Review by Foalku
"Much better than the PSP"
Of all consoles, Nintendo has always been the most revolutionary of the lot. Firstly, came the NES. Now this was before my time, but when it was first released, everybody was astounded about its capabilities. Nintendo's consoles has invented lots of stuff which the other consoles have used, or we know that they will use in the future. The SNES (maybe even the NES) used L and R shoulder buttons, never before used, and was then used in both the Dreamcast, the Playstation and Xbox, with the Dreamcast and Xbox using a trigger in its place. Somewhat different but generally the idea. The Nintendo 64 used an analog stick, which is now used by almost every console which has been released within the past 10 years (with the exclusion of the DS). But the DS has taken it's innovative ideas to the next level, back in the 1980's, who would have imagined a console that fits in the palm of your hand? Not only that, it has a microphone so you can interact more so with the game. People may have laughed at that idea and say Maybe when we're all robots. But to be able to touch the console to influence the game (aka the touch screen) I would have expected that on a console such as the Wii or Playstation 3, but to be on a handheld? It's amazing. Nintendo are always out there to beat their competitors, whether it's Sony or Microsoft, and they always manage to out-do them. You could be a graphics buff, and choose the PSP, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. But I'm going to rely on Nintendo to really provide what the gaming world needs. They know exactly how to cater to its fans.
The Nintendo DS graphics are great. Obviously they're not as great of the PSP. However, whilst the PSP can show off it's lovely colours, Nintendo thinks of new innovative ideas and great games. The graphics on the DS are that of early Playstation era. Whilst not as visually pleasing on the eye as games can get nowadays, they certainly are incredible for a handheld and are a lot better than I would have imagined. Some games have graphics which are a little blurry, or a lack of detail has been added (I'm thinking of FIFA 06). However, they are a big jump up from the Game Boy Advanced. They are certainly three dimensional, however there are some RPG's there (Mario and Luigi: Partners In Time) that use the original 2D format. However, the colours used and texture make it infinitely prettier than that of it's GBA counterpart. The screens aren't the biggest you've seen but they certainly are bigger than the GBA ones, and considering there are two screens it makes for a more enjoyable experience. Like has been previously said, if you really want to enjoy a game for its graphics, by all means go and buy a PSP, they, too have a wide selection of games, but if you want to buy a console with true innovation, and a great selection of games, then make your way over to the nearest games store and buy a Nintendo DS. By the time of writing you could probably pick one up for $100 new, $70 old.
Surround sound on a handheld makes for a great enjoyable experience. It works especially well with Resident Evil DS and the sound can make for a spooky atmosphere. The movement of the volume is a little weird, you can move it up a bit and not hear a thing, and then move it by a fraction of a millimetre and it's louder than you'd want it! It takes a whilst to be able to adjust your perfect volume for the game, but once you do the sound really does sound fantastic, and even if you want to play GBA games on the DS, the sound is improved a lot for that too. The sound generally is just midis however there are certain games (I'm thinking FIFA 06 commentary and Resident Evil voices) where they use voices. The stereo speakers really make them sound much better than some of the old TV's that were out when the Resident Evil was first released so it ultimately makes for a better experience, for the sound. The speakers are also very clear and sound like they're coming from your very own TV and I've never had any problem with dust collecting in the speakers and ruining the sound.
The features is what the DS can truly say is incredible and barring the Wii, was the most innovative thing that Nintendo had come up with at the time. Having to use the stylus and the touch screen, as well as the microphone to solve puzzles and move further on the game is an incredible feat and has been implemented to many games. It certainly gives you more of a grip on the game and makes you feel much more involved with the game experience. I can imagine myself divulging a lot of my time to the Nintendo DS for years to come. There are two screens too, one for normal viewing and is generally used as a main screen but plenty of DS games there you have to use the bottom screen, the touch screen to play certain aspects of a game. Another feature is backwards compatibility. The creators of the Nintendo DS were kind enough to let you play any game from your Game Boy Advanced collection, however, unlike the GBA, they will not support the original Game Boy games, nor the Game Boy Colour games. But I highly recommend that you don't get put off, this console provides such an innovative experience that you might not even want to revert back to some of the old school games!
Truth be told, the DS I find isn't very durable. My DS hinge for the screens is slightly snapped a little. Whilst it is no problem to the game, and its not even at a slant or anything, the little black gap isn't very aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and really makes the DS look a little unattractive. The stylus also isn't very convenient. It is very small and easy to lose or snap. However I hear that the durability has been improved with the DS Lite and the stylus' have greatly improved in size to make it harder to snap and lose. I have owned my Nintendo DS for one and a half years and it is showing no signs of breaking. I don't use a screen protector (although they are available for extremely cheap) and my screen barely shows and scratches (although this could also depend on how often you use it and how hard you scratch) and the speakers are in top condition. The Microphone is very clear although slightly sensitive, however in a few games where using the microphone is usable there is an option to adjust the microphone sensitivity.
The DS started off slow, with Rayman, Need For Speed, Splinter Cell and Super Mario 64 DS being the major highlights. Rayman, a direct port of the Nintendo 64 game, Need For Speed, new, but a lot better on your Xbox, GameCube (if its even on the gamecube) or PS2. Splinter Cell, likewise and Super Mario 64, once again a direct port. Things have really started to pick up there. You have sports games, adventure games, puzzle games, classic games with new features, RPG's, driving (NFS and Asphalt Urban GT) and stealth. It has a wide array of games to make for the ultimate selection. I am a fan of many different genres of games and I have a bunch of DS games to suit my every need. It really is astounding the amount of the choices the DS provide. One of the games I'm looking to buying when I have enough money is Final Fantasy III, a famous game yet to be released in America. There is also a game where you take the role of a surgeon and have to do procedures on them. The amount of ideas that can be contributed are endless, unlike other consoles, when they're bound to run out of ideas eventually, and the games produced are all the same. Trust Nintendo to make a real difference.
I highly suggest you buy the DS now, as it most certainly will not be a waste of your money and you will not regret it for one second! As I have said before, to buy a new handheld game, you really are stuck with the choice, this or the PSP. The PSP is great, but I feel that it is highly limited to sport games. Only the sport games do I truly enjoy on the PSP, and most of them are ports from the PS2 with features taken out and it feels a lot harder to control. Whilst a few of the Nintendo DS games are ports, a lot of them are great new games and certainly fun new experiences for people of all ages. It really is great entertainment on a handheld console and I suggest you buy it now!
Total Score: 8/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 12/18/06
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