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Playing with Power: Hands-on with First Nvidia Tegra 4 Games

When Nvidia's next-gen Tegra 4 processor begins shipping in Q2 2013, it should be one of the baddest chips on the planet. And with twice the firepower of the company's Tegra 3 chip, the Tegra 4 could help bring mobile gaming to the next level. We spent some hands-on time with four new Android games optimized for the Tegra 4 here at Mobile World Congress 2013, and we were extremely impressed with their graphics quality.

"Blood Sword" is a hack-and-slash title that puts you in control of a warrior as he battles his way through hordes of monsters. There's no real story beyond that, but then again, that's not why Nvidia was showing this game off. The real reason it was on display was its impressive graphics. Character textures added details to character models, giving them a sense of depth. This was best illustrated via the large scales covering a group of reptilian monsters. Characters also cast dynamic shadows as they moved around the screen, while particle effects helped bring the game world to life.

In addition to "Blood Sword," both "Real Boxing THD" and "RU Golf" provided excellent examples of what users can expect to see from the Tegra 4. In "Real Boxing THD" users play the roll of a boxer as he moves through the ranks fighting off opponents. Once again, the Tegra 4's lighting and textures performances were top notch. As our boxer danced around the ring, ducking and weaving, the reflections from a series of overhead lighting features gleamed off of the character model's sinewy arms and chest.

For "RU Golf," the Tegra 4 provides a much needed boost in background detail. Light glistened off of a nearby pond at the game's start screen and the sun's rays created a glare in the screen's upper right corner. "Burn Zombie Burn" gives players a look at the Tegra 4's ability to handle multiple moving objects on the screen at once. At one point, we had at least 10 to 15 enemies on the screen, each trying to eat the player's delicious brains.

Overall, the Tegra 4 provided each of the demos on display with the kind of power they need to run smoothly Unfortunately, we'll still have to wait a bit longer to get our hands on a final production model running the chip.