Home Gaming Call of Duty : Black Ops 3D Impressions

Call of Duty : Black Ops 3D Impressions

2 min read


One of the least publicised  features of Call of Duty Black Ops is that it has full support for stereoscopic 3D – yeah, the sort that requires those incredibly expensive new TV’s. Sony have been pretty heavily pushing the fact that their console does 3D, while Microsoft have not.

Both though, are capable of running Black Ops with that extra dimension. PC gamers will have to use an NVIDIA solution. At a recent Black Ops event I had the opportunity to play various sections of the game in stereoscopic 3D. What did I think?

As most of you know, I’ve dismissed 3D gaming as an unnecessary gimmick. I played the previous PSN offerings like the rather excellent Super Stardust HD in 3D – and thought that’s the sort of 3D gaming we’d get this generation; mostly simpler arcade games. They were cool, but hardly reason to lay down the wads of cash demanded.

My opinion though, has changed quite drastically. 3D in Black Ops is nothing short of incredible. The extra information you’re presented with makes playing the game an almost otherworldly experience. When aiming, the gun seemed to extend quite deep in to the TV. turning off the game’s crosshairs, you can actually rely on the 3D information, using the gun’s iron sights or scope. It was strangely empowering, making it feel more real – and enhanced my appreciation of each gun’s firepower, model and subtle designs and textures.

It also made the game’s brutality just that much more vivid. A section where you sneakily knife an enemy’s throat produced a spray of bloody red mist that I actually physically tried to avoid. I certainly don’t want red ick on me. So no, it doesn’t drastically change the way you play the game – but does increase the level of immersion dramatically. Black Ops may just be the “Killer App” that the 3D TV industry is looking for.

I played for two roughly half hour sessions, and much to my surprise I didn’t walk away with a headache, feeling nauseous. The glasses for the particular TV I played on – a Samsung 3D LED beast – were light and unobtrusive, and viewing angles were much greater than anticipated.

I spoke to Robert Sanchez, the game’s 3D director about their implementation. He said it was added quite late in the game’s design – and he’d given strict instructions to the coders that if it wasn’t running up to par the feature would be scrapped. They’ve obviously wrought digital magic, because it runs beautifully– never noticeably dipping below 60fps, and visually not much degraded from the main game. If you know how stereoscopic 3D works, it’s quite a technical feat; essentially, the console (or PC) has to draw everything twice, combining the offset images to produce 3D information.

I walked away impressed. Not enough to get myself in to debt for the immediate acquisition of a 3D TV…but I have started putting pennies aside for one. If this is the calibre of 3D gaming we’ll be getting this generation, count me in.

Last Updated: November 9, 2010


  1. Parker

    November 9, 2010 at 12:24

    Now just imagine Killzone and Crysis 2, if they’re done as well as Treyarch did on Black Ops. I’d shit myself.


  2. Gavin Mannion

    November 9, 2010 at 12:38

    Honestly this is the first time I have been slightly interested in 3D…. I actually want to try this in 3D :ninja:


  3. LordKhaan

    November 9, 2010 at 13:37

    Havent had a chance to pick this up on PC yet, but Ill let you all know whats its like in PC 3D soon as I get a chance.
    Crysis 2 in 3D, ill wet myself !


  4. AC!D

    November 9, 2010 at 14:26

    Now you know why you baffle us so much with some of your opinions when your quick to dismiss stuff like 3D and Blu Ray and then jump on things that look faulty and simply not ready like Kinect. At least your willing to be a little less short sighted and see the the potential promise of 3D now on PS4 and Xbox next!!!

    Its not about selling more PS3’s but about a better gaming experience so try to remember that next time before you shoot something down.


  5. LordKhaan

    November 9, 2010 at 15:12

    In Gavins defense, most of the media has been really quick to dismiss 3D. And with consoles needing new 3D TV’s that cost R50k upwards, I can see why.
    Personally I feel it will be a while before 3D becomes mainsteam in gaming, if at all.


