NVIDIA 3D Vision Review - 3D Gaming Analysis

By Published September 03, 2011 at 1:35 am

Additional Info

  • Component: Peripheral
  • Original MSRP: 80
  • Manufacturer: NVIDIA



Will I like 3D Vision?



3D Vision as a whole has been a battle against everything I've known as a gamer since I started playing, but after working with it for almost two months now, I can safely assure you that it is entirely... a user preference. That makes it hard for me to make the decision for you, but I will detail in this section who will and who won't like 3D Vision, followed by our summary and my honest opinion of the technology.

Who won't like it?

Gamers who play competitively in the majority of their gaming time. If you play StarCraft 2, Counter-Strike: Source, or other major e-sports titles competitively, and you focus very little of your time on racing simulators, RPGs, turn-based strategy, indie games, or generally non-competitive multiplayer and single-player games, there is a high probability that you won't like 3D Vision in its current state. Now, of course there are competitive MMORPGs, racing sims, and turn-based games -- however, it has been my discovery that many of these games are mapped to more localized keysets, reducing visibility issues (as discussed above, the glasses make it hard to see the keyboard) to a minimum.

3D Vision adds overhead to your gaming, so it is entirely likely that you will have to disable or lower certain graphics settings to play free from lag. Shadows are required to be off in a vast number of games when running 3D mode due to improper rendering; lights, too, must often be disabled or turned off -- as with motion blur. If you use shadows to tell that an enemy is around a corner or above you (yes, we know about your 'I can see shadows through floors' trick!) as in many FPS games, this feature will no longer be available to you in flawless 3D Vision. Similarly, lighting effects (like those that take place in Splinter Cell or some single-player RPGs) must often be disabled, which means you - again - won't be able to see where certain light-emitting objects are centered as easily as with them on. Even in GRID, one of a number of games that I love in 3D mode, I have to disable 3D for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, since the day-night cycle generates rendering issues. When day goes to night in GRID, light-emitting objects cause me to see double, which, if you hadn't guessed, makes it very hard to figure out which side I can safely pass on.

Oh, and people who are draconic about wearing glasses. If that's seriously what's stopping you from playing 3D games -- and none of the other above reasons are -- you should take a look at the next part to see if you can be convinced otherwise.

Who will like it?


Those that revel in four hours of gaming in the dark, alone, with the volume on full blast from the speakers will love 3D. You will revel in it. I must be fair, of course, and note that it would be wise of you to check nVidia's site for compatibility issues with your favorite games. Shadows aren't entirely central to many gaming experiences, and even with them disabled or on low, you honestly won't notice the difference when you are so busy ogling the crispness and seeming-proximity variations of objects.

Games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Battlefield series (assuming you play without a headset, and not extremely competitively), presumably Skyrim - double-check that when it is officially out, the Civilization Series, and racing games all run -- in general -- beautifully with 3D Vision. We also tested Dungeon Siege III with 3D Vision and found it to be one of the best looking games out there, granted, the gameplay renders that point moot. Again, if you like - big - headsets - and - can - not - lie, you will have serious issues fitting those glasses on with the headset. Granted, it has been proven on numerous occasions that I have a big head.

If you're the type of person that likes to lean back, hit the lights, and get entirely immersed in the game - again, this is probably your type of thing. I feel like people who invest in sweet sound systems and immersion-enhancing gaming peripherals would already invest in 3D vision, whether or not I told them they would like it, though.

Rules to live by - Genre Compatibility by Trial


After trying a "3D ready game" from each genre on my rig, I have come to the following general conclusion; this chart does not take into account the effects on competitive gaming or other aforementioned pitfalls, and is entirely a general analysis of functionality:


Genre             Compatibility

FPS:                 High; lag issues with high mouse sensitivity.

RPG:                High; graphics might require decreases.

TBS:                High; simple graphics and animations reduce issues.

RTS:                 Medium; issues with selecting 'close' units (flying units); large unit count causes issues.

Racer:               Medium; many features must be disabled for flawless racing.

2D games:        Seriously? Did you think this was possible?



Last modified on September 27, 2013 at 1:35 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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