Strategy Games: Dota 2 and Battle for Middle Earth 2
The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre is one of the most popular PC game types of all time. Frankly, League of Legends would be too easy to play, even on this HD Graphics-powered tablet. So, I went with Dota 2 instead.
Naturally, I was most interested in the Venue 8 Pro's native 1280x800 resolution for testing. All of the detail settings were turned down as low as they'd go, except for texture quality, which I nudged up to Medium.
As far as controls go, this type of title requires a keyboard and mouse. So, I didn't bother with the SteelSeries Free gamepad or GestureWorks Gameplay software. You can see the result in the video below:
Performance isn't great, but I'd still say that Dota 2 is playable on Dell's tablet at these settings. Of course, there's a big difference between frame rate and network-imposed lag when you're playing an online game. While 30 FPS should be playable for a MOBA, too much latency makes gameplay unpleasant (and that applies to every gaming platform).
Battle for Middle Earth II
I have a fondness for EA's Battle for Middle Earth series, set in J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy realm. This title really pushed the visual boundaries of what I expected from an RTS back when it came out. So, I'm dusting it off for today's experiment.
Right off the bat, I ran into an issue: the game doesn't run on Windows 8. Thankfully, a resourceful fan who goes by the alias of Turin Turumbar created the BfME_Startup_Fixxer.exe patch to get around the problem.
The display's native 1280x800 resolution caused some performance problems, so I dialed that back to 1024x768 and cranked the detail preset up to Ultra-High. On Dell's small 8" screen, the lower resolution makes very little difference. Once again, I went with the Bluetooth-attached keyboard and mouse for control.
As you can see in our video, the game looks great considering its age. It runs surprisingly smoothly on Dell's small Windows-based tablet.
Finally i see one noticeable advantage of Windows Tablet over Android
Does not compute
- Battery (maybe most important when you speak of portablility) - how long does it last with this model. I was eyeing the Asus Transformer Book T100TA, which they say has a quite respectable battery (but is also more expensive)
- Does a PS3 controller (free, if you have a PS3) work with it?
I would ideally have liked to see a mention of the Prince of Persia / Max Payne (1+2) / (Older) Tomb Raider / Splinter cell (1-4) and similar older third-person adventure games. In my opinion those work marvellously with a PS3 gamepad. Ah, I forgot - I wonder whether the touch would work directly with games from the Monkey Island series. Ah, another great genre for playing on a tablet, that was totally missed here - turn-based strategy games like the Heroes of Might and Magic series and Civilization (4). And also the grand-daddy of "modern" open-world FPSs - FarCry 1 :)
The biggest risk with those games is still compatibility with touch/Win 8.
An expanded re-visit maybe when the new generation of chips come out from either from Intel or AMD?