This time around I had a chance to spend a day or two just playing games and I missed that a lot.
I read about Rainbow Six Vegas game and decided to give it a try as the first Unreal Engine game should look really sexy. Well I was not wrong. I installed the game on a Quad FX system powered with 4GB of Corsair INQ awarded 8500 CL5 memory, two Raptor drivers in Raid 0 and two Geforce 7900 GTX cards in SLI. You cannot get much better than this although Intel hacks will insist that their CPU is better. Well this machine works just fine.
Mexico here I come
The first level starts in Mexico with American's tactical police/soldier whatever he is making some questionable anti-Mexican comments. Forget about that - we really liked the graphics. The outdoor experience is great and it looks very cool. If you use realistic mode it's really a handful to stay alive at all as the Artificial Intelligence really works.
But we noticed a big problem. As this is an XboX 360 game clone there are no advanced graphic options and we certainly played without FSAA and Aniso. We could not even force it through the driver. Then we figured out that the SLI doesn't work at all as at certain points Fraps reported 14 to 20 FPS only. Well we didn't have any choice and the gaming experience forced us to upgrade to two Geforce 8800 GTX cards and to give this rig a try.
The game has the awful habit to stutter each time you open a new door and enter a new environment especially at Mexico level which is always outdoors. I installed drivers on two Geforce 8800 GTX one Asus and one Gainward and the rig worked. I could only watch Windows Vista 64 bit ultimate edition with tears as I only used VGA drivers for these cards.
The game has absolutely the best graphics that I've ever seen in my life. Indoor rooms and the outdoors look really great. People move their lips the way they should when they talk, the weapons shoot the way they should and the lightning is great. Shadows are casting on the walls, flashes looks great, the smoke is thick and realistic and there are some physics aspects to the game.
You can ot jump in the game, which makes it stupid and you can not move so fast. When you run it will go as fast as a beaten duck with broken legs. You get used to it as the game is more strategic and you need to baby-sit two more chaps. If they get killed your game is over so you want to be careful not to get shot or to heal them if they get shot. You get some "ecstasy" shots that you can inject in your lads' grounded bodies and that makes them better.
The game uses heavy shader technology. We saw some sweet shaders on water, glass, infra red camera mode, and night goggle mode. Overall, this game has a lot to offer from a dark basement to a top of the buildings that will let you snipe.
Now for the bad. There is no any way to enable Anialiasing or Anisotropic filtering. You cannot force it via the driver, and you cannot turn it on in the game, and even if you do it won't work with 7900 GTX SLI or 8800 GTX SLI. We didn't bother trying ATI cards.
We tested at mighty:
Quad FX powered with two Athlon FX 74 each clocked at 3017 MHz
4x1204 MB Corsair 8500 CL memory at 4-4-4-4-12 DDR 800
2x150 GB Western Digital Raptor in Raid 0
Gainward Geforce 8800 GTX SLI
Asus Geforce 8800 GTX SLI
Asus L1N64-SLI WS motherboard
PC power and cooling 1 KW PSU
Thermaltake Armour case packed with bunch of coolers inside
I am sure you will agree that it hardly gets better than this.
Unfortunately the game doesn't use SLI at all. That's Nvidia's fault and it needs to spank Ubisoft and make the driver for this beautiful game. This has to be fixed - yesterday, but the western world will be resting for a while at least until the first days of 2007.
Even with two Geforce 8800 GTX it stutters when you open some doors and the frame rate drops below 20 or even 14 FPS. This is unacceptable for high end hardware. In all fairness, we turned everything on and set all settings at high as this is the way you should play with two G80 GTX. We are not taling about stuttering at 2600x1560 resolution, we had problems with a 19-inch 1280x1024 native Benq FP93GX 2 ms display. You can just dream of running this game at 26x15 resolution at least until Nvidia polish its drivers and makes SLI work.
This is how ugly it gets. Even at a modest 1280x960 display it drops to below 10 FPS with all the details on. Obviously you can see that there is no any Antialiasing support in the game and it is quite obvious that two Geforce 8800 GTX should do more than 3 FPS or 25 on the average. To be fair, it can go to 100 FPS, but each time you enter a new room in a casino or in a new street the frame rate drops to below 20 and even below 10 FPS but it recovers and stays steady at a playable 25 plus.
The Ubisoft team made the best looking game of 2006 but the bugs are unacceptable. No FSAA in 2006 and early 2007 is unacceptable and the SLI performance sucks. You can see the pictures and the right corner indicates FPS at Quad FX 74 system.
Mexico here I come
In Mexico with regards at 20 FPS at 8800 GTX SLI
In the office it goes to 95 FPS after you adjust to a new environment
Acceptable frame rate and no FSAA
We will definitely include this game in our benchmarketing suite but we will have to convince Ubisoft to polish it up before we do. ?
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