Ten years after Halo: Combat Evolved first changed the FPS genre on consoles, gamers can now play it in HD form with the option of utilizing 3D, which is awesome for fans of the franchise. I elected to start my first campaign run using the 3D option, which can easily be toggled using the integrated Kinect voice controls. I found the effect to be a great way to play this time honored classic, but just like other 3D enabled video games, Halo: Anniversary definitely takes a hit in the overall graphics department while using the 3D viewing mode.
It’s not as bad as the hit seen in Gears 3 in 3D, but I also didn’t find it to be as smooth as the 3D in Uncharted 3. While in 3D viewing mode Halo: Anniversary seems as if it’s getting stretched on the screen in a similar fashion to enabling the zoom mode on your HDTV. This stretch effect is most clear when text appears on your HUD, because it appears to have the squatty look of text that is being smashed. It’s not an awful thing by any means, but it definitely takes away from the HD face lift that was implemented for this reboot.
Outside of the perceived screen stretch the 3D of Halo: Anniversary is pretty solid. Although, if you really want to enjoy the HD visuals that 343 carefully implemented in this game then I’d recommend playing in 2D only. While in 3D the onscreen images just don’t seem as crisp as they do while in 2D. The textures seem a little muddy, and many of the new lighting effects aren’t realized to their fullest while in the third dimension.
This is kind of a bummer, because FPS games are perfect candidates for 3D due to the fact that it gives you a sense of depth while looking down your sights. There’s nothing more fulfilling than lining up a Covenant Elite in the sights of the original Halo’s iconic pistol as if I was holding the gun myself. The yellow dots and red hammer look better than ever while shooting it in 3D, so at times it’s easy to forget about the graphical hit that is experienced while in 3D viewing mode.
Considering I’ve played this game’s campaign more times than I’d like to remember it is somewhat of a treat to experience it in 3D. The effect coupled with the new HD visuals almost makes Halo: Anniversary feel like an entirely new game. At times I found myself losing my way because the world of Halo looked so much different than it did 10 years ago, because of the changes in the game’s technology. Best of all, I didn’t experience the typical eye strain that is usually associated with playing a new game in 3D. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been gaming in 3D for quite some time now, and my brain is just getting used to being f*cked with, but I didn’t feel like my eyes were being strained like I’ve experienced in other 3D games.
Overall, I think the use of 3D in Halo: Anniversary works well, but it’s not perfect. If I had to rate it I’d give it an EB 7.5 out of 10 Buddhas. I love that it can be toggled in-game using either the menu system, or with your voice via Kinect. This is not the case in other 3D games, which require you to go back to the main menu, so I like the fact that 343 made toggling the 3D mode as easy as saying, “Activate 3D!” If you want to truly experience Halo: Anniversary and its upgraded visuals I’d have to recommend not playing in 3D. The improvements just aren’t realized while viewing the game in this mode, but they’re not awful either. I think it’ll come down to a personal choice for most gamers, but I’m going to stick to 2D for most of my first play through because I’d rather see the new visuals in all their glory than in 3D.
The depth that the 3D mode brings to this FPS legend is solid, but the stretched effect and lack of graphical sharpness are enough to convince me to stick to the old school method of playing video games. I’d definitely recommend trying it out if you have a 3D TV, because it is a neat effect, but for me personally I appreciate the graphical face lift more than the 3D effects. Try it out and let us know what you think. You’ve been needing to get a 3D TV already…
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