3D Vision Surround Playable Experiences
Now that we have those 3D Vision benchmarks out of the way, let’s talk about the best playable settings that we found on several titles for 3D Vision Surround and how the gaming experiences felt using them.

Metro 2033

By far my favorite game played during our week with the 3D Vision Surround configuration was Metro 2033.  Not only is the game just gorgeous to look at in the traditional 2D mode but the game was built with some great 3D effects in place as well.  In particular, the floating lit up dust particles actually come out of the screen in some cases and really add to the atmosphere of the title.

Of course, it is impossible for us to show you our 3D gaming experiences in any photos or video and it is really something you’ll have to see in person yourself.  I was able to run the game pretty well at 4800×900 with High settings and AA disabled though honestly the frame rate dipped a bit lower than I would have liked in some tense sequences.  Running the game at “Normal” rather than “High” would definitely fix that problem but again the visual effects that are added with the move to “High” are part of the charm of the game for me. 

DiRT 2

I have to say upfront that this is a non-recommended game for 3D Vision according to NVIDIA but I wanted to give it a try anyway as it was the most recently installed driving game on our test rig. 

There are some visual bugs including a ghosting effect around the car in direct sun light as well instances where the dirt/dust that is kicked up by the cars isn’t rendered at a depth that is correct.  Even with those issues I found that the game was more fun to play in 3D mode than in 2D mode when looking through the cockpit view or the hood-camera view.  Again, though NVIDIA recommends against it, I thought DiRT 2 played pretty well in 3D mode. 

If you are looking for an NVIDIA-approved 3D racing title you could always try out GRID, Burnout: Paradise or Need for Speed: Shift. 

Left 4 Dead 2

After getting past the issues of not being able to run at 5760×1080 with AA enabled, Left 4  Dead 2 turned out to be just as much fun in 3D Vision as the original was; more so now that we are in 3D Vision Surround!

The main problem I had with this title was the labels for each character being rendered at screen depth rather than character depth which forced me to change focus quite frequently.  Other than that, blasting away at zombies in 3D at 5760×1080 is truly an awesome experience and this is one of those games that is just able to sell 3D almost completely on its own. 

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Yeah, third person action games are great when combined with both surround gaming and 3D Vision effects and Batman is one of the best examples of that.  While I didn’t make a video of it running on the new NVIDIA setup, this one from our Eyefinity evaluation should get the point across pretty well.

Now, add on to that the 3D effects that 3D Vision provides and you really do have a much more impressive game play experience.  The game is able to run at 5760×1080 without a problem and though NVIDIA recommends turning off AA completely I found 2xAA added a lot to the game overall.  There is nothing quite like fighting the ivy plants or swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle using 3D Vision and it really makes the game stand out.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl, Far Cry 2

Playing standard first person shooters using 3D Vision Surround creates an interesting mix of technologies.  While I am still of the mindset that the fisheye effects on the side monitors are annoying, it is not a deal killer for me personally.  When it comes to 3D effects, all three of these games play VERY well and are rated at either Excellent or Good by NVIDIA’s standards.

Again, the only issues pop up when it comes to the targeting reticules and what depth they render at.  If they render at the targets depth (ie, it varies on what it is pointed at) that is the best case scenario otherwise your eyes are again forced to quickly shift between focusing on a target well out in the distance or the crosshair right in front of you. 

Overall, after spending some time with the 3D Vision version of NVIDIA Surround I have to agree that it provides a killer experience and is well worth having, if you can afford (or convince yourself you can afford) the price hike it takes to get 3D-ready hardware.  The problem for NVIDIA continues to be, as it always has been, getting people in front of 3D-ready monitors and getting hands on time with the technology; we’d even recommend long-time game play sessions to make sure all goes well.  Only then will users be able to decide if spending that extra cash is worth it for them.

You can see the entire listing of 3D Vision-ready games at NVIDIA’s website and see what comments and recommendations they make for your favorite titles. 

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