Marius Gheorghe

Building software : make it work, make it good, make it fast

Playing lately

Mini reviews of stuff i've finished lately (and i use the term "lately" very loosely...basically since the beginning of the year) :

Ni No Kuni - Wrath of the white witch (PS3)

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Ni No Kuni is by far the best JRPGS released in a while. It's a charming game with interesting characters and is the only game that looks like you're playing a cartoon (there a a few cel shaded games out there but Ni No Kuni looks better than any of them).

DmC Devil May Cry (X360)

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I really enjoy this "reboot". The fighting, story, cheesiness, graphics ....all of them pretty good. I hope Ninja Theory does a sequel.

Crysis 3 (PC)

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On PC (1900x1200 and high settings) there are a few areas where Crysis 3 looks absolutely incredible. Unfortunately the rest (story, scripting, AI etc) are not that great.

God of War Ascension (PS3)

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I was hoping for a game as great as God of War 3 but , unfortunately, this prequel doesn't deliver the goods. The single player campaign is not as impressive as GOW3,the game is buggy and the story is just plain uninteresting. Also what's the idea on doing a multiplayer focus game in a franchise known for its single player ?! Anyway, hopefully this is the last game about Kratos and they move on to more interesting stuff on the PS4.

Tomb Raider (PC)

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The Tomb Raider reboot is pretty good. The game is VERY different from the older ones (the reboot is very similar with the Uncharted serie) so don't expect the puzzles and the same feeling of exploration from the old games. The new game is much more action orientated with a heavy dose of QTEs and some simplistic puzzles. Despite the differences i still liked the game.

Dead Space 3 (PC)

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It's almost ok overall. Too bad the game become all action and no horror. The first game was absolutely great....but the sequels become increasingly action based and the quality of the story goes down the drain.

Gears of War Judgement (X360)

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It's surprising to me how good the Gears gameplay formula still "holds up" after all these years. Gears is still the best 3rd person shooter on the market and Judgement simply reinforces that.

On PS4 and x86

Just wanted to comment about Sony going with a x86 machine (and especially with what AMD calls "APU"). The reality is that they didn't really a choice but go with x86 because :

1. ARM . It's missing basic things such as branch prediction. Totally unsuitable for a game console.

2. PowerPC. Either wait for POWER8 or something like Cell2 (eg Cell with higher clock rate and more SPUs). POWER8 could have been a interesting choice (but apparently will be out in 2014 so that means Microsoft could have launched first again).

3.x86. Intel or AMD. Something like a high clocked dual core i5 in a game console would have been interesting but there are 2 large disadvantages : - power consumption. High power consumption means heat and heat is very bad for a compact design like a game console. After the YLOD/RROD fiasco i'm sure both MS and Sony are thinking a lot more about hardware reliability. - expensive and not being able to "own" the IP. Intel is (very) expensive and Sony could have never been able to produce the CPU themselves or by a 3rd party.

So basically that left them with AMD. What's interesting is why both MS and Sony went with a APU design (Jaguar) instead of a Phenom (for instance). Compared to a regular desktop CPU (like i7/Phenom) a APU has 2 distinctive advantages :
- it has low power consumption with a very interesting power consumption mode (apparently the Jaguar can tun off unused cores when idle).
- the GPU is on the same die as the CPU. This has a lot of advantages for a "compact" design of a game console. Share the RAM between CPU and GPU, smaller latency, better cooling and higher yields (since it's only 1 chip).

Overall the PS4 seems very interesting. Let's see what Microsoft does...