved on to an upbeat “How Did We Get Here?” video, showing the ramping progression of the Cloud Imperium Games teams and events. The studio is now a global icon within the games industry, employing 270 staff across its Austin, Santa Monica, London, Montreal, and Frankfurt offices.

CIG CEO Chris Roberts went on to disclose, deploying between-the-lines commentary on recent events, that the CIG team has only increased in development staff, including an increase from 260 to 270 staff in the past two months alone.

Introductory content aside, today's presentation swiftly moved to a focus on content reveals.

Our definitive coverage of the latest CitizenCon event, hosted by Cloud Imperium Games at the Manchester Airport, dives into the A-list cast for Squadron 42, multi-crew ship demonstrations, and underlying technology.

Vermintide: The End Times Preview & Gameplay Hands-On

By
in Games
Published October 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Looks like Peter Piper decided to take a few days off, and all hell broke loose. Good job, Peter. Now five unfortunate souls have been thrust into the midst of one of the most brutal vermin infestations in Warhammer history!

That’s the premise of Vermintide: The End Times, developed by Fat Shark Games, and I couldn’t be happier.

It’s important to note that I am a little biased (a necessity of good game reviews), as I am a huge Warhammer and Warhammer 40k fan, but Vermintide is everything I could have asked for in a co-op survival thriller. From the very instant the game is loaded, I was filled with a sense of dread – every piece fits together to give the player a desperate, horror-filled experience without relying on cliché jump scares or a false sense of foreboding.

UPDATE: Our launch-day Battlefront GPU benchmarks are now live. Refer here for updated charts.

The PC version of Star Wars: Battlefront was made available through beta channels yesterday and, somewhat surprisingly, the graphics settings and assets appear to be fairly feature-complete. It's possible (even likely) that some final optimizations are in the pipe leading up to launch but, for now, the game's high-resolution, high LOD assets are a testament to its preparedness for benchmarking.

Star Wars: Battlefront fronts some of the most advanced, realistic graphics we've yet seen, rivaling GTA V and The Witcher 3 in intensity and technology. Battlefront makes heavy use of terrain deformation and tessellation to add the appearance of greater depth, smooth terrain elements, and create a landscape that scales impressively well at various view distances.

We deployed a suite of video cards to benchmark Star Wars: Battlefront in an exhaustive test, including SLI GTX 980 Tis, the Sea Hawk 980 Ti, GTX 980, GTX 970, 960s, 950, the 390X, 290X, 270X, and more. This Star Wars: Battlefront benchmark compares FPS of graphics cards at maximum (ultra) settings, high, and medium settings in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.

Disclaimer: This article makes no intentions to comment on gameplay value. We're strictly looking at visuals and framerate performance in Battlefront.

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