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3D: Best from Stereo?
Well, that's one issue where I'm going to have to agree with you. Stereo speakers aren't the best way to render 3D sound through HRTFs, and while I found surround-speaker setups optimal, it's unrealistic to assume most people going to have access to them, especially around their computer or at a live event. I'm not the world's greatest fan of HRTF technology (yet), but it does work well (and only works well) with headphones. If 3D audio becomes a big thing, then headphones are definitely the most convenient choice. However, I'm definitely not going to give up my quad-speakers any time soon, and I figure as long as you have your lobes sealed in those massive headphones, it really doesn't matter how loud I turn them up…
Sure, I can deal with that you self-righteous bunghole. And hey, next time you do, make sure someone hasn't accidentally crossed your speaker cables. ;) Well, it's pretty clear to me that headphones are not only going to be around for the long run, but as games become more complicated, they're going to become more and more prevalent in the gaming scene altogether. That's not to say that I don't enjoy the pounding bass from a pair of awesome boxes, but there's more to PC audio than just stereo, and when it comes to practicality, you KNOW where it's at.
Yeah, I KNOW it's definitely NOT between those headphones of yours. When you say there's more to PC audio than just stereo, you're forgetting that there's also more than just games. If you're in an office environment, I'd agree that you're more or less stuck with headphones, but some of us enjoy more than just the snapping of bones or the wet thud of buckshot in flesh. Take for example that novelty called "music." In a high-quality recording on good speakers, it's possible to sit back and make out apparent physical locations of instrumentals and vocals in a three-dimensional soundstage - sounds appear as definitive 3D objects in space, rather than emanating from two small boxes in front of you desk. A good pair of speakers should disappear behind the soundstage, allowing you to concentrate on the music rather than the speaker. You simply can't get the same experience from a pair of headphones. End of story..
End of story? Since when did you become the definitive judge of audio quality? Personally, I've had no problems relaxing after a hard day to music from a good pair of headphones, and not having to involve everyone. Some purists will disagree, but the multiple advantages of headphones make them almost ideal in not only the gaming scene, but the PC world in general. The next time I have to spend hours at a time in a soundproof room with only my PC and MP3 collection, I'll consider switching to a pair of speakers. But for those of us firmly anchored in the real world, the practical benefits of headphones can put them head and shoulders above the competition. Besides, I'm beggin' you to buy a decent pair of headphones -- I'm sick and tired of hearing your private collection of sex .avis through our thin office wall.
Well at least it's a heterosexual act, unlike the petite little outfits you like shopping for...
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!