  6. ReAVeR

    November 9, 2010 at 16:45

    “…but I have started putting pennies aside for one…”

    I honestly read that as “penises” and not “pennies”


  7. Cloud Strife

    November 9, 2010 at 17:32

    Question 1: Does the 3D strain your eyes more in 3D than 2D?
    Question 2: Can you play in 3d for like 6 hours, or did you feel tired, Do you always have 3d sensation or does it break from time to time depending on your movement?


  8. Geoffrey Tim

    November 9, 2010 at 20:51

    Yeah, it strains more – and i think 2 hours is my max per session. 3D was pretty damned persistent. 🙂


  9. Geoffrey Tim

    November 9, 2010 at 20:52

    I played on 360. There were PS3’s available as well, but apparently they weren’t functioning properly.


  10. Cloud Strife

    November 9, 2010 at 21:11

    thanks alot im probably gonna buy that acer 3d monitor from computers only, i was not sure before, thought i was wasting money


  11. Gavin Mannion

    November 9, 2010 at 22:57

    I have tried 3D at E3 and it made me feel sick. However the 3DS was awesome and I have always said that. I also tried Kinect and felt it would be great for my family.

    3D will be awesome when I can have it without glasses, that’s always been my standpoint.


  12. Gavin Mannion

    November 10, 2010 at 03:11

    That header image is killing my eyes :pinch:


  13. xino

    November 10, 2010 at 03:51

    this is retarded!

    so basically Xbox 360 can ALSO do 3D gaming then!?


  14. Gavin Mannion

    November 10, 2010 at 04:09

    Yes… always has been able to. It’s about the software on consoles and hardware on TV’s. I doubt the Wii is powerful enough but both the 360 and PS3 can easily do 3D


  15. Matt

    November 10, 2010 at 12:50

    3D TV’s have come down in price quite a lot. I managed to pick a 46″ Series 7 Samsung LED for around $100 more than a Series 6 2D model. Add to that a promotion which throws in a 3D blu-ray player, 2 pairs of glasses and a movie, it was a no-brainer. We haven’t received the glasses yet, so I can’t give any impressions, but I can’t wait to try it out. Wipeout will be first, but with Black Ops and GT5 supporting 3D, I think I might get a lot of use out of this ‘fad’ :biggrin:


  16. al360

    November 11, 2010 at 09:41

    damn gt5 in 3d !!!! so far i hated the 3d idea
    but i think the latest apps are starting to do it justice it is totally off the hook but @ R25K i’m sorry i can’t dish out money like that twice in a lifetime just for an experience i’ll wait rather till they cheaper the glasses are cool no issue with them though u can’t lay on your pillow and watch thou who would want to do that when u got 3d hey??


  17. Geoffrey Tim

    November 11, 2010 at 09:56

    Lost : A bag of punctuation.
    Reward offered.


  18. caleb davis

    November 12, 2010 at 10:00

    3D projectors are cheap compared to normal tv’s. way better for 3D.


  19. COD KING

    November 18, 2010 at 01:29

    3d is great and dont get me wrong, there are some awesome games out there, but IMO It’s overrated. Just aiming down the sights or the scope requires you to close one eye in black ops.. If I were any of you getting excited about COD in 3D, I’d wait a little longer til the technology gets a little better.
    And LordKhaan, $50K plus for a 3d TV.. where are you from man? lol


  20. Gavin Mannion

    November 18, 2010 at 02:41

    He did actually say R50k which works out to be around $7k (US).. still steep but not entirely unrealistic depending on size.


  21. Fox1

    November 18, 2010 at 07:45

    It’s actually around R30k in SA :pinch:


  22. Gavin Mannion

    November 18, 2010 at 08:17

    Well yeah but I am sure you can find some fancy ass 60″ 3DTV for R50k if you look in all the wrong places :tongue:


  23. Gavin Mannion

    November 18, 2010 at 08:20

    Samsung 55″ 3DTV R85 000


    Ouch…. I couldn’t ever imagine paying that much for a TV, not when I can get a 50″ Plasma for R8000 from Makro


  24. Fox1

    November 18, 2010 at 09:41

    That’s alot to pay for a TV that still requires 3D glasses :blink:

    +1 for Makro :za:


  25. Aussious

    November 18, 2010 at 10:42

    WOW, I can see this taking off… I am sure people will be willing to cough up R50 grand so they can play like 2 games.


