Here it is… My final word on the Nintendo 3DS. In the video review, I cover the hardware and onboard software, giving my impressions along the way, so make sure you check it out! For the written review, make the jump…
So where to start… Ah yes…
Nintendo have always been at the forefront of quality, with their latest console staying true to that fact. Everything from the clicking of each button, to the newly added circle pad, make it feel like Nintendo have really outdone themselves.
With the addition of the circle pad, Nintendo had to move the classic D-pad down to accomodate the new feature, at the disappointment of some hardcore DS fans. I feel that this was a smart move from the gaming giants. I haven’t had any strain what-so-ever from using the D-pad and I’ve been using that to navigate menus more that the circle pad (plus I have quite large hands!).
To the screens! The top screen is considerably larger than the DSi (not the DSi XL though), the bottom screen is the same size (feels a little smaller?!). Of course, the main feature that the 3DS boasts is the ability to show 3D content without the need for 3D glasses. I found the depth slider very useful, when the 3D effect became too much (and it did for Pilot Wings Resort, which I will bring up in the review), I could slide it down for a more comfortable experience. As for the ‘sweet spot’, it is a case of viewing the screen at the correct angle and distance in order to see the effect in its awesomeness! It didn’t bother me which I was playing Pilot Wings Resort, but became a bit awkward with the AR games and moving around a point of reference.
On the whole, the screens make the whole experience enjoyable and the touch screen (although only allowing one point of touch on its resistive touch screen) is very user friendly and can take input form finger and stylus.
The 3DS cartridges have a slightly stretched top, which will stop you from putting them in original DS consoles, but this won’t stop you from putting an original DS game into the 3DS.
As for cameras, will 3 be enough?! Nintendo hopes so, including 2 outward facing cameras (for 3D pictures and soon to be 3D video) and an inward facing camera (for all your face pulling!). The quality of the cameras isn’t exactly the best, but it doesn’t need to be. It works very well for the AR games!
Overall, the hardware exceeds my expectations. It’s nice to hold, but can be a finger print magnet!!
When you update, you get a new icon, which is a look at the 3D video capabilities of the 3DS. It’s a very pleasant feature, showing a preview of a 3D clip specially created for the 3DS. Trying out the 3D depth slider is a must with this, as it can look really amazing with the correct depth.
The Nintendo 3DS camera is your basic camera application. It allows you to take 3D pictures and store them on your SD card (but, as they’re 3D, you can’t view them on a normal screen!). I have uploaded some pictures taken with the camera on the 3DS to see for yourself (in 2D!). You can add many different effects to your pictures, as well as using a zoom feature and a slider to change the 3D focus (when the slider is on). It’s a very neat application and one the 3DS can only benefit from.
Nintendo 3DS Sound is very much like the original DS application, allowing you to alter the sound of your music, record voice clips. An addition to this application is the StreetPass feature, which uses your songs as a basis for what your 3DS sends in when using StreetPass. Your 3DS will also link to another 3DS, and store a list of the songs (not the ACTUAL songs!) for you to view. I’ll look more into this once I’ve used the StreetPass feature!
Mii Maker and Mii Plaza come hand-in-hand. Mii Maker let’s you create your personal avatars (Miis) while Mii Plaza shows off your Miis and the Miis you have collected. There are a lot of possible variations of Miis when using the Mii Maker (as you can see above). This lets you really customise what your virtual self (and others!) look like.
Mii Plaza is where all of your collected Miis come together. You can use the Miis for various features (Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest, each of which I will review separately).
AR Games is the next piece of software, and my oh my what a piece of software it is!
6 features to the AR games, which are:
- Graffiti – You draw, then your drawing will be shown in 3D on the top screen in Augmented Reality
- Star Pics – Pose the Nintendo characters in 3D
- Mii Pics – Pose your Miis in many different ways…
- AR Shot – Like pool (or snooker) but with a black ball. The 3DS will shape the terrain, making it harder for you to get a hole in one…
- Shooting – Using a crosshair, you shoot targets that appear on screen, moving around in 360 degrees.
- Fishing – Using a virtual rod to hook fish, try to catch… a dragon?!
They’re really decent games, of course, they come with the console so it’s very nice, they work really well. With the use of a smartphone, you can even play the games when it’s dark!
Next is Face Raiders, which uses the built in gyro in the 3DS to monitor your movement in 360 degrees. You can take a picture of your face (or of a friend’s face) and it will be used as the face of the enemy. You move your console around, shooting all the faces you see with balls until you come across the final boss.
The 3D can get awkward with this title, because if you move the console and not yourself, the 3D ‘sweet spot’ will be lost and the image will be blurry. Try to move your body (or head) along with your 3DS to get the 3D just right at all times.
Finally, there’s the not so important applications such as:
- Health and Safety Information, which obviously is important, but we all know how to be safe when playing games, right?
- Activity Log, which shows your gaming patterns and how long you’ve played your games for.
- Download Play, which allows you to download (temporarily) a copy of a compatible download play game from another 3DS.
- System Settings, which is for settings such as internet access, parental controls, systems updates etc.
My views of everything, mixed in a massive bowl with a pinch of sudden concern
So, after writing my lengthy review (sorry!), I decided to have a little go on the 3DS, just while I think about my verdict. On bootup, my device started to play the menu sounds, which of course, is what you expect from bootup. The device didn’t show any images on either screen, which is the cause for my concern. Once it did show the home screen, it didn’t show that I had Pilot Wings Resort in the card slot, which concerned me even more. It was probably just a hiccup from the 3DS, as I restarted my device and everything was ok.
Putting that little niggle aside, I believe anyone who purchases this console has made the right decision. I can not fault this product in anyway, it has, as I said earlier, exceeded my expectations. I strongly recommend, if you have played on a 3DS and enjoyed your experience with one, go out and make a choice to get one. If you haven’t tried it out, check online for your nearest 3DS Tour location and get down there!
Even without the 3D turned on, graphically, the 3DS is a landmark for portable gaming. It really shows off the power you can have in your pocket. With games such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Super Mario 3D, Star Fox 3D, Metal Gear Solid 3D all coming soon, it looks to be a very bright future for Nintendo and the 3DS.
Make sure you stay put on this blog for more updates on my experience with the 3DS, more news and reviews are on their way! As always, a gallery of all my pictures is below! ❤
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