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Review Of The Nintendo 3DS After Owning For 24hrs

April 3, 2011

I bought the 3DS yesterday as a bit of an impulse purchase as I haven’t played on the DSi that I already had for quite some time and every hardware update since the original DS has been very minor and IMO not really worth upgrading for (even thought I did). For that reason I was going to give it a miss, but I’m so glad I changed my mind…. the 3DS is frickin amazing and by far the biggest update they have ever done since the GBA was replaced by the DS. Initially I wasn’t all that bothered about the 3D effect as I expected it to be a bit of a gimmick, what I did like about the new hardware was the analogue stick and a higher resolution widescreen display, two things that I think should have been there all along when the original DS was first released.

 
The Hardware

It’s pretty much the same size as the DSi, just slightly thicker. Build quality is on par with all other versions, nothing spectacular but it does appear to be well made with no creaking sounds, gaps in the joints or sharp edges. The newly introduced analogue stick it really nice, rather than tilting when you move it it glides remaining perfectly flat. It’s far nicer than the one on the PSP as I always found my thumb slipping around on that one and it’s positioning is pretty bad.

 
The Display

What can I say other than this is a HUGE improvement over all other DS systems, it’s crystal clear, graphics look beautiful and the 3D effect (once you’ve found the sweet spot) is truly amazing. My initial thoughts of it being a gimmick have been well and truly put to rest. It is true that it does hurt your eyes after a while and start to give you a headache, the first time I used it this happened after about 30 minutes. I turned the 3D off, played a bit more then took a break for an hour. Second time round I managed about 40 minutes before eye strain started. Over the course of the day that period did get greater, so it does appear that once your eyes start to get used to the new experience you can play for longer.I’ve seen quite a lot of comments by people bitching about the display when it comes to playing DS/DSi games, saying that they look awful. Because the 3DS has higher resolution screens than its predecessors, older titles can either be played upscaled to fill the screen (keeping their original aspect ratio, don’t expect them to be widescreen), or their original size, just filling a portion of the 3DS’s screens. It’s the upscaling that people seem to be complaining about but I can hardly tell the difference. Maybe if you had a 3DS and a DSi side by side playing the same game you may be able to tell, but does that matter, if it looks good enough on its own when you’re playing then thats what matters, and to me it looks fine.

 
Built In Software

I don’t even know where to begin with this as there’s so much, Nintendo really went all out with their software. A lot of this info can be found on other reviews so I’ll just mention the bits that I found enjoyable and interesting. The AR (augmented reality) cards and games that come bundled with it are a lot of fun, there’s some shooting games and one that turns your table top into a crazy golf course. In fact I’ve probably spent more time playing with the built in games than I have with the two titles I purchased (Street Fighter and Rayman). It will be interesting to see how other games utilise the Augmented Reality system, you just know that Pokemon games are going to take advantage of this. I can just imagine two players, each with their own card watching Pokemon battle on the table top, this could be HUGE is so many ways. Just for the record I’m not a Pokemon fan but I’m excited to see that they do with this new hardware.
There’s a pedometer built into the 3DS that tracks how many steps you take when it’s in standby mode in your pocket, this ISN’T accurate but it’s good enough for what it does. Now this next bit is interesting and typical of Nintendo to think of something like this. For each 100 steps you take you earn 1 gold coin, up to a maximum of 10 per day. These gold coins can then be used as in-game currency to unlock different section in Wii Plaza, buy extra sections in the AR games etc. It’s an brilliant idea.
There’s so many interesting and fun things to do with the 3DS straight out of the box, it’s fully playable without having to buy a collection of games as soon as you get it, how many other game systems have been like this with so many games built in? none as far as I can remember.

 
The Cameras

They’re crap, need I say more. They’re fine for the AR games and messing about taking 3D photos to view on the system, but don’t expect to be taking proper photos with this thing.

 
Conclusion

There’s lots more to the 3DS that I haven’t mentioned such as the ‘street pass system’ but these are features that I haven’t used yet. If like me you were on the fence wondering if you should upgrade from an older system, is it just another minor incremental upgrade? Hell no this takes the DS to a whole new level of enjoyability with huge potential. It’s at least another 6 months until Sony is due to release their next handheld, the NGP and they can’t afford to make the same mistakes that they did with the original PSP and pice it too hight. Technically the PSP was lightyears ahead of the DS, yet the DS still far outsold it. Sony need to get it right this time because the 3DS is one hell of a handheld to go up against , it doesn’t matter what specs the NGP has when it ships, if it isn’t priced right with a good line up of games history will repeat itself.

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