The MMORPG game The Secret World has been out for a bit and I’ve decided to give it a try in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision (thanks to Craylon for sending in a Buddy key). If you remember back in March we’ve learned that the game will have stereoscopic 3D support with 3D Vision (or so does Funcom Chief Technology Officer Rui Casais say near the end of the video interview), so I’ve had high expectations when I’ve started downloading the game (a real torture to download those 14+ GB of game data online, took half a day and I do have a fast Internet connection). Finally running the game for the first time I’ve noticed that there is no 3D Vision profile for it in the official 301.42 WHQL drivers, though even without one the game looked and work quite well in stereo 3D mode. I’ve updated to the latest beta 304.79 driver to see if there will be a difference and a profile for it, to my surprise there was a 3D Vision profile with a rating of “Not recommended”!
The game still did look Ok in stereo 3D mode, there were no serious issues in graphics or effects rendering (reflections in glass for example could be a bit of an issue in S3D). The unpleasant things in stereo 3D were some HUD elements rendered in 2D that don’t look nice when placed over stereo 3D objects in the game, the mouse cursor is also not rendered in stereo 3D and that can be a bit more problematic. There are also some other issues like character bars that are rendered in stereo 3D mode, however their depth info seems to be a bit off from what it should be considering the level of depth of the character they should be attached to. The level of convergence you get by default may not be the best one for your personal preferences and the good thing is that is not locked, so you can actually play with it. Hopefully Funcom will do something to fix these in a future patch for the game…
Now, a bit about the game, I personally liked the storyline, the gameplay and the graphics, although you can really stress your high-end PC with it if you push for the best level of quality with tessellation and use extra filtering like FXAA (or TXAA if you have a Kepler-based GPU) and then on top of that add stereoscopic 3D rendering. Hoever even with tessellation enabled I’ve noticed that in closeups some of the models of the game characters may get a bit blocky. The character creation menu at the start is quite limited in character customization for example (you need to buy option packs for some extras), and you may need some time to get used to properly controlling your character’s movements along with the camera movement in the game.
What you should be well aware of before deciding if you want to play this game or not is the fact that like other popular MMORPG games when you purchase The Secret World you’ll be getting 30 days of gametime and then you need to pay subscription fees (there is an option to get The Grand Master Pack and get a Life-time Subscription for the game which may not sound that bad if you plan to spend more than a year playing the game). After the first 30 days of playtime each additional month will cost you either $14.99, €14.99 or £11.49 depending in what region you live in with longer subscription cycles yield discounts to the monthly fee. I’m personally not a big fan of this business model, though it is quite profitable for the companies making the games if they manage to get a large enough user base. And here I’m wondering when the subscription model will be moved from the monthly fee to the actual time you spend playing, much like how some of the Cloud-based services are working… I’m daydreaming right. If you’ve tried The Secret World or are already playing it actively you are welcome to share your feedback from the game n the comments below.