Document Sample
CHIP_INSIDER_DEC2011 Powered By Docstoc
					YOUR GUIDE TO TECHNOLOGY TRENDS                  Supplement to CHIP December 2011


Rockstar Games brings back the franchise
that revolutionized the action games genre

              EXCLUSIVE REVIEW
 THE          EXCLUSIVE       REVIEWS:
 BIGGEST      HANDS-ON:       Modern Warfare 3

 GAMES        THE DARKNESS II Uncharted 3
                              Battlefield 3
      2012                        NFS: The Run
                                  and more

6  EXCLUSIVE HANDS-ON:                      18RA.ONE: THE GAME                         6
THE DARKNESS II                            REVIEW
Digital Extremes puts a new spin on        India's first India-developed PS3
Srarbreeze's supernatural FPS.             game fares no better than its PS2
RUN REVIEW                                  20THE BIGGEST GAMES
Black Box returns to the helm, but fails   OF 2012
to top Criterion's effort.                 2011's nearly done, and its time to look
                                           forward to more great games next year.
BUDGET MICE                                  BUILD YOUR OWN
Get the competitive edge with our pick     GAMING RIG                                  8
of great gaming mice.                      Whether you're on a tight budget or no
                                           budget at all, we've got the rig for you.
MAX PAYNE 3                                  CALL OF DUTY: MODERN
We bring you an exclusive preview of       WARFARE 3 REVIEW
Rockstar's new action shooter.             Does Infinity Ward push the envelope
                                           again, or is it more of the same?
REVELATIONS REVIEW                          40   BATTLEFIELD 3 REVIEW
Ezio's time has come to an end. Does       After all the trash talk, we find out of
Ubisoft manage a fitting farewell?         DICE manages a fitting CoD competitor.



Hitman, Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, Max Payne, Devil
May Cry, Resident Evil, and more - all coming in 2012.
                                                        16 ASSASSIN'S CREED:
                                                        REVELATIONS REVIEW
                                                        Ezio travels to Constantinople for the
                                                        latest in this blockbuster franchise.

                                                                         MANAGING EDITOR
44 THE ELDER SCROLLS V:                                                 Hatim Kantawalla
SKYRIM HANDS-ON                                                            DEPUTY EDITOR
Bethesda has another winner on its                                         Jamshed Avari
hands. We recount our experience with                                        COPY EDITOR
the game so far.                                                            Sameer Desai
                                                              CHANNEL EDITOR GAMING , TECH2
                                                                             Avinash Bali
46 GRAND THEFT AUTO V                                                      CONTRIBUTORS
WISHLIST                                                     Rossi Fernandes, Roydon Cerejo
The world is abuzz with rumors and                                  SENIOR FEATURE WRITER
speculation around GTAV. We join in with     48                            Priyanka Tilve
our own wishlist.                                                    PROJECT COORDINATORS
                                                             Rajesh D'Souza, Gautami Chalke
48 UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE'S                                               SENIOR ART DIRECTOR
DECEPTION REVIEW                                                       ASHWIN R BORICHA
Does Naughty Dog manage to do                                             SENIOR DESIGNER
                                                                        Hemali Limbachiya
the impossible and deliver a sequel
to arguably the best game of this
                                                             Sachin Pandit, Chaitanya Surpur
                                                                        COLOR CORRECTION
                                                                            Sanjay Shelar
                                                                             HEAD OFFICE
                                                          Intelligent Computing CHIP, Infomedia 18 Limited,
                                                         'A' Wing, Ruby House, 2nd Floor, J.K. Sawant Marg,
                                                                  Dadar (W), Mumbai - 400 028. INDIA
                                                           Phone: (91 22) 3024 5000, Fax: (91 22) 3003 4499

                                                           SMS US
                                                        SMS your feedback to us at 51818. For general comments,
                                                        create the following message: ICCO <Your comments here>
                                                        Example: ICCO The cover story was very useful

                                                        To rate a story, product review, etc look out for the story
                                                        tag at the base of each article and type:

     40   BATTLEFIELD 3 REVIEW                          ICCO <Story tag> <Rating> Example: ICCO PWS 5

                                                        The “Story tag” is mentioned at the base of every story in
     Our in-depth review goes deep into the singleand
                                                        the magazine and the “Rating” is on a scale of 1 to 5.
     multi-player components of DICE's latest.
                                                        Please keep comments to 160 characters per message!
                                                        Include your email address to help us reply.
                                    AVINASH BALI

                                    T     he year may have come to an end, but that doesn’t
                                          mean our work has slowed down. We’ve gone into
                                          overdrive with our ginormous Games of 2012
                                    feature that lists out all the awesome games coming
                                    out next year. We even flew down to Singapore to snap
                                    up an exclusive on Max Payne 3 with details you won’t
                                    find anywhere else. And finally, we’ve been burning the
                                    midnight oil trying to cram in all the latest reviews to
                                    help you make a better choice. Does Need for Speed:
                                    The Run live up to the NFS name? Is Assassin’s Creed
                                    Revelations worth your hard earned money? Is Ra.One the
                                    game really as crappy as it looks? All these questions get
                                    answered in this issue so it back, relax and prepare to be
                                    blown away (umm not in that way).


I   t’s that time of the year again when you feel like there
    just aren’t enough hours in the day. Great games are
    crawling out of the woodwork as we hopelessly try to
play them all. It’s been a hectic month, and the results
can be seen in the pages ahead, as we’ve got all the
latest games reviewed in this issue. There’s also a bit of a
hardware focus this time around, as we give you tips on
building your own gaming rig and picking the ideal gaming
mouse. The real highlight, however, is our exclusives on
Max Mayne 3 and The Darkness II, both of which look
stunning. And as if the growing backlog of unplayed games
wasn’t enough, our monster feature brings you the biggest
games to look forward to in 2012. Great games just keep
coming, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!


                                                              GRAPHIC NOIR
                                                              The Darkness had a distinct film noir styling to it, and for the sequel,
                                                              Digital Extremes has taken the art style in a new direction with what
                                                              they call ‘graphic noir’. Every frame looks like its straight out of a
                                                              graphic novel, with vibrant colors, sharp edges, and comic book-like
                                                              dark outlines around objects and characters. Every pixel looks like it’s
                                                              been hand-drawn, making The Darkness II one of the most unique and
                                                              remarkable looking games in recent memory.

            Ever felt like the character in your favorite first-person shooter could do
            with two extra arms for additional firepower? The Darkness II doesn’t
            exactly give Jackie two extra arms, but the demon arms are now way
            more versatile. Dual-wield machine guns in Jackies hands and use the
            demon arms for melee attacks, to throw objects, and lots more. You
            can control all four appendages independently, making quad-wielding a
            reality and not just a lofty claim on the back of the box.

                                                              GORE! LOTS OF GORE!
                                                              The increased control over the demon arms now allows Jackie to really
                                                              punish enemies who get to close with some of the most brutal execu-
                                                              tions we’ve ever seen. Tear enemies in half, rip their heads off and
                                                              watch blood spew in every direction; these are just a couple of the
                                                              numerous executions available in the game, with more made available
                                                              as you upgrade your skills. And we’re glad, because at times, pumping
                                                              an enemy full of lead with dual-machine guns just isn’t enough!

            PLAY YOUR WAY
            The new skill tree system in The Darkness II lets you upgrade your
            talents in areas that you enjoy the most, allowing you to tailor Jackie’s
            skills to your playing style. Prefer running and gunning? Upgrade your
            firepower with exploding rounds or increased ammo capacity. Like
            getting up close and personal with your foes? Unlock more gruesome
            executions or the ability to gain health from melee kills. This new addi-
            tion also substantially ups the game's replay value.

                                                              THE BROTHERHOOD
                                                              The mob in the first game was a motivated, but ill-equipped enemy.
                                                              The Darkness II, however, introduces the Brotherhood, a secret society
                                                              created to protect the world from the Darkness that courses through
                                                              Jackie’s veins. Your foes now know all about the Darkness and will use
                                                              light cleverly to combat it, bringing a new layer of complexity to combat
                                                              and stealth situations. This new enemy doesn’t fear you; it’s prepared
                                                              for you, and it’s coming after you.

                              The Darkness II is set for release for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in February 2012

    DECEMBER 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                           Hemali Limbachiya
                                                          EXCLUSIVE HANDS-ON          7



       It’s the NFS of old, but that just doesn’t cut it anymore.
                                                                                                                   RATING 3/5

              ince Black Box’s last Need for Speed release - Under-           information that do nothing to move the plot forward. Now,
              cover, EA has released three NFS games. While Slightly          I’ve never bought an NFS game for its story, but still, if you’re
              Mad steered the series into sim territory with the Shift        going to attempt a story with cinematic custscenes and voice
       games, Criterion took it back to what made the series most             acting from established actors, the least you can do is make it
       beloved with its reboot of Hot Pursuit. Black Box, however, has        coherent. There are a few interactive cutscenes thrown in to
       failed to recreate the magic of Most Wanted in the games that          mix things up, with what is quite possibly the most unneces-
       came after it. With The Run, it aims to bring back the story-          sary implementation of QTEs I’ve ever seen, but all they do is
       driven action driving experience that once helped NFS rule the         provide an alternative to staring at a loading screen.
       arcade racing roost. Unfortunately, the aim is way off.                    Thankfully, The Run is a racing game, so as we’ve done for
          The Run is an illegal cross-country race of high perfor-            Need for Speed games in the past, we can forgive it for its ter-
       mance cars that starts out in San Francisco and traces its way         rible plot progression. However, without a story to keep you
       through the continental US towards New York. Think of it as            interested, it’s imperative that the game deliver in the areas
       the video game version of Cannonball Run. But the game’s               where you expect it to – the cars, the tracks, the controls, and
       protagonist, Jack Rourke, isn’t just in it for money and the thrill,   the events. Like Criterion’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, what
       but he’s also on the run from the mob. Why he’s on the run             makes The Run really stand out is its locations. Since this is
       and why the mob wants him dead is never revealed, so all you           an illegal cross-country sprint across the country, you won’t
       get throughout the game is random slivers of totally irrelevant        really stick around in the same location for multiple events.

                                                                                                                                      REVIEW   9

You’re constantly moving east, through the jumpy streets of        with rivals, chases with machine gun-firing mobsters in black
Frisco, the winding roads of the Yosemite National Park, the       SUVs, and choppers, but these are few and far between and
treacherous heights of the icy Rockies, and the open expanses      do little to diminish the feeling that you’re pretty much doing
of the plains. In between, you’ll race through iconic US cities    the same all through the 3-4 hour campaign. If you’ve played
such as Las Vegas and Chicago and indulge in some high-            the demo, you were probably impressed by the set pieces
speed events on interstate highways and expressways.               in the event that had you racing straight into an avalanche.
   The game uses DICE’s famed Frostbite 2 engine, but don’t        Rest assured that this is the absolute best event in the entire
expect Battlefiled 3-level lighting or destruction. All of the     campaign, and is no indication of the quality of the rest of the
above locations look picturesque, but this clearly isn’t one       game. You’ve been warned!
of the best looking racing games on the block. The cars in            After the unfulfilling campaign, you have the Challenges
particular look quite shabby, with a very unconvincing sheen       mode to fall back on, which simply puts you in set scenarios
on them. The car roster is impressive on paper, but the way        on tracks from the campaign with preselected cars and objec-
they’re presented to you in the game couldn’t be worse. You        tives. There’s no free play mode to speak of! You could head
only have a limited selection of cars at any given point, and      online for some multi-player, where again, you won’t find
you can’t change cars between events; you’ll have to drive into    anything out of the ordinary to hold your interest. So for most
a gas station during a race to change cars, which completely       people, arriving in New York will probably be the end of their
breaks the flow. All the cars; even the otherwise nimble 370z      time with The Run. That said, completing the campaign and
and Lancer Evo, feel disconcertingly weighty and there seems       challenges and winning online does help you level up your
to be some amount of input lag while turning. You’ll need to       driver and earn random unlockables for your online profile, if
pull off some drifts on the windy tracks, but don’t expect the     you’re into that sort of thing.
handbrake to do you any favors. Most of the time, the car will        For all the Frostbite name-dropping and talk of cinematic
refuse to straighten out after a handbrake turn, so much so        set pieces, Need for Speed: The Run feels like a step back for
that after a while, I just stuck with the standard brake.          the franchise and the genre. You’ll probably enjoy your 3,000-
   The rewind feature is extensively used in arcade racers         mile romp to New

