I’m about to cheat on my sweetheart, and feel really quite ashamed about it. I didn’t actually mean for it to happen, but she’s dropped the ball a few times lately and I feel like I need to start looking elsewhere so I can get my kicks from more than one arena. Last week I wanted to fool around a little, and got myself settled with a view to really let loose and have fun but she wasn’t having it. Instead of being beautiful to look at, something just wasn’t right. Where I should have been in awe at the sight before me, I was instead faced with a rather mutated form… the smooth movement and beautiful curves were still there, but the features and the details were distorted and ugly.

My XBox Elite had been compromised or, at least, the game within the drive had.

I first tried playing Risen on the PC after downloading the demo. Some had said it was difficult to control while others had complimented it by saying it was better than Two Worlds but not as good as Oblivion. As anyone familiar with my gaming history will know, I loved Oblivion and adored the much maligned Two Worlds almost as much. Actually, that’s not strictly true… I loved things about Two Worlds that Oblivion didn’t have and vice versa, so they may end up on par with each other when all is said and done. The point is… if Risen is comparable to these two great role playing games then it was a game I wanted to get my teeth into.

Unfortunately, my beastly PC wasn’t capable of rendering it on full resolution at the highest texture quality… and THAT is how I want to play all my games. I am, unashamedly, a graphics whore. If I can’t experience the highest possible depth of realism within a game then I find that my enjoyment is somewhat hindered, and so I borrowed a copy of Risen for the XBox 360 to see how it would perform in the console arena where every game has no choice but to conform.  The difference in quality between the PC version and the XBox version is really quite staggering, with very visible polygons and smudged textures which made the main character look like someone had stubbed out a couple of Havanas into his eye sockets.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  It should have looked as good, or perhaps slightly less impressive than the XBox 360… but not like this.  Heavily compressed textures and characters that resemble the “removal guy” from the (cutting edge at the time, apparently) Dire Straits “Money For Nothing” video just don’t do it for me. Not at all.

I want photorealism. I want splines in abundance. I want smooth, delicate curves.

Enter the new gaming PC. It was officially ordered today, pending me approving the final quote for the build. It’ll be a gaming PC unlike any other in our household, in that it will be shared rather than just being mine or Lorna’s. It won’t be doubling up as a workhorse, or a music production suite, and won’t have pornography or Farmville. It will be in the gaming room, straight through the projector, used solely for serious gaming. It is, I have to admit, a somewhat unjustified expenditure when money isn’t exactly flowing like the Côtes du Rhône when Victor visits, but it’s something that I’m willing to do in order to enjoy my favourite games on an entirely new level and with all the modded weapons and custom levels available for Oblivion and Fallout 3 and, who knows, I may even indulge myself in Sims 3 and whack up the anisotropic filtering to nonsensical levels with whatever levels of antialiasing EA have managed to squeeze in to their latest life sapping life sim.

For now, however, I can only live in antici……. pation.

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Peetah says:

    Doooooooooooooooooood!!! Hope to god it lives up to your expectations mate!! I’m rooting for ya!! :oD

  2. markuzr says:

    Well… it’s going to be February before I’ll be able to get it, which is a real shame, thanks to the GTX-295 video card being out of stock at all their suppliers. One thing I COULD do would be to buy the card myself, at a little higher cost than it would be from them, and have it sent to them directly. We’ll see.

  3. Risen on the 360 was a bit of a shame really. I think it was foolish and arrogant of the publishers to think that console gamers would accept a direct port with pretty much zero adjustment made to make it work for the 360.

    I’ve never had a full on, balls out gaming PC. I’m excited to hear how that works out and which of you breaks the others ones fingers first to get access. I’m betting on the lady.

  4. markuzr says:

    I bet you’re right too :)

    My problem, in terms of gameplay, with Risen on the 360 was the way it lacked any real control. The attack function being the A button on the controller was insane, as you’d be in the middle of a melée attack battering away on the A button to take out your opponents… and they’d suddenly move to the side of you, or shift their position slightly. The only way to readdress the situation would be to take your finger OFF the A button (leaving yourself open to attacks), move your finger over to the right stick, change your position, then quickly switch back to A again to continue the attack. That, to me, is insanity.

    Also, having to actually stop and remove a potion from your jacket and then go through the whole tilting the head back scenario in order to take some health potion while someone is hacking the hell out of you… I don’t understand why they did that. Well I DO… I suppose… because it’s realistic isn’t it? Other games where you simply select a potion and it is magically administered are unrealistic… but isn’t that the very nature of the RPG anyway?

    I’ll be blogging again tonight about the horrendous journey towards a high spec gaming PC.

Leave a Comment