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Far Cry 3 is an open-world shooter through and through. The setup is simple: You're set loose on a massive island and tasked with gradually conquering it, one dead pirate/tiger/shark at a time. Here's a gun. Have fun.
There's a story you can play through, but it's in the balance between the "story parts" and the "non-story parts" that Far Cry 3 finds success. The story parts are a long series of mostly linear, welcomely varied adventures Jason undertakes in service of this rescue/revenge plot. The non-story parts are the emergent action that happens all over the island between missions. As with many of the best open-world games, the story parts are fun, but the non-story parts are what make Far Cry 3 special.
Hitman: Absolution is a wickedly smart, darkly enjoyable video game, one that's as generous to players as its protagonist is merciless to his victims. You'll stab, strangle and shoot your way through level after level, sometimes grimacing, sometimes scowling, sometimes laughing.
Absolution picks up the Hitman story where the last game in the series, 2006's Blood Money, left off. That's a long time between sequels, even in the relatively slow-moving video game world. But that extended time in development likely accounts for a lot of what makes Hitman such a sprawling, interesting game.
Earlier this year we reviewed OCZ's flagship Vertex 4 SSD which at the time we were lead to believe was based on a second-generation Everest controller developed in-house. Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers with firmware developed in-house by the Indillinx team. While we acknowledged that it was very sneaky on OCZ’s behalf, it also didn’t change things much for us. Regardless of who did or didn't make the controller, the Vertex 4 was still one of the best performers and best values in the high-end SSD segment.
So with the controversy of the Vertex 4 almost behind them, OCZ is finally ready to unveil its first truly in-house SSD controller. It's been three years since Indilinx released a brand new controller and they are doing so today with the Barefoot 3, which is to be featured in OCZ’s latest SSD series known as Vector.
The Wii U is a capable machine. For once, we have a Nintendo console that doesn't feel like it is pocked with omissions. Gone is the era of GameCube controllers with three shoulder buttons when the competition has four. Gone is the era of the Wii that couldn't send HD graphics to an HD TV.
The Wii U meets the standards of modern console gaming, while also supporting Wii Remotes and therefore serving as an HD version of the Wii. It does all of these things and introduces some well-realized new features to modern console gaming.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is big. Colossally big. It's important to get that description out of the way because anyone who sees or holds the Galaxy Note II will have no choice but to be taken aback by how large is the phone-meets-tablet.
The same predicament made doubters believe that the original Galaxy Note was too big to succeed, but millions of phones sold later, that proved to be a false prediction. The Galaxy Note II is a smooth and dynamic experience from top to bottom. It's probably too big as a phone or too small as a tablet for most, but many will find it's a comfortable compromise between the two form factors.
The major issue with SSD adoption over the past few years has been price, the astronomically high price when you are counting in hundreds of gigabytes. In today's comparison review we are going to look at 8 popular SSDs that cost $100 or less and feature capacities of up to 128GB.
The contenders include the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB, Samsung 840 120GB and Crucial m4 128GB. The most affordable high-capacity SSD featured in our roundup is the Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB, while the OCZ Vertex 4 64GB, Crucial m4 64GB and Samsung 830 64GB should all offer stellar performance for under $80.
People, especially gamers, seem to be afraid of change. That's understandable when it comes to the Halo franchise. Halo is a legacy. When Bungie introduced the sci-fi, FPS franchise over a decade ago, it wowed fans with a perfect formula of alien creatures and versatile weapons. It became a household name, and for good reason.
So change seems like it would be scary. Like it might ruin the integrity of something that's formed such an impressive community. Fortunately hardcore Halo fans can rest assured that 343 has stayed true to the core of Halo, and I urge them to keep an open mind when confronted by its new skin. Because that skin is beautiful.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter calls for no less than a 3GHz quad-core processor paired with a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950. Given those upper-end requirements, we expect the title to be fairly demanding with its visuals maxed out, and we'll be putting a ton of past and present-gen cards through their paces.