                                                                                                    GAME INFO
these days, allowing you to turn back time to a point of your      York in parts, but
choosing should you make a mistake. Rather than improving          Black Box has
on that mechanic, Black Box has regressed by using a check-        essentially stuck        RACING

point system that takes you back to the last checkpoint you        to the formula           Need for Speed: The Run
crossed. Not only does this happen when you crash, but there       that made Most           PRICE               Rs 2,999 (PS3), Rs 3,299
were also times when I was reset to my last checkpoint for         Wanted an instant                            (Xbox 360), Rs 1,499 (PC)
trying to straight-line a bend in the road. This is an illegal     classic. Unfortu-        PUBLISHER           EA

cross-country race, and one where events often have off-road       nately, that was six     DEVELOPER           Black Box
                                                                                            DISTRIBUTOR         Milestone Interactive
sections! So it seems a little unfair to penalize someone for      years ago. Since
                                                                                            PHONE               022 42764000
barely taking four wheels off the road. Equally frustrating is     then, the genre and
                                                                                            E-MAIL              sales@milestone
the rubberbanding AI. No matter how much of a lead you take,       those who enjoy                    
the game always manages to throw up a close finish.                it have moved on
   It’s in the event selection that The Run really lets you down   to better things,
                                                                                            Varied environments, familiar NFS feel
though. There are only three event types – a sprint to the fin-    while the Need for
ish line where you’re required to overtake an X number of cars;    Speed franchise is       AGAINST
an elimination event; and a checkpoint-based time trial. The       being slowly left        Control annoyances, terrible reset system, weird
                                                                                            car selection, only three event types
game does throw up one-off cop pursuits, one-one-one races         behind.

                                                                           INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011
10    hardware guide

        get gaming with budget
        by rossi fernandes

               o PC gaming enthusiast is ever going to be content         gaming rig, it’d be wrong to skip out on a decent mouse.
               with a typical Rs 300 mouse from the local store.          While mice start from as low as a Rs 100 and go right up
               He’s looking for something that’ll give him the edge       to Rs 8,000 and more, the sweet spot for a good gaming
        over the rest when it comes to online multiplayer games.          mouse is between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,500. Here are a few
        When someone decides to spend Rs 50,000 on a high-end             such options that should get you on your way.

           GiGabyte m6800
           There used to be a few good gaming mice under the Rs 1,000
           bracket. The Logitech MX310 used to be popular while the MX518
           was new, but since then, very few manufacturers have been able
           to offer good performance, let alone features and design, at that
           price. The most unlikely brand has an offering though. The Gigabyte
           M6800 happens to be a solid performer and a decently sized mouse
           for gamers. Priced at around Rs 700, it’s easily one of the cheapest
           performance mice around.

                                                                     LoGitech mX518
                                                                     The Logitech MX518 is legendary. It’s more than four years
                                                                     old now and it’s still got a ton of firepower. There have been
                                                                     some revisions and changes since the first model launched,
                                                                     but the recipe hasn’t change a lot – a 1800 DPI sensor, a fancy
                                                                     looking design with great quality click buttons, DPI switches,
                                                                     an ergonomic design, and solid build quality. If you’re looking
                                                                     for a newer model with similar traits, look out for the Logitech
                                                                     G400. It’s almost identical in terms of size and ergonomics,
                                                                     but has an upgraded sensor. Although not officially released
                                                                     in India, you may be able to find it on some online stores or
                                                                     with some retailers.

           razer DeathaDDer 3.5G
           Razer has been in the gaming mice market for more
           than a decade now. Their DeathAdder mouse has
           gained a reputation for being one of the best and
           popular mice for competitive gaming. The DeathAdder
           3.5G, like the newer MX518 mouse, is updated with a
           new sensor while the rest of the mouse has stayed
           exactly the same for a while.

     December 2011  intelligent computing cHip insider supplement
                                                                                                                HARDWARE GUIDE         11

                                                       RAZER ABYSSUS
                                                       The Abyssus is at the base of the product pyramid from
                                                       Razer. It offers a good amount of performance in a simple
                                                       body and a simple set of buttons. For most gamers, this
                                                       is more than enough. The price of Rs 1,475 makes it as
                                                       affordable and lethal as the MX518, although it isn’t as
                                                       solidly built.

  The Cooler Master Spawn is the weirdest looking mouse
  of the lot, but it’s quite a performer and the comfort
  level of the mouse is pretty impressive. Priced at just
  under Rs 2,000, it’s a great purchase if you have a large
  palm and use the palm grip. It uses a 3500 DPI sensor,
  supports 1000 Hz refresh rates and supports storing of
  profiles in the internal memory.

 No gaming mouse is perfect, and there are a number of           500 Hz and 1000 Hz. A higher refresh rate often
 things that make us choose one mouse over another.              means a slightly more responsive mouse.
 Firstly, there’s the comfort level that depends on the             Overall quality of the mouse is also important. Mice
 way you hold the mouse. Some people prefer to grip the          are used extensively even while you aren’t gaming.
 entire mouse with their palm while some others use two          With such heavy usage, they tend to wear off. The
 fingers to move it around - usually, the thumb and the          scroll wheel and the mouse clicks are usually the first
 little finger. Large, taller mice tend to be more comfortable   to fail. The pads at the bottom of the mouse also take
 if you hold the mouse in your palm, and thinner, smaller        a battering. Look for mice with solid mouse clicks
 mice are suited to the claw-style of holding the mouse.         and scroll wheels. Opting for smooth fabric-based
     Look for gaming mice that come with enough                  mousepads over hard pads might be a good investment
 buttons for the weapons and controls in-game. This              as well. They help the mouse glide and so wear on the
 way, you won’t have to use the scroll wheel all the             mouse feet is also reduced drastically. There are some
 time to switch between items or map keys all over the           other nifty features being added to new mouse, such
 keyboard. Most high-end mice also have the option               as the ability to store your settings and profiles in the
 to switch sensitivity levels of the sensor on-the-go            mouse’s internal memory, so you can move from one PC
 without having to depend to software drivers.                   to another without losing your customized settings.
     Older PS2-based mice had low refresh rates of                  Once you do get the mouse you wanted, you're ready to
 125 Hz. Some of the USB-powered optical mice also               take on the world of competitive gaming. Just make sure
 have had similar refresh rates for a while. These               you have the sensitivity for the mouse setup right, and
 days, look for gaming mice with refresh rates of                you're good to go!

                                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011

        Rockstar gives us an exclusive sneak preview of one of 2012's most hotly anticipated games.

               decade ago, most of the good shooters were first-per-         Max Payne 2 this game is set, Max did look a fair bit like his old
               son, featuring unimaginative plots with stereotypical,        self; untidy black suit, bottle in hand, full head of hair, et al. The
               one-dimensional characters. That’s when a little-known        level began with Max in his dingy, unkept apartment, drunk and
        independent developer named Remedy Entertainment changed             wallowing in self pity. Here, the quality of writing and story-
        the complexion of the genre with Max Payne, blending thrilling       telling that is the hallmark of every Rockstar-developed game
        gunplay, cinematic noir-styled presentation, and compelling          comes to the fore. A verbal exchange with an old acquaintance,
        characters. Ten years on, the third-person shooter genre that        although brief, exudes dry, sarcastic humor and reminds you
        Remedy pioneered has evolved into a whole different beast,           once again of Max’s cynical, glass-half-empty outlook on life.
        with franchises like Gears of War and Uncharted pushing it to        It’s here that you realize that even in the unlikely event that
        new heights. So what better time than now for Rockstar Games,        Max Payne 3’s gameplay fails to bring the magic, Rockstar’s
        who published the first two games, to take it upon itself to raise   penchant for delivering gripping storylines filled with great
        the bar once again. This time, they’ve taken over development        characters definitely will.
        duties from Remedy as well for this iconic series’ long awaited          Moments later, a firefight ensues and any doubts I had about
        return in Max Payne 3.                                               the once revolutionary Bullet-time mechanic being outdated
           Fans were quite miffed by early screenshots of the game,          were quickly dispelled. With Rockstar’s own RAGE graphics
        which showed a bald-headed Max Payne sporting a wife-                engine and the Euphoria physics engine working in symphony,
        beater in an unfamiliar surrounding; a total 180 from the suit-      Bullet-time looks so good that it’s almost poetic. Max moves
        clad, perpetually hungover NYPD detective in the dark, somber        with eerie realism and every animation, from transitioning
        setting of New York City. I had the opportunity to get a glimpse     between cover to replacing an empty clip in his 9 mm, is silky
        into what Max Payne 3 holds in store, and while not much has         smooth. Max stumbles over to the door as a bunch of mob
        changed from those images or the trailer that followed, they         goons take aim from the rooftop across the corridor outside his
        don’t quite tell the entire story either.                            apartment. A shoot-dodge is initiated and Max lunges forward
           A large part of Max Payne 3 plays out in Sao Paulo, Brazil,       in slow-mo and turns sideways mid-air as enemies unleash a
        where Max now works in private security after leaving the            barrage of gunfire. In a great showcase of the game’s environ-
        NYPD, but my first look at the game was from an early level          ment destruction, gunfire shatters glass and chips away wood
        set in New York. While there’s no indication of how long after       from window panes as Max racks up headshots and dispatches


        his enemies in almost-effortless style. It’s all very John Woo,      out your last remaining enemy, usually in gruesome, blood-
        minus the flying doves.                                              splattery fashion.
            That brings me to the many changes Rockstar has made                 While the inclusion of a cover system and the limitation on
        to the combat in Max Payne 3; some to bring it in line with          weapon slots sounds very this gen, one element of modern-day
        modern-day third-person shooter conventions, and others sim-         shooters that Rockstar has thankfully left out is regenerating
        ply because they work well with the game. The first of these         health. Max still requires painkillers to keep himself alive, and
        is the limit on the number of weapons Max can carry. These           these can be found littered around the game world. The painkill-
        now only include two single-handed guns to be used indi-             ers also play into the game’s new ‘last man standing’ mechanic.
        vidually or by dual-wielding, and one double-handed weapon.          Being fatally wounded in one of the many frantic gunfights
        What’s really cool about this is that Max can be seen carrying       with painkillers in stock initiates Bullet-time and gives you one
        all these weapons at all times; even in cutscenes. To add to the     last opportunity to take out the enemy who killed you. Doing
        realism, choosing the option to dual-wield from the Read Dead        so successfully brings you back from the dead, removing the
        Redemption-style weapon wheel will drop the double-handed            annoyance and interference of frequent deaths.
        weapon that he’s currently carrying, bringing a bit of risk and          The New York level is proof that Rockstar hasn’t abandoned
        strategy into the weapon selection.                                  the noir-styled presentation of the earlier games, and I was
            Max Payne 3 is also the first in the series to include a com-    thrilled to hear the return of Max’s signature self-reflecting
        prehensive cover mechanic, and even in the unfinished version        monologues (once again voiced by James McCaffrey) accom-
        of the game I saw, it was smooth, intuitive, and didn’t seem to      panied by a haunting piano and violin score. The mid-level
        get in the way of the shooting. But despite the existence of the     cutscenes, which were earlier presented in the form of comic
        cover mechanic, you’re encouraged to approach Max Payne 3            panels, now use in-game footage and text showcased in a
        as a run-and-gun shooter. Killing in style is what it’s all about,   graphic novel style, again with a voiceover from Max. Every-
        and the game is quite liberal with its supply of Bullet-time. As     where you look, there’s clear evidence of Rockstar’s dedication
        before, initiating a shoot-dodge (lunging in either direction)       towards staying true to what made the first two games great.
        automatically takes you into Bullet-time and with the imple-         The level ended with Max at the edge of the apartment building
        mentation of the Euphoria engine, the shoot-dodge works bril-        rooftop, a stunningly detailed recreation of night time New York
        liantly with objects within the environment. You will seamlessly     City all around him.
        jump over and behind cover objects, taking out enemies in slow           Next, we move to Sao Paulo, where Max is completely trans-
        motion along the way. You can also turn and aim a complete           formed into the John McClane lookalike that we’ve all seen in
        360 degrees in Bullet-time as well as when you’re on the ground      the screenshots. It’s made abundantly clear that a lot has gone
        following a shoot-dodge. It all looks believable too; there’s no     down since the New York level. While escorting Giovanna, the
        exaggerated sliding into cover or along the ground.                  girlfriend of Passos (the aforementioned old acquaintance), Max
            There’s also a Bullet-time gauge that fills up as you kill       quickly finds himself surrounded by enemies seemingly sent to
        enemies, which can then be used when initiating Bullet-              kidnap Giovanna. In stark contrast to New York, Sao Paulo is
        time manually without a shoot-dodge. There are also certain          bright and colorful, and this level also did a great job of show-
        instances where Bullet-time is automatically triggered during        ing off the variety in level design that makes every firefight feel
        set-pieces or interactive cutscenes. The bullet cam has now          different. From open streets with vehicles for cover, to a Bullet-
        been replaced by the ‘final kill’ cam, which is used as a cue to     time set piece where Max descends on a moving pulley as he
        let you know when you’ve killed the last enemy in a particular       clears a warehouse full of enemies, to an on-rails vehicle section
        area. The camera follows your bullet in slow motion as it takes      that seamlessly transitions between gameplay and cutscenes,

