Cell Factor Revolution

Performance thoughts and Gameplay

System Setup

First of all let me show you what system we were running the game on, so you have an idea of how your system would match up:

Intel Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.3GHz
DFI LANPARTY ICFX3200
2gb Mushkin HP2 6400 @ DDR800 4-4-3-10
MSI 8800GTX 768mb
BFG PhysX card
OS: Hitachi 7K160
Gaming: Hitachi 7K160
Pioneer DVD-RW
Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Sound Card
Tagan 1100w PSU
Custom Watercooling

So all in all a pretty high-spec machine - above what Ageia recommend for an optimal experience.

Performance

Performance on Cell Factor was at very best: poor.

This may sound pretty harsh but in all honestly it is one of the worst coded games I have ever played. Oblivion in particular was a game that people say plays badly, but compared to Cell Factor it actually scales very well.

When I first booted up (in Vista) I tried 1920 x 1200 with HDR and Per-Pixel Motion Blur enabled and settings at high. This was a mistake and what followed can only be described as a slide-show. Soldiering on I reduced res to 1680 x 1050. Once again the motion blur was far too much for the system to handle. After turning this off I managed to play...a bit. After further reducing the settings to 1024 x 768 and turning down detail I actually gave up on Vista altogether.

Booting into XP and starting up I found I could get fairly decent frames on most maps of around 15-50 FPS @ 1680 x 1050 with HDR on, motion blur off and graphical settings reduced somewhat.

cell factor settings 1 cell factor settings 2

The inside maps where there were a lot of physics going on became almost unplayable and at one particularly hectic battle FPS dropped to 8FPS! However after lowering settings more I found the game merely became very ugly.

For those of you who can't afford £400 graphics cards, decent motherboards, nice RAM and custom watercooling the game is going to play like an absolute dog, not fun.

I didn't even try to start the game up without a PhysX card and I have heard those who have not been able to play it without one. Basically if you don't have PhysX you will get even less of a game and an even worse gaming experience because of that.

Gameplay

Gameplay in single player mode is very much like Unreal tournament. It's not really a "proper" single player game but more like a multi-player game built into a single player mission. This isn't such a bad thing as it hones your skills for what is obviously the focus of the game: multi-player.

cell factor results

The gameplay when it comes down to it is actually pretty decent, I actually got quite into the game besides the faults above. The PSI-abilities are a cool addition if not a little hard to execute with the number of keys you need to remember to press and the general air of the game is frantic and fun.

As I said above: single player doesn't bring much to the floor and in addition is very hard to play, especially on maps that you just can't get the framerate to play smoothly.

Deathmatch is the most fun for me, with Capture the Flag being a pretty frustrating affair - albeit classic CTF action when the map is ok to play on.

The characters are a mixed bunch as detailed on the previous page. I found myself leaning towards the more classic character who uses guns the most and found that the robotic character was hard to control and killed you the most often in the game! The PSI-character is a strange one and I did not like playing the game without traditional weapons, although I'm sure you could probably get used to it.

Mech's/Vehicles

cell factor assault car cell factor mechs

cell factor mechs hover

The mech's and vehicles in the game vary from pretty awesome through to half decent. I'll go through them here.

Goliath - a mechanized power suit which has dual gatling guns, and limited-use flight
boosters


Really good fun to use, slow to turn but gun turrets are cool.

Death Stalker assault car - armed with a 360-degree gunner turret, it delivers battleground mayhem via 20-mm gatling machine gun and rocket launchers

Not too bad and a bit like the Hog in Halo 2. Not my favourite though.

Dusk Hawker (Vertical Lift Aircraft) – a gunner-controlled 20 mm gatling machine gun spreads a heavy wall of lead on opponent; pilot and gunner-controlled missiles are available to take out aerial and ground opponents

Hard to control but really wreaks havoc, great fun.

Hover Mech - wield dual 30-mm cannons and rocket launchers while piloting six-axis
flight controls to pin down and shred enemies.


Good fun again although not hugely different to the others.

All of the mechs are pretty cool and again show glimpses of what a good game Cell Factor could be.

