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Arkham Asylum 3D: Does it work?

Feature: We give our verdict on the PS3 and 360 versions...

Square Enix unleashed Eidos' Batman Arkham: Asylum Game Of The Year edition on Friday, promising a 3D experience on any TV. Here, we give our view on the PS3 and 360 versions of the release...


ARKHAM ASYLUM 3D - PS3

You don't need to shell out your life savings for a new 3D TV to jump on the new 3D bandwagon. Put your credit card away. The new Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition comes with a 3D mode and two pairs of 3D glasses - and it'll work on your current TV.

Even if you (idiotically) play your high-powered games console on one of those thick CRT TVs that your mum has to slap to get a clear picture on Eastenders, the 3D will work.

But the obvious question is how does it compares to proper stereoscopic 3D on a billion-pound (or there abouts) TV? Consider these factors; the GotY Edition package doesn't cost £1000, it works on any TV and - the real telling point - the 'glasses' are those cardboard ones with the red and green lenses you used to get free with issues of those FIFA sticker books.

This is clearly the Happy Shopper of 3D. The homeless cousin. And yet we were pleasantly surprised by how well it actually works. Seriously, it's pretty decent.

Flick on the 3D mode and, looking without the glasses you see the colours on screen go all askew, with slight tints of red and green in areas where the 3D effect is being applied.

Actually, the opening cutscene is underwhelming. It's not until you get into gameplay that the 3D effect really starts to stand out. Batman himself is the main spectacle - he looks distinctively 'closer' to you than everything in the background.

Nothing jumps out of the screen towards your face - not like with full-fat stereoscopic 3D - but during gameplay there's obvious depth. Characters and protruding objects like tables, crates or railings, clearly stand away from the environment in the background. Snooping around on the gargoyles high above your enemies is particularly cool, with Batman clearly right up close and the scenery below dipping further away. It makes swooping down on enemies that little bit more satisfying.

We didn't expect it to work this well. Onlookers from around the office were drawn in - mainly to point and laugh at us looking like idiots with those ridiculously cheap-looking cardboard specs on but, after reluctantly trying them on for themselves, were quick to admit at it's actually pretty cool.

But those old-fashioned two-tone specs come with the same old drawbacks. Our eyes were uncomfortable with it at first, clearly not loving the potent red and green shades covering each eye. But you get used to it and it becomes more comfortable.

The main issue is the loss your ability to see in full colour. That's a pretty major loss particularly for such a nice-looking game, and whatever colour-correction techniques that may be employed just don't work. The game's far more colourful in 2D mode.

So you have a choice; you either play it in 2D as normal, or trade in your perception of a few million colours, along with your pride of appearance, for a bit of three-dimensional trickery that's mild in comparison to proper stereoscopic 3D.

It's is a cool novelty and a unique experience on consoles (until PS3 gets its proper 3D update later this summer, that is), but it's more a neat bonus than a reason to rush out to grab the GotY Edition if you already own a standard version of the game.

If you're particularly fascinated by 3D gaming the PC version and nVidia's 3D vision kit (along with an nVidia GPU and an expensive 120Hz monitor) is the way to go. If you haven't got the kit or £700 spare, you'll have to make do with this, won't you.

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