We'll be testing 29 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia across all price ranges with their respective latest beta drivers that claim to improve performance.
Warfighter is a first-person military shooter developed by Danger Close and published by EA. The Medal of Honor series has become, in most every respect, a flagrant imitation of Activision's much ballyhooed Call of Duty series. You play the game from the first-person perspective. You hold a machine gun and shoot bad guys, almost exclusively foreigners. That's about all there is to it.
The game has the dubious distinction of being the Ultimate Brown Military Shooter Of All Time. It's so brazenly unremarkable, its storytelling so amateurish, its action so rote, that it feels like a master class in middling modern warfare.
First, let's get something out of the way. Most of what's really new in Windows 8 relates to the Metro touch interface, which is Microsoft's biggest bet on this OS generation -- a bet that's risky but necessary given the company's lack of presence in the growing tablet market. This is also how the folks at Redmond have figured could give a needed boost to its smartphone business (“Windows everywhere”), which is well behind market leaders, iOS and Android.
This review is based on my experience with Windows 8 using a desktop, so I've been treating Windows 8 like most computer enthusiasts will: as a direct upgrade from Windows 7 on my custom-built machine, just like I did with Vista, XP, 2k, and other previous Windows releases.
About this time last year, AMD's new Bulldozer-based FX series launched to bright-eyed system builders who expected the new architecture to challenge Intel's increasingly comfortable position in the upper-end processor market. Unfortunately, Bulldozer wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Now, the company is refreshing its desktop processors with Piledriver, an enhanced version of Bulldozer that focuses on improving instructions per clock and frequency. In other words, instead of a major overhaul, Piledriver picks up where Bulldozer left off, which may disappoint those who wanted AMD to abandon the architecture.
Unveiled at the 2009 Intel Developer Forum, Thunderbolt wouldn't make its debut into an actual product until two years later with Apple's MacBook Pro 2011 refresh, and then another one until it finally started to find its way into PCs.
With most Thunderbolt-enabled products available today being storage-related, we wanted to see what the new Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard and its dual Thunderbolt ports had to offer in terms of performance. The best way to accomplish that, in our opinion, is to test the new ultra-fast Western Digital My Book Velociraptor Duo, which has a pair of 10,000RPM Velociraptor hard drives.
It's been over six months since Nvidia launched its Kepler architecture and we've finally seen the GTX 600 series enter more affordable price brackets, delivering a greater value every step of the way.
Having attacked the mid-range and upper-end markets, Nvidia has its sights set on the sub-$200 range, unleashing its GTX 650 Ti. At $150, the new arrival is roughly 34% cheaper than last month's GTX 660 and about 7% pricier than the Radeon HD 7770, which fetches around $140 depending on features and rebates. Here comes our full review.
With a mix of familiar MMORPG tropes and new, modern approaches to delivering them, Guild Wars 2 is an excellent, welcoming take on the genre.
During a full month playing Guild Wars 2, I recorded impressions in a series of logs. The first was where I discovered an insatiable need to explore. In the second, I marveled at how easy it was to get off the beaten path, how unnecessary it seemed to be to form a party, and how generally amiable the community was. Part three was where I discovered crafting, and in log four I hopped into world vs world PvP and fell off rather a lot of cliffs.
The iPhone 5 has finally landed following months of rumors and speculation, with plenty of changes internally and aesthetically. Apple has almost completely redesigned the iPhone's exterior, and even gave it a bump in screen size for the first time, yet it still looks very much like the iconic handset everyone is familiar with.
The update addresses a number of concerns that critics have raised over the past year, but as with any high-profile Apple launch, new complaints have already surfaced. We'll investigate these and more as we put the iPhone 5 under the microscope.
Not only are SSDs faster than HDDs, but they also consume less power and generate less heat. They're quieter, more reliable and more compact than their spinning counterparts. Talking about compact...
