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By Neil Schneider

  • Introduction
  • General Game Review
  • NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D Findings
  • iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D Findings
  • DDD Tridef Ignition Findings
  • Conclusion


    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    I have to say that Borderlands is one of the most oddball games I have played in some time. Well defined as a "Role Playing First Person Shooter", it can progress as a slow moving stage by stage adventure, or a multiplayer romp of explosive mayhem. Let’s see how it stacks up!

    General Game Review

    The story takes place on the planet Pandora (yes, ANOTHER Pandora!). With origins akin to the Yukon Gold Rush, the universe colonized this planet with hopes of riches in ores and minerals, but ended up with nothing. According to alien ruins, there is a legend of a secret vault which promises unlimited wealth and power. Where others have failed to find it, it is your job to succeed and claim it for yourself!

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    You have the choice of playing one of four characters: Brick the Berserker, Lilith the Siren, Mordecai the Hunter, and Roland the former mercenary. Each has a special ability, too! The Berserker has unparallelled melee combat abilities, the Siren can create dimensional shift explosions, The Hunter has a pet bird named Bloodwing to do his bidding, and Roland has a trusty turret gun.

    The environment is a cross between the wild west, Mad Max, and Star Wars with graphics animation that closely resembles Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia. Unfortunately, while this style worked very well for the magical prince, it makes this game look too simple no matter what graphics settings you use.

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    However, it’s not the graphics that make the game interesting - it’s the game play. Borderlands unfolds as a series of missions combined with side tasks and adventures. You can play in single player, increase your characters skills and abilities, and battle your fair share of bad guys. OR, you can play multiplayer, fight bigger enemies, and get a lot more loot and climb the ranks and levels much faster. Either way, and this is what makes Borderlands unique, you keep all that you earn whether you play single or multiplayer. In other words, the multiplayer and single player experiences tie in together.

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    There are just four things you need to worry about in this game. First are health points which you can easily replenish with a wide range of health kits you can find stashed around or purchase on your own. Second, your personal shield which you will either find or buy with time. Some shields can even replenish your health! Third, your personal skill points that can be used to enhance your special abilities and create new features for your character. For example, I’ve been playing as a mercenary which can drop a gun turret when needed. My skill points can be used to make the turret more effective among other things.

    Fourth is money: everything has a price, and you will find money just about everywhere! Make sure you keep enough on-hand because every time you die and need to be re-spawned, you have to pay the piper. I’ve never run out of money before, so don’t try this at home, kids! I have run out of ammo, though...not good!

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    Most of the missions require you to read what people are saying, and that takes the fun away. It’s not that big a deal, but it would have been nice to hear more dialogue out of the game.

    Another feature is game vehicles. You can drive around, squish bad-guys under your tires, and shoot rockets or machine guns depending on your vehicle.

    Now for the big question: how is Borderlands in stereoscopic 3D?

    We gave all three driver developers including DDD, iZ3D, and NVIDIA a heads up prior to the review so they had an opportunity to optimize where possible. They were all advised that we rate games according to:

    1. The flexibility to have a combined depth and pop-out experience.
    2. The amount of eye candy that can be maintained without causing anomalies.

    In all cases, they had weeks to prepare, though we normally give a one week minimum. We did not share our findings with the driver developers as we did not want to give competitive advantages to any of the development teams.

    NVIDIA Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    NVIDIA specs:

    Maingear X-Cube
    Intel Core I7 Processor 2.66GHZ
    6GB RAM
    2 X GTX 275 (SLI)
    Windows 7 64 Bit
    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver
    NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision / Samsung 2233RZ Monitor

    NVIDIA has no specific game requirements with the exception of patching to their 195.62 or later stereo drivers, and patching Borderlands to version 1.01 or higher.

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    NVIDIA had the business relationship that encouraged Gearbox Software to take GeForce 3D Vision into account, and Borderlands was patched to improve their GeForce 3D Vision support.

    The results are mediocre at best. Even with these enhancements, the game’s graphics style makes everything look flat and drab, even in stereoscopic 3D. I can’t put my finger on it, it’s just not visually interesting compared to other titles in S-3D.

