Publisher: VU Games
We used the full retail version of F.E.A.R. patched to version 1.02. The game makes use of a lot of effects - including soft shadows, volumetric lighting, parallax mapping and particle effects, along with a slow-motion mode that really taxes today's top of the line GPU's. There's extensive use of high resolution textures. The walls are both bump mapped and parallax mapped to give a realistic feel to the brick walls that are a big feature of this title. Also, the world is incredibly destructible, which is made more realistic by parallax mapping.
In general, this is a graphically intense game and the most outstanding part of the graphics engine is undoubtedly the player character's shadow that is cast on the wall.
It also has the most advanced A.I. that we have ever seen in a game engine to date - there are times when you'll find yourself with your pants down around your ankles with no where to go. For anyone who hasn't bought this game yet, we highly recommend you do - check out our full review here
We did a manual run-through from the "Heavy Resistance" level, between two save game checkpoints - it was a section of intense outdoor gameplay that lasted around three and a half minutes. We recorded frame over time graphs for all of our manual run-throughs because we found that the SloMo mode dropped our frame rates in to the low teens. We suspect this drop is part of Monolith's technique for slowing down the gameplay, as the game was not as jerky as the frame rate suggests.
Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering were controlled from inside the game, and thus drivers were left set to "Application Controlled".
Below is a table of the best-playable settings that we found best for each video card configuration. We decided that a minimum frame rate of around 15 frames per second and an average of over 40 frames per second would deliver a good gaming experience throughout the rest of the title.
We found that all four video cards delivered the same best playable settings with the frame rates being very close between the four cards. Club 3D's Radeon X800XL delivered the smoothest gaming experience in the bunch here, but the XFX GeForce 6800 GT and GeForce 6800 GS were very close behind it. In a blind taste test, you would not be able to tell the difference between the three video cards.
The HIS X800GTO iTurbo running with its enhanced iTurbo clock speeds of 500/1000 was slightly slower in this title. It wasn't quite as smooth as the X800XL and two NVIDIA video cards in some of the more intense parts of our run through, but still delivered a very acceptable gaming experience at 1024x768 0xAA 8xAF with medium details.