                                                                                                                         COVER STORY     15

every gun battle throws up a different challenge. The environ-      usually story and character development, they’ve faltered in
ment can also be used to aid you, with petrol pumps, vehicles       others, like graphics and mission structure. But it’s hard to find
and exploding barrels just begging to be used for multiple kills.   a single weak spot in Max Payne 3. From the stylish gunplay
The more open levels of Sao Paulo also showcase the dynamic         and pixel-perfect presentation, to the multi-faceted characters
enemy AI brilliantly. They move independently, use cover, and       and signature storytelling, this is Rockstar Games firing on all
always seem aware of your presence and location.                    cylinders. The only possible issue I can foresee is the incessant
    What really piqued my interest, however, was the final level    gun battles getting tiresome as the game moves forward, but
of my preview session, which in the context of the story, takes     there was certainly no evidence of that in what I’ve seen thanks
place just before the brown stuff begins to hit the fan. A local    to the fantastic implementation of Bullet-time, the diverse level
gang has kidnapped Fabiana, the wife of real estate mogul           design, and the challenging enemy AI. This may sound like a
Rodrgio Blanco, under whom Max is employed. Protecting              loaded statement considering its track record, but Max Payne 3
Fabiana was Max’s top responsibility and her kidnapping sends       really does look like Rockstar Games at its very best.
him on a personal quest to set things right. After a prisoner
exchange for Fabiana goes awry, the gang turns up the heat          Max Payne 3 is scheduled for release in March 2012 for Xbox
on the Blancos and Max finds himself right in the middle of it      360, PS3, and PC.
all. It’s here that many of the game’s intriguing characters are
revealed - the power-wielding but well-intentioned Rodrigo;
his party-loving youngest brother Marcelo; his politician middle
brother Victor; and the obviously corrupt head of the shady Cra-
cha Preto paramilitary group. Just one powerful cutscene at the
start of the level was enough to show the different ambitions
and motivations of each of these characters, which will hope-
fully have a telling effect in the way the story plays out.
    This level also upped the ante in terms of action and set
pieces as gang members descended upon Rodrgio’s office in
large numbers. Intense firefights across office cubicles once
again showed off the impressive destruction engine. The level
ended on a high when the sprawling office was engulfed in
flames, setting the perilous stage for a few more gun battles
and some tense set pieces. This level, more so than the ones
before, showed off Rockstar’s minute attention to detail with
respect to animations and motion capture. This is also, by far,
the best looking Rockstar game by a long shot, with great look-
ing textures and impeccable character models that even show
minute details like beads of sweat. The stunning fire effects
deserve a special mention too, which are as good as what we’ve
recently seen in the Chateau level of Uncharted 3, if not better.
    The one complaint from pretty much all Rockstar games so
far as been that while they’ve excelled in certain departments,
16    REVIEW

          Confused, directionless and occasionally clunky, this one is
          strictly for the fans.
          BY SAMEER DESAI                                        RATING 3.5/5

             write this review amidst news from       the Assassins’ order. Altair, the hero
             Ubisoft that it will be releasing a      from the first game, also makes brief
             ‘major’ installment in the Assassin’s    appearances. Sadly, what should have
          Creed series in 2012, almost making it      been a nostalgic last ride and a fitting
          sound like the games released after         conclusion to Ezio’s tale is instead a
          Assassin’s Creed 2 – Brotherhood and        muddled plot that only really picks up
          Revelations, are merely detours until       towards the end, buried under unre-
          they figure out what Assassin’s Creed       lated missions and unnecessary activi-
          3 is going to be about. Brotherhood         ties for most of the game.
          added several elements that moved              Revelations has Ezio travelling to
          the franchise forward, but with Revela-     Constantinople in search of secrets
          tions, it seems like Ubisoft is clutching   hidden away by Altair. It’s no Venice,
          at straws where the plot is concerned,      for sure, but the bazaars and iconic
          instead inundating the player with          landmarks possess a distinct ancient
          endless activities that stray from what     middle-eastern charm. Ezio is now
          made Assassin’s Creed 2 one of the          equipped with a hook blade that he
          greatest successes of this generation.      can use in combat and during the
             Revelations is the end of the story      parkour segments to reach ledges that
          arc of Ezio Auditore, the protagonist       he normally wouldn’t. While this does
          from AC2 and Brotherhood. Ezio has          help, it also adds a lot of interruption
          now visibly aged and has evolved into       to the otherwise fluid free-running.
          more of a motivational figurehead for       Revelations also seems obsessed with

                                                                                             REVIEW   17

bomb-making, constantly giving you
ingredients and filling the city with                 GAME INFO
bomb-crafting stations, which will let       ACTION-ADVENTURE
you create diversionary, poisonous or        Assassin's Creed: Revelations
lethal bombs. That’s great, but it sort of
                                             PRICE              Rs 2,699 (360/PS3), Rs 999 (PC)
defeats the purpose of being a stealthy      PUBLISHER          Ubisoft
assassin, as does the stop-and-start         DEVELOPER          Ubisoft Montreal
nature of the hook blade mechanic.           DISTRIBUTOR        E-Xpress Interactive
    Another new addition that doesn’t        PHONE              022 29661017
work well is den defense. From time          E-MAIL   
to time, Templars will attack Assassin
dens, and you must defend these via a        Classic Assassin’s Creed gameplay is still a
tower defense mini-game, which feels         winner, multi-player is refreshingly fun
clunky, plays almost the same each
time, and is no fun at all. You’d rather     Great features from past games missing, den
just let the Templars capture it and         defense is boring, unfulfilling plot
then reclaim it later. Recruiting assas-
sins has been ramped up, and now you         unchanged since Brotherhood - you
have a deeper minigame that lets you         still stealthily stalk your prey with only
send recruits to other cities to reclaim     a blimp on a radar as your guide, while
Templars strongholds.                        at the same time watching your back as
    What’s really disheartening is that      another player stalks you. The addition
these additions, most of which don’t         of the Deathmatch mode takes away
work well, come at the expense of            that radar, while the Capture-the-flag
what we’ve loved about the last two          mode replaces the stealth gameplay
games. The thrilling platforming in the      with free-running as you aim to take
AC2 catacombs, the freeing horseback         flags back to your base while being
riding, and the cryptic glyphs; they’re      chased down by other players.
all gone. The game does try to shake             A lot of what has made this series
things up a bit by throwing in a bit of      such a success is still here, and the
first-person platform puzzling when          fans will no doubt enjoy Revelations,
you play as Desmond, but this too is         but Ubisoft seems to be getting a little
poorly executed. There is sort of an         complacent by taking away things we
‘Oh, my god!’ moment at the end, but it      loved and half-heartedly introducing
really doesn’t make up for the hours of      elements that just don’t fit. The series
drudgery that came before it.                is beginning to stagnate now, so in
    The multi-player is Revelations’         2012, Ubisoft really does need some-
unlikely redeeming feature. It’s largely     thing ‘major’ to shake things up.

18    REVIEW

        RATING 0.5/5

        Watch the movie, buy the merchandise, give to charity, but don’t play this.

                a.One is what happens when            memory on deciphering the controls, I         however, listening to the plot is a bit of
                game development is rushed            fathomed that one button does the job of      a mess because the audio would stutter
                to meet a film's release date         a short-ranged melee attack and another       from time to time and the developers
        rather than focussing on quality.             to cast long-range damage. A shoulder         thought it would be a good idea not to
          Trine's debut PS3 effort has you as SRK,    button lets you block enemy moves. In a       include subtitles. There's local multi-
        Kareena Kapoor or some no-name guy,           strange twist, it seems that for all of the   player as well, which is more of the same;
        depending on the level. The plot revolves     PS3's almighty cell processing, you never     just replace the moderately schizophrenic
        around trying to beat Arjun Rampal and        really do get the camera to zoom into the     AI with your friends and you'd get an idea
        his cronies to a pulp across arenas that      action.                                       of how it works.
        all look remarkably the same. Unfortu-            And when you do manage to get a              In place of subtitles, however, was a
        nately, in spite of the characters being      glimpse of what any of the protagonists       game-breaking bug. One of the games’
        modeled and voiced in the likeness of         or villains are up to, you're treated to      foes gained invulnerability to normal and
        skilled thespians, their performances are     wonky animations. Everyone seems to           special attacks, so much so that one of
        anything but convincing. You never feel       be moving as if they were three year-old      the many hits propelled him to an invis-
        like you're playing G.One instead of SRK      kids after a glass of Coke. Luckily, you'll   ible ledge, effectively halting progress.
        and ditto for the rest of the cast, so much   be too busy trying to make sense of how       No number of save reloads or attempts
        so that I forgot most of their names by       the game works to worry too much. All         to start from scratch could rectify this.
        the time I started writing this review.       of the gameplay involves hammering               So unless you eat, sleep, drink and
            The game takes place in stages that       down on your melee and ranged attacks         breathe Ra.One Ra.One: The Game and
        that all look alike. Here, you’d find your-   long enough to fill up your power meter.      play something a little more substantial.
        self pitted against a few generic soldiers    Doing so allows you to unleash a special      Like anything else.
        in combat. Have pity on them though,          attack that does an effective job of kick-
        because they appear to have learning
        disabilities because they can't say any
                                                      ing the collective asses of every villain
                                                      in the room. There are power-ups that                   GAME INFO
        words other than “threat detected”. The       allow you to regain health or enhance
        gameplay is best described as frantic         your speed, among other things. Certain        Ra.One: The Game
        button-mashing. Think of it as Streets of     levels have you trying to survive a rather     PRICE           Rs 999 (PS3), Rs 499 (PS2)
        Rage with the killer music, presentation      tame attack of baddies before the timer        PUBLISHER       Sony
        and cool characters replaced with dull        runs out, but that’s as far as variety goes    DEVELOPER       Trine Games
        graphics, boring gameplay and presenta-       in the campaign.                               DISTRIBUTOR     Milestone Interactive

        tion.                                             Before you can say “DDLJ”, the game        PHONE           022 42764000
            Another prerequisite for playing          devolves into a race to tap your controller
        Ra.One, is listing down what each button      long enough to get to a super attack. It       FOR
        does. This is because there's no expla-       ends up being a boring waddle through          Infamous-style cutscenes
        nation of the controls to be found any-       badly designed levels fraught with one-        AGAINST
        where. Hilarious considering that every       dimensional gameplay, the reward for           Game breaking bugs, one-dimensional
        game has this as a standard feature.          which is cutscenes the remind you of           gameplay, boring levels
        After wasting my precious photographic        the Infamous games. The problem is,

     DECEMBER 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                                  Hemali Limbachiya

                            2011 has been a great year for gaming and it looks like that trend
                            will continue into 2012, with AAA titles like Hitman: Absolution, Max
                            Payne 3, Far Cry 3, and many more coming up. Also, who can forget the
                            juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto V, which is all set to decimate your
                            social life once again! With so many choices out there, it’s natural to
                            get a bit overwhelmed, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 25 games
                            to look forward to in 2012.
                            BY AVINASH BALI

     DECEMBER 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                           Hemali Limbachiya
                                                  feature       21

intelligent computing cHip insider supplement  DECEMBER 2011

                                                                       T H E AMAZING S P I D E R M A N
                                                                       THE A M A Z I N G SPIDERMAN
                                                                       XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                       The Spider-Man games have been in a steady state of decline
                                                                       ever since Spider-Man 2. Now, it seems Activision is trying to
                                                                       recreate that magic with yet another open world game based on
                                                                       the new Spider-Man flick. Developed by Beenox Entertainment
                                                                       (same guys behind both Shattered Dimensions and Edge of
                                                                       Time), The Amazing Spider-Man will allow players to roam
                                                                       around New York City as the web crawler cleaning up its streets,
                                                                       one block at a time. The game doesn’t have a concrete release
                                                                       date yet, but it’s expected to coincide with the movie that will
                                                                       be hitting theatres worldwide by the 4th of July 2012.

