Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

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sirdilznik
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Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by sirdilznik »

So I just scooped up my shiny new Cosmo Black Nintendo 3DS this morning. For anyone wondering about Nintendo's new portable I thought I'd share my experiences with it so far. This is my first console purchase in about 8 years, since I got a PS2. I've tightened the belt and been saving like a mad man to be able to afford it, plus 2 games, for the past several months.

The unit looks really slick. The 3 tone black, dark grey, medium grey look has a nice speckled metallic finish (not as pronounced as on the blue unit) and rounded edges for a simple utilitarian, yet sleek look. The unit has a decent bit of heft to it, not enough to tire you out when carrying it, but enough to make it feel solid and sturdy, like a professional machine not a toy.

On to the important stuff. The machine comes bundles with an impressive amount of software built in. There is a game called "Face Raiders" where you take a picture of somebody's face (possibly your own) and the game makes flying enemies with that face and you shoot at them while moving the 3DS around. It does get boring fairly quick but it's a neat little distraction for a little while. Then there are AR Games which use AR cards, paper cards with specific images on them. You put the card(s) on a flat surface, like a table, then the 3D camera works it's magic. What you see is your table, the card(s), and surroundings, just like you would be looking at them directly and not through the 3DS, but then the unit augments the picture. Creatures might pop up on your table, the table sinks, raises, and warps in parts, a hole opens up, etc... The AR Games included are pretty basic but they're also pretty fun and the technology is really impressive. Some of the AR cards just make figures with corresponding Ninty characters appear and you can just take their picture on your table, or out on the street, or wherever. It's basic right now but I can definitely see huge potential for this technology going forward. There are more games to unlock once you beat all the AR Games, including a really basic RPG using Miis but I haven't got that far yet. There is also full DS backward compatibility, a Mii maker, network functionality, and future firmware updates will add GameBoy/GameBoy Color (hopefully eventually GameBoy Advance too) virtual store, internet browser, Netflix, and other goodies.

Of course the main draw of the 3DS is the ability to play games in 3D without any special shutter glasses. So how does the 3D look? Well I hate to use the cliche, but you really have to see it to believe it. Obviously it's up to each developer to implement it so it's different in every game. I got two titles with the unit, Super Street Fighter IV 3D and Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.

The effect in SSFIV is subtle but it looks pretty good. It makes the characters stand out in the foreground with the life bars hovering over them while the background seems to stretch back beyond the back of the unit a bit. There is another mode where the camera angle is shifted a bit so it's sorta over your fighter's shoulder, kinda 45 degrees from the usual view. This definitely shows off the 3D a lot more though it's weird fighting in that mode. Maybe I'll get used to it. On a side note I have to commend Capcom for porting this game to a handheld and sacrificing pretty much nothing. It plays great, looks great, and it's got everything the PS3 and XBox360 versions have.

When I picked up Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars I was picking it up for the gameplay and figured the 3D effect would be very subdued. The game is a top down/isometric (you can shift between the views) turn-based tactical, squad based strategy game by Julian Gollop, the man who made the original X-COM. The tactical gameplay is top notch and the game is tons of fun much like I expected because of who programmed it. What I didn't expect is how great the 3D effect looks. Now before I go on waxing poetic about how great the 3D looks let me say that it doesn't do anything to aid or change the gameplay. I've heard that the 3D in Ridge Racer is really terrific and it helps you judge distances and when to turn, and that makes sense that 3D would affect gameplay in a racing game. Likewise I think 3D would affect 3D platformers where it would help judge distances on jumps and such. While the 3D effect adds nothing to gameplay in GR:SW it looks fantastic. It gives the terrain a sense of depth and realism that's hard to put into words, in both the gameplay and in some of the cut scenes. I found myself several times feeling like my fingers holding the unit around the back, near the shoulder buttons, were going to poke through the ravines in the background of the game because it looked like they really were several inches deep beyond where the physical screen was.

I've yet to see any effects where it looked like something was coming out of the screen toward me, though some other games may have that now or in the future but the added sense of depth I've seen in the two titles I own (GR:SW in particular) is quite impressive. It's also quite amazing how it changes the feel of the graphics. Supposedly GR:SW started out being developed for the DS then they changed it to a 3DS game, and it looks like it. With the 3D slider in the "Off" position the graphics aren't that impressive and I could easily imagine them on a regular DS game. Move the slider and everything looks so much better. It's hard to explain because it doesn't make the graphics any smoother or higher resolution, but the added dimension of depth enhances the look of the game in a way that almost no amount of better resolution or anti-aliasing could.

