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Smears of War? 720p Gears of War 2 screens arrive!

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345w ago - The eagerly awaited Gears of War 2 footage was released last night to the delight of fans and gamers. What we saw was some great looking action with far more happening on screen than Gears 1.

I was floored when I saw the down sampled video. Upon further inspection of the 720p feed though, it appears that Epic isn't rendering on screen what we might think. Check out these full 720p direct feed game captures. Jpgs are not compressed.

It appears that Epic has applied a strong smear filter to the engine. This smear effect is also similar to the median blur in Photoshop. Why is it there? Is it there for effect? Perhaps. But does it make the game look better? Maybe if you're using lower res textures and lower poly models. View the images and decide for yourself.

More screenshots can be seen at the link up top of this article.
 

Preview: Gears of War 2

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345w ago - Bald Space Marines have become something of an Xbox stereotype, but it's hard to deny that few developers do them better than Epic Games. Gears of War was a smash hit both at the cash register and online in 2006 and through 2007, so the sequel has its work cut out for it.

So the question is - how's it looking? And the answer is - pretty damn good.

Of course, you'd expect a sequel to improve on the original but what's most heartening about what we've seen of Gears of War 2 so far is that the improvements are looking good throughout the game. Technology, gameplay and story all look to have been substantially overhauled. Let's look at how.

Technology
Epic Games is also famous for the Unreal Engine, its middleware that forms the basis of all its games - and those of many, many other developers too. In the eighteen months or so since Gears of War's release, Epic's technology team has been hard at work on Unreal Engine 3 and it's looking substantially more capable at blowing our minds than the version used in the original. Here are some of its key new or improved features, and what they mean in game terms.

- Ambient Occlusion: adds more dynamic and realistic shadows.
- Advanced Character Lighting: provides character models with better contrast and specular...
 

Why the X-Box 360 will win the Console War

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345w ago - Lately, there has been a considerable amount of discussion on which console will win this generation's war. Will it be the Wii with its established base and strong sales? Will it be the Xbox 360 with its steady growth? Or will it be the Playstation 3 with its strong sales over the past few months?

If you ask me, it'll be the Xbox 360.

Now I know what you're thinking -- "how?" The answer is actually quite simple: the Wii is not nearly as strong as some want to believe and Sony's strong growth is the result of a lower hardware price, which is allowing it to catch up to the pack.

Of course, Sony's Kaz Hirai doesn't agree with that sentiment. According to the company's gaming chief, Sony will follow a "ten-year cycle" with the PS3 that should propel it to the top spot in the industry once it's all said and done.

And while his desire to do that isn't quite rooted in reality, I guess you can't blame a guy for trying.

According to Hirai, Sony is prepared to battle it out in a "marathon" race against Nintendo and Microsoft and he believes his platform has what it takes to win the day.

"I am very confident that after the 10-year life-cycle we will have the installed base that we are looking for and that is obviously to be in the leadership position," he said in...
 

SCEE chief: PS3 has a better line-up than 360 in 2008

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346w ago - Speaking to us following his presentation to media at PlayStation Day in London last night, SCEE chief David Reeves said that he didn't believe the Xbox 360 was a sinking ship but revealed that Sony had a "really good Christmas coming up".

While Reeve's comments won't surprise anyone, it is interesting to compare the two platforms' upcoming headline exclusives. Xbox 360 owners can expect Ninja Gaiden 2, Gears of War 2 and Fable 2 exclusively this year. PS3 owners will be enjoying Metal Gear Solid 4, Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet.

When asked if he thought the Xbox 360 was a sinking ship, Reeves replied: "No I don't think it's a sinking ship. I think they have contributed amazingly to the growth of the industry. And I think we have done exactly the same. We don't criticise the competition because we are all in this industry and the only way you can do it is to actually bring more consumers in. So I'm not going to criticise them.

All I'm saying is that I think that when we look ahead I think we honestly have a better line-up on PS3 than they probably do on Xbox. They've had two or three Christmases now, I can't remember how many, you know, but I think we've got a really good one coming up. Not just Christmas but in the summer as well."
 

X-Box 360 to lose the Console War in Europe?

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346w ago - A recent report on Next-Gen is suggesting that the Xbox 360 will likely be the "biggest loser" in the continent of Europe. The article states that although more European gamers are moving to have more than one console in their homes, the two consoles are likely to be the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3.

Sony has a history of dominating in Europe with their PS2 basically owning the continent for its lifespan. But the botched launch of the PS3 sent speculation flying that the Xbox 360 may knock Sony off its high crown in Europe. Now reports from analysts are suggesting that the loyal PS2 consumers may remain loyal to Sony's brand and buy the PS3. Make up your minds, analysts.

One thing that I'm sure bugs Europeans is how they are all grouped into one category. Europe is a diverse place in terms of culture and gaming preferences. For example, in England the Xbox 360 is the dominant console. Englishmen are like Americans in their love for violence and specifically First Person Shooters.

I'm sure everyone can agree that the Xbox 360 is the superior platform for FPS's and it shows in the U.K. sales. The European continent, however, is less into shooters. This is the area that Sony is doing well in right now. So it may turn out that Sony wins continental Europe while Microsoft...
 
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