         PRO T O T Y PE
         PROTOTYPE 2
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

         Prototype may not have been the most
         polished game out there but, it was brutal
         and satisfying. As Alex Mercer, a mutated
         resident of New York City, players used a
         plethora of devastating abilities to find
         out who caused the outbreak in this
         open world game from developer Radical
         Entertainment. For the sequel, you’ll
         step into the boots of Sgt James Heller,
         a retired war veteran whose family was
         slaughtered by Mercer. Now mutated and
         consumed by his lust of revenge, Heller
         must use his new-found powers to hunt
         the down man responsible for ruining his
         life and wiping out half his city.

                                                                                             N I N J A GAIDEN I I I
                                                                                             NINJA G A I D E N III
                                                                                               XBOX 360, PS3

                                                                                             There are a few games out there that
                                                                                             pride themselves on being ridiculously
                                                                                             tough. Pretty much every Ninja Gaiden
                                                                                             game belongs to that group. A third
                                                                                             person hack-and-slash at heart, Ninja
                                                                                             Gaiden allowed players to step into the
                                                                                             boots of Ryu Hayabusa as he embarked
                                                                                             on a bloody crusade. For the third game,
                                                                                             Team Ninja has decided to tone down
                                                                                             the gore. Instead, they want you to
                                                                                             experience the act of stabbing someone
                                                                                             with a sword. How that doesn’t result in
                                                                                             decapitation is beyond us.

                                                                                                                        FEATURE       23

 XBOX 360, PS3, PC (TBA)

GTA V was unveiled via a one and a half minute video on the
2nd of November. Since then, the internet has exploded with
speculation and rumor mongering, a common side effect of any
GTA trailer. Details are still sketchy since Rockstar, as usual, is
keeping mum on the whole deal, but at least now we know the
game will take place in Los Santos, a fictional recreation of Los
Angeles. There’s no doubt that this will probably be Rockstar’s
most ambitious open world game yet as players will be able
to roam around and explore the neighbouring country side,
surrounding hills and beaches.
For more on GTAV, check out our GTA V wishlist on page 46.

                                                                                     FAR C R Y 3
                                                                                     F A R CRY
                                                                                      XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                                     Far Cry 2 was solid in concept, but deeply
                                                                                     flawed in execution. What could have
                                                                                     been one of the most engaging open
                                                                                     world games became an exercise in
                                                                                     monotony thanks to repetitive quests
                                                                                     and respawning enemies. With Far Cry
                                                                                     3, Ubisoft are wiping the slate clean by
                                                                                     heading back to the tropics. You play as
                                                                                     one Jason Brody, a tourist in search of
                                                                                     his estranged girlfriend on an island full
                                                                                     of unstable, trigger-happy dudes. Using
                                                                                     stealth or sheer force, players must
                                                                                     escape the madness before they are
                                                                                     brutally taught the meaning of insanity.

                                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT   DECEMBER 2011

         TRUE C R I M E H O N G K O N G
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC (TBA)

         Enjoyable in its own right, the True Crime series never quite
         reached the popularity attained by Grand Theft Auto. Maybe it
         had something to do with the fact that you actually played a cop
         in those games and had to abide by the law. Either way, we’re
         glad to see this franchise return after a rather turbulent few
         months. You see, True Crime HK was nearly ready for release
         when it was cancelled by Activision as they deemed it not fun.
         Since then the franchise has been picked up by Square Enix,
         who’re all set to release it next year under a new name.

         RE S IDE N T E V IL : OP E R AT ION R A C C O ON CI T Y
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                            In Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City,
                                                                            the action moves back to Raccoon City,
                                                                            where players must face off against the
                                                                            blood thirsty horde purging the streets
                                                                            from anything that’s... well, dead. You’ll
                                                                            get to play as both a Special Operations
                                                                            team - the good guys, as well as
                                                                            Umbrella Corporation’s shady Security
                                                                            Service, who basically have to clean up
                                                                            Umbrella’s mess. You’ll also get to impact
                                                                            future Resident Evil games by making
                                                                            big choices such as killing Leon Kennedy,
                                                                            the protagonist from RE4. Besides
                                                                            multiplayer, the game will also feature
                                                                            four-player co-operative play.

                                                                                                        FEATURE       25

                                               BORDERL A NDS
                                               BORDERLANDS 2
                                               XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                               Like its predecessor, Borderlands 2 will be an RPG played out
                                               from a first-person perspective, a role-playing shooter, if you
                                               will (termed coined by developer Gearbox, by the way). The
                                               base mechanics for the sequel remain the same, which means
                                               Borderlands 2 will support four-player co-op and, just like
                                               the first game, each playable character will boast of different
                                               powers. Looting, a huge part of the first game, will be back as
                                               well with Gearbox promising even more over-the-top weapons
                                               and loot to scavenge. Players can also expect more diverse
                                               environments, visual improvements, better AI and lots more.

XBOX 360, PS3

A reboot of sorts, Devil May Cry will be the
first DMC game to be developed outside
Capcom. Taking over development are
Ninja Theory, an English developer best
known for Heavenly Sword and Enslaved.
The game will take place in a parallel
universe featuring a younger Dante as
he makes his way through a twisted city
that’s full of demons baying for his blood.
Ninja Theory received major flack with
their revamped ‘emo’ Dante design after
which they've changed his appearance.
And even though he’s not as badass as
we remember, he has thankfully lost all
resemblance to Edward Cullins.

XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                     Even today, Counter-Strike remains one
                                                                     of the most popular games around the
                                                                     world, especially as far as professional
                                                                     tournaments are concerned. With
                                                                     Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve
                                                                     is retaining the successful formula that
                                                                     the fans love, while adding in a bunch
                                                                     of new features like multiplayer modes,
                                                                     matchmaking services and leaderboards.
                                                                     Older, popular maps like Dust, Aztec
                                                                     etc are expected to receive a massive
                                                                     visual update as well to keep up with
                                                                     the times. You can test the game out
                                                                     for yourself when the public beta, which
                                                                     was supposed to come out in October,
                                                                     releases in early 2012.

                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT   DECEMBER 2011

                                                                       T O M B RAIDER
                                                                       TOMB R A I D E R
                                                                       XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                       After the rather lackluster reception to recent Tomb Raider
                                                                       games, developer Crystal Dynamics has decided to reboot
                                                                       the franchise in a gritty way. Tomb Raider tells the story of a
                                                                       younger Lara Croft, who just so happens to get shipwrecked on
                                                                       a dangerous island off the coast of Japan. Besides coping with
                                                                       the island and all its perils, Lara will also have to deal with a
                                                                       brutal, cunning and relentless enemy, who will do everything in
                                                                       its power to snuff her out. Besides a more mature story, the
                                                                       game will also allow players to upgrade their abilities, learn
                                                                       new skills and craft their own weapons of death.

         T O M CLANCY’S G H O S T R E C O N : F U T U R E S O L D I E R
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

         If you’ve played any Ghost Recon game
         in the past, you know the drill. You’re
         an elite terrorist/crime fighting solider
         who gets the drop on his enemies
         with some sweet technology, courtesy
         Uncle Sam. With Future Soldier, the
         Ghost have now been upgraded to even
         sweeter technology like the ability to
         completely turn invisible. Like the newer
         Rainbow Six games, it will play out from
         a first-person perspective, shifting to a
         third-person one when you take cover.
         You can try out the multiplayer soon as
         the public beta is expected to kick off in
         early 2012.

         IN V ERSION
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                                             From the guys who brought you the
                                                                                             rather enjoyable time manipulating
                                                                                             shooter TimeShift comes a new third
                                                                                             -erson, cover-based shooter in which
                                                                                             you manipulate gravity. Think of the run
                                                                                             and gun mechanics from Gears of War,
                                                                                             only now you have the ability to alter
                                                                                             the environment by literally turning it
                                                                                             upside down. You play as Davis Russel, a
                                                                                             cop with a short fuse, who along with his
                                                                                             neighbor, must protect the planet from
                                                                                             an unknown force. If taking on a race
                                                                                             of technologically-advanced enemies
                                                                                             sounds like too much for you, enlist your
                                                                                             friend into battle, as Inversion supports
                                                                                             co-operative play for two players.

                                                                                                                              FEATURE       27

                                                                     S Y ND IC AT E
                                                                     XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                     A first-person re-imagining of an isometric RTS franchise,
                                                                     Syndicate will take place in the pretty distant future, where
                                                                     “business is war” (but of course). You’ll step into the boots of
                                                                     Miles Kilo, a bio-engineered, augmented badass who embarks
                                                                     on a quest for revenge and redemption. From the trailer
                                                                     released so far, gameplay looks like a frantic mix between
                                                                     Crysis, Mass Effect and Deus Ex: Human Revolution all rolled
                                                                     into one, which if you ask us, cannot be a bad thing. Besides a
                                                                     single-player campaign, players will also be able to embark on
                                                                     a few standalone co-operative missions with support for up to
                                                                     four players.

 XBOX 360, PS3

Continuing the trend of outsourcing the Silent Hill series to
the West is Downpour, a new Silent Hill game in which players
step into the boots of Murphy Pendleton, a prisoner who finds
himself in the creepy town of Silent Hill after his transport
vehicle breaks down. Unlike Homecoming, which was rather
combat-heavy, Silent Hill: Downpour aspires to go back to the
olden Silent Hill days, where the focus was solely on scaring the
crap out of players. This means players will only be able to carry
one melee weapon at a time and that too will deteriorate after
repeated usage.

                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT   DECEMBER 2011

        M A X PAYNE
        MAX P A Y N E 3
          XBOX 360, PS3, PC

        Max Payne has been out of the game for the past eight years,
        but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his edge. Sure, he’s lost a bit of
        his hair along the way, but relocating to Brazil and tangling with
        the mod there would probably do that to you. Now working as
        a private contractor, it’s Max’s job to take care of a wealthy
        family, so when one of their members gets kidnapped, Max
        does what he does best – shoot tons of dudes in the face in
        highly cinematic ways. New to this series will be the inclusion
        of multiplayer, something we sadly know nothing about.

         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                                                             Where the first BioShock game dragged
                                                                             you down to the very depths of the
                                                                             ocean, Infinite will lift you skyward as the
                                                                             action now takes place literally in the sky.
                                                                             As a disgraced detective by the name of
                                                                             Booker DeWitt, players must infiltrate
                                                                             Columbia, a floating city, to rescue a
                                                                             mysterious woman named Elizabeth,
                                                                             who’s forcefully being held captive in
                                                                             this city. But unlike your usual damsels
                                                                             in distress, Elizabeth has a few powers
                                                                             of her own and when you combine those
                                                                             with yours (that by the way are no longer
                                                                             called plasmids), it’s a recipe for a highly
                                                                             explosive first-person experience.

