Month: February 2013

Hauppauge’s HD PVR 2 - Gaming Edition 1

Hauppauge’s HD PVR 2 – Gaming Edition

Hauppauge’s HD PVR 2, designed specifically for gaming use, lets users stream or record high definition footage straight to their computer. Hauppauge boasts that this PVR allows for video to pass through the box from your TV right to your screen with no delay. Which is not entirely true.

Rather than record and store footage on the PVR itself, it acts as a middle-man of sorts between your TV and computer, saving the captured footage directly onto your selected storage or streaming through your client of choice.

Setting up the Hauppauge PVR proved a little tricky. It connects to your computer via USB, and to your TV display by either HDMI or component cables. Because the PlayStation 3 is HDMI protected, you won’t be able to record footage from that system unless using a component gaming cable. Other input/outputs include S-video, composite, and stereo audio.

After setting up the default program, Arcsoft ShowBiz, there were some difficulties with getting it to display the proper TV output. ShowBiz isn’t the most intuitive program and didn’t always allow changing sources and video quality. There is another program available that provided a far more streamlined design and was easy to use.

Capture4Me gives the user the same options for outputting high quality video and recording that footage onto your system. The software isn’t free though. For users that intend on collecting footage longer than two minutes (which is probably most users) buying a license for full use of Capture4Me will set you back $20. Which is definitely worth making the entire experience more accessible.

Once the setup process is done, capturing footage is easy enough. After selecting your output and video quality a simple press of the record button on the PVR begins the entire process. File sizes aren’t large for such high quality video. An 18 minute video falls into the 1GB range for example. You can set the resolution of recordings to be up to 1080p30. The hardware video encoder is in line with Hauppauge’s previous gaming PVR model, but the video quality is now higher. The recording datarate can be adjusted from 1-13.5 Mbits per second, which is the same range available with the prior model.

Getting back to the subject of the purported “no delay” when recording video. There is a small delay (usually in the 2-3 second area) which isn’t really all that much. But it is a delay and bared mentioning. When playing back these videos, they may look choppy and sluggish depending on if your hardware is equipped to handle high fidelity videos, but that isn’t through any fault of the PVR’s. It is worth saying however that when attempting to stream PlayStation 3 gameplay through Twitch.tv, the PVR crashed a colleague’s computer. This may be down to the power of the system and just be an isolated incident, but regardless it did occur while using the Hauppauge PVR. Streaming requires you have higher specifications on your system though. (Editors Note: Hauppauge clarified that the “no delay” was to the TV. During the review process no delay was experienced while playing on the TV. Also, the streaming process is much less demanding when using Streameez)

Overall the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 is a solid piece of hardware at $169.99. If you can get through what we found was a slightly tricky initial setup process, and depending on your comfort with the native software or going with Stream4Me, it does a terrific job capturing high quality footage from gaming consoles. The record button on the box itself makes it easy to get your recording started. It may not warrant a complete upgrade from previous models, but is an great gaming PVR if you’re on the market for one.

 

Terms & Conditions

Thank you for your interest in cgmagazine.ca.

The cgmagazine.ca Web Site is operated by Ronald P. Frye & Co. – an Ontario (Canada) sole proprietorship.

Here is a legal document which sets out our terms and conditions when purchasing magazines listed on Web Site www.cgmagazine.ca (hereinafter: “Website”)

By clicking on the “cg Store” button, you (hereinafter: “Purchaser”) are consenting to become a party to this Agreement of Purchase and Sale of printed magazines (hereinafter: “the maganize”) C&G Magazine (hereinafter: “Seller”) and to be bound by all the terms included herein.

1. Subject of Agreement: The Purchaser wishes purchase a Magazine. The Purchaser will receive a original-copy issue of the magazine.

2. Geographical Shipping Restrictions: The Magazine can be shipped with 100% insurance only to locations within the USA and Canada. Purchasers from other countries need to contact the Seller to confirm if shipping is possible to their location.

