Posts Tagged DLC

Grand Theft Auto : Episodes from Liberty City Performance Issues

To stay above that smooth 60 fps, you need to turn off Shadow Quality

With the recent release of Grand Theft Auto : Episodes from Liberty City for PC (and PS3), as well as “Rockstar Week” on Steam, I along with many others are back in the world of Liberty City. For those (few) who did not purchase the Xbox 360 exclusive last year for whatever reason, are now able to revisit Liberty City for some fine DLC for one of the greatest games of all time, Grand Theft Auto 4.

The DLC has so much more than the usual down-loadable content we are seeing lately. In fact it feels like a full game, actually scrap that, two full games, not only for the depth of each of the episodes “The Lost and Damned” and “The Ballad of Gay Tony” but for the standalone package format it has been released in. That’s right you don’t even need to have purchased the original GTA IV to enjoy Episodes from Liberty City, although if you have been hiding under a rock and missed out on GTA IV then I highly recommend playing it through before visiting the new episodes.

GTA 4 settings used in the benchmarking

The problem I am finding even after my discoveries in my initial GTA IV performance report, is back again, Grand Theft Auto still runs at a very low frame rate. With the release of Episodes from Liberty City for PC, the original GTA IV and the Episodes have been patched with a new and ‘improved’ scalable shadow solution. Great I thought, a new less memory-intensive, and better looking shadow solution sounds perfect, just what we need to keep the frame rate above 60fps for a smooth cruise around the faux New York that is Liberty City. The problem is performance is still low with “Shadow Quality” at all settings, and the new “Night Shadows” option make things even worse. Back to the benchmarking to test out this new improved shadow patch!

Taking a look at the figures above the only way I managed to maintain a playable 60+ frames per second was to turn off shadow quality completely. The frame rate drops below 60 fps even with shadow quality set to “Low”, and begins to fall rapidly with each toggle in shadow and night shadow quality increase, dropping to an extremely jerky 43 fps on the “Very High” setting. GTA 4 has never been a smooth ride for PC owners, and even on the test bed here at gamdo HQ, a Radeon 5870 and Intel Q9550 @ 3.4GHZ struggles to keep a constant frame rate. Has the patch made a difference? To performance I would say no, but when turned on shadow quality does improve image quality and shadows are less glitchy, but that is a judgment I can only make by sight, with no hard facts to back it up.

Either way Liberty City still looks beautiful on the PC, well worth the wait for those that held out from playing the Xbox 360 exclusive, even with the shadow quality setting turned off. The city is full off hustle and bustle and crime is still as entertaining as it was in GTA IV, the new episodes are fresh and filled with new story, crazy new characters and plenty of achievements to grab. So I’m off back to Liberty City, shadows turned off and Beat 102.7 turned on.

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Left 4 Dead 2 – The Passing DLC Review

The latest DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 is out. We waited patiently all day, and here it is. Normally the release is too late to play and I end up waiting till the next day, but the download started around 11pm (UK) and after some slow transfer rates due to my ‘new’ connection it finally completed, along with most of my L4D2 buddies.

We just finished the new campaign ‘The Passing’ which is the main bulk of the free DLC (free for PC, 560points for Xbox 360). There were plenty of us online waiting for this DLC so four of us hit the servers quick, finishing the campaign in around 30 minutes or so. There are some great scenes, without spoiling it and revealing too much, all I will say is wow, the sewers are great! I’ve not touched L4D2 for a while, but coming back to it after all this time with the new DLC really brought back some fond memories of first playing the original Left 4 Dead. Good times!

What I was expecting to be the highlight, left me a little disappointed. The dialogue between the old L4D characters and the new the first time round was just not as hype as I thought it would be, but on a mass team death, repeating the final battle there was some witty banter aimed at Rochelle from the original L4D characters, nice touch Valve. Although playing as Coach (I always try to) I was subject to some stick being accused of being her dad? All in good jest, no stereotyping at all Valve?!

The Passing DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 is a great freebie, offering some new weekly modes which look interesting, but most of all an entire new campaing which is well worth playing. The final scene is the usual epic battle, but with a little help from some old friends and laser sights, and the sewers, the sewers are wow! What more can you ask for, and all for free? Valve keeping up the good work and keeping us customers happy, long after putting down our hard earned cash.

9/10 For DLC, sorry for free DLC, what more can you ask for? Valve hit the nail on the head again, great campaign!

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Mass Effect 2 – Can’t Place the Monument at Normandy Crash Site?

Press F to place monument not working? Try your melee key!

I seem to be stumbling upon a few bugs in Mass Effect 2, and all are down to making a few changes to the standard key bindings. You can clearly tell this is an Xbox port!

If you have access to the Cerberus network and have downloaded the moving ‘Normandy Crash Site’ DLC, you may be stuck like I was, laying down the monument. Despite pressing the F key multiple times, as instructed when you walk over a suitable location to drop this tribute, if you have changed your melee key, no matter how hard you hit the F key, you will get nowhere.

The on screen display telling you what keys to press has always been faulty, if you change any key in the options it will display the original bind, a widely known and documented Mass Effect 2 bug. So if you do not use standard key layouts, and cannot place the monument, go to options and work out what you bound your melee key too. Simply press the melee key on your chosen location when the ‘Press F to place the monument’ message appears.¬†Voil√†. An ugly gold statue placed and mission complete, you can now return back to your ship DLC complete, once of course you do the good deed and collect all 20 dog tags. Its the honourable thing to do in this emotional DLC, a free download and a touching tribute to some charachters that you may remember from the original Mass Effect. So get searching, the dog tags are quite easy to find and would mean alot to the families of the fallen original Normandy Crew. RIP.

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