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.
What we did today was include results from the most recent GeForce cards we tested. So when you look at the charts you are looking at the following cards:
- GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB Sparkle Calibre
- GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB BFG
- GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB XFX
- GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB eVGA ACS3
- GeForce 8800 GTX 768 MB NVIDIA reference model
In the above chart you can see the results with HDR enabled and 16 levels of anisotropic filtering enabled. This actually is my preferred personal IQ setting for pretty much all games.
Serious Sam 2 is getting a little dated thus we see flat out CPU limitation up-to 1280x1024. This is the point where your graphics cards could render faster yet the CPU is not providing geometry fast enough.
Let's move on towards less CPU bound games ...
War Front: Turning Point
For those who just cannot get enough of the Second World War, War Front: Turning Point offers enough spin on the traditional model to offer a very satisfying experience. Graphically, the game is great, and is configured to run on a myriad of systems with different specs. Higher-end PCs will be treated to a nice amount of eye candy, including detailed vehicles, great environments and excellent special and explosion effects.
We enabled all possible eye-candy and with 4xAA and 16xAF at 2560x1600 we can still play brilliantly.
Now what we'll constantly have been saying in this reviews is this... up-to a resolutions of roughly 1920x1200 framebuffer (graphics card memory) is not an issue. Have a look at 2560x1600 and compare the 512MB graphics cards with the 320MB GTS model. A perfect example of limitation of the framebuffer size.
Still it's amazing though. At 1920x1200 the 320MB GTS from Sparkle is even faster than the previous generation flagship product the 7900 GTX 512MB. So that's a lot of raw computational power.