  26. Pete

    November 18, 2010 at 16:28

    LMAO!! 2 games?? U troll there are 55+ current and upcoming 3d games for the ps3. Here is the list, shove that in ur pipe and smoke it Aussious u fag. http://digitalnipples.com/2010/07/22/the-playstation-3-d-games-list/
    3d Gaming rocks!!


  27. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 18, 2010 at 17:38

    lol, ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Acknowledging an Aussious post 😆


  28. Jason

    November 22, 2010 at 06:29

    I got the Samsung glasses and the Samsung 55″ 3d tv, now that I’ve read this.. I’m gettin me this game! the tv can turn anything into 3d, but when the game or movie is made in 3d, its a totally different effect. games are much more fun. imo


  29. Kyle Yochum

    November 27, 2010 at 00:47

    Hey Guys,

    First post here. But I’ve been googling around for a decent discussion about 3D for COD:BO … I actually just picked up my copy last night – with intent on finally playing a worthwhile game on my 3D tv (I have a PS3)

    To answer a few questions: @XINO “so basically Xbox 360 can ALSO do 3D gaming then!?”

    Yes, xbox can do 3d – but its not natively supported (yet). I believe 3D for black ops has to be turned on via an in-game menu for the XBOX version – and it uses side-by-side 3d (that is, the game produces two squished images that appear side by side on your television screen at once – when you enable your tv to convert the side by side images, it stretches the images to full-screen size, and displays them alternatively one-at-a-time, but the resolution of each frame is cut in half because the signal from the XBOX is really sending two frames crammed into one, your tv does the grunt work of splitting, stretching, and alternating each image)

    I believe the PS3 version is using native 3D – where the console is actually generating two individual full-sized frames for each visible frame (ie: for 3d to work you need two images at two different angles, and 3d glasses to filter each image to the corresponding eye). I beleive the reason XBOX needs to use the side-by-side method is that the HDMI output for the XBOX (at least the older generations – the new black model might have the newer HDMI 1.4 output that supports the 3d standard) is not capable of the required bandwidth for native 3D – I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere.

    Most 3D tv’s can detect a native 3d signal and automatically adjust its settings to properly display the images for your 3d glasses – however tv’s cannot (or will not) detect a side by side 3d signal – for instance – perhaps you were watching CNN with a split/screen interview – how bad would it suck for your tv to kick in 3d and merge the two side by side images… though this would be AWESOME if it happened to be larry king interviewing snoop dog – then I could finally imagine what their love-child would look like, since the side by side images would appear to merge into one – but yea, I think that’s why manufacturers decide not to automatically convert side by side images – tv stations like CNN often do side by side interviews, also if a filmmaker decided to employ a creative technique of showing two similar side by side images, the film would be ruined – another instance where the auto-setting for side by side auto-detection would be bad is a vertically split screen local multiplayer game.

    Anyway, enough about the technicalities. I do want to point out that I’m not a PS3 fanboy, and I don’t intend to squander XBOX’s capabilities by saying “YAY PS3 = NATIVE 3D / XBOX = CRAPPY SIDE BY SIDE)

    Both methods of producing stereoscopic 3D are decent, only videophiles are likely to complain, as I’ve played both native 3d games and side-by-side 3d games, and both methods produce impressive results, seriously. In fact, Avatar (horrible game) was released in 3d for xbox and ps3 (before it supported 3d) and used the side-by-side methods – it was still insanely impressive, but the game was just terrible IMO.

    Anyway, you’re sure to have a blast with the 3D on blackops regardless of console. This is by far the best 3D gaming experience to be had to date – especially if you’re a shooter fan like me.

