Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Shopping? Try a great older game that looks and plays even better today

If your stocks took a dive this year, this holiday season you might be thinking of cutting back on gifts for your friends or for yourself.

One way to spend less and still get a great gift is to buy an older video game, especially for the PC.

At the time Spellforce 2 was released, computers were probably incapable of smoothly running it at its graphical best -- highest resolution (1600x1200) and all the eye candy including sky, grass, shadows, and the best quality in reflection. And even then, there was only a certain amount of anti-aliasing (removing the jagged edges in the models) that was built into the game.

Today, you can ramp up the quality, and even force higher quality anti-aliasing by having your video card take over the anti-aliasing (switching it from "application controlled" to "hardware controlled"). Here is an example of "normal" Spellforce 2 anti-aliasing, and the hardware controlled 8xS anti-aliasing:

Spellforce 2 antialiasing comparison - regular

Spellforce 2 antialiasing comparison - regular

Spellforce 2 antialiasing comparison - 8xS

Spellforce 2 antialiasing comparison - 8xS hardware controlled anti-aliasing

Spellforce 2 is still a great game with solid and exciting gameplay. Moreover, the original Spellforce: The Order of Dawn, plus both expansions (Breath of Winter and Shadow of the Phoenix), plus Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars and the Dragon Storm expansion have long since been bundled together into a very affordable Spellforce Universe pack. That's 5 games for the price of one, and you'll be playing it with the video game art quality it deserves. If you're not sure what you'll be getting, there is a website with a huge collection of screenshots for Spellforce and screenshots of Spellforce 2.

These older games may be hard to find nowadays at your local store. If you are in Vancouver, you should give Electronic Boutique a call. They have discontinued trade-ins for PC games (no doubt due to rampant piracy), but they may still have some items leftover on the shelves or in storage. Otherwise, there's always the online superstore for safe purchases online, especially if you don't want the hassle of bidding on eBay.

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