Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Lord of The Ring : War in The North Review

Over the past few years, The Lord of the Rings franchise has gone silent. There was a time when the world of Middle Earth was on the forefront of everyone's mind. The film franchise was doing gangbusters in the theaters, and the books were at the top of the bestseller lists. On the gaming front, LOTR was doing pretty well, with a variety of games spanning genres from action to real-time strategy performing quite well. However, once the films had ended, interest slowed to a crawl and the games faded out of memory.
Now, it seems that Tolkien's world has gotten some renewed vigor. Peter Jackson's films based on The Hobbit are finally in production, and Warner Bros. Interactive andSnowblind Studios have unleashed a brand new game set alongside the books, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
War in the North is an action-RPG built with a strong focus on co-op. As three warriors placed in a new story set concurrently against the events in the LOTR trilogy, War in the North adds in a brand new plot, as well as an M rating due to some pretty brutal combat. All of the familiar trappings of the action-RPG genre are here, from shops and loot to blacksmiths that repair weakened or busted weaponry; as well as some combo-based sword (and axe) play.
However, even with the significant carnage and orcish dismemberment, there's something too safe in War in the North. The gameplay doesn't take any real risks, as the combat is fairly simple, the RPG features are par for the course, and the story doesn't make any attempt to stand out in the backdrop of its established universe.
In War in the North, you and your group of warriors (no soloing here; if you don't have two friends to take control of the other two fighters, the AI will pick up the slack) must embark on a quest to (you guessed it) the North to defeat a new threat, Agandaur, one of Sauron's most deadly lieutenants.

Orc slaying is just another thing best enjoyed in a group.

One of the main ways that the original LOTR books and the recent films succeeded is that even though they were filled with tons of characters, you still found yourself caring about them. When Boromir was shot down by a hail of Uruk-hai arrows, when Gandalf was pulled into the fiery depths while fending off the Balrog, you found yourself invested in the characters and heartbroken by the tragedy. There is no such attachment with the characters in War in the North.
Your team of three, a human ranger, an elven mage, and a dwarven warrior, are completely engrossed on their mission, revealing very little in the way of any personality or reason for their quest aside from sheer valor. They're almost grim in their resolute focus, and any sense of levity that appears in the books and subsequent films is all but absent in War of the North. The game's conversation system is largely inconsequential, as you'll talk to people only to learn some extended details of the tepid storyline.
The combat is a blend of melee and ranged combat, each of which you'll employ often, regardless of who you choose. Your ranger will obviously be more adept at bow and arrow combat while your dwarf is pretty brutal with an axe, but they'll each be able to lean the other way when necessary. You'll pull off some fairly simplistic combos that result in some pretty nasty kills, but there's nothing too extravagant as far as swordplay is concerned.

Pouncing enemies like a BOSS.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is the first M-rated game set in Middle Earth, a badge that the game wears with distinction. While you won't see any naked elves running around or hear your dwarven warrior drop an F-bomb, the game does have a lot more blood and carnage than you might be expecting from a Lord of the Rings game. As you string combos together, you'll be able to dismember orcs with your final blows, lopping off arms, legs, and heads and getting experience multipliers for the ensuing carnage. The visceral feel is definitely welcome, and isn't a huge departure from the intense battles featured in the Peter Jackson films and the books, both of which featured their fair share of bloodletting.
Some of your special abilities can be pretty awesome, namely a Great Eagle named Beleram, who you can order to swoop in and pounce on a specific enemy, taking them out in one go. Your characters also have some of their own specific abilities. Your elven mage for example can utilize some handy magic spells, the handiest of which being Sanctuary, which surrounds the caster in a healing shell that protects against ranged attacks.
Unfortunately, as fun as the combat can be at first, it soon becomes a bit too repetitive. You'll be fighting through the same hordes of enemies again and again, with the game relying on standard tropes like fixed turrets and mobs of enemies that become shooting galleries fairly often. More often than not you and your party will be cornered into an area with enemies swarming you, and once you fight them all off, you'll be free to move onto the next area; rinse, lather, repeat.
Additionally, while the co-op is implemented well, some flaws begin to show up when you play the game alone. While the game has an RPG system that lets you equip new armor and weapons to your character, you can't change your AI-controlled teammates' equipment. You can't switch between them on the fly, and you'll have to wait until you complete specific sections before you're given the chance to choose one of your other characters. You can't level them up either until you have control over them, which is another problem. There somewhat of a workaround, as you can exit out of your game and select them from the menu, at which point you'll pick up at your last checkpoint as the newly selected character. However, this is far from an elegant solution and you'll be left wondering why you can't just select between them on the fly in a single-player game.
Another sore spot is your inability to issue specific orders your teammates. While you can tell them to either "Attack" or "Defend", they'll still often act on their own accord and leave you vulnerable to attacks while they do their own thing. I noticed this quite a bit when I was manning a turret and swarms of enemies were attacking our group.

