You know what’s wonderful about the time we live in? 3D is coming into its own. For my job here, I keep an eye on a lot of games. Nearly all of them work with NVidia’s 3D Vision – or will when they’re released. I was actually surprised when I booted up RAGE to find out it didn’t. Reader, we’ve arrived at a point where 3D is worth the investment; in nearly every case, having that 3D set will make you better off than the gamer who doesn’t (and it’s the “have nots” who call this a gimmick). You get depth, immersion, and a picture far clearer than you’d see on a standard, even higher priced, display. Today, I thought I’d celebrate that fact by highlighting three great games that will draw you in with their 3D effect.
The Witcher 2
Though it got off to a rocky start, the problems have been fixed and 3D now runs flawlessly. The Witcher 2 stands out as a landmark RPG with one of the best, most detailed game worlds of this generation. It also sets a new standard for fantasy-themed realism as the developers have polished the game to a shine. Combat is fast, fluid, highly situational, and is coupled with a deep, if a bit short, main story. Enabling 3D in The Witcher 2 will bring you closer to the veil than ever before. It is, quite frankly, a game you can use to floor your friends.
Notes: 3D is primarily used for depth – like most games – but turning up your convergence can lead to some great pop-out effects.
Recommended Settings: Depth: Mid-High Convergence: High
Dead Island seems to be a pretty divisive game. Some people love it while others decry it for launch-day bugs. There’s one thing that argument misses: Dead Island makes you feel like you’re in a zombie wasteland. Where games like Left 4 Dead 2 focus on running-and-gunning, Dead Island makes you the survivor. Weapons break down easily but can be repaired and upgraded with a series of modifications rewarded from completing MMO-styled quests (and getting Diablo style loot drops). Enemy respawn timers are also unconventional, such that you never, ever feel safe wandering around completing tasks. The best part, though, and what keeps me coming back to the game again and again, is the combat. Being mostly melee-based, you’ll spend a lot of time hacking away at necks, limbs, and craniums with visible, and sometimes gloriously slow-motion, results.
Given the game’s scenic beginnings and city-street ends, it’s not surprising that 3D brings the experience to a new level. Since the game is in first-person, depth plays a huge part in judging swing-distance and really experiencing all that the environment has to offer. There’s nothing like looking out over a bay and truly feeling the distance that separates you from the rest of society. That said, it’s also pretty damn cool to see a severed limb fly inches away from your face.
Notes: Dead Island is a game that suffers from the tragic “moving shadows” effect. While I’m not technical enough to know specifically what causes it, I do know that raising convergence literally moves lighting elements around the room. Still, the depth effect is fantastic and there is a happy middle-ground to be had.
Recommended Settings: Depth: Low-Mid Convergence: Mid
Magicka is a unique and incredibly fun game. Played from the top-down perspective, you play as a questing wizard, ala Vivi in FFIX, and combine up to five elements to create your own spells. Want a firefall? Combine fire and earth. How about an ice ray? Combine ice and the particle beam. How about a cold-beam of electrically charged icicles? You can do that too, amongst many other single-target combinations, area of attacks, and self-buffs, all in over-saturated HD.
I’ve long believed that isometric views were some of the best to be had in 3D. I look at it more like looking down into a box where toy men and women fight deadly beasts in well-made sets. Adding depth to this perspective only makes the illusion more believable. The intense, firework-like combat demands your focus and, before you know it, draws you in. Magicka ranks highly among my list of indie 3D favorites.
Notes: Unfortunately, the game also suffers the same moving shadow effect as Dead Island. The isometric viewpoint is much more forgiving of this; however, I found anything beyond 50% convergence to be too much.
Recommended Settings: Depth: High Convergence: Low-Mid
Since a lot of you are still on the fence, and more are buying in every day, here’s a list of some great 3D-supported games that may have been out for a while or require a little tweaking: Dirt 2 and Dirt 3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, The Witcher, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2, Audiosurf, Borderlands, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online. All of these games a worth your time and make the hardware worth owning.
That’s going to wrap it up for this edition of the 3D Review and I’m already feeling a bit late. Here I am talking about “how interesting times are” this and “gee whiz, Jimbo” that, and November looms all the closer. If this last year has taken us ever into the backyard pool of amazing 3D, this holiday season looks to wash us out to the ocean with the sheer amount of amazing content on the way. Stay tuned, 3D fans. More good stuff to come.
The 3D Review is a regular feature at Vagary TV and highlights the latest and greatest in the world of 3D gaming. If there’s a game you’d like reviewed or a topic you’d like to see, send it to Chris at Christopher.Coke@Vagary.TV