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N.O.V.A. 3: Apple iPad 2 VS the new iPad: which is best?

N.O.V.A 3 launched last week, it’s the third game in the series and the one where the FPS really steps out from the large shadow of HALO.

But from launch gaming forums and message boards were flooded with comments from new iPad owners and N.O.V.A. 3 fans, complaining graphical elements visible on the iPad 2 aren’t on the new iPad.

We’ve downloaded the game to the iPad 2 and the new iPad and have been playing and comparing both. Check out the video below:

The following scene is from the beginning of the game. The screenshot on the left is taken from the iPad 2; the fire and billowing smoke are both missing on the new iPad.

NOVA 3 intro comparison

Take a look at this underground scene. On the iPad 2 there are glowing lights on the walls, on the new iPad there’s nothing. When you play the game the iPad 2 feels more atmospheric.

NOVA 3 comparison indoors

It seems that the A5X dual-core chip isn’t powerful can’t handle the high-resolution Retina display and the high-resolution graphical effects. In contrast the iPad 2 with it’s lower resolution requires less power, so it can handle the graphics.

Gameloft has said: ‘we will be releasing an update for N.O.V.A. 3.. for players using the New iPad which will allow you to choose between the Retina resolution or Motion Blur & Particles effects. Release date for this update is TBC. Both options can unfortunately not run together.’

What does this mean for the future of mobile gaming? Will developers of 3D games need to release two versions?  Gameloft says: ‘Moving forwards we will treat each graphically intensive title on a case-by-case basis as to whether it requires an option to toggle effects/retina resolution.’

While selectable resolution will be simple enough for the tech-savvy iPad user to understand, what about the mainstream user? It will be interesting to see how Apple – and other game developers – adapt to these issues.


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