Review by thecheese103

"The potential is there, but only time will tell how successful the 3DS will become."

I'm sure many of us fondly remember playing our Game Boys, then begging our parents for the Game Boy Advanced, then the Game Boy Advanced SP, and unfortunately, the GameBoy Advanced Micro. And today, most people reading this are still probably playing the Nintendo DS, DS Lite, or even that marketing gimmick I like to refer to as the DSi. But what most of us don't realize is that the DS itself is between six and seven years old. Isn't that just shocking? But a new era to put the DS in that first list has finally arrived, in the form of the Nintendo 3DS. How drastic of a change is it? Just tag along for this review, we are about to find out.

Now to start off, we'll go over all of the basic system features and functions that it retains from previous Nintendo systems. The dual screen with the bottom screen as a touch screen is still around, something that the original DS brought into the picture. That includes a stylus that can be physically stored on the 3DS. The title of this system should suggest how they've been upgraded, but we'll get into that later. The gimmick of having a camera on a gaming system (A la Nintendo DSi) is still present, but there are no longer just one, but not two... yes, three cameras on the 3DS. See what they did there? Anyways, basic button controls from the series of Nintendo handhelds are present, but there are included buttons for "Home", a circle pad (think analog sticks), and a "3D slider". That last one will be covered below as well. As for backwards compatibility, I regret to give you the first bad remark on the 3DS. We can no longer play Game Boy Advanced games, much like how the DS removed Game Boy Color access. Don't worry, we can still play our DS games on it, but that brings me to another piece of unfortunate news. The graphics for DS games become stretched and distorted on the 3DS fullscreen, we have no choice but to adjust the settings to vary the screen length. Bottom line, that sucks, Nintendo should've really thought of their previous games when designing this system. Not to mention it even manages to incorporate a Wii feature, Mii! Basically player avatars that you interact with, it's just as weird as it sounds. For the final influence from older handheld consoles, we retain the voice chat capabilities via the microphone that the DS introduced (as well as the fond memories of me jumping out of my chair as someone talked to me during a Pokemon Trade). The 3DS did a good job of retaining old features, even if a few useful ones had to be sacrificed.

Secondly, let's move onto the games that the 3DS has. I mean, what is a system without games to play on it? At launch, we have but a few titles... including PilotWings, a game that relies heavily on the 3D effects, Super Street Fighter IV, a 3DS version of an existing game, with graphics rivaling that of the console version. Like almost every system at launch, it starts out with an incredibly small library, but when we look at the games we'll be getting, you'll soon forget that. First off... Nintendogs plus Cats version! It's what I've wanted all along! Well... maybe, but not for many others. But that's exactly why we have the next game coming, brace yourselves... The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time 3DS. Greatest system of all time seems like a possibility while just hearing the title of that game, but we're gonna hold off on that for now...

But coming to another great feature, one that I'm sure you've all heard of before clicking on this review, the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS (the title should've been a big clue here...). Is it as great as some people claim it is, or as poor as others label it as being? Well 3D without the glasses is certainly an achievement (as Nintendo of America's marketing campaign keeps screaming at me), and as you're playing some games, you can almost feel as if you're watching that match in Street Fighter, or flying through the sky in PilotWings. This is wear the 3D slider from earlier comes in, the amount of 3D (which can apparently be measured and scaled, oh Nintendo) can be toggled by adjusting the 3D slider. Many players have reported that having it at the highest setting for long periods of time can hurt your eyes, but I'm yet to notice this. That's just another good reason for being able to adjust how 3D you're going to be playing. Still, is this gimmick really worth it? I believe so, and future 3DS games should be able to back up this statement.

Speaking of worth, cost is probably the driving force between choosing to buy a 3DS or not. I can't say I blame anyone, at the starting price of the Nintendo Wii when it first came out (for a handheld!) I'd certainly be frightened by the price tag too! But let me speak for Nintendo in saying that the 3DS will eventually pay for itself, not in money, but in the fun that you'll have. Not to say this warrants you spending two hundred and fifty dollars however. Unless you plan on trading in your current DS, multiple games, and any other gaming accessories (such as GBA games you probably won't be playing as often now) to offset the cost, I wouldn't recommend purchasing it right now. Just wait a while in making your spending decision, we have plenty of new games coming out later in the year, and who knows, perhaps a new color scheme of 3DS (did I mention we only have Black and Teal/Black? Ew... ) or even a new version. I mean, how many DS or GBA spinoff consoles did we have? Only time will tell with the 3DS, maybe they'll improve that battery life...

Well now that we're on the subject of that, let me discuss what I believe is the biggest problem of the 3DS. THE BATTERY LIFE. Now a DS Lite with the screen at its brightest setting will last about 3 or 4 hours I'd say. The 3DS lasts between 2 or 3. So much for taking that handheld in the car for vacation without an obnoxious car charger (which to my knowledge, does not yet exist for the 3DS). This really undermines the whole purpose of a handheld system, why take it on the go if we can't play it for an extended period of time?

But the 3DS still has many more astounding features to make up for things like that, such as being able to find wireless hotspots or LAN access, and enhanced online capabilities. The only problem being, of course, is that the current 3DS library does not take advantage of this, it may still be a good while before you see anyone sitting in an Internet Cafe with their 3DS, presumably plugged in...

Now as I've said in the title, the 3DS has a lot of potential, even someone who absolutely loathes Nintendo has to admit the impressive features. That said, we've been over the countless errors that the 3DS shows, the most glaringly obvious one being a battery life rivaled by the classic Virtual Boy. But don't let that get you down, we still have an impressive library of games coming, from Ocarina of Time to a 3DS Star Fox 64 remake. A future certainly looks bright for the 3DS, and for these reasons I recommend holding off on purchasing it today, but waiting a few months down the road when a more impressive selection of games arrive.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 04/11/11

Game Release: Nintendo 3DS (US, 03/27/11)

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