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.
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.
The trailer above loudly announces that Dirt Showdown will be released on May 25. A demo will be released on Steam in a couple of weeks on May 1 if you fancy trying out Showdown's lively, arcade slant on the relatively serious rallying of the core Dirt games. That'll let us crash a selection of cars across a "solo and multiplayer event."
Showdown features rough and tumble races set amid boisterous carnival locations. Expect ramps, choke points, stunts and plenty of collisions. Previous trailers have shown crashes on the 8 ball arena, crashes in the midst of crowded night time contests and crashes during frantic midday bouts. If that's not enough crashing, there's a destruction derby mode solely devoted to dishing out points for big hits.
If you're to get hold of Showdown early, the "Hoonigan Edition" should be available to pre-order from Game and Gamestation, though the PC version doesn't seem to be there at the moment. The Hoonigan version comes with some extra car liveries, and online XP bonus and some extra in-game cash to spend on your cars. Check out the Dirt Showdown site for more.
Codemasters stopped by earlier with a preview build of Dirt: Showdown. It's living up to its billing as a more accessible, rough and tumble take on the carefully simulated physics of Dirt 3. You won't find any serious Rallying here, it's all about going wheel to wheel with your competitors, ploughing them into barriers and boosting past them to steal the win with brute force.
We'll have some more detailed impressions for you in a bit. Meanwhile, here's three new videos of three of the different modes available in Dirt 3, including your racing, demolition derby and more of the 8 ball circuit shown in the last Dirt: Showdown trailer. Click 'Read and Comment' for more VRRRRRM-SMASH.
Dirt Showdown bears the Dirt name associated with Colin McRae and, once upon a time, serious rally racing, but is really more of an arcade spin-off. This new trailer shows off an "8 Ball" course. It's like those Hot Wheels toys where you'd launch cars down convoluted tracks towards a central crash site, where they'd collide and fly off to hit your dog in the eye. This time, you're inside those cars, and some of them are spouting fire.
Showdown's focus is on Destruction Derbies and "full contact" racing, with lots of ramps and choke points, and will apparently make use of "gaming's most advanced damage engine." Move aside, Frostbite 2! It's due out in May and was announced with an announcement trailer a few weeks ago which looked a little bit like this.
Whoa. When did PC gaming become so damn... award-winning?
PC has cleaned up at the Golden Joystick awards with a wealth of exclusives. And the non PC exclusive games that took an award? We get to play most of those too, only more anti aliased, and in a better resolution.
The best bit? Gamers voted for these. Real-life gamers with strong opinons. A record-breaking 2.06 million of them in fact. Well done PC gaming community - you rose to the challenge and pwned.
Click through for the full results. Don't agree with some of the winners? It's time for a furious debate. See you in the comments.
PC dominated the Best Strategy category: Starcraft 2 took the number one spot, followed by Civilisation V and Shogun 2: Total War. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was awarded Best Action game and Fallout: New Vegas took Best RPG.
World of Warcraft took Best Subscription MMO, beating Rift and Eve Online. One of PC Gamer's faves - Minecraft - was awarded Best Downloadable Game. We'll have Notch's acceptance speech on the site as soon as possible.
League of Legends scooped Best Free-To-Play Game - considering the numbers and constant updates, it's hard to disagree.
Portal 2 took Ultimate Game of the Year at the prestigious ceremony. Seeing as we have the ultimate version of Portal 2, we'll take that as ANOTHER win for PC gaming.
Skyrim took the One To Watch award. We've been keeping a close eye on that one. And yes, it is indeed one to watch.
Best Action Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Runner Up Portal 2 Third place L.A. Noire
Best Mobile Angry Birds Rio Runner up Fruit Ninja Third place Infinity Blade
Best RPG Fallout New Vegas Runner up The Witcher 2: Assassin's Of Kings Third Place Dragon Age II
Best subscription MMO Winner World of Warcraft Runner up Rift Third place Eve Online
Best Fighting Mortal Kombat Runner up Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Third place Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
Best Racing Gran Turismo 5 Runner up DiRT 3 Third place Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Best Sports FIFA 11 Runner up Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Third place NHL 2011
Best Strategy Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Second place Civilization V Third place Total War: Shogun 2
Best Music Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Second place Rock Band 3 Third place Child of Eden
Best Free-to-play League of Legends Second place World Of Tanks Third place RuneScape
Best Downloadable Minecraft Second place Limbo Third place Dead Nation
Best Shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops Second place Halo: Reach Third place Crysis 2
One to Watch The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Second place Battlefield 3 Third place Guild Wars 2
Innovation of the Year Nintendo 3DS
Outstanding Contribution Sonic The Hedgehog
Ultimate Game of the Year Portal 2 Second place Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Third place Call of Duty: Black Ops
BioShock Infinite stole the show at E3, and now it steals our September issue cover with an in-depth look at the high-flying shooter sequel and interviews with Ken Levine and his team at Irrational. We also got hands-on with two real-time strategy heavyweights, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Age of Empires Online, took an exclusive look at Diablo III’s followers, and reviewed indie tactical strategy hit Frozen Synapse and gorgeous racer DiRT 3. Oh, and we show you how you can strap a heavy machine gun to a cow in Arma 2.
