In order test NVIDIA's 3D Vision we were supplied with the Asus VG236H 23" 1080P Monitor
and included 3D Vision bundle. Fulfilling the PC requirements will be our standard Sandy Bridge test rig running an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Instead of using high-end hardware such as GeForce GTX 580 or 590, we decided that since 560Ti is a great performance card and can play today's latest games at reasonable frame rates without breaking the bank, lending itself well to providing the median user experience for 3D Vision.
•Intel Core i7 2600K Processor at 3.4GHz (Supplied by Intel)
•MSI Z68A-GD80 B3 motherboard
•NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560Ti video card
•2x 2GB Kingston DDR3-1600 MHz Memory
•160GB Intel X25-M SSD
•Enermax Revolution 1000w PSU
•ASUS VG236H 23” Full HD 3D Monitor and 3D Vision BundleGameplay
As part of my due diligence in writing this review series I have had the arduous task of playing multiple games in 3D, but I have been willing to make this sacrifice in order to provide you with a better understanding of the 3D experience... well, that and I love playing games. In an attempt to get a feel for the entire range of 3D game content out there we will be looking at numerous titles from multiple genres as well as choosing titles from different tiers on the NVIDIA ranking system to best showcase what 3D opportunities are available. Just Cause 2 11 minute gameplay trailer demonstrates the level of action you'll experience in this game. However, not all is sweet once 3D is turned on
The first title on deck is Just Cause 2, a game most of you are already familiar with if for no other reason than its inclusion in our video card benchmarking suite. Just Cause 2 has a ranking of 3D Vision Ready and therefore should prove to be a stunner of a 3D experience. Taking the game at face value it has all the underpinnings necessary for providing a solid 3D experience. The game itself has a lot of visual depth, whether you are racing down a dirt road on a motorcycle or flying the friendly skies in a plane you just hijacked, the Just Cause 2 world is massive. There are large open spaces and great draw distances. The sunny tropical locale makes for a visually bright game which works well with the dimming effect of the active shutter glasses.Starting a game brings NVIDIA's overlay with the 3D compliancy information. In the case of Just Cause 2, the game is complete compatible with 3D Vision technology
With my 3D Vision glasses on I launched Just Cause 2 directly from Steam and 3D Vision didn’t miss a beat, instantly recognizing the title and switching into 3D immediately. The title and navigation screens in Just Cause 2 are not rendered in 3D and therefore at first there was no discernable 3D effect, but that soon changed. Once the game loaded the 3D effect was apparent immediately. The opening scene from my most recent autosave had the main character Rico standing in front of an open beach scene with palm trees in the distance. The depth of that initial scene was intense. The trees in the background actually appeared to be in the distance. The main character in the foreground seemed incredibly close, while not exactly a "jumping out of the screen"
sensation. Just Cause 2 screen with 3D Enabled. As you can imagine, without having 3D glasses it is difficult to explain how the scene feels. This scene offers around six levels of depth
In playing through the game the 3D effect was constant with every gameplay scene showing additional depth. The in-game cut scenes are not rendered in 3D and therefore seemed to break up the 3D experience. In doing so, the cut scenes seemed to illustrate the added depth of 3D Vision as they provided a stark contrast to the depth of gameplay itself. The longer I play... errr tested, the more the 3D effect seemed to blend in. This is not to say that the game lost its depth, more so that the depth became natural, much the same as you stop noticing the bezel around your TV when you are engrossed in movie. Even as the depth became more natural there were still plenty of "wow" moments that drove home the 3D experience. In one instance I was piloting a helicopter that I had "liberated" from a local military base. As the helicopter took on damage from small arms fire it began to billow black smoke from the fuselage. The depth and apparent volume to the smoke was incredible. It seemed as if you could reach inside the monitor and touch it and really added to the feel that the helicopter was not merely on screen, instead that it was some distance inside the screen. This scene in 2D mode looks typical scripted action. But in 3D mode, the depth is just amazing
Riding a motorcycle through traffic at speed takes on a whole new meaning. The cars you pass seem to come up on you with surprising realism. When floating around under Rico’s parachute you get a sense of your altitude and lazily floating down through the tree’s canopy swallows your character in 3D foliage.
For all of the impressive 3D aspects of this game under 3D Vision I found myself somewhat underwhelmed with the aspect of free fall. Jumping out of an airplane or helicopter allows Rico to freefall until you decide to deploy his parachute. I had anticipated that this would make for an awesome 3D scene due to the natural distance involved when hurtling towards the ground. In practice however the actual depth (or height) has some depth but not to the level I was expecting. In all fairness however this could be due to few factors.
First I have never launched myself out of a real airplane so I honestly have nothing to compare it too (I did a few times and you don't care about what you're seeing... the adrenaline pumping trough your heart and the sensation of flight takes over your visual experience, Ed.)
. Secondly, 3D imagery does depend on depth but much like real life in order to truly sense depth you need depth or distance indicators. For example, when looking at the moon or stars in the sky, you realize that they are obviously far away, but does one start seem further or closer than the next? Even if they do, are you able to discern the spatial distance between them? The same would hold true for this freefall scenario. When free falling from great heights the only real distance indicator is the ground and since there are seldom any other objects between your point of view and the ground itself the true scale or distance is difficult to perceive. Conclusion
Overall Just Cause 2 definitely earned its 3D Vision Ready title and proved to be great showpiece for 3D Vision gaming. The 3D aspects in this title felt natural and fit the game well. If this is any indicator as to the future of 3D PC gaming then 3D has a bright future indeed.
Just Cause 2 is just the beginning of our 3D Vision game testing. Stay tuned for our next installment of Living with 3D coming next week, covering one of most anticipated titles of all times.
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