Review by GamerJM

Reviewed: 08/28/08

With the DS Lite, Nintendo has outdone themselves and created the perfect handheld (compares both original and Lite)

In November 2004, Nintendo Launched the DS. The DS is a handheld with two screens, one of them being touched-based. The system can also handle 3-D. This allows for a ton of innovation, and the DS has a game library that supports it. As of right now, I have played the DS for three and a half years. Now, when you make a console or a handheld one of your main systems (in the sense that you've been constantly getting games for it for a long period of time) you know that you'll feel much attached to it. All of my pervious system reviews were on consoles that I've had from a year and a half to half a year. With the DS, we're reaching the end of it's lifetime in a year or two. We've already seen what it's done. When Nintendo launched the DS back in 2004, I was very impressed. Now, here we are in 2008, and I'm even more impressed than I was before. Because of this, before I start my review portion of the review, I'm going to have to educate you with my history of the DS. You may skip this portion of the review if you wish.

History: I remember the day that the DS launched, in November 2004. I could not afford one at the time, but I at least wanted to go to all of the Game stores in my entire area, just to celebrate the launch and play the demos. Unfortunately, that day also happened to be my sister's birthday. However, we did find time to go. I remember being really, really, really impressed with the Metriod Prime Hunters demo they had for display. I remember just being ticked about not being able to get one. I and my sister both asked for one for Christmas, and we both got one. At first, I kind of had mixed reactions. The games were kind of unimpressive, for the most part, besides one. However, the hardware was very impressive. I remember going to my Cousin's house on Christmas morning and for the first time in my life, playing a five-player game. Yes, that's right; we played five-player DS through wireless communications, since a lot of them also got a DS. Also, some of the upcoming games looked really promising. Time went on, and several good games launched, like Warioware: Touched!, Meteos, and Advanced Wars: Dual Strike. I remember them being good, but the GBA's upcoming games interested me more, with Pokemon Emerald and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, both being games I would consider killer-apps for the DS's GBA feature. But I was still waiting for "the" DS title. The game that truly wowed me. That game was Mario Kart DS. After spending countless hours "pwning" players online, and at the same time, playing a ton of time trials. I believe that, after months of playing the game obsessively, I logged an estimated 120 hours into the game. Then, the Lite launched, which improved even more on the DS's hardware. From there, there were great games, like Tetris DS, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Elite Beat Agents, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Final Fantasy 3, and Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime. This is what I like to consider the DS's golden age. From there, it slowed down a little. I began logging, what became, around 90 hours into Elite Beat Agents. It became my new Mario Kart DS. Then, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came out. This was the killer-app I always wanted for the DS. These games were "epic" RPGs, full of several hours of interesting gameplay, improving over all previous Pokemon games. It was the Pokemon game I dreamed of. From there, once I was done with it, the DS became my "Ace Attorney" system. I call it that, because for months, a lot of what I played on the system was the Ace Attorney series. I loved it. Sure, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass also came out, but the DS was mostly my Ace Attorney system, until I finished Apollo Justice. Since then, a few good games have come out, but lately, I've mainly just been playing the Ouendan games on my DS. But now, I feel much attached to my DS, because I've just experienced so much with it.

First Party games: When it comes to third-party, the DS is perfect. It has its killer-app (Pokemon Diamond and Pearl). Several other great-quality games include Mario Kart DS, the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, Elite Beat Agents/Ouendan 1/2, Tetris DS, Warioware: Touched!, and Advanced Wars Dual Strike. It also has several other games. It also has casual games, like Nintendog, Professor Layton, and Brain Age With a great upcoming library, including Rhythm Heaven and Kirby Superstar Ultra; the DS just has an amazing library with something for everyone.
Score: 10/10.

Touch Screen: As said in the title, this review is of both the original DS and the Lite. Because of this, I will review them separately in this area.
DS "Phat" (original): When the DS first came out; it had an amazing and promising looking touch screen. That touch screen, for the most part, delivered. It defiantly sensed touches perfectly, and several games, like Warioware: Touched! And Elite Beat Agents, used in in very unique and different ways. However, it easily got scratched up, and the stylus easily fell out of its pocket after a lot of use.
DS "Lite" (second model): The DS Lite improved the original's flaws. Since it has even more backlight, the scratches become hard to see, and the new screen makes it so they don't hinder the gameplay. Also, the stylus no longer falls out of the slot. Aside from that, the games are still the same as the original, so the touch screen is still just as creative.
Original score: 9.3
Lite score: 10
Marketing: For the DS and the Lite, Nintendo resorted to using different add campaigns, so I must review them separately again.
Original: The original had pretty bad add campaigns, mainly because it didn't have that many at all. I only ever saw ads for it twice, and both were in Nintendo Power (those were ads, I think…). The only game for the original I ever saw an add for was Pokemon Dash, which was just ok (both the add and the game). Add in a terrible slogan (touching is good? what's that supposed to mean?).
Lite: The Lite has improved ads, but not a whole lot. Nintendo is doing a lot to advertise the games themselves, but I've never seen the Lite itself being advertised. BuT the ads for the games are really good. So it's kind of a mixed bag. How are casuals supposed to know about the DS if they've never even seen adds for the console itself?
Original: 5.5
Lite: 7

Handheld features: The DS, for the most part, is portable. All games that use the buttons are completely portable. You can play them any place you want, for sure. Most games that use the stylus are also portable. They're not completely portable, to the point that you can play them literally anywhere, but you can play them at most places. The battery life is amazing, and it blows away most other handhelds' charging time out of the water. It's not 100% portable, but it's good enough, and you can't expect a handheld like the DS to be.
Score: 9

Third Party games: The DS has a few great third-party games. It has support from Capcom, Konami, and most of all, square Enix. Capcom is creating the Ace Attorney series for the DS, which some out with a new game frequently. Each game in the series is great, and that's just amazing for a series that has more than one main entry per year. Konami is creating Castlevina, which is coming out with a lot of games. Most of the games don't interest me, but they are very popular with a lot of other gamers. Square Enix is coming out with several killer-app RPGs in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. They're even putting the main Dragon Quest games on the system, which is quite a feat for a handheld. There are also a fair amount of good third-party DS games, like Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime and Sonic Rush.

Overall: The DS is an amazing system. The library is perfect, and it has something for everyone. While it has a couple flaws, they don't affect my enjoyment of the handheld at all. What really matters in the end, is not the portability, or the amazing touch screen, or even the dual screens. It's the games, and in that respect, the DS delivers.

True overall score: 10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Nintendo DS Lite Hardware (US, 06/11/06)

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