3. Online Samples of the Magazine: The Website has a gallery of digital photographic images that represent the magazines artwork.

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8. Refund Policy: Seller will process returns and refunds within 15 (fifteen) days of delivery. Purchaser will receive a full refund of the cost of the magazine less shipping and handling costs and PayPal fees as soon as Seller has received the magazine back in original condition. Purchaser is responsible for the costs of returning the magazine to Seller. The refund will be given in the form of Paypal credits.

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24. Notice of Intellectual Property Rights: Trademarks, service names, graphics, logos and other identifiers (“Trademarks”) noted on the Website with an ©, ® or 

TM

 are the registered trademarks or trademarks respectively of Seller or its affiliates. No Trademark may be used in connection with any products or services without the express prior written approval of the owner of the applicable Trademark.

25. Applicable Law: This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of the Province of Ontario, Canada applicable to agreements made and fully performed therein. It contains the entire understanding between the parties concerning its subject matter, and no modification is binding unless in writing and signed by the party to be bound.

26. Place of Contract: The contract between the Purchaser and Seller will be completed when the Purchaser has purchased the magazine through the Website. The sale contract is therefore completed in the Province of Ontario, Canada.

27. Governing Language and Translations: English shall be the language of the Website, and all transactions occurring in connection with the Website, and all users waive any right to use and rely upon any other language or translations. This Agreement may be presented in languages other than English for the convenience of our users. All Users and Purchasers specifically agree that the English language version of this Agreement shall control in the event of any inconsistency between that version and any version presented in languages other than English.

28. Notices: To be effective, notices to Seller relating to this Agreement, the Website or any transaction conducted on or through the Website must be given in writing and must be sent by registered letter, receipted commercial courier, or electronically receipted facsimile transmission (acknowledged in like manner by the intended recipient) at the Sellers addresses (provided upon request).

29. Severability and Non Waiver: If any provision of this Agreement shall be deemed unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from these terms and conditions and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions. Seller’s failure to exercise or forbearance from exercising any rights or remedies, or failure to enforce or forbearance from enforcing, the strict performance of any provision of this Agreement, will not constitute a waiver of Seller’s right to exercise such rights or remedies or enforce such provision or any other provisions of this Agreement in that or any other instance. Any waiver of any provision of this Agreement by Seller must be made in writing and signed by an authorized representative of Seller specifically referencing this Agreement and the provision to be waived.

30. Entire Agreement: This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and cancels all prior and contemporaneous agreements, claims, representations and understandings of the parties in connection with the subject matter hereof.

Crysis 3 (PS3) Review 1

Crysis 3 (PS3) Review

One of the prettiest shooter franchises in modern memory is back for another high jumping, car kicking, cloaking good time. Crysis 3 again has players nano-suiting it up as series protagonist “Prophet” returns to New York City 23 years after the events of Crysis 2. It’s the city so nice the series has visited twice. This time around the bright lights of the city that never sleeps have been dimmed by the evil CELL corporation and their “Liberty Dome” a biosphere erected to keep the alien race known as the “Ceph” from destroying the planet. Things are hardly what they seem and as Prophet you’ll uncover the true motivations of the CELL corporation and unlock the true potential of the nano-suit in this whacky yet pretty sci-fi shooter.