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    Even with this developer relationship, there are two blaring anomalies. First, NVIDIA’s stereoscopic 3D crosshair doesn’t work, and the in-game crosshair is not optimized for S-3D gaming. So when you aim your scope or target reticule at an enemy, your bullets will be to the right of where you are aiming. Even though your crosshair turns red when you are within range, it’s still not accurate enough.

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    A bigger problem are cut-out problems around your guns and objects in the game. It’s as though there isn’t enough of a film effect to cover the whole screen and there are gaps that can’t be covered. This is most prominent when walking on water or are in dark rooms with more detailed lighting effects.

    While you can play the game with all the eye candy turned on, it’s still a flawed result. Stick with an NVIDIA 9800 series or better GPU for this game.

    iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    The iZ3D System Specs Include:

    AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 2.5Ghz
    Patriot Extreme Viper PC2-8500 4GB RAM
    EVGA GTX285
    Windows 7 64 Bit
    Zalmon Trimon 22” Monitor
    iZ3D drivers 1.10

    I’m afraid that dynamic shadow support with iZ3D isn’t very good at all, and the cut-out problem that NVIDIA faces is equally problematic with iZ3D’s driver.

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    In our opinion, Dynamic Shadows are a definite no-no, and you will need to turn Ambient Occlusion off too. Ambient Occlusion isn’t a big deal, and you won’t notice that it’s gone.

    The good news is iZ3D’s dynamic crosshair works perfectly which is fortunate. Normally I would recommend the left or right shift option in their driver, and use the game’s original crosshair instead. This is not the best choice for Borderlands because the sniper scope slides off the screen when these options are chosen.

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    While iZ3D has been able to create screen captures of this game, I have not - at least with the 1.10 release drivers. I think it’s because I am using the interlaced output instead of the iZ3D version for testing. However, the DDD images closely resemble the iZ3D results, and we can add some iZ3D images when this bug is corrected.

    NVIDIA 9800 series or ATI 4800 series graphics cards or better should work well with this game in S-3D.

    DDD Stereoscopic 3D Findings

    The DDD System Specs Include:

    AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 2.5Ghz
    Patriot Extreme Viper PC2-8500 4GB RAM
    EVGA 285GTX
    Windows 7 64 Bit
    Zalmon Trimon 22” Monitor
    Tridef Experience 4.1.3 Package (with 2.4.6 Ignition drivers)

    I would say that DDD’s offering is on par with iZ3D and requires the same settings adjustments. In fact, their Borderlands profile prevents you from seeing most of the shadows altogether!

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    Similar to iZ3D, an NVIDIA 9800 series or ATI 4800 series graphics card or better should make this game perform well in S-3D mode.


    Borderlands is a fun game once you get into it, especially with other players online. The graphics are somewhat simple, and I think this was done to make sure the game performs well in multiplayer modes.

    NVIDIA 195.81 Stereo Driver

    I wish our last S-3D game review for the year had better results. NVIDIA’s GeForce 3D Vision came out on top thanks to their relationship with Gearbox Software. This upper hand allowed more settings flexibility with Borderlands, including dynamic shadows. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get us the S-3D experience we were after. Problems include cut-out problems, lighting errors, and an inaccurate crosshair with combined depth and pop-out settings.

    DDD Tridef Ignition 2.4.6

    iZ3D and DDD are pretty much on par with each other. The game works, you can play it in S-3D, but it’s not the pinnacle of what S-3D gaming is about. In the interests of selling more game units, I think Gearbox Software should reach out to DDD and iZ3D to further enhance their industry-wide compatibility.

    Share your thoughts in our discussion forums, and sample more pictures in our Borderlands image gallery.

    Game Play



    Immersive Nature

    How Memorable Is This Game

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness NVIDIA

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness iZ3D

    Stereoscopic Effectiveness DDD

    NVIDIA Overall Rating:

    iZ3D Overall Rating:

    DDD Overall Rating: