Thursday, 9 April 2015



Scaling the unknown in Tarsier’s beautiful, twisted fantasy

The wooden chair creaks and scrapes noisily across the floor as a tiny, hooded girl drags it into position. An ominously atonal arpeggio sounds from a swinging piano as she steps tentatively across its keys. To see better in the near-total darkness, she raises a lit match, only to be greeted by a groaning figure looming from the inky shadows behind her. Then she huddles beneath a sink unit as wandering hands grope blindly around, ten impossibly long fingers reaching ever closer.

Virtual duality


Two new hardware offerings show how Valve and Sony are mapping VR’s future on PC and console

At E3 2012, John Carmack had a demo room devoted to a custom build of Doom 3 running in VR. It was in that room that many people experienced Oculus Rift for the first time. The headset was literally held together by duct tape. The display was low resolution and slow to refresh. But it was real, genuine virtual reality. It has advanced an incredible distance since then, but almost every word written about VR in the past three years has been speculative. When you put on a prototype VR headset, you see the potential of greatness: of what it may be capable of in another six months. It’s new and thrilling, but, well, just think how good it’ll be when it’s at a higher resolution. And the refresh rate is faster. And the headset is lighter. It seemed that Oculus’s consumer headset would be the device to make that promising vision a reality, but after trying the SteamVR headset, it looks like Valve, not Oculus, has the best chance of turning PC VR into a successful consumer product.

Kingston HyperX Cloud II

Kingston HyperX Cloud II

King of cans, back with 7.1 surround

Did we ever mention how much we love Kingston’s luxuriant HyperX Cloud headset? Right. All the bloody time. It’s a rare combination of audio and ergonomic engineering working in perfect harmony, the closed-cup memory foam pads naturally amplifying the low-end frequencies emitted by the 53mm driver. Sure, the Kingston model is little more than a revision of QPAD’s QH-90 headset with more bass and more branding, but the results are so good we can let all that go.

Gigabyte Force H3X

Gigabyte Force H3X

A stylish headset that manages a surprising amount of power for not much money

The 50mm drivers powering the Force H3X make it a bit of a beast in the audio stakes, but your listening experience is anything but traumatic as a result. Don’t underestimate the power of the Force H3X, is what we’re trying to say.

Okay, we’re done with the force puns. But seriously, for £60, this is a really well-rounded package from Gigabyte. Visually, these cans desperately want to be Batman’s earmuffs. And they’re all the better for it. No garish lights nor aggressive branding here, just a discreet Gigabyte logo on each of the foldable earcups. All contact points are padded generously and finished with a leather effect around the cups, while the exterior boasts a dapper mirrored detail.

Thermaltake Core X2

Thermaltake Core X2

Big is apparently the new small when it comes to case design

On the face of it, Thermaltake’s new Core X2 case is a rather absurd beast. It’s been designed to house small form factor motherboards of the micro-ATX and Mini-ITX variety and yet is itself most definitely not what you’d call small.

It’s wider than the Cosmos Ultra chassis that’s home to one of our review rigs, and almost as tall. Given that we’ve long been extolling the performance virtues of today’s mini motherboards, is its size really an issue?

Wild at Heart

Heart of Thorns

Heart of Thorns ushers in a new era for Guild Wars 2. By Phil Savage

Guild Wars 2 is different to other MMOs. It favours public events over NPC quests, giving its community an incentive to work together. It makes it easy and painless to group with friends, and rewards people for adventuring through zones below their character’s natural level. It experiments with open-world design to create fights against monsters so big they fill your monitor. It even destroyed its capital city as part of a two-year chain of updates that spawned new landmarks, harder challenges and more complex and collaborative events.

Knock, knock

Rainbow Six Siege

After seven years, Rainbow Six Siege is smashing through the House of FPS it helped build with a focused, high-fidelity design. By Evan Lahti

I will protect this bathroom with my life. In 40 seconds, five SWAT dudes are going to C4 their way into the two-story house we’re defending. For the entirety of that time, one hundred percent of my focus is on figuring out the best way to fortify a toilet. My team has to defend a hostage, an AI-controlled character that we can’t allow to be captured. This round, that hostage has spawned in the master bedroom, which happens to be adjacent to the now tactically-significant lavatory on the second floor. The odds that I’ll fire a submachine gun while standing inside a bathtub are as high as they’ll ever be.

Unreal Tournament

Unreal Tournament

Epic keeps it in the community for the return of its arena shooter

Working with the community’ is becoming an increasingly common refrain in game development. Developers have used internet forums as bug-fixing aides for years, while alpha-development models like Steam Early Access let players provide funding and feedback during a game’s creation. With the new Unreal Tournament, however, Epic is taking this notion a step further. UT isn’t just being built with the community, much of it is being built by the community.