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Everything posted by angshuman

  1. From what I've seen thus far (about 2 hours), the dialogue writing and voice-acting quality seems to be at par with KOTOR and Jade Empire (I haven't played Oblivion). The new dialogue choice system isn't offering a vastly different experience from previous Bioware games (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). It works, you feel at home. The only major difference is that the character facial animation and body language during dialogue delivery are superb. It's far from perfect, but a big improvement over any other game I've seen. One thing that's been really annoying is the UI. It's not intuitive, and even after you get familiar with it, some things are really annoying, e.g., inventory management, and cycling through NPC's and items you can interact with. I think it's a combination of stupid design decisions and not enough playtesting to polish and finetune the systems. I'm getting used to the combat, though I hate not being able to micromanage my squadmates. Shepard's combat, though, can be micromanaged (this might not be apparent from the videos), but actually doing this turns out to be a bit tedious. The game's presentation is simply outstanding; the music, graphics and artistic vision come together to give the game a very unique larger-than-life feel. Of course, this wears off slowly as you get more immersed, but the initial impact is definitely significant. Ignoring the annoying quirks and the stellar presentation, I'm finding the game quite enjoyable. The story hasn't developed much since I've only played a little beyond the prologue chapter. I'm really enjoying walking around the Citadel and taking in the gameworld, and reading up all the Codex (an in-game encyclopedia) entries on what seems to be an interesting and well thought-out universe.
  2. Alright, I caved in (yeah right )... it's sitting on my desk right now, and it's only 10am. This is going to be a long day at work
  3. Fair enough. There does seem to be a wide variation in observed times though. The Gamespot reviewer said to expect ~40 hours. I guess the main storyline is 10-15 hours and starting from there you can pad it with sidequests (and those dreadful-sounding mining missions). I hope the sidequests are good and do not feel completely disjointed from the plot.
  4. I can live with a texture pop-in, if it predominantly occurs immediately after a new level loads. I can also live with a "could-be-completed" time of 10 hours. Hell, KotOR can be completed in 3 hours and BG2:SoA in 1, but most players take a lot more. Suicidal party members, though, is probably going to get annoying really fast, especially without the ability to control them properly. I'm not happy with the (seemingly) dumbed-down character customization either.
  5. A lot of these reviews seem to be approaching Mass Effect's combat system from a shooter angle, despite reviewing the rest of the game as a typical Bioware RPG. The IGN reviewer makes a good number of informative comments, and then goes on to make the following stupid observation: "Once you've unlocked a good number of powers and know how to work within the system, you'll find the combat has its charms. It never approaches the fluidity of the top tier shooters, but it blows most of the RPG competition out of the water." What the hell? Perhaps he meant to say that Bioware attempted to bridge the gap between the depth and control of a turn-based/real-time hybrid system and the pace and fluidity of a shooter, but ended up alienating both camps. That would have made sense. Review scores have never been meaningful, but I usually expect some worthwhile unbiased information from review texts without having to deduce the reviewer's biases and then reconstruct the entire review in my head. I guess it's possible though that Bioware specifically asked these review websites to review the combat as a shooter with the intention of capturing some of that market.
  6. 8800GT is equal to or outperforms the 320MB 8800GTS on most benchmarks, has more memory, runs cooler, occupies half the space, and costs less.
  7. I don't know about Vista, but the XP drivers are absolutely terrible. Not just the latest Beta, but the past several WHQLs too. Of late, my system had been showing instability, games were performing poorly, and some games would randomly freeze the system temporarily before resuming again. I had attributed this to common stuff like undetectable rootkits/spyware in Windows, blown-out GPU pipelines due to overclocking, general system bloat and of course more advanced game engines. But when I saw HL2 Episode 2 running at 25fps with random severe slowdowns to single-digits, I figured something was just not right. So I tried "downgrading" to 91.31, and surprise, surprise... my system's completely stable, performance has jumped in games, and no random glitches, slowdowns or freezes. Some games complain that the drivers are too old, but they all run fine.
  8. I'll second that. It's especially true of the last few Nvidia drivers.
  9. For PSU's, look at the amperage (A) rating on the 12V rail(s). I'm not entirely sure what requirements the latest GPUs/CPUs have, but a couple of years back dual-rail 12V PSU's with ~18Amps per rail (total 36A) was considered good, and single-rail 12V's with 30A-35A was good.
  10. For non-media center PC's with WinXP Home or Pro, you need to download a little piece of malware from Microsoft called Zune. Zune sets up the streaming services required to stream media from your PC to your 360. You need to import your media files into Zune's library in order to be able to stream them. Once you have Zune up and running, fire up your 360, tell it that you already have your PC configured, and it should start searching your network. My 360 shows two versions of my Windows XP accounts. One version has the pink Zune icon next to it, select it and you should be good to go.
  11. That's why I love Ubuntu. Restricted modules package gets updated along with the kernel, so nothing breaks. Plus, Lucian's building a server, so the standard open source X driver (nv) should suffice, and in fact be given preference over nvidia's closed package (assuming he intends to connect a graphical terminal to the server at all).
  12. You could also opt to wait for the upcoming (November, I think) G92-based 8800GT. It outperforms the 8800GTS, costs less, draws less power and comes with an elegant single-slot cooler.
  13. Performance/efficiency of two different game engines is extremely hard to compare unless you are running exactly the same artistic content on both platforms. I've seen one home-brew effort at attempting to run HL2 content on the Doom3 engine, but apart from that it's unlikely we are ever going to see an apples-to-apples comparison of two completely different engines. Furthermore, the fact that these two engines have completely different design goals and strengths/weaknesses (Doom = fully dynamic lighting and shadows, Source = "traditional" static global illumination, huge high-res textures) makes such comparisons meaningless. Artistic content is developed to exploit the strengths of the particular engine. Having said that, on my old 6600GT, Doom3 could barely maintain a steady 30fps while HL2 kept a consistent 50+ fps for the most part. Whether this is due to the nature of the content or a property of the engine itself is hard to determine.
  14. Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PS3 has been released. Gamespot has a review up.
  15. I didn't like the entire tairon-on-alert chapter. Too much bow action. BTW have you folks checked out the latest Sigma trailer (PS3) on Gamespot?
  16. You can get an Optoma HD70 for under $1000.
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