RyanM / Member

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3DTV's, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Kinect, and call of jury duty!

Howdy y'all,

Thanks for all the feedback on the Halloween show, and as always thanks for watching!

Just this past weekend, I snapped this picture with my cell phone (excuse the quality) of two kids playing Kinect set up at my local Best Buy.

Kids Playing  KinectI bring it up, and took the picture in the first place, because I was honestly shocked at how many people were standing around watching these two boys play Kinect Adventures. Everyone watching them had huge smiles on their faces, and you could tell they all wanted to try it.

The Kinect at my house got most of its use the first night we got it and a bit this past weekend. Truth be told, the 3DTV I bought myself as a birthday present this past week has likely been one of the reasons the Kinect hasn't had as much attention as it might have gotten otherwise.

I plan on posting a bit of a 3DTV report, letting you know what games and movies are cool and which to ignore. Because if you're like me, you're fascinated by cool new tech, but not always convinced you really need it, or want to pay the cost for something totally new for fear that you'll only find out when you get it in you're living room that you'll end up being disappointed. I guess, now that I write it out, I am simply describing the excitement and pain that comes with being an early adopter. In fact, the second HDTV I bought, just prior to the release of the PlayStation 3, even though it was advertised as a 1080p TV, actually wasn't. Instead, Samsung hadn't gotten some of their business right, and the TV would only let me view content with a resolution of 1080i or below. So I had to exchange the TV I had purchased for one that delivered true 1080p.

Last year with Avatar the game and movie being both released in stereoscopic 3D, I figured this might be the year for a 3DTV at home. I had honestly settled on the idea, that I wouldn't actually get a 3DTV until more 3D content was available. I figured, maybe February 2011 when Killzone 3 comes out? However, once I realized Call of Duty: Black Ops would support stereoscopic 3D, I pretty much made up my mind.

It's been about a week now, and even though I had done a lot of research, on both the technology and products available, I feel I've learned the most as a consumer actually messing with the 3DTV, games, and movies. I've learned a lot. One thing I've especially learned- whether games, videos, or movies, not all 3D content is created equal. Also, I do believe size may truly matter when it comes to viewing 3DTV's, but more on that later.

Avatar, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Tumble, Motor Storm: Pacific Rift, MLB 10: The Show, are just some of the games that support stereoscopic 3D. I would also add that the games listed are some of the better uses of the technology that I've seen so far as well. Before I get ahead of myself, I should back up and talk about the set up I've got going. The 3DTV I picked up is a Mitsubishi, WD-82738. I wanted a new TV that was bigger than my last, which meant it was pretty much this one, considering there aren't a whole lot of big 3DTV's.

Some can still argue, about DLP vs. Plasma, LCD, ect... But I like DLP's. I've had a 72" Samsung DLP in my house for 5 years, and I still think the same thing today as I did when I first bought it, which is for the size, price, and performance, it doesn't get any better. Sure, a 240hrz 42" inch will look cleaner, but its still only 42". We have a ton of different TV's and monitors in the office, some plasmas, some LCD's, so I see a lot of different displays running games all of the time and I am still more than happy with my DLP.

On a side note, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got for picking out a new TV, was when I was talking with a guy who professionally calibrates HDTV's. When I asked him at the time, what he thought the best type or model of TV was, he said "When you go into the store, just look around and pick the three TV's that you think look the best from a distance, then go stand in front of each to get a better idea. Don't even worry about the size of the TV, brand name, or anything else, just look around and pick out the TV you think looks the best." Picking out a TV this time however, I knew exactly what features I wanted; 3D, big screen, and awesome looking.

Now that I've played with it for a week, I've got to say, I am more impressed than I thought I'd be. I knew when they first showed us Avatar the game in 3D, during E3 2009, that it was super cool. Even last year, when Avatar the game first came into the office, I made sure we had a 3DTV to try it out on. I might have been impressed back then, but not completely sold.

The amount of games and movies you can play or watch in 3D had been so limited, it kind of didn't make sense, and still almost doesn't really. Unless of course, you're a complete nut job like me, who plays games and watches movies constantly, and just happened to be in the market for a new TV.

Obviously, Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D is kind of a uniquely awesome experience, but that's not to say it doesn't have its own issues. On the PS3, which is running an HDMI cable directly to the TV, the game runs at 30fps in 3D. Kind of a bummer right? Yes and no. Yes, since if it ran at 1080p/60fps that would be obviously better. No, since its just simply awesome in 3D, even at 30fps.

