HD-DVD bites the dust, Blu-Ray cleans up

Blu-Ray wins the format war

It had tech-fanatics going at each other, had two major games consoles squaring up and even had Hollywood studios scratching their heads, but now the hi-def format war is over with Blu-Ray coming out on top.

The Tosh announced today they were planning to halt production, but would still give technical support to those with HD-DVD players and discs.

The result is hardly a surprise given that Warner Bros and most recently Best Buy and Wal Mart had given up on HD-DVD.

This could affect the console war too. 

Sony’s Playstation 3 is now the most affordable Blu-Ray player around, and since Blu-Ray is now the sole high-definition format- this could increase PS3 sales.  

Roll on the next tech-war.

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First impressions: Conflict: Denied Ops for PS3/Xbox360

The first level had us trying to take over a monastery

Yesterday I was invited to a plush London bar for a preview of the latest first-person shooter to enter the already crowded shooty genre. After sampling the deliciously free canapés and drinks on offer it was time for the serious business of guns, tanks and explosions, co-op style.

If you didn’t already figure it out, Conflict: Denied Ops is all about team-working with your army buddy. The buddies in question are the stealthy Lang and fast paced action-man, Graves trying to stop a dictatorship from getting hold of nukes.

Gamers can choose to switch between each soldier to get through the game. Lang is equipped with a sniper, while Graves the more trigger-happy of the two carries a machine gun.

Upon playing, the cut-scenes were impressive enough but it was the in-game action I was more eager to witness.

The first level has you trying to liberate a monastery from opposing militia, who like in Call of Duty 4 resemble the present stereotypical image of a terrorist. Also featuring was a face-off with a helicopter and a brief jaunt in a tank blowing up buildings and sniping enemy soldiers.

The option to switch soldiers does provide some element of team-working. At times I was unable to pick out far away soldiers, which was when Lang and his sniper came in handy.

When killed pressing the L2 button would make the soldier I wasn’t taking control of come and replenish my health with a boost of adrenalin.My major gripe with the co-op system was that on occasions my partner kept getting left behind and it was up to me to switch character and move him along with me.

Most of what was on offer was pretty standard war-based shooter fare, interlaced with a bit of co-op. At the moment it’s nothing special. The PS3 version did at times look a bit ps2-ish. Not a great start.

However the Xbox360 version looked much better. It just looked so much more crisp and moved more fluidly than its PS3 counterpart, which was playing alongside it. Even the controls felt smoother.

Pivotal, the developers were keen to point out the new ‘puncture technology- allowing gamers to blow holes in the scenery to create their own passages in the levels. The destruction didn’t seem too different from anything I’d previously seen in Red Faction on the PS2 or indeed the likes of Stranglehold.

Perhaps playing through just one level does not give a true indication of the game. What I can confirm is that Conflict: Denied Ops is a relatively solid shooter for those in love with the genre.

But during this first play provided very little, besides co-op that hasn’t been done by many others.

The game itself will be out on 12th February.