The one negative about the unit is the battery life. Once I fully charged my unit I played it for about 3 1/2 hours before the "your battery will be dead soon" light started blinking, dunno how much longer I had before it would have completely died and I turned it off at that point and put it on charge. Mind you most of that time was playing 3DS games with the 3D on, 4 out of 5 brightness, and the volume on full. Turning brightness down, 3D off, wireless off is supposed to make the battery last longer (makes sense), and it's also supposed to last longer playing the old DS titles.

So there is one drawback but it's the only bad thing I have to say about the unit. Overall I've been having a blast with my 3DS and don't regret shelling out all the hard earned dough to get it one bit. I'm sure Ninty will eventually put out a hardware revision with a better battery and slightly more powerful processors but I don't see that happening for another 2 years, year and a half at the very least, as the battery is the only flaw with the unit (unlike the original DS which despite being a good machine, had numerous flaws). When that time comes I'll probably sell my 3DS on Ebay or trade it in toward the new model. Until then I'm going to take loving care of this unit and enjoy the heck out of it.
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geishaboy
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by geishaboy »

Nice review. I have heard a few people say the same thing, that the 3D effect is awesome and not just a gimmick. I have wanted to have a play around with one for a while but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Probably won't buy one though, I'm far too broke :(
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by BasiliskWrangler »

Are there any 3D RPGs for it? How frackin' awesome would an "Eye of the Beholder" clone be on a 3DS??? :mrgreen:

Before anyone asks: no, we are not set up to develop Nintendo DS/3DS apps here. :cry: Nintendo really doesn't offer development support to small indie developers.
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ManusDei
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by ManusDei »

No 3D rpg yet, outside of a remake for Zelda : Ocarina of Time that should come out some time soon.

And the 3D effect is...well, real 3D, I don't really know how to describe it either.
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sirdilznik
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by sirdilznik »

Yeah no 3D RPGs yet. The launch lineup is pretty bare, which honestly is the case with pretty much any system's launch lineup. As ManusDei mentioned Ocarina of Time, which being a Zelda game makes it semi-RPG, mostly-Action/Adventure (and 100% awesome), is coming. Also Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, which I don't know much about other than obviously it's a jRPG, is on the way. Both games I think are scheduled for June.
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by supaflyryguy »

Well there is no denying that the 3DS is pretty damn cool, but porting Ocarina of Time is kinda lame. Although its a great game (got me into the series), I'm just not a big fan of remakes. On a positive note, though, I heard Nintendo is making a new Kid Icarus game which is just plain awesome.
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sirdilznik
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by sirdilznik »

supaflyryguy wrote:Well there is no denying that the 3DS is pretty damn cool, but porting Ocarina of Time is kinda lame. Although its a great game (got me into the series), I'm just not a big fan of remakes. On a positive note, though, I heard Nintendo is making a new Kid Icarus game which is just plain awesome.
Yeah I kind of share that sentiment on remakes to some degree, there are entirely too many remakes being made these days. With that said as long as Nintendo is remaking a game they could certainly do worse than remaking what is widely considered the greatest game ever made. For me personally it will be a brand new game as I never owned a N64 and when I played at my friend's house we usually got down on some Mario Kart or Goldeneye multiplayer. *takes moment to take in fond memories of Goldeneye*

As far as Kid Icarus goes I'm excited about that too though you should know that it's going to be nothing like the original. The new Kid Icarus is going to be basically an On-Rails Shooter (makes me think of Space Harrier). By all accounts though people have been really impressed with the game.
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by CrazyBernie »

I think I'll wait for the 3DSi XL.... :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Nintendo 3DS - My Impressions

Post by Rush »

Unfortunately for me, I can not see in 3D, no, not even with those ingenious cardboard 3D glasses people use in the theaters. So...I finally picked up the DS. Problem: Now I have to unload my GBA and my games for it somehow, lol. My local games stores, four of them, no longer accept GBA games or the systems, and, packaging/delivery costs by way of selling them upon E-Bay...well, it is simply not financially worth the trouble.
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