As an avid magazine reader, I picked up a copy of Maximum PC's 3D Gaming Tech Guide Special Issue: Fall 2004. If you're interested in 3D gaming, this is an issue that's worth purchasing. In addition to hardware and software reviews, there's an excellent section called 3D Game Engines Exposed. They compare the engines for Unreal 3, Doom 3, Half-Life 2, Far Cry, Gamebryo, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and Titan 2.0. Expect many in-game screenshots and modeling/editor discussions. The issue includes a DVD that contains a full 14-day demo of Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, America's Army, six game demos, three movies, and a handful of other useful tools.
Among the videos is a short demonstration of Unreal Engine 3. I was surprised that I hadn't heard anything about the next version of Epic Games' impressive engine, and Maximum PC provides a good introduction. If you're interested, you can find some impressive screenshots and an overview of their next-generation engine at the Unreal Technology site.
While I'm on the topic of 3D games, I feel compelled to point out PC Gamer's review of Half-Life 2 in their December, 2004 issue. As far as I know, they're the first to publish a full review of the entire game, and they have some great things to say. From the beginning of the article:
While some games have eye-dropping visuals, or amazing gameplay, or maybe a cinematic story with good voice-acting, not one has ever delivered the complete package. Half-Life 2 nails it, surpassing the original in every way. There aren't words to properly describe just how well Half-Life 2 does what it does—and yet my challenge is to find some anyway.
And in the final verdict, they give the game a 98%, the highest score bestowed by the magazine in over six years. They summarize the bottom line with the following geek tease: "Surpasses Half-Life in every way. Arguably the best game ever made."
My new computer can't show up fast enough!