                                                                                                       FEATURE       29

XBOX 360, PS3, PC

Mass Effect 3 will be the final chapter
in Captain Jack Shepard’s trilogy as
he strives to protect Earth against a
massive Reaper invasion. Gameplay in
Mass Effect 3 largely stays the same as
previous iterations, with the noticeable
addition of co-operative multiplayer.
According to BioWare, co-op in ME3
will also tie into the game’s story line,
allowing players who’ve completed co-op
to experience a more satisfying ending.
That being said, it won’t be compulsory
to play through co-op before you start
the campaign. All eyes are on BioWare
for this one, especially after the debacle
that was Dragon Age II.

                                              D A RKSIDERS II
                                              DARKSIDERS II
                                              XBOX 360, PS3, PC

                                              Darksiders was a brutal action adventure that imbibed a ton of
                                              qualities from other more popular games in the genre. The only
                                              difference between Darksiders and other God of War or Zelda
                                              knockoffs was that this game pulled it off in style, making
                                              enough money for THQ to sign off on a sequel. This time around,
                                              players step into the icy cold boots of Death, who’s all set to
                                              clear his brother War’s name after he gets wrongfully accused
                                              of starting the Apocalypse early. Death will bring his own brand
                                              of justice to the table with a new set of weapons, powers and
                                              moves. Don’t fear the Reaper, my ass.


Announced at E3 2010 by the man behind
the God of War series, Dave Jaffe, Twisted
Metal was supposed to release in 2011
itself, but Jaffe and his team at Eat Sleep
Play pushed it back by another year to
polish it up even further. If you’re not
familiar with this series, Twisted Metal is
a vehicular combat game that generated
a massive cult following for itself on the
PS2 with its high octane gameplay and
over-the-top characters. For its 2012
iteration, the game will retain all the
gameplay aspects fans grew to love,
expanding upon them with even more
destruction, weapons, diverse multiplayer
modes, and lots more.

                                                     INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT   DECEMBER 2011

                                                                       A S U R A 'S W R A T H
                                                                       ASURA'S WRATH
                                                                        XBOX 360, PS3

                                                                       Normally, Kratos has my vote for being the angriest video game
                                                                       character ever, but after seeing Asura in action, I may have to
                                                                       reconsider. The protagonist from Asura's Wrath, a new action
                                                                       adventure from developer CyberConnect 2 (in conjunction with
                                                                       Capcom), is so consumed by rage after losing his daughter to
                                                                       a bunch of deities, that he’ll even go after people without his
                                                                       hands, bludgeoning them to death with his head. He’s not even
                                                                       afraid of going up against gigantic enemies that are larger than
                                                                       planet Earth, because this man doesn’t know the meaning of
                                                                       fear. Or pain.

         T H E DARKNESS II
         THE D A R K N E S S I I
         XBOX 360, PS3, PC

         Imagine on your 21st birthday instead
         of that “Welcome to adulthood” party
         you always dreamed of, you inherit a
         curse that grants you demonic powers.
         Most people would call that a bummer,
         but Jackie Estacado uses it to become
         the head of a prominent crime family.
         Of course, no one can truly control the
         powers of the Darkness, and Jackie is
         about to learn that fact the hard way.
         This is the basic premise of The Darkness
         II, the sequel to 2007’s underrated
         shooter developed by Starbreeze
         studios. Like the first game, players can
         bring the pain by wielding both weapons
         as well as their demonic arms.

          XBOX 360, PS3

                                                                                             Unlike the past games in the Metal Gear
                                                                                             Solid series that were all about striking
                                                                                             from the shadows, Rising has set out
                                                                                             to be an action game in which players
                                                                                             control Raiden, one of the protagonists
                                                                                             from Metal Gear Solid 2, who’s now
                                                                                             become a cybernetic ninja. Using his
                                                                                             speed and sheer power, players can slice
                                                                                             and dice their way through enemies
                                                                                             and even absorb some of their parts to
                                                                                             upgrade his abilities. Of course, since
                                                                                             this game featuring the Metal Gear Solid
                                                                                             moniker, it will offer stealth; only instead
                                                                                             of waiting in the shadows, players can
                                                                                             now hunt their prey thanks to their speed
                                                                                             and agility.

                                                                                                                             FEATURE       31

                                                                     XBOX 360, PS3

                                                                    EA’s arcadey snowboarding series returns after a five year
                                                                    sabbatical with a new game. Earlier called Deadly Descents,
                                                                    EA has now simplified to just SSX. The game’s very first trailer
                                                                    sent fans into a tizzy as it looked like the series had ditched
                                                                    its colorful, over-the-top vibe in favor of something more gritty
                                                                    and realistic. This, of course, wasn’t true and subsequent videos
                                                                    gave gamers a glimpse of the SSX they knew and loved. This
                                                                    time round, EA has gone in for an open world design to facilitate
                                                                    seamless gameplay, but the focus as always, remains on
                                                                    descending down snowy slops real fast while pulling off tricks
                                                                    you probably could only in a video game.

  XBOX 360, PS3, PC

There are games in which you kill people and then there’s the
Hitman series in which you meticulously plan out every kill.
Sure, you could go in the guns blazing way, but that’s not the
path taken by a true assassin, who would rather make it look
like an accident or frame someone in the process. That’s how
Agent 47 rolls anyway, who in his latest game, finds himself
betrayed by the very Agency he worked for most of his adult
life. So now, like any self respecting, revenge-seeking assassin,
he decides to take them out of the game.

                                                                           INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT   DECEMBER 2011
32    hardware guide

        Build Your own
        gaming rig
        by rossi fernandes and roydon cerejo

                                                                                                 trouble, but the end result is truly
                                                                                                 satisfying. Thankfully for your
                                                                                                 sake, we've done all the dirty work
                                                                                                 and put together three gaming rigs
                                                                                                 spanning different budgets. You
                                                                                                 can use this as a reference point
                                                                                                 and change or modify whatever
                                                                                                 you like depending on availability
                                                                                                 and your preference of brand.
                                                                                                    In our first build, we stuck to
                                                                                                 a rather affordable budget of
                                                                                                 Rs35,000, which we feel will appeal
                                                                                                 to new and casual gamers. The
                                                                                                 build is still pretty potent though,
                                                                                                 and you should easily be able to
                                                                                                 play the latest games on medium
                                                                                                 settings, if not maxed out. We
                                                                                                 deliberately stuck to a non-full HD
                                                                                                 monitor so that you won’t have
                                                                                                 to skimp on the resolution since
                                                                                                 playing on anything but the native
                                                                                                 resolution on an LCD is not a very
                                                                                                 pretty picture, unless you bump
                                                                                                 up the AA levels, which is a costly
                                                                                                 affair for a mainstream card.
                                                                                                    In our second build, we’ve gone
                                                                                                 totally insane, cramming the most
                                                                                                 powerful components we could
                                                                                                 get our hands on for the sort of
                                                                                                 gaming performance that'll make
                                                                                                 you drool. With a overclock-friendly
                                                                                                 Core i7-2600K processor, two GTX

                                                                                                 560 Ti graphics cards in SLI, an
               uilding a well-balanced gaming rig is tricky business,                           SSD-hard drive combo, a dedicated
               especially when you're working with a budget.            sound card, and a motherboard filled to the brim with the
               There are tons of options available in the market        latest tech, our highest of high end rigs will set you back
        for each component and skipping your homework before            an obscene Rs 1.25 lakhs.
        heading to the shops will only end badly. Putting together         So read on to find out about the best components out
        a gaming rig yourself requires a good bit of research and       there to satisfy your gaming hunger!

     December 2011  intelligent computing cHip insider supplement
                                                                                                               hardware guide         33

buDget: rs 35,000 (approx)

processor - amD phenom II x4 965 be
The The AMD Phenom X4 965 BE might be a slightly old
processor from two years ago, but it packs a punch for its
price. At under Rs 6,700, it’s an inexpensive yet powerful
quad-core processor. AMD Phenom BE processors are bet-
ter suited for overclocking than some of the other proces-
sors. This means that you have the option to crank up the
core speeds if you need the extra performance.

motherboarD - gIgabyte ga-880gm-usb3                                                                 The XFX Radeon 6790 is the
Like any other system, the motherboard doesn’t really                                                 best-performing graphics
boost the performance of your system by a lot, but it does                                                 card under Rs 8,000.
bring in a whole bunch of features that you will need. This
Gigabyte GA-880M-USB3, for example, which is priced
under Rs 5,000, is a microATX board, but it supports            Unlike the Rs 50,000 budget gaming rig, we’ve chosen to
SATA3 and USB 3.0. Four RAM slots means there’s space           go with headphones in place of speakers. Priced at Rs
for plenty of memory. The AM3 socket means you have             1,050, the Sennheiser HD201 makes for a decent headset
a bunch of faster processors to choose from if you want         for listening to music and also keeps the noise down while
to sometime in the near future. Bundle 4 GB of Corsair’s        you’re gaming. As for the gaming mouse, the Gigabyte
Value DDR3 memory, which costs merely Rs 1,300 these            M6800 is a trusted model and so is the Logitech MK250
days, and you should be alright.                                keyboard.

graphIcs carD - xFx raDeon 6790                                 What to expect
We recently tested a whole bunch of graphic cards under         As far as the performance goes, it’s hard to expect the
the Rs 8,000 budget and we found the XFX Radeon 6790            same performance that you’d get on a more powerful rig
the best of the lot. It doesn’t require a ton of power,         when all you're spending is Rs 35,000. Still, pretty much
which means a 450 - 500W power supply can drive it just         every game that has been released so far should run just
fine. It’s got plenty of punch to run games at a decent         about alright on a system like this. You might have to tone
1600x900 resolution too. While the card isn’t cut out to        down the quality details to medium or a step higher. How-
run Battlefield 3 at the maximum settings with antialias-       ever, if you’re planning on building a PC for general use,
ing turned up on this configuration, it’ll do okay if you cut   but would like to game on it once in a while, this should be
down on some of the effects.                                    fine for you. This makes a better working PC than most
                                                                notebooks would. Assembling a system like this makes
other components                                                better sense, especially if you have an inclination towards
A budget this small means there have to be some com-            gaming.
promises. Opting for a 20-inch display such as
the Samsung B2030N means that you have           Components                                                  priCe
a smaller display and a slighty lower resolu-
                                                 CPU                       AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE           6,700
tion, but it also means you don’t need a lot of
                                                 Motherboard               Gigabyte GA-880GM-USB3            4,900
performance from the CPU and graphics card to
run games smoothly on it.                        RAM                       Corsair Value DDR3 (4 GB)         1,300
   A Seagate 1 TB hard drive should have more    Graphics card             XFX Radeon HD6790                 8,000
than sufficient space to install games that      Hard drive                Seagate 1 TB                      2,850
you play the most. Of course, if your expense    Optical drive             Samsung DVD writer                900
exceeds the budget, you can reduce it by
                                                 Power supply              Seasonic SS-500ES                 3,000
opting for a 500 GB drive instead. Although
this is a budget PC, one thing that can’t be     Chassis                   Cooler Master Elite 311           1,900
compromised on is the power supply. A decent     Monitor                   Samsung B2030N                    5,700
Seasonic 500W power supply can be purchased      Keyboard                  Logitech MK250                    500
for Rs 3,000. There are also some other options  Mouse                     Gigabyte M6800                    675
such as the Antec VP450 and Corsair’s VX450.
                                                 Headphones                Sennheiser HD201                  1,050
For the chassis, we’ve chosen the stylish and
versatile Cooler Master Elite 311.               Total                                                       37,475

                                                                      intelligent computing cHip insider supplement  December 2011
34    hardware guide

         buDGet: none whatsoeVer!

