Starting yesterday, OnLive decided to offer four games free for the whole Halloween weekend, and it has been quite a good trip so far, although it does vary – particularly because of the fact that gameplay quality is contingent on your connection’s reliability.
Depending on how good your connection is, gameplay can be very similar to playing the game locally (i.e. as if you bought the game and installed it), although I must say that there never was a moment where I felt that OnLive can replace the quality you get when you pay like a boss for a retail game. Unfortunately, the game’s quality does degrade if your connection is being hogged, unreliable or just slow from the get-go.
I tested the game on my good ol’ Asus, and the first thing I realized is that the Nvidia ION2 chip in the computer never kicked in. OnLive was running on the Intel GMA all the way through, and therefore battery life would be quite legit if you do intend to play games without plugging in.
On a netbook, graphics quality is a lot better – as long as your screen is not 1366x768px. On a 1024×600 screen, games rendered at less-than-600p still look quite acceptable, although what must be noted is that the game does vary the quality depending on your connection, so sometimes you might get super-sharp quality, whereas when your connection starts going into herp derp mode, you might get blurry graphics – something quite annoying when you need to aim precisely in a first-person shooter.
Specifically towards FEAR 3, however, I found that there was quite a bad instance of cursor lag. The problem is especially exaggerated when you have a poor connection, whereas when the connection is good, the problem is largely ameliorated, although still noticeable.
I did manage to play FEAR in multiplayer mode and it was quite good. Voice support is offered by OnLive, so if you do want to speak to your teammates, it is possible. Although same problems do exist – cursor lag, network lag, and low quality graphics at times.
To be fair to OnLive, I went out to search for a bossier connection, and this is what I got. With such a connection, nothing could go wrong… or so I thought. Indeed, nothing went wrong for a loooooooooong time. The connection was so good that FEAR 3 suddenly became more playable, sharper than usual and better in gameplay quality. It was excellent for a while, until something went wrong with the connection… and then it was all over.
Nonetheless, I’d recommend OnLive to netbook users if, and only if, they don’t intend to buy a more powerful gaming PC. However, if you want to play games in a reliable and enjoyable fashion, you’ll have to invest in a quick connection that is best connected directly to your computer. Shared connections, weak signals, and a slow connection will all coalesce to make your gameplay worse. That said, nothing beats playing a retail game that can be installed and played.
This is part of a continuous report that will last until I finish my 3-Day pass on the games. I’ll continue trying the gameplay and report back on how it is with the other games.
What is Netbookist?At Netbookist, we're commited to finding out the limits of a netbook, especially in gaming. We're also interested in optimization, tweaking, and pushing the netbook to the cutting edge.
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