Review: The 3D Mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn’t Suck

Activision sent us a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which I’ve been happily playing these last two days.  Black Ops 2, like many newer games, offers a 3D viewing mode, which I’ve tested extensively during my initial campaign run.  I’ve played a handful of 3D games in the past, but tend to not implement the viewing mode due to the fact that it usually hampers the overall graphical fidelity of the game in such a way that it’s not worth playing in the third dimension.  After spending roughly 6-7 hours playing Black Ops 2 in 3D I’m happy to report that Treyarch has crafted one of the best 3D gaming experiences I’ve ever encountered.

The 3D of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

EB 9 out of 10 Buddhas

(This is not a review of the game itself. Just the 3D feature.)

The Awesome

  • 3D mode doesn’t degrade the overall graphical quality too much
  • Eye fatigue is minimal
  • Hightens the immersion factor

The Not so Awesome

  • Early on some enemy AI characters appear to jitter


  • Xbox 360 and PS3
  • 55″ LG Passive 3D HDTV

If you’ve ever played a game in 3D then you’ll be familiar with its effects on the game’s graphical quality.  Nearly every game I’ve played before Black Ops 2 would take a steep hit in the quality and sharpness of its picture whenever the 3D mode was enabled.  The brightness would dim, the textures would become fuzzy, and the resolution would resemble that of a 480P display.  Obviously, when this would be the case, it wasn’t worth playing a triple-A game in 3D.  I’m happy to report that this isn’t the deal in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

I’ve mainly been playing the game on my Xbox 360, but have also tested the 3D mode on the PS3 version as well.  To me the difference is negligible, so I’ll be focusing on the 360 version for this review.  The typical 3D gaming issues I mentioned above are nearly non-existent in Black Ops 2 (BO2), which completely took me by surprise when I first turned the mode on.  I should have known that the 3D feature would be top-notch when the game actually needed to restart itself after enabling the 3D mode in the options menu.  I’ve never had a game do that before, so I’m hypothesizing that the reboot indeed enabled this game to flex its 3D muscle unlike any game I’ve ever played.

When I fired up the campaign I was expecting to see the usual 3D nuances I’ve found in other games, but that wasn’t the case at all.  BO2 didn’t seem to suffer nearly as much in the graphical department as other games did.  I did notice a slight downgrade in the game’s brightness, but I chalked that up to the fact that wearing 3D glasses will always dull your TV’s shine.  Outside of that the rest of BO2’s visuals didn’t really suffer from the 3D effect.

What impressed me the most was the fact that the excellent textures in BO2 didn’t get washed out like other 3D games.  Treyarch’s fantastic work in churning out stunning visuals on two aging consoles didn’t get lost whatsoever when the 3D visuals were enabled.  I actually found the 3D mode to enhance my experience.  It really added a level of depth to this FPS that enabled me to completely get lost in the game’s world.  In fact, I think it made shooting terrorists even easier, and more realistic, because I could pick them off easier due to the extra dimension added by the 3D effect.

BO2 is the best looking COD game to date, and it’s definitely in the top 5 list for best looking games of all-time, and this fact isn’t lost with its 3D mode.  Outside of an early issue where one enemy AI character seemed to split into 3 people I didn’t come across any major road bumps while playing in 3D.  The typical ghosting effect is nearly non-existent, and the steep loss in graphical fidelity found in most 3D games doesn’t occur whatsoever.

I plan on playing through the entire campaign using 3D because it’s that damn good, and it really does add to the frantic action taking place on your TV screen.  If you have the ability to play this game in 3D (Passive or Active, not the cheap sh*t) I highly suggest doing so.  BO2 is a beautiful looking game, and its 3D mode doesn’t turn it into a washed out 480P looking turd.  For this I give its 3D mode a very respectable EB 9 out of 10 Buddhas.  You’ve been wishing you had a 3D TV now…


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Tags : 3D GamesCOD: Black Ops 2Impressions
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.