        Processor – Intel core I7-2600K                                     tank-like construction and great features. It can comfort-
        We’ve chosen the Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K processor for           ably accommodate three graphics cards and other features
        its tremendous overclocking potential and excellent gaming          include ptwo 200mm white LED fans with a knob controller,
        performance. It’s a quad-core CPU with Hyperthreading,              USB 3.0 front port, and bottom mounted PSU.
        giving you a total of 8 threads. It runs at 3.4 GHz with the            For display, we chose the Dell U2312HM, a full HD
        ability to Turbo up to 3.8 GHz. The best part is that it has        monitor sporting an IPS panel and LED backlighting, with
        a TDP of just 95W and supports Intel Quick Sync, among              DVI, VGA and DisplayPort connectivity and a 4-port USB
        others. We’ve also ditched the stock cooler and gone with           hub. We went with Microsoft’s SideWinder X4 keyboard for
        the Antec Kuhler H2O 620 water cooling solution.                    its compact design and backlit keys and macro keys. The
                                                                            Logitech G500 gaming mouse offers great features for the
        motherboarD - asus P8Z68-V                                          price, including 5700 dpi laser, on-board memory, adjustable
        We’ve gone with the Asus P8Z68-V , a solid, feature-rich            weights, 10-programmable buttons, etc.
        motherboard. You get UEFI BIOS, memory support up to                    We went with a dedicated sound card - the Asus Xonar
        2200 MHz, LucidLogix Virtu, Bluetooth v2.1, well laid out           Essence STX, which costs as little as Rs 6,500. It packs in
        expansion slots and a ton of BIOS and Windows utilities.            an onboard headphone amp that is capable of powering
        Also, the 12-phase power design for the CPU ensures                 headphones up to 600Ohms with a low distortion rate.
        more stability during overclocking. For RAM, we’ve cho-             It also features Burr-Brown DAC and swappable OPAMP
        sen a tried and tested memory kit, the G.Skill RipjawsX             sockets to fine tune the output to your liking. We recom-
        (F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL), which is an 8 GB memory kit (4                mend the Corsair SP2200 speaker set to go with it.
        GB x2) rated at a native speed of 1866 MHz. It performed
        extremely well in our tests and ran cool thanks to the              what to eXPect
        heatspreaders. For about Rs 4,500, it's also great value.           Well, pretty much anything your heart desires! In the most
                                                                            taxing titles like Battlefield 3, you'll get butter smooth
        GraPhIcs carD - msI n560GtX-tI twIn FroZr II                        frame rates with all the eye candy maxed out. This rig is
        We’ve gone with two MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II cards              fairly future-proof, and should you find the CPU slowing you
        for uncompromised gaming. We chose the GTX 560 Ti over              down, simply overclock it without hesitation. Our configura-
        the AMD HD 6950 for its robust drivers with fewer bugs,             tion just so happens to top out around the same price as
        better compatibility with games (PhysX) and better power            the Asus G74SX gaming notebook, so in case you were still
        management. Instead of a single GTX 580 or GTX 590,                 undecided on what to do with Rs 1.25 lakhs, here it is!
        two GTX 560 Ti’s in SLI will give you
        better performance. SLI has evolved        Components                                                          priCe (rs.)
        over the years and with better drivers     CPU                        Intel Core i7-2600K                      15,000
        and newer games being optimized for
                                                   Cooler                     Antec Khuler H2O 620                     4,800
        multi-GPU setups.
                                                       Motherboard            ASUS P8Z68-V                             13,041
        other comPonents                               RAM                    G.Skill RipjawsX (F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL)    4,500
        The power supply plays a crucial role in       Graphics Card          MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC x2       26,000
        the functioning and longevity of any PC.       Hard Drive             Seagate 2TB                              4,500
        We’ve gone with the SeaSonic X-850
                                                       SSD                    OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB                     5,000
        PSU, which is an 80+ Gold certified
        power supply. It’s also one of the few         Optical Drive          Sony DVD Burner                          900
        high-end units to have a completely            Power Supply (PSU)     SeaSonic X-850 (850W)                    9,900
        modular design, which means even the           Chassis                Corsair 600T                             11,000
        24-pin power cable is detachable. It           Monitor                Dell U2312H                              10,240
        features good efficiency, low noise and
                                                       Keyboard               Microsoft SideWinder X4                  2,200
        ripple levels and can easily go beyond
                                                       Mouse                  Logitech G500                            2,900
        its rated power all the way to 1000W.
        We’ve gone with an SSD (OCZ’s Vertex           Mouse Pad              Rantopad H3 Ares                         400
        Plus 60 GB) and hard drive (Seagate            Sound Card             Asus Xonar Essence STX                   6,500
        2 TB) combo for quicker loading times          Headphones             Razer Carcharias                         4,200
        and ample storage respectively. We’ve
                                                       Speakers               Corsair SP2200                           4,900
        chosen the Corsair 600T chassis for its
                                                       TOTAL                                                           1,25,981

     December 2011  intelligent computing cHip insider supplement
36    REVIEW

                                                                                 For the fans who will never tire of
                                                                                 Activision’s successful formula.
                                                                                 BY AVINASH BALI

           t feels kind of redundant to review a game          previous games that were appreciated.
           like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 no matter           As far as gameplay goes, you know the drill all
           how big this franchise has become. Except for       too well. In every level, you’ll encounter waves of
        maybe a couple of tweaks, this is essentially the      respawning enemies till you trigger an invisible
        same Call of Duty you played last year, the year       event marker or complete your objective. You’ll
        before that, and so on. The adrenaline pumping         constantly be assaulted by set-pieces, some of
        single-player is polished, exciting and short but      which, even after three games (three Modern
        you already knew that. The multiplayer is fast         Warfare games i.e.), are downright impres-
        paced, deep and addictive. Guess what; you knew        sive. Modern Warfare 3 is a painfully short
        that too. So should you buy this game? Yes, if         game, but there’s rarely a dull moment. I’ll
        you’re a fan who will never get tired                                    give them that! Sure, you’ll
        of Activision’s successful formula.       RATING 4/5                     have a few minutes of bor-
        On the other hand, if you never liked                                    ing shoot outs where you
        this series to begin with, Modern Warfare 3 defi-      simply duck in one place and shoot the
        nitely won’t change your mind.                         brain dead enemies baying for your blood,
           The single-player kicks off right after the         but for most of the time, the game moves
        events of Modern Warfare 2. Players join Soap          at an enjoyable pace. You’ll experience a
        McTavish, Captain Price and a bunch of new             slight respite from all the relentless shoot-
        recruits as they race around the clock to stop the     ing with a few stealth segments, but before
        evil Makarov, who’s hell bent on starting World        you start feeling like Sam Fisher, the poop hits
        War III. Players who’ve stuck with this series         the fan and its guns blazing till the end of the
        since Modern Warfare will get some sort of clo-        level.
        sure as the story comes full circle with a satis-          After the five-hour single-player campaign
        fying ending. There are also quite a few nods to       (you expected more?), you can head online

                                                                                                                                                  REVIEW   37

for some co-op via the game’s Spec Ops mode introduced in
Modern Warfare 2, tackle the all new Survival mode, or get
lost into the game’s biggest draw - its competitive side. Ver-
                      sus play works like older games, where
                        you level up, unlock cooler weapons,
                          customize them, chose your perks,
                           killstreaks and go to town on your
                            enemies. Unfortunately, most of
                             the maps present in this game
                             are really small, making your
                            lifespan very short. After coming
                            out from a game like Battlefield
                           3, where team work is essential to
                           success, Modern Warfare 3’s lone
                              wolf attitude felt a bit off. Plus,
                                   the game’s become too fast-      paced for its own good, with encounters ending in a blink of an
                                                                    eye. And since maps are so small, spawn points are haywire
                                                                    and once enemies start stacking their killstreaks against your
                                                                    team, prepare to die a lot. Still, if you’re a fan of the game’s
                                                                    uber fast paced combat, you’ll enjoy what MW3 throws
                                                                    at you.

                                                                                                    GAME INFO
                                                                                           FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER

                                                                                           Call of Duty: Modern
                                                                                           Warfare 3
                                                                                           PRICE                  Rs 3,499 (Xbox 360, PS3),
                                                                                                                  Rs 2,999 (PC)
                                                                                           PUBLISHER              Activision
                                                                                           DEVELOPER              Infinity Ward/
                                                                                                                  Sledgehammer Games
                                                                                           DISTRIBUTOR            WW CD Roms

                                                                                           Single player is polished and intense, online
                                                                                           modes are fun

                                                                                           Feels like a carbon copy of its predecessors,
                                                                                           brings nothing new to the table, looks obsolete,
                                                                                           matchmaking system hampers online play

                                                                                           TEST RIG
                                                                                           Motherboard: Intel DP67BG Extreme Desktop series;
                                                                                           Processor: Intel Core i7 - 2600K @3.40 GHZ; Graphic Card:
                                                                                           NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590; Ram: Corsair Vengeance 4GB
                                                                                           DD3 @ 1600 MHZ X2; Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent
                                                                                           Pro Gold 1200W

                                                                           INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011
38    REVIEW

                                                                            battlefield with better perks.
                                                                                As enjoyable as the game’s online component is, it’s
                                                                            severely hampered by Activision’s strange decision to roll back
                                                                            to their highly frustrating matchmaking system. This is fine if
                                                                            you’re playing with people from the same region, but in most
                                                                            cases, you won’t, making bullet lag a real issue. The PC version
                                                                            has the option to toggle both matchmaking and dedicated
                                                                            server support, but it seems dedicated servers only support
                                                                            unranked matches, which means you won’t be able to earn XP
                                                                            or level up in those games.
                                                                                Visually, MW3 looks obsolete since this is pretty much the
                                                                            same engine Infinity Ward used for Modern Warfare, albeit
                                                                            with a few tweaks. Lighting effects still are pretty impres-
                                                                            sive and there were certain sections of the game where I did
                                                                            appreciate its looks, but for most of the time, I constantly felt
            Spec Ops as well as Survival can be tackled alone if you        I was playing a five year-old game. Besides the dated visuals,
        don’t have anyone to party up with. Survival is standard horde      presentation is pretty solid with stable frame rates through
        mode fare, where you’ll face waves of increasingly tougher          all the intense action, some improved sound effects for weap-
        enemies, and before every new wave starts, you’ll get a chance      ons, and a pretty cinematic score.
        to stock up on ammo, explosives, weapons and so on. It’s not            This review may seem a bit jaded, but that’s because I’m
        a revolutionary concept, but it’s quite enjoyable, especially       really starting to get tired of the whole “more of the same"
        if you’re playing with a bunch of friends. Spec Ops is a more       mentality most sequels have been throwing our way in recent
        structured bunch of missions with some even being inspired          times. I don’t expect revolutionary changes in sequels, but
        by the single-player campaign. Your goal in each mission could      playing through a game that’s a carbon copy of its predeces-
        vary so some could be mere ‘stay alive’ quests, while others        sors can get boring real fast no matter how polished the expe-
        may have you dashing toward your goal against the clock. All        rience is. There's no doubt that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
        the XP you earn in both these modes translates to your com-         3 is the highest selling first-person shooter on the planet, but
        petitive profile as well, so if you feel you’re getting your butt   that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Buy it only if you’re a fan of
        handed to you online, play a little co-op and head back to the      the series.