The battles are visceral, but grow repetitive before too long.

As I was on the turret trying to take out as many as I could, and I had tasked the group to defend our position. However, they still managed to keep their attack pattern of rushing at a foe and fighting separately from the unit. Conversely, I had them "Attack" to see what changes they would make to their strategy. Again, they seemed to keep up whatever attack pattern they had been adhering to before. Trying to take control of my group felt like I was pounding away at a crosswalk button and the light wouldn't change.
However, for all the naysaying, there is still a good game to be found in War in the North. The combat itself is well done, and the RPG features, while fairly standard stuff for the genre, are also pretty solid. There's plenty of loot to be had, with many weapons, armor, and crafting items to be found, as well as items that can be sold for more coin.
While it’s admirable that the team had opted to create an original story set alongside the events in the books, you’ll wish that they had attempted to take more risks with the project. The characters are bland and lifeless, and the combat, while fun at first, gets pretty repetitive before too long.
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ATI : AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review

Officially canonized back in 2008 with AMD’s “small die” strategy, dual-GPU cards have since become a staple of AMD’s product lineup. Filling a small-but-important niche for AMD, dual-GPU cards allow AMD to both deliver ultra-enthusiast performance levels their traditional single-GPU products can’t offer, and at the same time compete with NVIDIA’s big die flagship cards without AMD needing to produce a big die GPU of their own. As a result, though these cards aren’t necessarily obligatory, with each generation we’re left eagerly awaiting just what AMD has in store for their capstone product.
Of course with that said, like so many other facets of the 7000 series, the dual-GPU situation has played out rather unusually in the past year. In a typical year we would see AMD release a standard design, and then later on partners like Asus and PowerColor would release their own custom designs in the name of product differentiation and squeezing out just a bit more performance. Instead the 7000 series has played out in reverse: Asus and PowerColor released their designs first. Consequently, up until this point the 7990 has been “officially unofficial”, reflecting the fact that the first 7990s were AMD sanctioned products, but not based on AMD designs.
But at long last the 7990 is becoming fully official. AMD is getting into the game with their own 7990 design, and perhaps more importantly they’re doing so while coming to bear with the kind of engineering resources that only a GPU manufacturer can provide. This isn’t going to be the first 7990 – that honor belongs toPowerColor’s 7990 – but this is unquestionably the most important 7990.  For AMD and their partners going official doesn’t just mean the AMD is taking a greater role in matters, but as we’ll see it means changing the rules of the game entirely.
AMD GPU Specification Comparison
 AMD Radeon HD 7990AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz EditionAMD Radeon HD 7970AMD Radeon HD 6990
Stream Processors2 x 2048204820482 x 1536
Texture Units2 x 1281281282 x 96
ROPs2 x 3232322 x 32
Core Clock950MHz1000MHz925MHz830MHz
Boost Clock1000MHz1050MHzN/AN/A
Memory Clock6GHz GDDR56GHz GDDR55.5GHz GDDR55GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width2 x 384-bit384-bit384-bit2 x 256-bit
VRAM2 x 3GB3GB3GB2 x 2GB
Transistor Count2 x 4.31B4.31B4.31B2 x 2.64B
PowerTune Limit/TDP375W250W+250W375W
Manufacturing ProcessTSMC 28nmTSMC 28nmTSMC 28nmTSMC 40nm
Launch Date04/23/201306/22/201201/09/201203/11/2011
Launch Price$999$499$549$699
Diving right into the thick of things, like the officially unofficial cards before it, AMD’s 7990 is a dual-Tahiti part, placing two of AMD’s flagship GPUs on a single PCB to make a single card. AMD has held nothing back and these are fully enabled GPUs, so each GPU has all 2048 stream processors, 32 ROPs, and their full 384-bit memory buses present. Joining these GPUs is 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, split up between the two GPUs for the 7900-series standard of 3GB of VRAM per GPU.
The big question with any dual-GPU card of course is what kinds of clockspeeds it can run at, and as a turns out the 7990 can clock rather high. The 7990 is a PowerTune Boost part like the 7970GE it’s based on, giving the card a base clockspeed of 950MHz, and a boost clock of 1000MHz. Meanwhile the memory is clocked at 6GHz, the same as the 7970GE. As a result the 7990 is surprisingly close to being a 7970GE Crossfire setup on a single card, clocked just 50MHz below AMD’s single-GPU flagship card. In fact this is better than some of the earlier 7990s such as PowerColor’s, which were clocked lower and simultaneously lacked PT Boost.
