ECS GeForce 8500 GT 512MB review

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Gaming test: F.E.A.R

As many of you will be aware, F.E.A.R (or First Encounter Assault & Recon for short) involves a rather mysterious looking girl in a red dress, a man with an unappetizing taste for human flesh and some rather flashy action set pieces al la' The Matrix. All of this is brought together by one of the best game engines around.

F.E.A.R makes its cinematic pretensions clear from the start. As soon as the credits roll, and the music starts, you are treated to the full works. The camera pans across scores of troops locked 'n' loaded and ready to hunt you down, all seemingly linked to 'Paxton Fettel', a strange kind of guy with extraordinary psychic power capable of controlling battalions of soldiers and a habit of feeding off any poor unfortunate innocents - presumably to aid his powers of concentration. It doesnt end there, after a short briefing at F.E.A.R. HQ you are sent off to hunt down Fettel equipped with reflex's that are 'off the chart'. These reflexes are put to excellent use, with a slow motion effects like that of Max Payne, or the afore mentioned Matrix. But here, it is oooohhhh so much more satisfying thanks to the outstanding environmental effects. Sparks fly everywhere, as chunks of masonry are blasted from the walls and blood splatters from your latest victim. The physics are just great, with box's sent flying, shelves tipped over, and objects hurtling towards your head. And the explosions, well, the explosions just have to be seen, and what's so great about this is you can witness it in all its glory in slow motion.

Let me confirm to you that based on this F.E.A.R. will have you shaking on the edge of your seat, if not falling off it. The tension is brought to just the right level with key moments that will make your heart leap. Play the demo and you will see what I mean. The key to this is the girl. Without revealing anything significant, lets just say that she could take on the whole of Mars for creepiness.

F.E.A.R has a built in performance test which we used to measure performance, you should try it yourself it's actually really fun to look and compare with our results. F.E.A.R is a tough title for the graphics cards; especially when you configure it to maximum image quality.

Enabled in the above charts are 4xAA and 16xAF, and again we see unplayable situations. Peek at the next chart.

Indeed, once we disable AA again we see the framerate almost double up, the game is now playable up-to 1280x960.

Gaming test: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

Captain Scott Mitchell commands the Ghosts and Special Forces allies equipped with the IWS in a quest to save the world once again. Thoroughly researched and detailed environments will deliver complete immersion into the future of urban warfare.

Don't mistake the PC version for being a port of the Xbox 360 game. The PC version has larger and different levels than those featured on the Xbox 360, as well as a different graphics engine and style of gameplay. The game itself looks great and the intricate physics modeling seen in the single-player version is still active in the multiplayer version. In fact, it's so detailed that if you have the Ageia physics card, you'll see sparks bouncing off objects in the environment. There are all sorts of other interactions you'll encounter in multiplayer. For instance, aluminum cans litter the street and stepping on them not only kicks them around, but also creates a loud sound that may betray your presence to the enemy.

GRAW I am afraid is a no go unless you overclock... have a peek at the next page. [Ed (Ant) - Like you havent given too much away already!!)]

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