Maps

The maps in the game vary greatly. The indoor maps are pretty nicely laid out but become un-playabale at almost any setting at points, which is a shame. The outside maps are much better playability-wise and definitely well-designed.

cell factor maps cell factor maps 2

A couple of the outdoor maps here. Left "Proving Grounds" centres on arena type gameplay with all the action coming to the fore around a central square. Right "Fuelling station" is probably the best map in the game with many levels and is suitable for all types of players.

cell factor maps 3 cell factor maps 4

Left is one of the indoor maps "Weapon Systems Control". The map itself isn't actually too bad, with a slight off-balance for one side. However once things start exploding and bouncing around (due to PhysX of course), then it gets impossible to play. Right "Storage Facility" is a rather large map peppered with lots of mechs and vehicles, discussed below.

All in all the maps aren't too bad and as said above, "Fuelling Station" is a map that is great fun to play on and really is my favourite.

Enjoyment and Longevity

The game can be fairly enjoyable and is fast paced and good fun at many points. The single player mission is very hard, but this is most likely a good thing if you have the patience and skill to play it through to conclusion.

Multi-player is pretty good fun too and I set up a quick LAN with a friend on my spare rig which was good fun. Again, though, we found ourselves favouring "Fuelling Station" as it was the most fun map.

As far as longevity is concerned I would not think this game would last you an enormous amount of time, even if you can get over the horrible performance. With only 5 maps and four modes of play there's a limit to how long it would last to be honest.

Now onto graphics...
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Most Recent Comments

30-05-2007, 15:21:51

FarFarAway
Cell factor Showcases Ageia's PhysX...but is it any good?

We take a look...

Link

30-05-2007, 15:45:24

Joe
bleh phys processors shoved on a PCi bus are fricking pointless

with multi Core systems becoming the norm these will be made redundant , and quickly.

Even If a game engine is not programmed in Parallel/Smp there could easily be a seperate physics engine running on another core and it and the game engine could talk using a 'software bus'

but nice review ... i may get it (even @ 58% i want a nice looking shooter to play )

30-05-2007, 15:52:43

FarFarAway
And hey - it's free

30-05-2007, 15:59:36

Ham
Tech showcase imo, not a game.

30-05-2007, 16:02:56

Joe
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Ham'
Tech showcase imo, not a game.
mindless blaster with some flair but yea a showcase of a pointless tech

31-05-2007, 05:21:20

jiffz
Awesome review Kempez - was a good read

Nice to see they are trying to offer real-life physics, where everything is destructible & movable. Do you think newer graphics cards / dual core systems, will be able to cover what the PhysX card is supposed to do?

31-05-2007, 05:23:34

FarFarAway
I don't think so actually. The operations done on the PhysX are pretty complicated and are better suited to either the PhysX card itself or a GPU, rather than a Multi-Purpose CPU with brute force

ATI have shown some pretty tech demo's on this done on the GPU, but nothing solid like a game as of yet

31-05-2007, 05:35:51

jiffz
I did always wonder where the responsibility for physics lie in a system - CPU or GPU. Seems the Phys card can take care of it all. Would be great if games utilised these cards and similar cards were brought out to compete, drive down prices and further develop physics engines.

I'd love a game like DOD:S with a totally destructable enviroment. It would stop some players camping in the same spot (boring) and force them to assess the battlefield in it's current state to find a new spot. You could also make new routes to flank the enemy/objectives. No game would be played the same again!

31-05-2007, 06:11:01

FarFarAway
Agreed mate, would be great

I think a CPU could cope with some Physics, but not on the scale that PhysX/ATI's tech demo's have shown

31-05-2007, 09:30:29

Joe
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Agreed mate, would be great

I think a CPU could cope with some Physics, but not on the scale that PhysX/ATI's tech demo's have shown
you say that now but wait until intel have 8 cores in ur box ... only 1 being used for the actual game engine / A.I.

31-05-2007, 09:40:39

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Joe'
you say that now but wait until intel have 8 cores in ur box ... only 1 being used for the actual game engine / A.I.
In theory yes but hopefully games are going to be using multiple cores.

Plus a GPU has like 128 pipelines or whatever - which is where GPU architecture (and physx) come out on top with physics
Reply
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