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Is PS3 3D gaming worth the money?

Opinion: Tom Pakinkis weighs up the costs...

For years my HD Bravia's 38 inches have satisfied me. Call me greedy, but it's no longer enough.

Confession time: I've been having something of an illicit office romance these past couple of weeks. And just to turn the naughty to the max, it's with the Bravia's younger, more attractive sister, the 40" Sony Bravia KDL - HX803. You know. The 3D one. The £1,800 one.

Let me tell you, after handling her, I feel like a sexpert of televisual pleasure. The guru of GigaContrast. The Julie Peasgood of 1080p.

Listen close: When it comes to playing games on a telly, size doesn't matter - it really is all about what you do with it. And, in my experience, you know you've got a good one when it leaves you cross-eyed and binocularly fuzzy.

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God, the 3D Bravia's attractive. Sleek, shiny, bleeding edge; she'd be my mid-life crisis if I wasn't in my 20's. (I'm aiming to be a medically-assisted centurion for my real one, by the way. On a Harley Davidson).

Only problem is, this was an empty, gratis arrangement. A come-back-for-more tease. A free, exhilarating dose of entertainment smack. Sony has taken her away from me, mumbling something about a 'press trial'. Bloody pusherman.

I want more, but it's going to cost me two grand. Two grand! Bravia, £150 shutter glasses and transmitter bundle... it adds up to a mammoth spend.

So, geek arousal put firmly back in its box - would it actually be worth investing in the full Sony 3D gaming kit?

Let's get the basic cynicism out of the way; 3D gaming is no gimmick. A busker in a lion costume, that's a gimmick. 3D gaming is a real difference-maker, especially when we're talking balls out, blow-up, in your face graphics.

I got to go to town with Killzone 3 and the PSN titles bundled with Sony's first 3D Bravia. Perhaps oddly, it's the re-purposed titles like Super Stardust HD, Wipeout HD and Motorstorm Pacific Rift that really serve up the optical feast.

My first impression? That the Pacific Rift menu is far more impressive than it should be - probably because it's the first bit of 3D to lick my eyes.

With your telly turned into an open box of interactive CGI, rather than the flat screen of pixels we've all come to tolerate (that's right, tolerate), it feels like you could pinch that "Press Start" command with quivering fingers and give it a little squeeze.

Once the action commenced, I found myself playing against all my gaming instincts to maximise the 3D impact - aiming for Motorstorm's roadside mud so that the dirty, germ-ridden pixels would wash over me.

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Likewise, in Super Stardust HD I purposely flew kamikaze courses into meteors just to have my ship shatter into a thousands pieces and cascade out of the screen. What's worse is that when it did, I actually ducked slightly like I was mawkishly demoing for an audience at E3.

The visual behemoth that is Killzone 3 didn't have the same 'wow' factor. The 3D effect is far more subtle and, in the heat of battle, not very noticeable at all. Stop and pause for a second and you'll notice snow flakes drift in and out of the foreground but that's about the extent of it.

"But Tom, the 3D glasses make me look like a nerd and it hurts my eyes!" And how! But this is the latest in visual technology, so man up.
Besides, the real pain will hit you in the wallet.

Since HD only entered the home for most a few years ago - and we've all splashed out on it since then - we're entitled to feel a little aggrieved by 3D's alluring charms. The whole thing feels a bit 'Steve Jobs' - and Lord knows we've had enough of him already this year.

But I'm going to say it: 3D gaming is certainly worth it, price tag and all. The thing is, unless you're reading this lying next to Ms. Universe on a yacht in the Bahamas, while a gold-plated monkey plays a harp made entirely of diamonds, it doesn't really matter. Affording the third dimension just isn't realistic right now.

However, the price cuts will come - and I implore you to dive in when they do. And when that time arrives; when you have to go home to your solid but predictable HD TV itching with guilt, just remember the good times.

Make sure you let her down gently, yeah?

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