Nano-suit Up

There is one element that is and always has been the focus of the gameplay found in the Crysis series and that is the nano-suit. As the entity known as Prophet you are essentially a one-man army, the most advanced tactical warfare machine known to man. The suit enhances your abilities beyond the limits of human potential granting exceptional strength, speed, as well as stealth and armor abilities to keep you alive. It also provides some moments of sheer ridiculousness as you kick cars into enemies, turn invisible before their eyes and absorb bullet after bullet. Okay, maybe that last bit isn’t that impressive since every first person shooter’s protagonist has been able to withstand nonstop barrages of lead since 2001 but the nano-suit still makes you feel like a badass alien hunter. However, there is a draw back there, since you begin and end the game as a badass alien hunter in a super powered nano-suit there isn’t much to be found in the way of progression or a character arc. The nano-suit does include some upgradeable features which you will unlock as you progress through the games seven hour campaign but there isn’t much to be said for Prophet’s character development. He started out as a badass and he pretty much stays that way for the entire game. Aside from the nano-suit there isn’t much to Crysis 3 beyond what the typical AAA FPS offers, but since this is a sci-fi shooter set in the year 2047 you will find some unique weaponry which gives the game some variety. My favorite weapon has to be the newly introduced Typhoon assault rifle. According to the Seven Wonders of Crysis 3, a video series done by Crytek, the Typhoon allegedly fires 500 rounds per second. Before you try and wrap you head around that I’ll say that from my experience with the game I would call the accuracy of that statement into question. It may not fire 500 rounds a second but it certainly does fire an awful lot of bullets at whatever it is you would like to kill.

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I was also surprised how much I liked the bow found in Crysis 3. While playing Farcry 3 late last year I found myself hating the bow but in Crysis 3 it’s one of the most effective and fun weapons to use. The futuristic and alien weaponry add variety and the nano-suit makes you feel powerful and capable but I still felt that the game was simply rushing me from on scripted event to the next. There are a few times during the campaign where the game opens up and puts you in a large map with a primary objective and a couple of secondary objectives. These wide open levels are where the game shines. The open environments are traversed with speed thanks to the nano-suit and some vehicles sprinkled throughout the map, and completing secondary objectives allows for some other options or assistance in completing the primary one. The ability to approach encounters and situations in a few different ways is what make these sections work. Unfortunately there aren’t too many of them and the ones that are in the game will make you wish this was an open-world shooter rather than a linear one.

The Hunter and the Hunted

The multiplayer found in Crysis 3 is surprisingly full featured. It’s a well-rounded experience that is equivalent to multiplayer modes found in games like Black Ops 2 and Halo 4. There’s a good number of maps featuring different environments and a several different game types that go beyond the typical CTF or Deathmatch variants. The sand out game type is obviously the Hunter game mode which has standard human CELL operatives on one team attempting to stay alive while being hunted by nano-suited “Hunters” on the other team. Since the hunters have the ability to cloak while the human team doesn’t, it makes for a tense match as you try to stay alive knowing that at any moment you and your teammates will be picked off one by one. It’s thrilling and a total blast to play. Hunter may be the break out mode but the other game types offer some fun experiences as well. I recommend trying out some of the unique modes like Crash Site, Extraction and Spears. If you’re afraid of change or new things there’s still the old tried, tested, and true Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch options. In most game types you can play as a nano-suited operative which makes the game play very similarly to Halo which is hardly a bad thing. If you’re looking for a multiplayer experience that is comparable to Call of Duty’s but unique enough to be a fresh experience I would recommend picking up a copy of Crysis 3

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Crysis 3 is an absolutely gorgeous game, I liked the city reclaimed by nature aesthetic and I’ve never seen smoke and fog look this good in a videogame. On one hand the multiplayer is fun and full featured and gives the game some longevity. On the other the weapons are kind of unbalanced and I noticed some visual glitches. The single player campaign has a few good moments but overall I found it a little too short and unless you’re really into the Crysis mythos you may find the story a little hard to follow and swallow. Yet Crysis 3 is technically impressive, with stellar visuals and an excellent musical score.

It’s a pretty game with a bit of substance but ultimately a good multiplayer mode can only take you so far and Crysis 3’s whacky heavily scripted story is hardly breaking new ground in the narrative department. It’s a good game that has very little competition at the moment, so if you’ve got 60 bucks burning a hole in your pocket you can totally spend it on Crysis 3 and not feel cheated but if you’re a frugal gamer and have little to no attachment to the Crysis series you can safely save your money for Bioshock: Infinite.

Check out our Flash Focus video of Tim and Wayne playing Crysis 3 here!

 

 



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