But perhaps the most defining aspect of AMD’s 7990, and the thing that sets it apart from unofficial 7990s that came before it is the TDP. AMD’s 7990 has an official TDP of just 375W, which although common for official dual-GPU cards, is quite a bit lower than the TDPs of the unofficial 7990s. As the GPU manufacturer AMD has the ability to do finely grained binning that their partners cannot, so while Asus and PowerColor have essentially been putting together cards that really are two 7970s on a single card – right down to the TDP – official 7990s get the advantage of AMD’s binning process, significantly reducing power consumption. The end result is that while an unofficial 7990 would be a 450W+ part, AMD can deliver the same or better performance while consuming much less power, putting the 7990 within the all-important 375W envelope that OEMs and boutique builders look for.
While we’re on the subject of power, this is the first official AMD dual-GPU part to include AMD’s ZeroCore power technology, which was introduced with the GCN family. ZeroCore as you might recall allows AMD to almost completely shut off slave GPUs when they’re not in use, which in turn allows AMD to further reduce their idle power consumption. The biggest benefits are found in multi-card setups since this allows the fans on those slave cards to be shut down, but even on the 7990 it still provides a benefit by allowing AMD to curtail their idle power consumption. Consequently this pushes the idle TDP of the 7990 down to around 20W, which is greater than a single card, but a clear improvement over 6990 and earlier AMD dual-GPU cards.
Moving on to product stacks and competition, it comes as no great surprise that AMD is placing their newest flagship part directly opposite NVIDIA’s flagship cards. AMD doesn’t produce a GPU equivalent to GTX Titan’s massive GK110 GPU, so the 7990 is AMD’s official answer to both Titan and NVIDIA’s own dual-GPU card, the nearly year-old GTX 690. In the case of the GTX 690 it’s a rather straightforward matchup since both cards are based on the same principles, while against Titan AMD needs to make a case about raw performance versus the inherent simplicity of a single-GPU solution over a dual-GPU solution.
Along those lines, since AMD is placing the 7990 against NVIDIA’s flagships they will also be pricing it directly against NVIDIA’s flagships, setting the MSRP for the 7990 at $999. This steep price tag raised some ire with the GTX 690 and with GTX Titan, and it likely will here once more. But with single 7970GEs still regularly going for $400-$500 and the fact that AMD is throwing in their best Tahiti chips into 7990, there’s little incentive to charge less. A 7970GE CF setup will be both faster and cheaper, but as a pair of those cards take up 6 slots after accounting for cooling needs, AMD can bank on the fact that the 7990 is essentially the same size as a 7970GE, charging a premium for the size advantage.
Ultimately customers interested in the 7990 will have a bit of time to sit on the matter and decide if they want one. The 7990 is being launched ahead of its actual retail availability, with AMD telling us the cards will hit etailers within two weeks. Meanwhile all of AMD’s usual partners will be participating on this 7990, so expect to see 7990 cards from all of major AMD partners, and sold at all of the major etailers.
Finally, AMD has been having a blast with game bundles over the last few months, and they won’t be stopping with the 7990. In a game bundle that quite frankly I cannot recall being rivaled by anything else done in the last 20 years, AMD will be bundling the 7990 with 8 different games from the current and past Never Settle bundles. All of AMD’s current bundle titles are included: Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Along with that AMD is also packing in the best games out of their previous bundles: Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Simply put, 7990 buyers will be well-stocked for games to play on their new video card.
Meanwhile on housekeeping note, AMD will be changing how vouchers are distributed for the 7990; rather than having etailers distribute the vouchers with qualifying purchases, AMD’s partners will be packing the vouchers into the product box. Though the etailers have been good about including vouchers, they do at times forget them. So for the 7990 AMD and their partners aren’t going to be taking any chances.
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Republic of Gamers : ASUS G75VX review

