Set in an alternate reality techno-dystopian Chicago, Watch Dogs hit every gamer's holiday wishlist after appearing at E3 2012. The open world hackfest wowed onlookers with its urban stealth action and its seemingly 'next-gen' graphics, built on the studio's new 'Disrupt' engine. Although there was a lot of controversy surrounding Watch Dog's graphics approaching its launch, ultimately the game looks amazing when set to ultra on the PC.
World of Warcraft is considered a massive success, yet it's dwarfed by World of Tanks' 1 million concurrent players and 75 million total users. You can also find more than half a million people playing Dota 2 on any given day and League of Legends has over 7.5 million players online during peak hours.
While you may not need a Radeon R9 290X or a GeForce GTX 780 Ti to get the most out of these games, we're curious to see how hard those titles can push today's hardware.
Despite being built with the aging Unreal Engine 3, Thief touts some cutting edge rendering techniques that have put the game on our radar. Thief's built-in benchmark appears to do a good job of demonstrating a worst-case performance scenario, so if your system can average 60fps in the benchmark you should enjoy perfectly smooth gameplay from start to finish.
AMD really is focused on gaming performance with Kaveri and believes this is where its latest APUs have a serious advantage over the competition. The company's latest processors are being pushed as budget solutions for modern 1080p gaming, though on paper the Radeon R7 doesn't look quite up to the task...
With roots that stretch back more than a decade and enough fans to justify new content every year, Battlefield is among the handful of franchises that needs no introduction around here. Even if you hate EA's approach modern military madness, you can typically expect Battlefield's graphics to raise the bar. This year's release is no different, of course, having been built with an updated version of the Frostbite engine.
Built with Real Virtuality 4, ARMA 3 builds on its predecessors' superb graphics and realism, DirectX 10 and 11 support, improved physics across the board, underwater environments, volumetric clouds, better lighting and a 20km view distance with photo-realistic terrain.
ARMA 3 will offer the largest official terrain of its franchise, with ground area covering approximately 270 km² across the Aegean islands of Altis and 20 km² on the Greek island Stratis. Between its expansive world and graphical advancements, it's no surprise that the developer's recommended specifications are set relatively high.
Equipped with his iconic night vision goggles and a new counter-terror agency, Sam Fisher has returned to foil another anti-US plot in Ubisoft's sixth Splinter Cell game. Blacklist attempts to find a better balance between stealth and action than its predecessor while reintroducing some franchise favorites.
PC gamers can look forward to a typical array of graphics options including TXAA antialiasing, soft shadows, horizon-based ambient occlusion and advanced DX11 tessellation -- all of which we plan to test with nearly two dozen graphics setups and a handful of processors.
It's hard to believe nearly seven years have passed since Relic Entertainment and THQ released Company of Heroes, a World War II-themed real-time strategy title that impressed the heck out of me and many other RTS buffs at the time. Like the original, Company of Heroes 2 is set in World War II but focuses on the Eastern Front.
The game takes advantage of DirectX 11 but also supports DirectX 9, and Relic's proprietary Essence 3.0 engine has a mess load of new features. Our test comprises nearly 30 different graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, covering all price ranges, paired with an Intel Core i7-3960X to try and remove any CPU bottlenecks.
When the Metro 2033 was released in 2010 it contributed to raise the PC graphics bar making good use of the latest DirectX 11 rendering technologies. Metro: Last Light follows its predecessor roots by using a heavily customized and improved version of the 4A Engine.
Furthermore, the developer has continued to cater to loyal PC gamers who have considerably more power than console gamers at its disposal by including a richer gaming experience visually as well as a benchmark tool for measuring your system's performance.
Three years having passed since BioShock 2 and the dawn of a new console generation on the horizon, BioShock Infinite has taken the opportunity to mix things up. Along with DX11 effects, folks playing on PC can look forward to higher resolution textures and a healthy range of customization over settings like anti-aliasing, texture detail and filtering, dynamic shadows, post-processing, and so on.
Our Bioshock Infinite test comprises 24 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia covering a wide range of prices, from the affordable to the ultra-expensive.
Normally when we benchmark a first person shooter, finding a good portion of the game to test with is simply a matter of playing through the game until we find a section that is rather demanding. But with SimCity things were considerably more complex and time consuming.
A city with few sims will see graphics cards such as the GeForce Titan or GTX 680 render massive frame rates because they are not being capped by the CPU (yet). As with most simulation and strategy games, SimCity is CPU dependent and overclocking should result in a healthy boost if needed. More inside.
Although this year's Tomb Raider reboot made our latest list of most anticipated PC games, I must admit that it was one of the games I was least looking forward to from a performance perspective because of previous titles' poor showing.
However, we were relieved to learn that Tomb Raider supports DirectX 11, which brings access to advanced rendering technologies such as depth of field, hd ambient occlusion, hardware tessellation, and super-sample anti-aliasing. Additionally, compared to the diluted console versions, the PC build offers better textures as well as AMD's TressFX real-time hair physics system.
Crytek has given us another opportunity to hammer some hardware with the arrival of Crysis 3. Built with CryEngine 3, the engine has been updated with improved dynamic cloth and vegetation, better lighting and shadows, and plenty more.
Plus, PC gamers won't have to wait for graphical extras. Crysis 3 launched with high-resolution textures, DX11 support and plenty of customization options that set it apart from the diluted consoles builds. The result looks incredible and we get the feeling this will prove to be the game that folks who are heavily invested in multi-GPU setups have been waiting for. Here's hoping we aren't woefully disappointed.
The third installment in the Dead Space series was released this month, and considering the game made our list of 2013's most anticipated PC games we thought we would check it out to see how it looked and performed.
Dead Space 3 might be a direct console port but it’s done right, at least as far as I can tell after a few hours of gameplay. The game might not have DirectX 11 features or a high resolution texture pack, but I personally found it to be quite enjoyable.
Originally expected to arrive by the end of last year after being announced in November, Futuremark has finally released its latest version of 3DMark, which brings three new benchmarks including one for various mobile platforms, another for mediocre everyday computers, and...