By Neil Schneider
If you have about two days of free time on your hands, and you don’t need the luxuries of a good bath and the company of other people, Dark Messiah Might & Magic by Ubisoft is the game for you.
Set in a medieval style fantasy world, you are a wizard’s apprentice named Sareth, and you have just finished your basic training. The story starts simple enough where you must run through underground ruins and find the blessed “Shantiri Crystal”. After getting the crystal, your mentor, Phenrig, sends you on an expedition to give the crystal to an associate wizard named Menelag (who comes up with these names?!?). To make things more interesting, the consciousness of a hot demon sorceress is implanted in you to help guide you on your journey.
As a standalone game, it’s fun. Don’t get me wrong. In stereoscopic 3D, however, this game is downright addictive. I couldn’t tear myself away from it.
Let me explain through example. There is a lot of sword play in this game, and when dealing with the undead or the ABOUT to be dead, it is good practice to kick your enemy to the ground and impale them with your sword. In traditional 2D, it’s cool the first time, but grows tiresome. In S-3D, when your sword plunges in, blood flies out of the screen! I know this seems twisted and violent, but it’s cooler than it sounds!
The environments are also very S-3D friendly. You can pick up objects and fling them, you can light things on fire and shoot them, you can kick support beams that are piled with barrels and watch things fly all over the place – it really gets crazy!
As you play the game and accomplish tasks, you earn training points that you can use to cast more powerful magic, give yourself access to more powerful weapons, or discover unique abilities that will help you along in the game.
The environments are very memorable with every room crafted with unique detail. I was particularly impressed with the physics rendering in the game. Items that really complimented the experience were things like hanging cloth, fire, and countless objects that can be knocked over and broken into pieces.
If you are playing the game old school with an NVIDIA graphics card and the 91.31 range XP stereo drivers, it will be a bittersweet experience. By running Dragon’s utility available in the MTBS downloads section, you can activate an NVIDIA stereo driver feature that allows limited post processing effects. You will have to keep your convergence at absolute minimum or your interface will split off the screen. However, you can increase your separation almost as far as you like and get a good sense of depth in the game.
The current NVIDIA beta driver released earlier this month strike me as being incomplete right now, so I will hold off on reviewing this game until we have a more current release.
The iZ3D driver solution and Dark Messiah Might & Magic were practically made for each other. I get a near perfect mix of pop-out and depth effects and the visual anomalies are few and far between. The only game-play error I can remember is a single spell icon that was to the right of where it was supposed to be, and it was only one spell out of a dozen. The cut scenes could be rendered better on the iZ3D monitor, however. They should be in stereoscopic 3D, but the separation is so minimal compared to the rest of the game, they seem flat. I think these problems are too minor for most players to notice, however.
There is a multiplayer component to Dark Messiah, but it just didn’t hold my interest like the single player campaign.
In multiplayer, you can be a warrior, an archer, an assassin, a priestess, or a mage. The environments are detailed, the 3D rendering is all very good, and they even implemented an award system that lets you upgrade your characters magic and weapon abilities as you progress.
Depending on the server, you are either in a team environment working to capture control points, playing capture the flag, or fighting it out in a coliseum. The coliseum is original in that you can gamble your experience points while watching other gamers play.
It was visually as interesting as the single player campaign, but I just couldn’t get into it. I think it’s because the multiplayer game was missing my favorite kick-stab maneuver. Well, you can’t win them all!
While there is no nudity or swearing, the game is rated 18+ because of its violent nature, so parents be warned!
If you don’t yet own an S-3D solution, grab a pair of red/blue anaglyph glasses and download the iZ3D 1.07 or later drivers from mtbs3D.com. This won’t compare to a modern solution, but you will get a sense of the stereoscopic 3D effect that is being discussed here. In the MTBS Game Reviews gallery section, there are more full sized side by side S-3D images and an anaglyph movie sample ready for download.
Post your thoughts on this review HERE, and let me know what elements would make future reviews better and more helpful to members and gamers interested in S-3D.
Stereoscopic Effectiveness iZ3D
Stereoscopic Effectiveness NVIDIA
How Memorable Is This Game