    As far as those not sure on whether or not to drop the cash on a 3d tv, just wait. The 3d library available today is SLIM, and the cost of 3D tv’s is HIGH.

    Inevitably 3d tv’s will come down in price just as HD tv’s, blu-ray players and any other new technologies have. Drastically too.

    I would advise you to either wait until the 3d selection for both games AND movies are beefed up. If you cant wait that long, at least wait for a game or movie to be released in 3d that you MUST have and MUST play in 3d, that way you’ll be satisfied with your big purchase right off the bat.

    Me, as an early adopter, has had to wait impatiently for anything good to come out in 3d. As far as 3d movies go – you’re currently limited to CG cartoon features or… clash of the titans…. or avatar (currently only available to those who purchase a panasonic 3d tv). I feel like my first notable in-home 3d experience has just arrived with black ops. It’s a decent, if not good, game – and the 3d quality is better than any other i’ve tried – with the exception of the 3d avialable from cartoon cg movies – inevitably the images are much crisper and clearer, since – well – it’s a pre-rendered movie. But it’s not really fair to make that comparison – 3d games and 3d movies are two different experiences, and the fidelity of the visual quality is not fair to compare – even with 2d games vs 2d movies – obviously a movie has higher fidelity than a game.


    Thats just my two cents, hopefully unbiased – though i must disclose the following to make this a completely honest contribution:

    I am a shooter fan (so, for fans of other genres, there may be a 3d game out there for you already)

    I occasionally enjoy CG cartoons from pixar and the likes – but not so much I’m willing to drop 30 +/- US Dollars on a 3d blu ray of Ice Age 3.

    I used to own an XBOX 360, I currently own a PS3 and Wii, and I also have a current-gen PC gaming rig. I like all of them for different reasons.

    Oh and also – I saw a statement where someone doubted the wii’s ability to produce 3d images – I think it is actually quite possible, and publishers could release 3d games on wii today – without 1st party hardware/firmware support for nintendoTo produce a 3d wii game, just use the side by side method. The only problem is that I think the wii maxes out at 480p (with component cables – without component (rgb) cables, i beleive its 480i) and to achieve widescreen – the 480i/p image is stretched to 16:9 ratio.

    Why? side by side crams two images into one frame, requiring the image to be split in half and then stretched. On the wii, a widescreen image is really a stretched 480i/p (square shaped) image being stretched. So using the side by side method would require the square image to be stretched, then split, then stretched again.

    This would, i think, look terrible. But just to confirm it IS possible, and would work – the results would just be underwhelming.But hey, there could be a place for this – you know – perhaps adding stereo-3d to NES or SNES wii-releases – megaman’s death animation in 3d anyone? even in lo-fi this might be cool and certainly doable – blue orbs exploding out wards on a 3-dimensional plane when megaman dies – and thats just one idea.

    So, perhaps there IS a place for 3d on the wii – but i dont think we’ll see anything killer being done with it – thus publishers are less likely to fund development of a 3d wii game that would return underwhelming sales.

    Questions, Comments? I’d really hope to spark a convo about 3d – hopefully I’ve done so in the right spot 🙂


    • Tim86

      January 17, 2011 at 04:35

      Wii isn’t capable of 3d. 3d needs a digital signal that goes through HDMI, even for the side by side function. For example my old xbox with only component cables would produce a side by side image on screen however the option to combine the images and watch 3d was not available on the tv because it was not a digital signal through the hdmi.

      So no there is no way Wii could do 3d.

      As for COD black ops in 3d, it strains my eyes because the content is blurrier than a movie. The motorstorm 3d rift was good though becuase you could turn down the 3d effect so it was only mild (still cool though) and it didn’t strain your eyes. It’s a shame the COD black ops hasn’t allowed this option.


  30. Caleb Davis

    December 10, 2010 at 09:45

    you can get a 3D projector on EBay for $500. Way bigger, way better.


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