40    REVIEW

                                   Living up to the hype!
                                   BY AVINASH BALI

     RATING 4.5/5
                                           fter the trailers, the trash talking and the      obviously is not a huge fan of his plan and does
                                           rather controversial multiplayer beta,            everything in his power to stop it.
                                           DICE’s highly awaited first-person shooter,          Battlefield’s campaign borrows heavily from
                                   Battlefield 3 has finally arrived. It carries with it     other shooters on the block, and to be fair, it does
                                   the expectations of millions or at least thousands        deliver some pretty cinematic set pieces with
                                   of gamers, who’ve been looking for their next             much aplomb. You’ll co-pilot a jet raining hell fire
                                   online fix. And thankfully, it does not disappoint.       on ground targets, survive multiple ambushes
                                       Now, the Battlefield series (not to be confused       with your troops, manoeuvre a tank through
                                   with DICE’s Bad Company games) has always pro-            enemy lines, take control of a turret mounted
                                   vided players with a deep multiplayer experience,         atop a jeep through a war-torn fictitious Middle
                                   but this time around, DICE strapped on a single           Eastern country, survive a catastrophic earth-
                                   player campaign as well. The story puts players           quake, and lots more.
                                   in the boots of a US Marine named Sgt Black, who             The action, while clichéd is frantic enough
                                   via flash backs during an interrogation sequence,         most of the time, especially during the indoor lev-
                                   divulges the plot of the game. It seems a fanatical       els where you’ll be shredding through walls, glass,
                                   terrorist has stolen some nukes and is hell bent          desks and pretty much anything that comes
                                   on detonating them in Paris and New York. Black           between you and your target. Unfortunately,

                                                                                                                                                    REVIEW   41

the campaign is bogged down heavily by a ‘been
there done that’ vibe that never really allows the
game to create an identity for itself. Not helping
matters is the fact that the AI is completely stu-
pid, some of the missions felt a bit contrived, and
the campaign went a tad overboard with its quick
time events (QTEs).
   Multiplayer is, of course, the main reason most
of you will pick up Battlefield 3, and it is without
a doubt a freaking ball. Battlefield: Bad Company
2 veterans will feel right at home with the game’s
multiplayer modes like Conquest, Rush, Squad
and Team Deathmatch. Each of these modes can
be played across the game’s nine vast maps. You
can start your Battlefield 3 career off by dabbling
with some of the more straightforward versus
modes like Squad Deathmatch before you jump
into the more complex, large scale ones. During
Squad/Team Deathmatch, every map is cut down            at the end of the round, the team
drastically in size, where a sizeable chunk of the      who loses all tickets loses the               GAME INFO
map is cordoned off to provide some up close and        round. Rush is more intense as       FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER
personal combat.                                        you’ll have to destroy the opposi-
                                                                                             Battlefield 3
   If you aren’t too good at pulling the trigger,       tion’s MCOM stations while they
                                                                                             PRICE                  Rs 2,999 (Xbox 360, PS3),
don’t sweat it; you can take up a support role          try and stop you. In both modes,                            Rs 1,499 (PC)
since Battlefield 3 encourages and rewards play-        team work is absolutely crucial to   PUBLISHER              EA
ers for playing as a team. You could chose to be        succeed, which is why I strongly     DEVELOPER              DICE
a medic and heal your teammates or go in for            suggest investing in a mic before    DISTRIBUTOR            Milestone Interactive
a support class and make sure they never run            you pick this game up.               PHONE                  022 42764000
of ammunition. As you level up your respective             Speaking of investing in          E-MAIL                 sales@milestoneinteractive.
classes, you’ll unlock better abilities for them. For   stuff, I would also recommend a
example, when you start the assault class, you’ll       hardware upgrade if you plan on      FOR
be limited to med packs, but once you level up,         picking this bad boy up for the      Looks phenomenal, best sounding game,
                                                                                             addictive multiplayer, highly satisfying gameplay
you’ll unlock the defib kit that allows you to bring    PC. On a high end rig, this game
your team/squad mates back from the dead.               looks positively phenomenal          AGAINST
   Once you feel you’re comfortable with the            with everything maxed out in         Single player has a strong ‘been there, done
                                                                                             that’ vibe, over-dependence on QTEs
game’s mechanics, you can venture into Conquest         all its DirectX 11 glory. Every-
or Rush, the crux of Battlefield 3’s multiplayer.       thing from character models
In Conquest, each team has to capture a bunch           to textures to weapon detail is      TEST RIG
of points spread out all over the map, while the        pure eye candy as long as your       Motherboard: Intel DP67BG Extreme Desktop series;
                                                                                             Processor: Intel Core i7 - 2600K @3.40 GHZ; Graphic Card:
opposition has to do the same. While holding            system can handle the load.          NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590; Ram: Corsair Vengeance 4GB
                                                                                             DD3 @ 1600 MHZ X2; Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent
a point, your team must try and eliminate the           And thanks to some of the best       Pro Gold 1200W
opposition. Doing so will reduce their tickets and      sound effects I’ve ever heard

                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011
42    REVIEW

                               in a game till date, every gunfight in Battlefield 3,    always sceptical about, doesn’t seem to bother me
                               be it in multiplayer or single player, is a thoroughly   at all. Still, I can’t understand why DICE couldn’t just
                               satisfying and nerve racking experience. Character       implement Battlelog into the game itself instead of
                               animation is top notch as well as DICE have gone         forcing players to launch it via their web browsers.
                               all out to make sure the act of running or leaping           It’s obvious that Battlefield 3 is targetted at
                               over objects feels as fluid and life-like as possible.   the multiplayer crowd as DICE have crafted a well-
                               Destruction, something that’s been associated with       tuned, deep multiplayer experience you’ll be playing
                               the Bad Company series, has been toned down a bit        for months on end. The single player may not be
                               in this game. You can still blast off a healthy chunk    the best thing since sliced bread, but it does have
                               of the environment, and in some cases, even tear a       its moments and can help players grasp gunplay
                               building in half, but it’s still a bit mellow compared   as well as gameplay mechanics before they head
                               to Bad Company 2.                                        into multiplayer. The game looks phenomenal and
                                   I was pleasantly surprised at the game’s rather      thanks to some seriously talented sound engineers,
                               smooth launch, since most of DICE’s older games          it is the best sounding game on the block right now.
                               have always had teething issues. This time, how-         If you’re a fan of modern-day shooters, military
                               ever, everything worked out perfectly. I found serv-     shooters or online games, Battlefield 3 is already in
                               ers to play on easily, could manage my squad the         your crosshairs. Even if you’re new to the genre, I
                               way I wanted to, and Battlelog, something I was          suggest giving it a shot. It may convert you.


        The Elder Scrolls is back, and with Skyrim, Bethesda has another winner on its hands.

           nvesting around 30 hours to review a game with more than          As someone who’s crazy about customization, this is a bit of a
           200 hours of content doesn’t seem fair. At the same time, I’m     bummer for me. I mean, sure, don’t let me modify features and
           sure there are many of you out there wondering how the new        body type, but are you trying to tell me no one in Skyrim gets a
        Elder Scrolls game stacks up. So what we’ve done here is tread       shave or a haircut?
        the middle ground by offering a mini-review of sorts based on            Anyway, once you’re done playing Barbie, you’ll undergo a
        our marathon session of Skyrim. To put it rather simply, you         short tutorial of sorts after which the world is yours to explore.
        need to buy this freaking game. Like now!                            You could chose to progress the story forward or indulge in a
            The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim picks up nearly two hundred          plethora of side quests, join one of the many guilds out there,
        years after Oblivion. Since there is no King to rule Skyrim, civil   take up odd jobs to earn money, or start exploring dungeons
        unrest has broken out all over and if that wasn’t bad enough, a      to gain XP and come across new loot. While the game is open-
        mysterious race of dudes have now started resurrecting drag-         ended from the get go, there are certain areas you won’t be
        ons for sinister reasons. Not an issue for you, since you’re a       able to access simply because it will be host to higher level
        Dragonborn, a badass capable of slaying dragons and absorbing        enemies.
        their souls. It’s the politics you should be more worried about. I       Levelling up your character will grant you Perks that can
        never really had a chance to sit and experience the game’s plot      be used to buff up your skill tree. Let’s say, like me, you prefer
        because I’ve done all of two plot-based missions in my play          dual-wielding spells and swords; your best bet would be to max
        through. Exploration is the name of the game here, and Skyrim        out your one-handed and destruction spell tree. If stealth is
        may give you a headache with its mind numbing scope.                 more of your thing, go crazy unlocking perks for sneaking, but
            You embark upon your adventures by choosing one of many          if you’re more of a mage, then invest points in conjuration or
        races, after which you can create your character from scratch. I     alchemy. Like I said earlier, this game can really overwhelm you
        chose someone adept at melee combat and magic and thanks             at times with its content, but still, none of it is really shoved
        to the game’s dual wielding system, I was casting spells and         down your throat and I applaud Bethesda for that. If you’re
        wielding my iron sword with great ease. The customization tool       adept at lockpicking, it will make your life simpler, but you’ll
        is crazy detailed and if you’re the creative type, you can create    never find yourself stuck in a dungeon just because you never
        anyone (or anything). Unfortunately, once you do create your         levelled up your lockpicking skills.
        character, you’ll be stuck with him/her for the rest of the game.        In fact, if you’re a melee-based character who isn’t too good
                                                                             with magic, the game allows you to recruit a companion that is,
                                                                             and together, you can be a force to be reckoned with. The only
                                                                             downside to this is that pathfinding for companions is com-
                                                                             pletely broken and you’ll constantly have to walk beside them,
                                                                             making sure they’re following you and not getting stuck behind
                                                                             some rock. While I appreciate the support of a mercenary or a
                                                                             mage, I do prefer exploring Skyrim by myself since this game
                                                                             can offer you some truly memorable random moments. Allow
                                                                             me to elaborate.
                                                                                 I was in this marshy area doing a quest for the Thieves guild,
                                                                             sneaking around, using my bow and arrow to dispose enemies
                                                                             off quietly when suddenly, out of nowhere, this dragon just
                                                                             appears in the sky raining down fire on all my enemies. Now,
                                                                             I knew there were dragons in the game, but I didn’t know they
                                                                             could appear anywhere at any time.

                                                                                                                                                          PREVIEW    45

                                                                     more dragons, craft a badass dragon armor, plunder the most
                                                                     dangerous dungeons, and explore more of the game’s mind
                                                                     numbing vistas. Every time I start the game, I make it a point
                                                                     to complete all the quests I’ve undertaken, but somehow, one
                                                                     thing leads to another and I just end up taking more. It’s been a
                                                                     while since a game has grabbed my attention like this, making
                                                                     me ignore important aspects of my daily routine like eating or
                                                                     showering. If that’s not proof of this game’s immersion, I don’t
                                                                     know what is. Buy it at any cost.
                                                                        NOTE: If you have a powerful PC, I’d definitely recommend
                                                                     the PC version. Besides looking the best of the lot, the PC
                                                                     version will be enhanced by a bunch of cosmetic and well as
                                                                     gameplay mods that will increase its life significantly.
    Once the initial awe and shock wore off, I realized I’m in the      The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now available for Xbox 360
middle of a marsh with a bow and arrow facing off against a          and PS3 for Rs 3499. Your best bet for the PC version would
fire breathing behemoth. Not a good place to be. Before I could      be Steam.
make a dash for safety, I saw the very same mercenaries that
were guarding the place I was to loot attacking the dragon,          TEST RIG
distracting it momentarily from my sorry butt. The dragon            Motherboard: Intel DP67BG Extreme Desktop series; Processor: Intel Core i7 - 2600K @3.40 GHZ;
                                                                     Graphic Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590; Ram: Corsair Vengeance 4GB DD3 @ 1600 MHZ X2; Power
decidesd to clean up the place before he made a meal out of          Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1200W

me, taking off and landing right between the mercs. He burned
a few of them, chewed a few more up, after which he turned his
sights on me. By that time, all the mercs were pretty dead and
the dragon itself had taken quite a bit of damage. I switched
to my fireball spell, spamming him with a few dozen fireballs
before I dealt the killing blow with my sword. Victorious I stood
near him, absorbing his soul, feeling like such a badass, thank-
ing him as well for wiping out all the enemies and making my
quest a lot easier. This is just one of the many random badass
moments I’ve experienced in this game.
    As much as I love this game so far, it does have a few issues.
Combat, even though greatly improved from Oblivion, still
feels kind of stiff and rigid. Most battles, especially for
melee-centric players, will revolve around spamming the
attack key, occasionally pausing to block. Also, why is
there no hotkey functionally for the PC version? Why do
I have to favorite a weapon and then equip it instead of
just assigning it to my number keys? Letting me switch
on the fly instead of pausing the game to change my
weapon or spell would have definitely made for a more
intense experience.
    Like its predecessor, Skyrim looks like a painting in
motion. It may not be the most detailed painting out
there, but at times, it looks so peaceful and gorgeous, you
can’t help but just sit back and take in the view. Of course,
don’t get too comfortable because underneath all that
beauty lies a hostile world with bandits, wild animals
and more just aching to take you down. Special mention
also goes out to the game’s relaxing orchestral score
that kicks into high gear as soon as you’re engaged in
combat. Making the encounter with the dragon I spoke
about earlier even more memorable was the awe inspir-
ing score that kicked in at the right time.
    After spending nearly 30 hours in Skyrim, I still
haven’t even scratched the game’s surface. I have to
still become a member of all the guilds, hunt even

                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011
46    feature

        grand theft auto
        by avinash bali

                                                                     improved quest system
                                                                     GTA IV had way too many “go here and kill this random
                                                                     dude” kind of quests for its own good. It was either
                                                                     that or uninteresting fetch quests. Rockstar definitely
                                                                     needs to add in a ton of mission variety into GTA V.
                                                                     Adding stealth missions would also be a good change
          Better economy                                             of pace with the inclusion of silenced weapons and the
          Games like GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption allowed          ability to actually plan your missions a la Hitman. Stalk
          players to earn money through both main and side           your prey and kill him/her when they enter a dark alley,
                                                                     sabotage the brakes in their cars to make it look like an
          quests, but with nothing worth really spending your
                                                                     accident, or enter their houses at night and kill them in
          money on, your income felt useless. Ten hours into GTA
                                                                     their sleep. All effective ways to vanish without a trace.
          IV, I had enough money to buy my own country, but all I    Plus, adding in the random encounters from Red Dead
          had was weapons and ammunition. For GTA V, it would        Redemption would be a pretty sweet idea too.
          be nice if I could actually put my money to good use. At
          least this way I’m motivated to rake in the moolah.

