On the cusp of an open multiplayer beta for Crytek's maximally lustrous Crysis 3, Nvidia released an early version of its GeForce 313.95 drivers today. The GPU giant claims the drivers boost SLI performance for Crysis 3 by up to 35 percent in addition to other "sizeable SLI and single-GPU performance gains" in games such as Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3.
Nvidia says users should expect a 27 percent gain in graphics performance while playing Assassin's Creed III, 19 percent in Civilization V, and 14 percent for both Call of Duty: Black Ops II and DiRT 3. Just Cause 2 improves by 11 percent, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, F1 2012, and Far Cry 3 all improve by 10 percent.
Demonstrating its mastery over orderly green bars, Nvidia also supplied benchmark charts for these games using four of its most recent cards: the GTX 650, 660 Ti, 680, and 690. With the 313.95 drivers, the company declares GTX 690 users can max out all settings in Crysis 3 and still achieve 60 FPS.
Grab the new drivers and check out the charts at Nvidia's website. Also try out the GeForce Experience—which we've talked about at length—to automatically optimize and configure your games based on your PC's hardware.
Contrary to popular belief, the anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset doesn't run on pixie dust and elf tears. Like all hardware, it needs software drivers. And while its 20-year-old creator, Palmer Luckey, focuses on manufacturing more developer kits to meet the exceedingly high demand, enthusiastic 3D fans are already planning homebrewed custom drivers. One such project is CyberReality's Vireio Perception which extends Rift 3D support to first-person greats such as Portal 2, Skyrim, Mirror's Edge, and Left 4 Dead.
As CyberReality describes it, Vireio (or Virtual Reality Input Output, but we like how the shorthand name sounds like an enemy boss) can "pre-warp the image to match the Oculus Rift optics, handle custom aspect-ratios (needed for the Rift's strange 8:10 screen), and utilize full 3D head-tracking." As we describe it: Whoa.
The drivers work with nine games so far: Left 4 Dead, Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Skyrim, Mirror's Edge, AaAaAA!!!, Unreal Tournament 3, Dear Esther, and DiRT 2. CyberReality plans to add additional games in the future after spending more time with the kit. If all goes well, the possibilities are enormous: Think of revisiting classics such as Thief or Deus Ex with full head-tracking vision. Oh, yes, this is exciting.
The Dirt series has always been a kooky marriage between Codemasters’ Colin McRae roots and the extreme (and extremely marketable) excess of ESPN’s X Games. Dirt Showdown dispenses with rallying altogether; instead it’s a showcase of arcade racing and trick-based showmanship, topped off with an overzealous announcer and wobbly dubstep.
Yet despite the focus on speed and destruction, Showdown is the most schizophrenic Dirt to date. The excellent car handling model that has evolved over the previous games – realistic yet accessible – sits uncomfortably against such arcade trappings as the purely cosmetic damage system or rechargeable nitrous. Boost slowly builds up as you drive, but to get a bigger increase you’ll need to ram, shunt and T-bone your way through the field. The problem is that bone-shattering crunches into another racer are as likely to put you sideways into a wall. The AI cars have a tendency to cluster together, so you’ll find yourself at the back of the pack before you’ve had time to adjust.
It’s a problem compounded by the lack of flashbacks, which in previous games let you rewind mistakes to have another go. In Showdown, when those mistakes are as much about luck as your own skill, losing this feature can frustrate. In the figure-of- eight circuits of 8-Ball mode, wrecking out at the last corner from a side-on hit is infuriating.
It means that in races, your best tactic is to ignore the additions and just race, using Boost in the few occasions that it’s available, but otherwise concentrating on a clean run to the finish line. Despite a lacklustre start on the bland Miami track, once you progress to later seasons and get to race on the snowcovered Colorado or neon-lit Tokyo, it’s a lot of fun. But this is ground that was covered before and better in Dirts 2 and 3.
Two other event types are included, each with their own set of cars to unlock and upgrade, and both feel more at home in Showdown’s roster. Demolition, including the destruction derbies of Rampage and Knock Out, and the Hard Target assassination mode, are romps of vehicular violence. Meanwhile, ‘Hoonigan’ events favour precision and skill, and as such are the only modes to feature flashback rewinds and licensed vehicles (including, brilliantly, a classic Mini Cooper). Gymkhana trick-runs make a return appearance, but the highlight is the Smash Hunt challenge. Here you target specific coloured foam blocks in a strangely compelling mixture of Simon Says and a driving test.
In all it’s a lot of game modes, spread out over multiple courses. But even with the variety, Showdown’s ultimately lightweight: you’ll fly through the campaign. It’s good, and at times even great, but comes across like an expansion to tide you over until the next proper release
Race, crash and hoon your way through a world tour of motorized mayhem in DiRT Showdown! Crowd atmosphere, social gameplay and accessibility are all ramped up in this turbo- injected shot of driving delirium. Smash down the accelerator and earn the adulation of frenzied crowds at hyper-energised events at iconic locations. Trick, speed and smash your way to victory, then do it again.
DiRT Showdown is now available for Pre-purchase on Steam and 10% off!
Race, crash and hoon your way through a world tour of motorised mayhem in DiRT Showdown! Crowd atmosphere, social gameplay and accessibility are all ramped up in this turbo- injected shot of driving delirium. Smash down the accelerator and earn the adulation of frenzied crowds at hyper-energised events at iconic locations. Trick, speed and smash your way to victory, then do it again.
UK-based Publisher and developer Codemasters have given up making shooters, choosing instead to focus on racing games. The company have launched a new publishing label - Codemasters Racing - that will be responsible for putting out Codemasters' upcoming games. They include the inconsistently capitalised but consistently good DiRT rally series, and the similarly speedy official F1 games.
Codemasters' comms chief Rich Eddy clarified the change to MCV. "In racing, we are number two in Europe and that’s not good enough. Racing is our DNA, it is our heritage, it is our specialisation and it is our absolute focus going forward." No clues as to where that leaves Dizzy in this shakeup.
DiRT Showdown will be the first gAmE (that's how you do it, right?) to be released under the new imprint. The change is surely a good move for the publisher. They're pack leaders in the racing oeuvre, but recent forays out of it haven't met with much success. A focus of assets and resources on the games they're best at makes sense.