Short of strapping on a VR headset, the best way to immerse yourself in games is to splash out on an ultra-wide monitor. Many models on the market are almost as wide as your desk, and they're often described as cinematic due to their letterbox-like 21:9 aspect ratio that's used by Hollywood blockbusters.
Common variations come in 25- and 29-inch sizes, but if you're really looking to envelop yourself in the ultra-wide experience then a 34-inch curved model is the only way to go. Packing a 3,440 x 1,440 pixel-resolution, these monster monitors place you squarely at the heart of the action while requiring less GPU horsepower than playing games at 4K (3,840 x 2,160) does.
Don't get us wrong, you'll still need a plenty capable rig to do modern titles justice at ultra-wide resolutions. But at least you'll be able to game at healthy frame rates using a single graphics card. And making the leap to ultra-wide lets you see more of your surroundings in action games, gives you the upper hand in shooters due to having a wider peripheral vision - and playing racers feels like being at the arcades.
Note, however, that not every game supports ultra-wide. We've picked out some of the best ones that deliver cinematic bliss straight to your eyeballs and feature ultra-wide support (either out of the box or with a small tweak). A sample of LG's 34UC88 was supplied to us by ebuyer to take the screenshots for this article.
- Looking for even more pixels? Check out our best 4K games
Hell hath no fury until it's experienced in 21:9, or so the saying goes. Bethesda and iD's gloriously gory reboot packs even more demons into your screen when played in the cinematic aspect ratio., When you've got two Pinkies charging at you from opposite ends of the room, being able to see out of the corners of your eye is an absolute life-saver.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
2. GTA V
Forget Trevor, Franklin and Michael - GTA V's best character is one that never speaks but keeps you returning time after time. It is, of course, Los Santos - the game's sprawling metropolis that acts as your personal playground. GTA V always had a blockbuster-like quality to it - Rockstar even added a movie editor to the PC version - which makes it perfect for playing in ultra-wide.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
3. The Witness
Like GTA V, The Witness feels part movie, part videogame - one that could have been created by Pixar or Dreamworks. Created by Braid developer Jonathan Blow, the puzzler relies heavily on atmosphere and story as you progress on your quest to find out why you've woken up on a luminous, mysterious island. This is actually one title that we think would be perfect for VR, but it's undeniably gorgeous in ultra-wide - and there's no danger of feeling motion-sickness.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
4. Dirt Rally
In our opinion, Codemasters' racer is one of the best pick-up-and-play rally games in recent years. Its varied dirt tracks and detailed in-car camera view really shine when played in ultra-wide, and the immersion is hugely satisfying. You can see more of the track on either side of you, and racing in the first-person view brings back the thrill of jumping into an empty seat on a rally sim at the arcades.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
5. The Division
The Division is a gritty portrayal of an apocalyptic New York that's dark and constantly threatening. Playing in ultra-wide helps you see even more of the map, which is already in full view thanks to the game's clever 'floating' UI. When it comes to tactics, being able to rotate the camera to see what's around you can snag you a huge advantage when playing Tom Clancy's third-person shooter. It's easier to pick out enemies while identifying cover locations that won't get you killed, which come in especially useful in multiplayer.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
6. Rocket League
Sports games are naturally a great fit for ultra-wide monitors due to their wide camera angles, and Rocket League is no different. Playing Soccar on a smaller panel can feel a bit cramped, especially when the camera angle is locked on ball view. Playing in widescreen unlocks your field of view, allowing you to see where the ball is more of the time while being able to pick out those crucial passes that can win a hard fought game in the dying seconds.Screenshots (click to enlarge)
Screenshots (click to enlarge)
An oldie but a goodie, Skyrim is well worth revisiting if you've just got hold of a widescreen monitor. Whether you dive in now or wait until the remaster to land in October is up to you. Playing Skyrim in ultra-wide is really about that first-person view. The obvious benefit is that having a wider field of vision means that you're less likely to end up with an axe lodged in the side of your cranium. But it's the whole experience that benefits - its 350-odd locations, that soothing, yet ominous soundtrack. You already know why you love Skyrim, and playing it in ultra-wide just made us love that bit more.