The CPL West Coast Qualifiers were going on simultaneously with the MOHAA event, and drew in a big audience, with the locals coming to cheer on their friends and favorites. The winners, naturally, would win a round trip to the CPL Extreme World Championship along with XGI graphics cards, with second place taking 1GB of PC4000 Kingston memory and third came away with Abit KV8 Max 3 motherboards for the Athlon 64, unreleased at the time!
Everyone practicing and testing settings
The big-time nature of the event and Counter-Strike as a competitive arena made themselves known at a few points during the proceedings, but generally the show went off without a hitch. I was only able to catch the end of the winner's bracket proceedings, the conclusion of the loser's bracket and of course the all-important finals. It should be noted that Rival displayed a remarkable degree of easy-going professionalism as D!E and Formula1 battled it out, maintaining the poise of a champion despite having fought their way from the loser's bracket.
D!E, which had defeated Rival earlier in the double-elimination winner's bracket, found that revenge was a dish best served cold (really cold, given the timeframe involved) as Rival took it upon themselves to school them in the matter. Despite their highly competitive nature, D!E wasn't able to pull out the meaningful win against Rival when it counted, and ended up ceding the spot for the finals.
F1 and Rival had thus far managed to avoid meeting each other at the qualifiers and the stage was set. F1 had earlier sent D!E to the loser's bracket to face Rival again, whereas the latter had both won and lost against D!E. The pundits favored Formula1, but F1 had a long layoff after their protracted earlier battle with D!E, while Rival managed to warm up against D!E in the loser's bracket right before the finals came around. Continuing the contrary streak that had been with me since I bet on the Brazilians in the MOHAA World Championships, I put my money on Rival and proceeded to observe the finals.
The CS room during a break
It's been a long time since I watched competitive CS, Canada simply doesn't have that huge of a scene (certainly nothing concentrated like in southern California), and unlike the US, Canadian teams are spread far and wide across the country. Demos can give you an idea of how a match plays out, but seeing the competition live on a LAN is something else. The level of competition has really gone up over the past four years, not only do team members have incredible individual skills and a general ability to adapt to the situation, but everyone has their strategies down pat.
While I'm not sure of a volley of all three grenades thrown simultaneously by all team members - enough to seemingly block out the sun for a second - is exactly a real-world tactic, Counter-Strike played competitively is almost there. Teams move together, cover doors, ladders, peep under train cars and from windows. Attackers flow forward if at all possible, stopping for a slugging match only if necessary. Commands, warnings and acknowledgements are tossed back and forth… and all of a sudden, it's over and time to restart. The consistency with which teams have milked every advantage of a map means that even the most balanced maps are usually blowouts, with the advantaged side winning 80% of the time.
West Coast Qualifier champions Rival!
The matches in the finals were extremely close, resorting to two tie breakers before Rival came out on top. Rival's performance impressed a few CS regulars who were sure that the parting of ways with one of their better known players, Ph33R, earlier this year, would have disrupted the team (he returned just a few days ago, incidently).
You can find all tournament results over at iGames.
Congratulations to all finalists and to Rival for winning the tournament and getting on their way to the championships!
If you want to check out the demos, we have them available in two ZIP files. cpl1.zip is a 22.4MB download, while cpl2.zip weighs in at 28.4MB. Enjoy!
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!