ECS GeForce 8500 GT 512MB review

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Gaming test: Serious Sam 2

March 2001, developer Croteam released the original Serious Sam for the PC and pretty much made other standard first person shooters look like they were in neutral. The game, along with its stand alone follow up The Second Encounter, had an impressive graphics engine, huge outdoor environments, some wacky weapons, a fun co-op mode, and most importantly some of the numerous and strangest enemies in FPS history. When players first saw the headless bomb filled suicide attacker charging at them full blast with a blood curdling scream, they knew that this game was something special.

Four and a half years later, Croteam's turn return to the plate with Serious Sam 2 and while it's basic gameplay hasn't changed it has enough new features to make it a fun and solid follow up to the original. The graphics are also greatly improved. Like the first, there is a story in Serious Sam 2 (there are even some extended cut scenes that pull the story forward) but you can pretty much ignore this aspect. It's all about "Serious" Sam Stone going from point A to point B and blowing up everything that gets in his way.

Constantly flaunting a huge draw distance, extensive foliage, many impressive lighting effects such as refraction and even HDR, plus more than solid framerates, the Serious Engine 2 looks like a real beast.

In the above chart you can see the results with HDR and 16 levels of anisotropic filtering enabled. No problems here. For 90 bucks you get to have good performance. But... keep monitoring that HD 2600 XT please.

Gaming test: Battlefield 2 - EA

The award-winning Battlefield franchise invades the high tech frontlines of modern warfare in the new sequel, Battlefield 2. The game brings the intensity and excitement of Battlefield 1942 into the modern era with enhanced team play and the latest, most technologically advanced vehicles and weapons systems available to man.

I just love what this game can do in terms of gameplay and the image quality it brings us. We had to use FRAPS to measure the performance and by use of the game command prompt remove a nasty framerate cap. The results do not lie. 1280x960 is a possibility... even with anti-aliasing enabled.

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