Review by singe8
"Unfortunately the worst Nintendo console that isn't the Virtual Boy."
I would like to start out by saying how much of a Nintendo fanboy I am. I have bought every console they have released with the exception of the GBA micro. I also bought the 3DS on day one because I was sure that despite the fact that there weren't many games on day 1 there would be and no matter what I would eventually get one. I didn't see any downside to buying it the first day it came out. Of course everyone knows what happened. Sony announced the Vita price and Nintendo announced their 80 dollar price drop. I couldn't believe it. That was huge and only a few months after it was released. Compare that to the Wii which went for 3 years without a single price drop, and even it was only a 50 dollars difference. Nintendo did the Ambassador Program as an apology for ripping the first buyers off, but there still was a time where anyone could get it for $170 and still get the free games. It sucked.
Phew now that I've gotten that off my chest its time to talk about the hardware. For this review I have to say that I got the blue 3ds, as it stands out more and is the less common choice. The 3ds is kind of bulky, but honestly its not that bad. It can fit in my pockets and thats really all that matters. The L and R buttons are great. They are better than the DS Lite's and the DSi's, but I still prefer the original DS to it (or the original game boy advance if you want to go really far back). The face buttons are very bad. I don't think they are any smaller in terms of spacing on the device itself, but it feels smaller. Its hard to explain how they are but I'll try. Its like it takes a much shorter time to press the buttons down, but they do not feel very clicky at all. Its a if they are way too sensitive or something. The Start Select and Home buttons are fine. I've heard some people complain about them, but I think they are some of the best buttons on the 3ds. They could be better (actual buttons instead of just pushing in the plastic), but Its not that big of a deal. The power buttons is decent. It takes forever for the thing to turn on or off, because you have to hold it down for a few seconds, but if you get used to it its ok. The D-pad is horrendous. I'm not joking, it may be the worst D-pad I've ever used (including the 360 controller). It is extremely stiff and cramps up my finger. Its too small and you have to use the center of your thumb to use it instead of the thumb print part of it. It makes playing 2d games a literal pain. Luckily most 2d games also let you use the circle pad, which is one of the best analog control mechanisms I've ever seen. I had a PSP and know how much the nub on it sucked. It was really stiff and uncomfortable. The circle pad however is great. Its smooth and rubberized and doesn't compromise portability like if it were to have a full analog stick. It would be nice if it were more resistive, but that is a small complaint. I love the circle pad so much that I don't mind that the WiiU controller is going to have circle pads instead of full analog sticks. The screen is not very bright and is worse than the DS Lite's brightest setting. The stylus is good. It is extendable and it doesn't scratch up the screen. I still prefer the X-stylus crayon, but the default one is still pretty good. Nintendo has thankfully brought back the sliding volume control, which is perfect for when you need to turn down the volume before you turn on your 3ds. The 3d slider works very well, although mine is a bit loose. It is perfect for changing the 3d effect while playing and it would have really sucked if you had to exit the game to change it. They also have changed the headphone thing to support headphones with built in microphones, which is a great improvement. Of course that means your DS headphones no longer work, but as long as you have a standard 3.5mm headphone set with a microphone it will work. The SD card port works well. I wish they had gone with a port cover that is easier to open, but as long as you aren't constantly switching SD cards it should suffice. Then there is the battery. The battery is terrible. 5 hours at most (no WiFilow brightness etc), and you need to constantly have the thing charging, which is easy due to the included charging cradle, but a pain nonetheless. You can upgrade the battery with a 3rd party accessory but its another $20 and it makes the device a lot larger as well as incompatible with the included charging cradle.
Now I have to mention some hardware flaws with the 3ds. The hinge however is a huge problem. My hinge is extremely loose and although it doesn't fall down or anything, it still can move around a bit and I can't see it lasting very long. There is also a big problem with scratching. My top screen has huge scratches from the sides of the touchscreen and a smudge from the circle pad. The circle pad smudge I can live with, but the cracks on the side of the screen mess with the 3d effect quite a bit and I can't find a way to fix it. The buttons also squeak for some reason. These are all problems that I have been having personally, as well as a lot of other people, but the majority of 3ds are not like this.
On to software. The menu is very clean and easy to use. The AR games are well made and a fun little demo for the 3d effect mixed with the 3d camera. Speaking of which, the 3d camera is terrible. It takes 3d pictures, but they are so low quality you might as well just not bother. It is a nice feature though and if you want to feel like the next James Cameron it lets you do that. There is also a sound feature which is also cool but is in no way a good music player, but it does support mp3 and lets you do cool 3d stuff while you listen. Streetpass is this thing where you can broadcast your 3d's stuff to other people, and although the idea is interesting, in practice its bad. The main problem with it is that not very many people have a 3ds. I know 3 other people who have a 3ds, and the chances of Streetpass working is slim. You have to walk by them while they have the feature activated, which is almost never considering you do not want this feature on as it drains your battery constantly. Not to mention, its just not fun. If it were reliable enough that every day I could check my Streetpass thing and a couple of people would be there it would be fine, but that is just not the case. Spotpass is a welcome feature that just downloads updates when you aren't watching. You can also buy games on the EShop and it works a lot better than the Wii Shop. You can also browse the internet and do very basic things (no Youtube). One of the most basic features on the 3ds, but has been very helpful to me has been the notes feature. While playing a game you can go to the home menu and click the notes icon and write stuff down. Then resume the game. It works great for writing down hints and instructions and drawing pictures and whatever you want.
Of course there is the glasses free 3d effect, the biggest reason to buy the 3ds. It works well. Its an actual 3d effect that has the same feeling as a movie shot with a 3d camera. The major downfall however is that you can't move at all when playing it. There is a very precise sweet spot with the 3ds and anywhere outside that area the 3d effect won't work. It really sucks for racing games where you naturally move your head body and controller with the turns, but oh well. Its also very hard to find the sweet spot, and a lot of the time there is ghosting or blurry things on the screen because you aren't in the right spot. Because you have to stay very still with the 3ds, it is very distracting, and in my opinion more of a downside than anything. It may look 3d and more realistic, but if you can't relax when playing it who cares, not to mention the fact that the screen is a bit brighter when its off and some games have the feature to double framerate when its off.
This brings us to the last point: the games. The 3ds' game library at the moment 1/15/2012 is very small and lacking in quality games. Currently the only must have game for the 3ds is Mario 3D Land, which is a great but that is it. After that there are a few more which are ok, but there isn't a reason to get them unless you are looking for games for your 3ds, games like Ocarina of Time 3d, Starfox 64 3d, Mario Kart 7, Bit Trip Saga, Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3d, and Street Fighter 4 3d. These games are $10 more than DS games new which brings the price up to $40 most of which look barely better than DS games and are not better quality than most DS games. In the future many more games will come, but as it is now the 3ds' game library is lacking in quality and quantity.
In conclusion the 3ds has many problems. Lots of them are hardware and a lot of them lie in the fact that there are few games for it. The console itself is not the best made device, and there isn't enough reasons to get one.
Game Library 6/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 01/17/12
Game Release: Nintendo 3DS (US, 03/27/11)
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