Review by Pikachu1918
"Now You're Playing With 3-D Power"
Hey gaming fans, it's your old pal Pikachu1918 here with another review for the readers of Gamefaqs.com. Let's see what we have here, it's not another game, in fact it's a brand new Cosmic Black 3DS, made by Nintendo. Just to be clear here, the machine is one of the first ones sold, and as of the time of the review, the core software is 2.1. That means, certain features, programs, and other goodies may not have been unlocked, or made usable by the public. That means if I cite certain physical complaints, they may have been resolved in other units.
As a brief recap for people who have no clue what the 3DS is, it is the successor of the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo DS is a 7-year-old video game system, in a world where every 4 -5 years or so there is a new one, you can tell the DS for all its power, and different versions had become a little long in the tooth. While the Nintendo 3DS is clearly better, it also kept to the core roots of what made the DS such a great groundbreaking system.
This is not the first time Nintendo has attempted to use humans's binocular vision to create a 3-D system, with their own screens. Just last time they tried, it was back in 1995, with a system that was a complete flop. Enough about history and more about what the 3DS has to offer us.
Let's open with the criticism. Only one of the two screens supports 3-D graphics, which is the top one. If you're not looking at it straight on when playing a 3-D game, you're not going to see a 3-d image, in fact you're going to see a shadow effect, one being stronger than the other. In a game, which isn't a side scrolling, I find this can make an impact on game play. Between beating a level, and loosing at it. The upside is Nintendo has seen this flaw, and made a correction for it. There is a tab on the side, which can turn off the 3-D graphics, without interrupting game play.
With all fairness, let's forget the 3-D part of the system. This machine can play titles on the PS3/XBox360, and puts them in your hands. Perfect example would be Super Street Fighter IV. If that doesn't speak of its graphic power, I don't know what does. I'd have to give the graphic top marks, with the exception of how finicky it is playing in 3-D. It can show you all the colours of the rainbow, and a load of polygons, but in your hands.
Despite the new hardware, the 3DS is in many ways a clone system, being roughly the size of a DS Lite, but being heavier. That doesn't go without saying that it's unique in its own way. Some of this originality is great, other parts aren't so great.
I have found so far the 3DS is built to take more punishment and usage than the earlier DSs. Because it's based on a good design, it's not going to break your hands to play a game for the most part. If you're used to an earlier DS, then the new button layout may confuse you a bit, but it's not a make or break part of this system. If you're new to the DS family, then you'll love the easy to use button lay out. The analog stick above the traditional d-pad makes it easy to select between the two.
Sadly the 3DS does have criticism when it comes to it's design, instead of using flat plastics, Nintendo chose to use the glossy kind. This means that this system loves to streak and is impossible to clean. Don't get me wrong it looks great, just not cleanable. The other major flaw is that due to the bottom screen being raised it will mark/dent the top screen if you close it too fast.
Secondary systems: 6/10
I can see allot of you asking what are secondary systems. This means the camera, the gyroscope, the new DS stylus, the SD card slot, and so forth. All the stuff that doesn't make or break a system, but is stuff as a reader you may want to know about.
Let's start off with something simple, the cameras. The 3DS has three cameras believe it or not, one looking at the user, and two looking at the word. There are really only two complaints here, given how the pictures are saved on a swappable SD card, why did Nintendo install such cheap camera. 0.3 Megapixels ouch, most cell phones are stronger. The other flaw is to see a 3D picture on a PC you need to go hunting for special software.
The gyroscope works flawlessly. It can tell which direction the 3DS is moving in perfectly, its featurism, but with any luck, more titles will use it in the future.The 3DS does have a blast from the past here, an Infrared sensor to talk with other 3Ds. Its duel sided in a way, since this machine does have wireless network card, why does it need infrared? The only answer I can come up with is that it's more energy efficient.
New DS means a new stylus system people, this one is telescopic, which means it has to expand to fit the user. I can see the logic behind it, by making it both big and small, everyone can use it from a child to an adult. It is an improvement I find, despite the odd placement of it in the back of the DS near where you place the game.
What does kill the 3DS in regards to secondary systems is there are no expansion points. If a developer needs a rumble pack, a guitar pick interface, more RAM. The 3DS isn't built to handle it, upside for parents is you know it's all in one place, and that your child can't lose one loose part.
User Interface: 7/10
The 3DS is flexible on how you can use it software wise. You can see the entire selection in a line, or in a grid, and given the download ability, I find the grid the best way to see it. The 3DS comes with built in games, and social media so you can see what it can do, and what other people are playing.
In version 2.1 of this, there is a web browser and game shop. The built in net browser is better than what had been offered for the DS before, but you still can't watch videos with it. The store is too precise for my tastes. It will bill you down to the last cent on every purchase, but you must put at least $5 into the account, there is no smaller denominations.
Retro Play: 8/10
We all know by now the 3DS is the follow up to the DS system, and it can run DS games great. In someways it turns a negative into a positive, since remeber how I said the bottom screen marks the top one. If you're playing a DS title, you won't notice this problem. The other flaw is that over 20 DS games I tested only 1 of them hooked into the 3DSs own networking software.
I've learned over the years never to expect a good quality sound system from a portable system. Well, Nintendo chose to prove me wrong, and I can feel my 3DS shake if I turn up the volume on it. Well done Nintendo, you leave an old reviewer proud to see change is possible, and to giving me a great sound system.
FINAL CALL TIME!
Well gaming fans, it's that time again, it's Final Call Time Where I answer the question, "Do I buy or not buy this system?". Well, the verdict is in, despite the over $200 price tag, BUY IT!
I am not going to argue the 3DS isn't expensive, especially for a hand held. However, it has killer graphics, killer sounds, features we never dreamed of years ago. Based on the 3DS titles I've played so far, I feel developers are going to love this system with it's own downloadable content, and what it can do with a game card.
The Nintendo 3DS has over one thousand titles it can play right now, all of those are DS titles it can run perfectly. Its own library isn't that large, but it has some good ones. With over a thousand games there is bound to be something in there as a reader you'd want to play. It has ways to address how it eats its own battery, correcting a problem before it becomes a problem. That's proactive thinking, something as a reviewer I have to give them marks for, and the docking station it has is more proof of that line of thought Nintendo had with the 3DS.
Well gaming fans, it's been a pleasure as always reviewing a video game product for you. It's rare that I am this impressed with a system after the newness of it wears off. However, the 3DS is more proof of a company taking an old idea and making it better, and doing it right on all the marks. Well gaming fans this is Pikachu1918 signing off by saying. Welcome to the new dimension of portable gaming.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/27/11
Game Release: Nintendo 3DS (US, 03/27/11)
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