There are more and more various updates for the gaming laptops on the market nowadays. Naturally, there are some of Asus  laptops that gamers are very pleased with and the most powerful gaming laptop is the Asus G75VXAnd we must say, this device has everything needed for modern sophisticated gamers. You will learn all the intricacies of this laptop from our review.


The decision to design a laptop like a big intergalactic ship is not surprising, because this computer is made for such a category of people who love all kinds of highlights not only filling, but also in the design of devices.
The shape of the computer is like an alien ship. It has sharp lines and beveled sides in its design. The cover is made of rubberized plastic, which is quite strong, it does not leave fingerprints and just comfortable to hold.
The sides and rear of the slightly embellished gray plastic that goes well with the black color casing.
This computer is actually built very well – there are no backlash and clearances, parts do not bend in the sensitive areas.

Input Device

The Asus G75VX is equipped with, though not very remarkable to look at, but very comfortable keyboard an average stroke keys, reasonable size keys, good sensitivity and the presence of the block NumPad. Otherwise, the layout does not have any unusual changes that are inherent in just a gaming laptop. The only unusual thing is a long distance between the unit and the regular keyboard NumPad. This is done to improve the ergonomics of the layout, which is very important, especially during intense battles.
The touchpad has a fairly large size, as well as great physical keys, which are not just hard to get into. The touchpad has a good sensitivity, responds even to light touch. Its cover is made of a slightly opaque material which provides the necessary adhesion to the surface of the finger. It also supports a number of multitouch gestures.


For this series of 17-inch gaming notebook Asus released a matte screen with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. In terms of our laptop brightness, it exceeds the average figure, but here the contrast is a little behind the other gaming notebooks. This screen’s manifests are not bad during a sunny day. Its matte surface and high brightness sunlight will not interfere with your work. The viewing angles are great in moderation, especially for Tn-matrix.
Despite these shortcomings, the display will certainly please the gamers in the first place a good resolution and wide screen and good image detail.


What on board this spacecraft? First, the manufacturer focuses on the video card installed GeForce GTX 670MX with 3 GB of graphics memory. Indeed, the video card can handle such power with every game. Therefore the the attention of buyers to focus on the products is quite logical and natural.
For fast execution of the tasks meets modern quad-core Intel Core i7-3630QM processor with a clock speed of 2.4 GHz. 16 GB of memory to the processor to cope with the tasks, which often require the computer performance.
The two hard drives with 750 GB have a high rotational speed (7200 r / min). This figure is perfect for this computer that just needs operational management files.


As befits a gaming laptop, the G75VX has a decent number of ports and communications. On the left side of the computer are two USB 3.0 ports, optical drive, media card reader and two audio inputs – for microphone and headphones. On the right side are also two USB 3.0 ports, a modern Thunderbolt port, video connectors HDMI and VGA, Internet port and RJ-45 jack for a power device. On the back side, there are two large holes exhaust with quite sinister look, as well as opening the Kensington lock. In general, the number of ports perfectly embodies the purpose of the notebook, as well as to cope not only with the game problems, but also with many working moments.


What do you get in the end? The Asus G75VX is a powerful gaming laptop with a large screen and high-quality, space design and quite reasonable price. He easily masters all games, and thanks to the large display screen it is very comfortable to watch your favorite movies and TV series. So this laptop is perfect for anyone, even the most sophisticated gamer.
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