Sparkle GeForce 9600 GT Passive review

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11 - Game Performance: S.t.a.l.k.e.r. | F.e.a.r.

Gaming: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Shadow of Chernobyl

Shortly after another disaster in Chernobyl, the authorities surround the area with the Russian equivalent of the U.S. National Guard, and they begin to hear weird screams and rumblings coming from within. After a while though, most of them are returned to earlier posts. Curiosity gets the better of some people, so they sneak into the 30-kilometer area to do some good old-fashioned investigating. These people are called Stalkers, and they report back to the authorities with their findings.

The 3D engine shines in a few key areas, all crucial in shaping the game's atmosphere. It's got a huge draw distance, which leads to the palpable feeling that this is a big world. Lighting and shadowing are its other big strengths. For this benchmark we have the in-game settings at maximum (AA/AF enabled), Dynamic lighting was enabled.

Image Quality setting:

  • In-game Software Anti Aliasing enabled
  • 16x anisotropic filtering
  • Dynamic lighting enabled

Stalker we set at maximum quality settings, we enable everything possible, also dynamic lighting. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. does not support hardware anti-aliasing, yet uses a software applied method which is enabled as well.

Copyright 2008

Gaming: F.E.A.R.

As many of you will be aware, F.E.A.R (or First Encounter Assault & Recon in 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 aka 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 reflexes that are 'off the chart'. These reflexes are put to excellent use, with a slow motion effects like that of Max Payne, or the before 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 boxes 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.

Image Quality setting:

  • 4x Anti Aliasing
  • 16x anisotropic filtering
  • Soft Shadows Disabled

F.E.A.R. has a built in test which we used to measure performance, you should try it yourself, it's actually really fun to look and compare with our results. Yet F.E.A.R. after all this time still is a tough title for the graphics cards; especially when you configure it to maximum image quality. This game is heavily pixel shaded and shows some dark and creepy effects.

Again 4xAA and 16xAF where applied here. All settings to high, no soft shadows.

 Copyright 2008

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