If you haven’t been under a rock these past few months than you know the anticipation that has been building up pending the March release of the Nintendo 3DS. Let’s be honest though, 3D gaming? I was a bit skeptical to say the least. It just seemed too good to be true that we could have something so awesome in a hand-held device, and without the need for 3D glasses to boot.
I decided then, to get a closer look at what seemed to be the next generation of mobile gaming looming on the horizon, and needless to say, I was blown away by what the 3DS had to offer.
Hardware & Appearance
The first thing I noticed when I sat down with my friendly neighborhood Nintendo reps was how modern the Nintendo 3DS looked. I mean, we are all pretty used to advanced mobile devices such as iPhones and Blackberrys, so its expected that the 3DS should be on the same level aesthetically. I was able to see both color variants of the 3DS, so metallic black and blue, and they both looked really slick. I guess one of the main concerns with this newest installment in Nintendo’s mobile line was how different it was going to be than the original DS and DSi. The Nintendo 3DS is similar enough to be familiar, but different enough to be new, which is the perfect balance for consumers.
One of the things I noticed right away once I flipped it open was the screen resolution and size, which was a huge improvement over the DS. The top 3D screen especially stood out with a size improvement of over half and inch from the original DS and a quarter inch from the DSi. The resolution was amazing at a solid 800×240 pixels, compared to the 256 × 192 of the previous models. Even when games were not in 3D they still looked much better, which was a great thing to see.
Let’s talk about what everyone really cares about, the features! Aside from the awesome 3D graphics, amazing resolution and gameplay, the features are what really set this apart from the original DS series. While there are a lot of impressive features that add to the usability such as the activity log, 3DS messaging, and compatibility with older games, the things that really stood out to me were the “augmented reality” games and StreetPass.
First off, the augmented reality games were extremely impressive from what I have seen. Essentially “augmented reality” means that the software in the 3DS game or application will use external information combined with video game graphics to create a unique and fun game. So what the 3DS does is use the primarily use the video camera located in the front, plus unique game cards, to create a game right in the room you are sitting.
My experience was as follows:
I held the 3DS near the table above a special “game card” and the system scanned it for information. Once scanned, the 3DS took a picture of my face, and implanted that picture onto a series of “bubbles” that floated above the background of the room on the main screen. I then used movement and and buttons to shoot projectiles at the face bubbles while they floated around the room on the screen. When I won the game my face congratulated me and I was on my way.
It was a cool experience and the other augmented reality games were equally impressive to say the least.
The other new feature that really caught my interest was the StreetPass software, which really seemed to take interactivity to the next level. What StreetPass does is basically search the surrounding area for other Nintendo 3DS’s. If it finds one it will automatically connect the two systems, even if your 3DS is closed in your pocket. While your systems are connected the Nintendo 3DS it will automatically exchange information such as multiplayer data, items, and content as well as game information such a high scores and profiles. Think that’s cool? It gets better. Certain games will actually take StreetPass a step further and do stuff like battle characters, all while dormant in your pocket.
These features are supplemented by the new and improved profile system which is similar in many ways to the one on the Nintendo Wii. I speak of course of the Mii profile system, which allows you to create a unique “Mii” that is a 3D version of yourself in the console. You use this for multiplayer games and interaction with others. The 3DS actually had a cool feature which let you take a picture of yourself and it would automatically create a Mii based on facial features. It worked pretty well too, although I looked too generic for my liking and added spiky hair and sunglasses (which was awesome).
You can even import your Mii from the Nintendo Wii, which is pretty cool. Although you cannot exchange the Mii the other way, due to software changes and whatnot. The 3DS will also create a space for all the Mii’s you have passed on the street, which is a cool way to see who you interacted with every day.
Many of you have got a glimpse at the games the Nintendo 3DS will bring to the field, and they look amazing as expected. I actually got to play a ton of games, many of which were not available during previous events and at E3, and they were stunning. The 3D effects and graphics were in a whole different league than the DS and DSi, and many of the titles were impressive as well. Playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 3D was an experience that I never even thought of before the hearing of the 3DS, and playing it live was just as enjoyable as the first time I played it years ago on the N64.
Kid Icarus was also an extremely enjoyable gaming experience, with excellent visuals and refreshingly unique gameplay. Classic games like PilotWings and Donkey Kong were also available, and they didn’t disappoint either with updated graphics and gameplay mechanics using the 3DS’s motion movement control features. It was pleasantly surprising to see how many “classic” Nintendo 64 games were remade on the Nintendo 3DS, and I definitely look forward to more when the 3DS launches in March.
As you can probably tell by the review, I was definitely impressed by the Nintendo 3DS overall. The hardware and physical appearance of the 3DS seemed like an adequate upgrade for a new system, and who doesn’t love games in 3D. Almost all of the games I played were classics from previous systems that were given a polished update for the new system, which worked fine for me. The 3DS exclusive games I played were pretty creative and made effective use of the hardware peripherals in fun ways. Furthermore, I was rather impressed by the applications involved, even though I was only able to see a handful. StreetPass seemed like a cool concept as well, though time will tell if it will be a feasible feature, or just a gimmick. Overall it was a fun experience and definitely a step forward in the right direction for mobile gaming. The only real issue that seems worth mentioning is the price, although for all the features and 3D games you get, 250 USD is almost a bargain.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com