The super short review of Horizon: Zero Dawn

Plus:

  • The game is very well polished. Everything seems smooth, and I’m yet to see any game breaking bugs (I’m looking at you, Witcher 3, and XCOM 2)
  • A vast, beautiful open world. Probably the most beautiful ever in a game. Even on the original PS4, it looks spectacular. PS4 Pro + HDR will blow your mind away – well, Sony made sure the game is a showcase for PS4 Pro, so that’s expected If you think Rise of Tomb Raider was visually stunning, think again. HZD easily blows it out of water. In short, it will drop your jaw!
  • The combats versus machines are engaging and rewarding. The bigger, badder the robot, the more satisfying you’ll be after a battle. You will have to be both smart, and fast to win. The variety and diverAlso, the Critical Hit move feels both powerful and satisfying.

Neutral:

  • The story is fine, but not really ground breaking. Passable but don’t expect anything like The Witcher 3.
  • The open world settings get bored after a while. Still many things to do, but you’ll probably want more.

Minus:

  • The combats versus humans are … meh. It’s not that bad, but compared to the machines, humans are just boring enemies which bring very little enjoyment to the table.
  • The voice acting is underwhelming. In many cases, voice actors do not sound convincing as they should. The NPC faces are also quite generic and you’ll have hard time remember who is who.
  • Stealth action is a joke – you caused an explosion and your enemies are still acting like nothing happen. If you expect the level of Metal Gear Solid V depth – I have bad news for you.

Verdict:

9/10. Buy it! If you have PS4 Pro + HDR TV and it’s easily a must have. If you don’t, then this is a very valid reason to buy those!

Episerver Commerce 2015 – year in review

Performance, performance, performance

While I’m proud of how great Commerce were in 2014, there are still areas where we need to improve. One of those is performance.
We paid attentions to important parts of the system, where customers demand the most. And the results were, quite impressive. From 8.11 to 8.15, many profiling and improvements had been done, and the results are quite expensive: loading cart performance increased 4 times, loading Entry with CatalogEntryResponseGroup.Full performance increased 3 times, etc.

However, the biggest change – “rewritten” catalog system, had to wait for Commerce 9.

Commerce 9 was, in no doubts, big release, in term of changes. And it surely is the biggest in term of performance gain. With the changes in underlying catalog system database, the performance gain is, massive. In some areas, the change is a whopping 10 fold, and other areas, 2-4x times faster. If you are still on Commerce 8.x, while it was a great product at its time, you are highly recommended to upgrade to latest 9.x version. Many customers’ve done it, and they’re more than happy with the performance. 2015 was the year which I can finally be happy with overall performance of Commerce. Of course, there are still rooms for improvements and we are not perfect yet, but let’s open a champagne for the performance gain we got.

New promotion system

I am OK with the old promotion system as an editor/administrator, but I’m no fan of it as a developer. When a bug is reported by the QA, I can follow the bug report to re-produce the bug for investigation, but when it comes to write an integration test to verify the correctness of bugfix (and of course, prevent the same mistake to be happenned in the future), I usually grin my teeth. So I’m all in favors for the new promotion system, when I can easily write tests for my fixes, and even unit tests (woo hoo). And did I mention a much more intuiative and well-designed UI?

(more…)