Call of Duty: Black Ops 3D hands-on

We've just posted our review of Call of Duty: Black Ops on Pocket-lint and, with one or two reservations, we think it's a massive hit. So, before you continue, you may want to check out that test.

Righto, done? Good. However, one feature we purposely left out of the main review will, perhaps, not be as utilised as much as the others. For starters, it's not even listed on the packaging. But, for those who have a 3D TV, you might be interested to know that you can play the whole game, multiplayer, warts and all in stereoscopic 3D.

Using the Xbox 360 version, we at Pocket-lint Towers have played the 3D COD: BO extensively on a Samsung 55C8000 3D LED TV - one of the best sets around at the moment. We've also been using the rechargeable version of Samsung's active 3D glasses - although that shouldn't make much difference to the test, as the battery-powered ones should be identical in use - and in different lighting conditions (night and day), so have pretty much covered all bases.

The 3D on offer on the Xbox 360 version is of a side-by-side type, where it displays two neighbouring versions of the picture which your screen uses to make up the left and right eye images. We're not sure about the PlayStation 3 copy of the game at the moment - it may use the PS3's native 3D compatibility, which came about a couple of updates ago. In which case, it will be a different experience entirely.

Certainly, it's more likely to tell your television to switch into 3D mode automatically. The Xbox 360 COD: Black Ops doesn't - it needs you to select your screen's side-by-side function through the TV's menu system. Also, when 3D is selected on COD: BO's options, the game restarts, requiring to load your levels and Campaign mode again. You can't switch over in mid-flow.

Side-by-side 3D presents one initial problem; a loss of resolution. As each half of the screen needs to be used for each eye, the images are displayed at half the horizontal resolution. And, as it is (natively) 720p, that leaves you (without upscaling) with a final resolution of 640 x 720.

In fact, there are some that suggest that its real 2D native resolution is 1040 x 608, so the 3D version, if that is correct, is only giving you 520 x 608 - barely more than a conventional DVD vertically and less horizontally. It shows.

This is the major pitfall of playing Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D, the lack of sharpness and detail in the graphics. Indeed, it makes you want to play through the entire campaign in 2D first, or else you feel like you're going to miss something.

To be fair, it's compensated with a palpable sense of depth, although only after your eyes have adjusted to an overt amount of ghosting around objects that are further away. The doubles are most off-putting when you're stationary, less so when there's action - thankfully, something the game provides in spades.

Close-up objects, such as fellow squad members and your own weaponry look tangible, although the further something gets into the distance the harder it is to make out (that lack of resolution again). But at least the 3D effect does add something. You definitely feel more immersed in the game world, even though its problems can pull you back out again the moment you see twin helicopters circling above - one and its 3D shadow.

To be honest, Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D is a mere gimmick, on the Xbox 360 at least. We can't see it being used to play the entire game, and it'll probably hinder anyone who takes the multiplayer side of the action seriously. Instead, you'll get much more from the game in two dimensions rather than three.

And, maybe that's why it's not listed as a feature on the box.

Have you tried Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments below...

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