I'd go as far to say I play Call of Duty: Black Ops differently in 3D. Number one reason, you get to aim down the sights of the gun! What do I mean by that? I mean, just like in real life, when you aim a gun and match up the front site post, with the back sights, you do the same thing when playing Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3D! I couldn't figure out why for the first minute or two, the aiming seemed odd in 3D, which was simply because I had to turn off the onscreen crosshairs. Once the crosshairs were off, I was set! I even went back and tried to replay a section of the game in 2D, running at 60fps, just to see if I liked it as much still. To be honest, playing the game in 2D after playing in 3D for awhile, the game just seems flat.

The Xbox 360 version required me to put the game in 720p, in order to run in 3D. I did have to change the 3D settings on my TV, unlike the PS3 version. Also, one big caveat to my praise for the game in 3D, I simply can't perform as well in multiplayer when playing in 3D as I do when playing in 2D. Something about the frame rate, or just the time it takes for me to aim in 3D, but I get murdered badly every-time I try to play online in 3D. Maybe I'll force myself to try it in 3D with the floating cross hairs turned on again.

Another game, Avatar in 3D, still looks really good. The way you feel when you're flying through the environment, or the way bullets from machine guns leave individual trails that you can see cut through the air is pretty neat!

It would be important to note, for some games, like Avatar and Tumble, there is a 3D effect slider in the options menu. Plus, most 3DTV's have a few options to tweak performance. On Avatar, I found that 3D effect slider set at 1.6, with thethe default selected, gave me a cleaner 3D image. In Tumble however, I found that that the 3D effect slider set to the max gave me the best results.

Tumble in 3D is also pretty awesome. The way your eye and hand coordination naturally works while both using the PlayStation Move and 3D glasses is kind of crazy. In fact, it makes you feel as though you're cheating a bit.

The one game I'll cautiously call attention to, at least for playing it in 3D, is The Fight: Lights Out. While I know this game has been getting pretty terrible review scores, and I can totally understand the problems people have with the game. When playing it in 3D, with the head tracking working well, I personally think its kind of the best punching dudes in the face simulator I've played. Although why not a first person view? or why not make the back of the dude you're playing transparent? Or why are the graphics kind of weak? Either way, in terms of delivering punches with a motion controller in 3D, it's kind of the only game in town, literally.

On the movies tip, none of them look as good as the games do. With that said, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Monsters vs. Aliens, heck even My Bloody Valentine all looks pretty awesome in 3D. Some stuff like the Bon Jovi video download they have on the PS store, kind of looks like that pop up book styled 3D, as opposed to the whole window into another world approach.

I got all excited when someone told me that the Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the year Edition was in 3D. After driving to three stores, all three of which I called first, and all three declared they had it, only to arrive and find that it was the regular version of the game, I finally found one. The big 3D logo on the cover got me excited, until I read the words, works on all TV's, glasses included. No stereoscopic, just the red and the blue paper glasses 3D. I did however find a few other things along my journey, like a remote controlled Scorpion tank from Halo.

Either way, I say when asking the question of whether to 3DTV? Or not to 3DTV? The answer is, if you're way into it, you think it looks cool when you've seen it may possibly want to get a new TV anyways, go for it! If you're on the fence about 3D at all, just wait. Prices will only continue to drop and more movies and games will become available.

If you are one of the people whose been skeptical of 3D and wonder if its worth it, you are correct for doing so. I know some people that I've shown 3D games to who absolutely love games, even the game I was showing to them in 3D was a game they had previously liked playing in 2D. Even then however, they weren't all that impressed. However, the next guy I showed was completely blown away as though it was the coolest thing ever. I guess some people just either perceive the effect more than others, just have different tastes, or likely a bit of both.

One of the main differences for how people perceive the 3D experience I believe at this point relates directly to size of the TV. When checking out Avatar in 3D at the theater, if you are like me you get that cool breathless sensation, when a big wide open landscape shot comes on. The unobstructed view of the screen, which is big enough to fill in even some of your periphery vision, just doesn't happen unless your sitting 2-3' away from a 42" screen. In my experience thus far, 82" vs. 42" in 3D is just simply a different viewing experience.

Anyhow I've got to wrap this up, I'll be posting an accompanying video shortly, showing at least some of what I am talking about. You can at least use the video to send to your friends who don't like to read! Until later GameSpotters, let me know what your experience with 3D has been and what you think of it!


P.S. I have to go to jury duty for the first time tomorrow, I've only heard stories of bordom really, so maybe it won't be so bad. Taking the PSP for sure.