Saturday, 21 April 2012

Face-Off: Ninja Gaiden 3

The Ninja Gaiden series is not immune to change. Originally designed as Xbox-exclusive releases, Team Ninja built its games around the raw hardware capabilities of the hardware - something that presented a real problem when it came to porting Ninja Gaiden 2 across to the PlayStation 3. As such the game was extensively reworked when appearing on Sony's system in the form of the 'Sigma' edition, with it more closely matching that of the original Ninja Gaiden than the sequel.

With Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja has taken the series in yet another direction, but this time the biggest changes are skewed towards the gameplay rather than the technology. The action has been simplified, allowing the experience to be more accessible to a wider audience, with the focus now on fast unrelenting combat instead of the more tactical confrontations favoured by past titles. From a technical perspective, Team Ninja's latest also adopts a mixture of rendering techniques from the last two games, in addition to implementing new lighting effects and post-process anti-aliasing.

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Gaikai vs. OnLive (Digital Foundry - Face Off)

OnLive doesn't do enough to convince us that cloud gaming is ready to be the next big thing, but the fact that it works as well as it does is undoubtedly a major technological achievement. The company has set the standard for "first gen" performance in this field, and it's now down to others to enter the market and compete. And that's exactly what upstart rival Gaikai has done - with intriguing results.

Although based on similar principles, the implementation is very different. OnLive launched with a full games service, while Gaikai specialises in offering playable demos with plans to expand beyond that when the time is right. OnLive uses widely spaced datacentres to address a large area, whereas Gaikai offers more servers closer to players. The technology behind the video compression is also very different, with OnLive using hardware encoders while Gaikai uses the x264 software running on powerful Intel CPUs.

Gaikai reckons its approach results in more responsive gameplay, better base visuals and superior video compression. So how can this be tested?

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