Call of Duty: Black Ops - 2D vs. 3D Stat Comparison

By Xav de Matos, Nov 24, 2010 8:45am PST

When last I left Call of Duty: Black Ops, I had just gotten my hands on the necessary hardware that enabled me to play the game in 3D. Refereed to by some as the future.Although there was a little discomfort when tweaking the default settings--specific to my experience with Black Ops--overall the experience was impressive as a bonus but did not stand out as the "must play" way to experience the game. However, that feature focused on the game's single-player component.

Looking at multiplayer, this feature looks at whether or not playing Black Ops in 3D made me a better soldier online. Over the last few days, I've been playing the game's online multiplayer both with and without the 3D tech. While this isn't a science, and I'm not the best player online to begin with, the results are interesting.

To cover my bases, I needed to set a control point for my recorded games in 2D and 3D. Why? Because the only primary difference I wanted throughout the games was the perspective in which they were played.

The Controlled Class for All Recorded Games

    Recorded Game Control Options

  • Map: Nuketown

  • Mode: Team Deathmatch

  • Control Method: Xbox 360 Controller

There are a few reasons why I decided to use Nuketown. Primarily, the map is ridiculously small, so it made the action extremely fast-paced and frantic. Additionally, the map has some terrible spawning to contend with.

Also, I decided to use the Xbox 360 controller instead of the mouse/keyboard. This puts me at a disadvantage against other players; however, it's the most stable control method I could use where everything is laid out and I wouldn't have to rely on my Logitech keyboard macros.

First Five Games in 2D, Last Five in 3D

In the graph above, we see statistics for ten total games. The first five games were played in 2D, while the last five were recorded in 3D. Of the 2D games, three of the five show a positive kill/death ratio, one shows an even split and one shows you how terrible I played in the first game during this test.

In the games with 3D enabled, only one was positive (and it was by a single kill), one was even, and three were negative.

The effect still looks good at minimum depth--which I found I had to use in my single-player test of 3D with the game--but can sometimes get disorientating when enemies come in close for a CQC battle. Many of my deaths in 3D were by being knifed.

However, my longest shots and most impressive kills came in 3D at long range. The depth that the 3D tech simulates gave me a better indication of spacing between me and the enemy troops.

But my K/D ratio wasn't the only thing that suffered in 3D.

Points Also Saw An Average Drop in 3D

My total point score per match also saw dramatic fluctuations during matches in 3D. My tactics didn't change but my point total was up and down. This is tied directly to my average length of time in the fight. As I was dying more, I was unable to get extra points for accomplishing killstreaks, using equipment, helping downed allies and more.

If the stats are this radical--and I don't mean that in a Bill and Ted kind of way--then I will definitely stick to 2D where I can have a bigger impact on my team and level up much faster.

Getting that Headshot Was Easier in 3D, Using a Gamepad

This last image is not helpful without a few notes. On average, I found that (when using a controller) getting headshots was easier to accomplish in 3D than in 2D. If you notice the previous image, my point total in one game in 3D was extremely high--this was due to excessive headshots using the FAMAS. Of course, using a mouse and keyboard this would mean nothing.

It's hard to explain but, as mentioned in Examining Call of Duty: Black Ops on PC, the clarity on PC made the game easier--and favorable--to playing on Xbox 360.

The 3D effect further enhances the fidelity benefit of playing on PC. In 2D, which we're all used to, you tend to keep your weapon out of the immediate field-of-view to spot enemy position, whereas 3D felt like I was able to look around my weapon. It works because the gun is on its own visual plane. This may also be the case on consoles, which support 3D gameplay; however, we have not played Black Ops in 3D on consoles.

I also encountered one strange and distracting quirk periodically throughout my matched in 3D: sometimes my aiming reticule would shake wildly. I began to play with the depth setting on the 3D Vision receiver and realized that, sometimes, the game has a hard time balancing the left and right eye image of the target reticule, causing it to flicker.

Also, while the game ran smooth on highest settings in 2D, I encountered some slowdown during matches in 3D--especially when the action grew to intense levels.

On a purely (non-scientific) statistical level, I just didn't play as well in 3D as I did in 2D. However, I do plan on revisiting the game in 3D to see if my skill level increases. As it stands, for competitive matches, I'm going to stick with the "traditional" 2D route.

3D is an interesting--albeit old on PC--technology. It certainly makes games look visually stimulating but, from my recent experience, it doesn't enhance gameplay in the same way against other online opponents.


Disclosure: For the purposes of covering 3D gaming on PC, nVidia licensed Shacknews an ASUS 3D Monitor (VG236), EVGA GTX 480, and a nVidia 3D Vision set.

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