Review: From the moment you enter this magical world, it quite literally takes your breath away. God knows how many texels it takes to produce that scenery and what kind of raw processing power’s needed to produce the 3D effects and surround sound.
For anyone used to ordinary games, Sol 3 is a revelation. I dread to think how long it took to put together or how much it cost and I won’t pretend to understand the technology involved in delivering a completely immersive experience.
Not only is there full 3D vision and sound, but you can sense changes in temperature, feel the rain on your face and the wind in your hair.
The gameplay isn’t terribly complex, but with this level of reality, it doesn’t need to be. I only tried level one and I’m hooked.
The game starts as you leave your house. Not only do you lock the door behind you with what feels like a real key, but you’re immediately aware that the temperature has dropped and it’s raining. A car appears from nowhere and you can feel the air moving as it passes. Then there’s what seems like a faint whiff of exhaust fumes as it fades into the distance.
Across the valley, the tips of the mountains are covered with a light dusting of snow and completely realistic sheep graze on the hillside. There’s no sense of illusion as you walk towards the village, Whatever technology is providing all this is totally invisible – there’s no fan noise, no clumsy joystick or game controller, just what appears to be a real world that you can walk through.
As you near the village there’s a faint hint of wood smoke. In the distance, a dog barks. The gravel even seems to crunch under your feet as you walk up to the door of the pub. As you push open the door, there’s a rush of warmth from the fire and a completely realistic pint of bitter sits invitingly on the bar.
Over in the corner sit a couple of young people, concentrating on – nice touch this – guiding a cartoon plumber around a 2D world on their mobile phones. They look real too.
And here’s the clincher – you can pick up that beer and actually taste the hops as you swallow the first refreshing mouthful. This is how all games should be. Forget all the rest, Sol 3 is, quite literally, reality.
I cannot recommend the Sol 3 experience too highly. Stop wasting your time with pale imitations and try the real thing. It is, quite simply, the best game in the world and what’s almost unbelievable is that it’s available free and runs on any platform.
Ten out of ten.