Our full review of Guerrilla’s Killzone 3 went live earlier today, but one of the things I also wanted to cover was the game’s 3D support, something that the developers were keen to emphasise as being a considerable bullet point on their checklist of features. Naturally, the ability to play through the game in stereoscopic 3D won’t be of substantial benefit to most of our readers, but alongside Move functionality and offline co-op at least Guerrilla are covering all the bases.
Unfortunately, I walked away from my time with this particular game in 3D feeling a little deflated and somewhat disorientated. It’s true that my only other experience with the technology was with SOCOM: Special Forces (which we’ll be coming back to soon) and Motorstorm Apocalypse, but although the sensation was initially quite impressive the effect didn’t do much to convince me that this is the future, and besides, it’s actually quite understated in Killzone 3.
Much like Cameron did with Avatar, I got the impression that Guerrilla were trying to create depth rather than throwing things out of the screen (except in a few cut-scenes, where guns were swung towards the camera seemingly for cheap effect rather than quality direction) and whilst this most definitely is the right way to go, for me at least the sensation works best when there’s less going on with a particular scene, not something that happens a great deal in Killzone 3.
For example, when you’re hidden behind cover and are hunting out Helghast in the middle distance, the 3D worked really well, and although it won’t make you any better at the game it did look quite nice. But switch to a fast moving section when you need to quickly turn corners or dodge bullet fire and it gave me an instant headache. I’m confident this isn’t a particular nuance with Killzone 3, but having to ensure my head was perfectly horizontal (for the polarisation) and directly facing the camera for the best response won’t translate that well to a home setup for most.
Don’t get me wrong: having 3D is a bonus for Killzone 3 – if you’re all set up with the new tech then I’m sure you’ll already be comfortable with the games that support 3D and won’t face the same issues I did. In terms of the visual difference, although I was told by one of the members of the team that the horizontal resolution was halved to get the game looking as good in 3D as it does in 2D, I couldn’t really tell the difference: it still looks fantastic even when it’s shifting around two copies of everything.
Perhaps 3D just isn’t for me, though. At any rate, I remain unconvinced at the moment but hopeful that there’ll be a standardised solution before the next generation of consoles – the effect is done nicely enough in Killzone 3 and certainly gives the viewer an immediate sense that this is truly at the peak of what the PS3 is all about just now, but it won’t be making me go out to replace my current rather more two dimensional TV. Not yet, anyway.