In perhaps one of the most disparate game pairings ever seen, this week’s 3D Review has a lot of ground to cover. It has been a while since our last update and – like any good 3D enthusiast – I have been spending my time dropped into an Ultra-HD™ paradise. Up for review this week are: Audiosurf and The Witcher 2.
A note of caution: Not all of the games included in this series were designed with 3D in mind, so take care to note that our scores are strictly for 3D enhanced experiences.
3D Rating: 7/10 – fantastic 3D gameplay, but held back by convergence issues in menus
Recommendation: Turn off 3D during menu navigation
Audiosurf is an interesting title. It is part rhythm game, part track racer, and part MP3 player, all wrapped in a psychedelic package Jerry Garcia would proudly have stamped on a t-shirt. In short, if hippies had made Guitar Hero and forgot to add the guitar, you’d have an inkling of what it’s like to play Audiosurf.
When I first booted up the game I was dismayed. The menus are obviously not designed for 3D and, since we’re the minority, that’s okay). Convergence issues abound and I found myself simply turning the 3D off any time I had to use them. I would advise you do the same, lest a headache drop in and wreck the party.
Thankfully, the core game-play functions flawlessly with nVidia’s 3D Vision and the experience of playing it is one of the defining experiences on the hardware. Tracks are rendered with great depth, which makes them feel more “rollercoaster” than “road.” The variety in game-play adds unique abilities and interface elements that also render fantastically. Players can choose the level of difficulty and puzzle complexity with their choice of several cartoon-like characters before beginning the song. The barrier to entry remains low, however, asking only that the player enjoy music and have a desire to experience it in a new way.
3D Rating: 9/10 – The Witcher 2 pairs an amazing art sensibility with an extraordinary use of 3D. nVidia worked closely with CD Projekt Red to ensure the game looked and played fantastic. Despite some early hiccups in performance, the game now runs smoothly.
Recommendation: The Witcher 2 is an expansive and enthralling RPG. In it, you step into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia and embark on an epic journey that sees your choices directly shaping the world around you. Geralt is a rough soldier of the monster-slaying persuasion and, as the name implies, finds himself embroiled in political intrigue from the very first moments of the game. The action is tight and satisfying, and is a great improvement over the original’s timed-click approach. Players can look forward to extensive character customization, as well, through a skill-tree system that, by and large, provides a noticeable impact for each point invested. Though the journey is shorter than the original — I beat my first play through in just over 26 hours — it is a satisfying jaunt through one of the most well-realized game worlds in modern roleplaying games.
As a 3D experience, the game makes excellent and varied use of its third dimension. I noticed very minor ghosting issues near certain light sources (such as the torches in the game’s many dungeons), yet the game is surprisingly free from the shadow-issues that plague the technology in so many other games. While the greatest use of 3D is in providing the familiar and well-embraced sense of depth, players will also experience pop-out intermittently on their adventure — sometimes profound and other times very subtle, such as the falling of autumnal leaves.
Some users have reported issues with indoor frame-rates while using 3D Vision. While updating to the latest drivers fixed this issue for me, another work around is to either uninstall 3D Vision while playing through the game, or less detrimental to the multi-gamerous among us (yes, I made that up), you can simply end the stereoscopic vision service in the Windows Task Manager.
As I play through my bevy of 3D games, I am reminded of why I first got excited to add an extra dimension to video gaming. It, without a doubt, takes the experience to the next level. I am also reminded of how new and yet-to-be embraced this technology still is. It is fantastic but developers are still working to iron out the kinks and get rid of issues that are all too commonplace: Ghosting, Lag, Consistent Convergence and Depth.
Yet for all of the hiccups along the way, there is no way I would trade these experiences for faster or shinier 2D. None. When I play games, I am in it for the immersion. Sometimes that is game-play, or story, or even just colorful graphics. 3D enhances all of that – even bad 3D – which is really a testament to how much potential it really has. At the end of the day, it makes you wonder whether Hollywood had it wrong to bring the third dimension to movies first. Comparatively, 3D gaming wins every time, no contest.
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