                                                                     Balance realism and fun
                                                                     Rockstar should know when to keep the game realistic
           rewarding side quests                                     and when to let players have a good time. For GTA V,
           Side quests should also make sense and should             they should bring back some of the fun activities while
           reward the player with more than money. For example,      keeping the game grounded in reality. For example, limit
           tackling cop missions should give access to the police    the amount of weapons a player can carry on them at a
           database. This way if you have to whack someone and       time just like in real life. Additional firepower can always
           know the places he visits regularly, you don’t have to    be stored in your car trunk; a feature that was promised
           tail him through all the traffic.                         with GTA IV as well.

                                                                                          The character customization is
                                                                                          GTA IV, simply put, sucked. A few
                                                                                          shoes, suits and some raggedy
                                                                                          pieces of clothing were all players
                                                                                          could adorn Niko Bellic with. Even
                                                                                          if Rockstar don’t want players
                                                                                          to tweak facial features, they
                                                                                          can very well add a plethora of
                                                                                          customization options like they
                                                                                          did in San Andreas. Customization
                                                                                          shouldn’t be limited to the
                                                                                          character. The tuner culture is still
                                                                                          going strong on the West Coast, so
                                                                                          they should allow players to deck
                                                                                          out their rides any way they see fit.
                                                                                          Similarly, a player should be able
                                                                                          to deck out his arsenal to a certain
                                                                                          extent as well. I mean, who doesn’t
                                                                                          like wielding diamond-encrusted
                                                                                          AK 47s?

     December 2011  intelligent computing cHip insider supplement
                                                                                                                      feature       47

Now that Grand Theft Auto V has officially been announced, the world’s gone into overdrive with speculation. We jump
aboard the bandwagon with a few ideas we hope make it into the game. Rockstar, are you listening?
by avinash bali

                                                                                        In an urban open world
                                                                                        environment, it’s a real pity to
                                                                                        restrict all the gun fights to
                                                                                        the streets. GTA V should allow
                                                                                        players to tackle them anyway
                                                                                        they seem fit, so if I feel I’m at
                                                                                        an advantage after climbing a
                                                                                        roof top, let me do so. I’m not
                                                                                        saying make me like Ezio from
                                                                                        Assassin’s Creed, but adding a
                                                                                        bit of verticality to this series
                                                                                        wouldn’t really hurt. After all,
                                                                                        that too was promised to us for
                                                                                        GTA IV.

  Better comBat system
  The hand to hand combat system in GTA IV was not
  all that hot. In fact, it was pretty rigid and useless.
  Implementing the one from L.A. Noire will go a long
  way towards making fist fights more immersive.
  Similarly, they need to tighten up gunplay as well;
  something on the lines of Red Dead Redemption with
  a smooth and fluid looking cover system to boot.

                                                                set pieces
                                                                I know I’m a bit spoilt by the Uncharted series when
                                                                it comes to phenomenal set pieces, but if anyone can
                                                                pull something like this off, it’s Rockstar. With a place
                                                                like LA, where earthquakes are a common occurrence, a
                                                                mission featuring one would be sweet. Imagine having
                                                                to speed away from an earthquake that’s inches away
                                                                from swallowing your car up!

                                                                    intelligent computing cHip insider supplement  December 2011
48    REVIEW

              It’s enjoyable and exciting but Uncharted 3 is not the perfect sequel we had hoped for.
              BY AVINASH BALI

        RATING 4/5

                     ara Croft is so passé. The undisputed queen of raiding      exactly what to expect from this one as well. Your time in
                     has been replaced by Nathan Drake, an everyday man          Uncharted 3 will be spent climbing around derelict, crumbling
                     with a penchant for danger and an amicable shoot-           structures, shooting bad dudes and indulging in some big
              first, or rather, jump first, ask questions later mentality. Two   budget sequences I’d rather not spoil for you. This being a
              games in and the Uncharted series has already established          sequel carries with it the unfortunate side-effect of being
              itself as the definitive blockbuster experience on the Playsta-    predictable. Every time you enter a level, your mind will
              tion 3. In our mind, Uncharted 2 was the perfect game, fus-        immediately begin to pick up clues as to how the set-pieces
              ing action and platforming with some of the most gripping          will play out. Of course, predictable or not, when they do
              set-pieces ever witnessed in a video game into one highly          occur, they’ll still blow your brains out. No doubt about that.
              attractive package. Naturally, our expectations were sky high          While I’m fine with the “more of the same” mentality
              from its sequel, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. With such         most sequels bring to the table, I was pretty disappointed
              lofty expectations riding on its shoulders, Uncharted 3 still      with the game’s combat that actually felt like a step back
              manages to deliver a thoroughly entertaining blockbuster           from Uncharted 2. Naughty Dog have tried to make Drake’s
              experience. Only it’s not as perfect as we’d hoped.                animations feel as lifelike as possible and they’ve succeeded
                  This time around, Drake and his mentor Sully are in search     with their vision to a certain extent, but an unfortunate side
              of something called the Atlantis of the Sands, a mythi-            effect of this is that I never quite felt in control of Drake.
              cal place in the Rub’ Al Khali desert that houses a power-         Gunplay also felt a bit off as the game’s aiming mechanics
              ful secret. Naturally, they aren’t the only ones after this. A     are not as tight as responsive as they used to be. This makes
              shady organization that dabbles in the occult has its eye on       combat feel like somewhat of a chore.
              the prize as well for obviously nefarious reasons. The plot,           Making matters worse is the game’s extremely annoying
              while predictable, is extremely enjoyable thanks to some           enemy spawn point system. You’ll constantly be ambushed
              witty writing and the banter shared between Drake and his          by enemies that’ll come out in droves lobbing a billion gre-
              companions. It’s the video game equivalent of a buddy cop          nades right at your feet. They also have the obnoxious knack
              movie from the nineties, and we love it.                           of spawning behind you out of thin air, making death in this
                          Those who’ve played the last two games know            game feel rather cheap even on Normal difficulty. Hand-to
                                                                                 -and combat also plays a big role in this game, and while
                                                                                 it seems enjoyable at first, it becomes real annoying when
                                                                                 you’re forced to press the same button prompts every single
                                                                                 time. What’s worse is that during certain gun fights, enemies
                                                                                 may grab you or come too close for comfort, forcing you to
                                                                                 indulge in the same quick time event over and over and over
                                                                                     Expecting back up from your friends during a fire fight
                                                                                 borders on stupidity, as they’ll be busy sitting in a corner,
                                                                                 sucking on their thumbs while you patiently dispatch every
                                                                                 enemy in sight. What’s worse is that when they do come out
                                                                                 to play, they constantly come in your way, making you wish
                                                                                 they had stayed put in the first place. The game’s pacing,
                                                                                 something Naughty Dog had nailed down in previous games,
                                                                                 also felt a bit off. As opposed to Uncharted 2 that started
                                                                                 with a bang, this one starts off rather slow and drags in the

                                                                                                          REVIEW       49

middle, only picking up after the halfway mark. It’s
like Naughty Dog had run out of ideas and were
filling in the blanks with boring levels, where you
mindlessly grind away against enemy forces to
reach the next exciting part.
     Once you’re done with the single player cam-
paign, you can head online to tackle the game’s
standalone co-operative mode or dive straight
into versus multiplayer. Co-operative missions in
this game exist for the sake of being there since
most of them are just rehashed Uncharted 2 or 1
levels. And they aren’t too exciting to begin with
since most of them play out like a Horde mode.
Enter a room, kill an ‘x’ amount of enemies, hit a
checkpoint, move on, rinse, repeat and it’s level
over. Thankfully, all the XP you earn in co-op can
be carried over to multiplayer as well.
     Multiplayer in the Uncharted games works
like any other modern-day shooter with persis-
tent unlocks, only you can run and jump around
the environment the way you can in the single
player campaign. This adds an exciting sense of
verticality not seen in most online games. You’ll
start off with a rather basic load out, but as you
progress through your online career, you’ll unlock
better weaponry and cooler boosters. Boosters
are perks of sorts that give you an added advan-
tage on the battlefield like the ability regenerate
health faster, collect more ammo from dead play-
ers, and so on. New to this game is something
called Medal Kickbacks; kill streaks of sorts
where you are rewarded for racking up a certain
amount of medals. Score ten medals, for example,
and activate your kickback that’ll spawn a rocket

          GAME INFO

 Uncharted 3: Drake's
 PRICE              Rs 2,699 (PS3)
 PUBLISHER          Sony
 DEVELOPER          Naughty Dog
 DISTRIBUTOR        Milestone Interactive
 PHONE              022 42764000
 E-MAIL             sales@milestoneinteractive.

 Still one of the best looking games out there,
 insane set pieces, witty narrative, multiplayer is
 tons of fun

 Aiming feels wonky, feels predictable,
 frustrating difficulty spikes, cheap enemy
 behavior, co-op is nothing but rehashed
 Uncharted 2 or 1 levels

                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  DECEMBER 2011
50    REVIEW

              launcher in your hands.                                                 By now, you’re probably thinking I hate the game, but
                 While I’m still enjoying the game’s multiplayer, like the sin-   that’s really not the case. It’s just that I’m a bit disappointed
              gle player campaign, it is not without its faults. Perhaps my       by the fact that the follow up to what I consider the perfect
              biggest grouse with it lies in its matchmaking system that          game isn’t as stellar as I had hoped. Technically, Uncharted 3
              doesn’t pair up similarly skilled enemies against each other.       is still a marvel, delivering some phenomenal moments with
              For my first few rounds, in which I was trying to learn the         style. Special mention goes to one ship level in particular
              maps, my entire low ranked team was constantly pit against          that’ll make you giggle like a schoolgirl with its size, scope
              extremely high ranked players, who obviously knew the maps          and design. It’s pretty much the best set-piece I’ve witnessed
              really well. Before we could even learn the ins and outs, we        in a game, but moments like this cannot mask some of the
              were being gunned down mercilessly. Another minor niggle            game’s nagging issues. While none of the issues I have with
              I have with the unlock system is that unlocks are way too           the game are complete deal breakers, together they mar the
              expensive. $75,000 just to unlock a pair of fingerless gloves       perfect experience that could have been Uncharted 3. That
              for my character? I know we’re reeling under the recession          said, I still recommend this game to anyone looking for an
              and all, but this is freaking ridiculous.                           extremely polished experience on their PS3.


Shared By:
Description: CHIP INDIA 2012 ARCHIVE