PlayStation Eye: Black Ops 2 3D and Surround Sound Impressions

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Posted November 22, 2012 by Shamarri Miller in Editorials

PlayStation Eye will be an editorial where we take a detailed more technical look at games on the PS3 using PlayStation or Sony Branded Peripherals. This means giving user feed back on how a game takes advantage of their PlayStation 3D display or Wireless Stereo Headset/ Pulse Headset or surround sound system. This is for hardcore PlayStation or Sony fans. This is my way of helping those out with similar set up and what they can expect if they have the 3D display or the various PlayStation Headsets and Surround sound systems.

Stereoscopic 3D

The stereoscopic 3D effect in Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is a welcomed addition, and is definitely one of the more under advertised features of Black Ops 2, up until now I didn’t even know the series would continue its 3D support. But there is good news for those of us with a  The PlayStation 3D display or 3D TV, the implementation of 3D has seen improvement over last year’s game,and though slight, cross talk has been cleaned up, this helps give the graphics a more pristine look.

The added depth from the 3D also does wonders to really draw you into the experience of playing Black Ops 2. The Call of Duty series is known for its ironsight views and the added depth really makes hitting the L1 button a treat, players will feel like the gun is right in front of their face making it easier to judge distances. Explosions see enhancements too, as things will wiz by your face and have that 3D pop out effect.

There are some drawbacks though as Treyarch has chosen to go the ‘frame packing’ route and while this is a ‘truer’ form of 3D, it lowers the frame-rate somewhat, in graphically intense areas. This is just eyeballing it, but the game appears to be running at 30fps with the occasional dips down into the low 20’s. I wish they would have used the same 3D technique they used on the 360 version as it performance drawbacks are slightly less, the frame-rate appears to run much smoother. This is most likely due to the 360’s 3D technique being less CPU intensive.

Another 3D drawback in correlation to the framerate issues, pertains to those who game seriously on the mutliplayer. The reduced framerate will make it hard for you to play and will give your opponents and advantage over you as their controller response will be quicker due to their faster refresh rates by not enabling 3D.

I played Black Ops 2 in 3D on both my PlayStation 3D display and my Sony KDL-46NX720. While the 3D effect was great on my PlayStation 3D display, sadly the same could not be said for the NX720 as the game was riddle with cross talk.

Wireless Stereo Headset/ Pulse Elite Edition

Playing while using the headset is probably the best way to stay focused on the game at hand, players will be able to really hear those small sounds that let attentive players know some one is approaching. The sound is  more intimate with the headset and being able to clearly hear your teammates is a must for a game like Black Ops 2, due to all the strategizing and trash talking coming over the voice chat.

The only place where the headset falters is in spatial audio. Players will have a hard time discerning directions where shots are being fired from. While the stereo sound works, the surround sound provided by the Sony Wireless Stereo/ Pulse headsets will leave you wanting, this is in part, due the headsets not having dedicated speakers built in to the ears. I tried to solve the problem by using a mix of the different sound fields of both  Black Ops 2 and the Pulse headset like; Black Ops 2’s Treyarch’s Mix and Headset mix and the Pulse headset’s shooter and game modes, sadly they different sound modes did little to improve the spatial audio.

For those with both headsets I would definitely recommend using the Wireless Stereo Headset over the Pulse Headset as the game sounds louder, but the advantage of sound clarity goes to the Pulse Headset, but I felt the sound was softer some how and not as visceral as the Wireless Stereo Headset.

Home theater

Playing Black Ops 2 in true 7.1 surround sound is an experience for any gamer. This game really comes to life with the proper equipment. Shots sound like your right there and explosions will rattle your LFE channel, which will give your subwoofer a workout. Best of all the surround sound effect in this game is superb. spatial audio is stellar and players will easily be able to tell where an opponent is firing from, just by listening.  Sound pans from one speaker to the next making it more intuitive to hear where things are in the environment. I can’t stress enough how much better gaming is with a properly arranged set of speakers.

Playing campaign with the surround sound is my preferred way, but for online I use the headset as I don’t want to be the guy with all the background noise coming through my mic.

Equipment Used:

3DTV: PlayStation 3D Display, Sony KDL- 46NX720

Headsets: Sony Wireless Stereo Headset, Sony Pulse Wireless Stereo Headset Elite Edition

Home Theater: Sony STR DG820 7.1 audio Reciever, Sony CN100 center speaker, Sony SA-W2500 Subwoofer, and Sony SF-5000 tower speakers(6)

Legend:

Crosstalk (or image ghosting) is a 3D-stereoscopic (stereoscopic, meaning two-images (left and right or A & B) emulating/creating a three-dimensional image illusion) distortion that is created due to perceptual factors (how the image is viewed). Those factors can included physical depth from the screen, the viewing angle of the screen or the angle of the viewer’s eyes (laying on a couch), image quality (as reproduced by the tv, or the video source altogether), and TV technology (such as the previously aforementioned thread about fast-decaying phosphors in plasma TVs).

Spatial Audio means the use of two speakers to create the impression that the sounds are coming from sound sources placed anywhere in a space, not just from the location of the speakers.


About the Author

Shamarri Miller

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