The Dirt 3 Monte Carlo track pack is set to arrive on Games for Windows Marketplace later today. The pack adds eight new rally stages featuring "the dramatic climbs, descents and hairpins of snowy mountain roads." The tracks will travel over the Alps and through the Col de Turini pass, a famous Monte Carlo rally stage known for its tight hairpins and the fact that, until recently, it was driven at night. Codemasters have released ten screenshots of the new stages on their Facebook pages. You'll find them below.
I have the feet of a mad organist. My pedal set was pushed to one side half an hour ago, but under the desk my soles are still stamping the brake and feathering the throttle. They’re restless. They want to be playing DiRT 3 again.
Don’t fret, feet. Once I’ve explained to the good boys and girls just how brilliant this driving-fartoo- fast-on-unmetalled-roads game is then we’ll be straight off to Finland, or Kenya, or that wild, snow-sprinkled highway in Norway that you love so much.
Codies have nailed it. They’ve produced a worthy sequel to the rollicking, Rio Carnival of a rally that was DiRT 2 (PCG 209, 88%). The new menu system – all spinny pyramids and brooding Battersea Power Station – doesn’t have half the charm of the Winnebago-based one. But where it really matters, out on the dirt, the new one is more than a match for the old.
Once again, we get a bulging chocolate box full of different race disciplines and vehicle types. Pure rally events nestle in alongside boisterous rallycross circuit races; bouncy buggy derbies jostle in tense head-to-head stadium duels and knuckle-blanching Trailblazer speed runs. By the time you reach the end of the hefty four-season career mode and get stuck into the well-equipped multiplayer, you’ll have calluses on your hands the size of wheel nuts.
Pippa Funnell fans may be disappointed by the pony-free nature of the new Gymkhana events, but I think freestyle car trickery is a perfect foil to all the A-to-B motoring. The same skill set comes into play in the recreational DC Compound. Unlocked piecemeal, this Battersea wasteland is littered with optional challenges and tempting opportunities for arsing about. Drift through giant pipes, donut around a digger bucket, twirl 180 degrees while jumping… It’s joyful stuff but murder on your logoplastered bodywork.
Crystalline water is another of DiRT 3’s admirable additions. Whether it’s taunting your tyres or blowing in flurries across your windscreen, the cold white stuff transforms pace and mood. Add a squiggly mountain road and the headlight-speared darkness of a Scandinavian night and you’ve got the recipe for some of the most atmospheric automotive action imaginable. The EGO engine’s Turner-esque talent for landscape and light remains impressive. Even owners of elderly rigs can expect moments of startling beauty
Talking of ageing technology, the 50-strong vehicle selection includes a range of ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s machines that are sure to please the generation of gamers taught road safety by huge squirrels and crappy superheroes. Tearing along the game’s forest tracks in vintage Ford Escorts, Opel Mantas and Audi Quattros is as delightful as it is horribly dangerous. I just wish the rides were a tad more talkative.
If you’re a SimBin veteran, you’re likely to find the lack of audio feedback from tyres, transmissions and brakes mildly perturbing. The cars handle intuitively, though, especially when you’ve tweaked things such as brake bias and gear ratios to suit your driving style. However, a few more catastrophe cues would have been useful.
Some smarter co-drivers wouldn’t have gone amiss, either. The current batch can be a little overeager when it comes to pace notes. When you’re haring towards a hairpin at 100mph or more, it’s not particularly helpful to hear, “Easy left – opens” from the passenger seat.
But enough nitpicking. You’ve got a dazzlingly varied, relentlessly entertaining rally celebration to buy. I’ve got a pair of increasingly exasperated feet to placate.
"Racing never stops" is the subtitle of the Dirt 3 launch trailer, which suggests a bold new take on racing in which there are no finish lines, only an eternity of overtaking. In reality, the new video celebrates the launch of Codemaster's highly anticipated new racer with plenty of exciting footage of impossibly slick super-cars sliding around icy courses. The game is out now, worldwide. You can find out more about the game on the official Dirt 3 site.