We recently took notice when Crucial announced its m4 mSATA SSD in a 256GB capacity at under $1/GB. The mSATA drive is tiny compared to Crucial's standard 2.5" m4, and despite the size difference, both 256GB models feature the same read and write speeds of 500MB/s and 260MB/s -- an exciting prospect, indeed. Assuming there are no catches, Crucial's new mSATA offering could become the go-to solution for ultraportable upgrades...
Nvidia shook up the enthusiast GPU market last month when it launched its most affordable Kepler offering yet. At $299, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti was $100 cheaper than the GTX 670, while being just 13% slower. Likewise, the GTX 660 Ti was faster and more power efficient than the competing Radeon HD 7870, despite matching it on price.
Ever eager to keep AMD on its toes, Nvidia continues its push into the mid-range market with a Kepler-based card that is expected to retail for about $230 -- right in-between AMD's Radeon HD 7850 and 7870. The GTX 660 is based on the new 28nm GK106 that nonetheless keeps all the key innovations introduced by the GTX 680.
LG first unveiled the Optimus 4X HD back at Mobile World Congress in February. It's been a long time coming, but the Optimus 4X HD is now available in much of the world - even if it's only available outside of a plan (unlocked) here in the U.S. The Optimus 4X HD is the first quad-core LG smartphone, and it boasts a very high end spec sheet.
The question is, does the phone manage to outshine its Bruce Banner exterior to show off what it's Hulk-scale guts are capable of? In short: yes. It turns out that what the Optimus 4X HD lacks in external appeal is more than made up for by its good nature and brainy innards.
The Silencio 650 not only resembles a cleaner version of Cooler Master's more aggressive HAF series, but it touts many attractive features, chief among which is sound absorbing foam mats and specially designed air vents to minimize noise while maintaining low operating temps.
The Silencio's ability to muffle high-end hardware is undoubtedly its key selling point, but there's plenty more to see here. Other noteworthy features include a "DualBoot HDD Switch" for toggling between OSes, a fan speed controller, a memory card reader, 1amp USB 3.0 ports for charging smartphones and tablets, as well as X-Dock, Cooler Master's hot-swappable 2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD drive bay.
Although nothing used to match the GeForce GTX 670's price-to-performance ratio, its $400 entry fee remained a steep one. Gamers who wanted to spend less were left with the $230 HD 7850, the $300 HD 7870 or a card from Nvidia's last-gen lineup. Naturally, it would only be a matter of time before Nvidia tried to fill this gap with tons of hearsay about a GeForce GTX 660 Ti in the pipeline for a mid to late summer launch.
Well, we're here and the rumors proved true: Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 660 Ti has its crosshairs set on the HD 7870. Assuming it's priced competitively, the GTX 660 Ti seems like it could put a real hurting on AMD's offering, as it features the same DNA as existing Kepler products and boasts the same number of CUDA cores and texture units as the GTX 670.
Massively multiplayer online gamers have different needs than those of first-person shooter or real-time strategy fans. They need social interaction. They need extremely comfortable chairs. But most of all they need buttons. So many buttons.
PC peripheral manufacturers have sensed this need and have responded with specialized MMO mice featuring so many buttons. Today we take a look at three of them — the Logitech G600, the Razer Naga 2012 and the Cyborg M.M.O. 7 from Mad Catz — to determine which is most worthy of your MMOney.
The Iconia Tab A700 is Acer's latest update to its Android tablet line-up. Featuring Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a quad-core processor, the A700's claim to fame is its new 1920 x 1200 pixel, full HD display. Needless to say, it's a considerable step up from the 1280 x 800 pixel displays Acer used on the A500 and A510.
The Acer Iconia Tab A700 should look familiar to anyone who has seen or used a 10-inch Android tablet before. The tablet's dimensions and 16:10 aspect ratio display lend it much more to use in landscape orientation than in portrait -- something that is frequently said about 10-inch Android tablets.
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