Nintendo's 3DS: First Look
Posted on Wednesday March 23, 2011, 17:55 by Sebastian Williamson in Infinite Lives
After the monumental success of the Wii and the original DS, you might consider forgiving the house that Mario built for resting on its laurels as it sat back and bathed in its own sweet success. Not so, because the Japanese gaming superpower has been busy tinkering away on yet another gaming revolution in its headquarters in Kyoto – the Nintendo 3DS. At first glance the naysayer may not be entirely unlikely to brush this one off as just another cheeky tweak on the tried and tested DS formula. Pop the lid, test drive it and you’ll be in for a surprise.
The 3DS is essentially a sleeker, shinier version of its handheld brethren we see plastered all over our telly boxes; same dual screen setup and same touch sensitive control system. The difference, however, is this: the pint-sized powerhouse is capable of beaming full stereoscopic 3D without the need for glasses. 3D is everywhere right now, and its taking over our living rooms too, but at the expensive of zanily priced TVs and goofy, cumbersome glasses that, in some cases, weigh in it almost half the price of the Nintendo 3DS.
With Nintendo 3DS you’re getting a full 3D experience in the palm of your hand without the need to look like a spanner on the tube or bus. Frankly, it’s got us all giddy inside here at Empire towers, and with the system really in its infancy, we’re massively excited to see what Nintendo, third party developers and studios have in store for us later this year and beyond. The machine itself is smaller in scale than the DSi but a fraction thicker to compensate for the fresh hardware running under its shiny chassis. Pop the lid and you’re greeted with brand new control nub, or Circle Pad as Ninty likes to call it.
The problem with nubs on handhelds (PSP, we’re looking at you) is that you’re finger had a tendency to slip and slide during more frantic gaming sessions. Nintendo have sought to combat that by crafting a nub with a concave surface, which means you’ll have something weighty to push and pull against when playing games like Pro Evolution Soccer or the spectacular Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. It also means you’re getting a better experience when dusting off that copy of Mario Kart DS, thanks to the system’s backwards compatibility.
So, what about the 3D, then? Frankly, we can’t get enough of it but you need to tinker with the slider located on the side and find the 3DS’s sweet spot for the best experience. This is pretty much head on and being held as still as possible, which means bumpy bus rides and tube journeys are going to have an adverse affect on how well the 3D aspect performs. Interestingly, we didn’t suffer from any headaches, eyesore or nauseating side effects that some users have been complaining about online, but that, we’re guessing, all depends on the player.
Alongside the eye-boggling 3D, the machine shoehorns in a myriad of slick features including multiple cameras, an on-board gyroscope and a 3D camera. While the addition of camera for snapping 3D images is a nifty idea, the results are less than stellar, often appearing slightly grainy and a tad washed out. That leaves us with the machine’s other tent-pole feature – augmented reality. Simply put, augmented reality allows you to use your own environment as the level. While the machine does come packaged with two AR games – AR Cards and Face Raiders – we’re more excited by the idea of what’s to come down the line with the use of the technology in both Nintendo’s machine and Sony’s thunderous NGP.
As for the launch line-up, there’s a 13 games to cherry pick from including Pilotwings Resort, Asphalt 3D, Rayman 3D and the Sims 3D. If you’ve come here looking for the Empire recommendation, then look no further: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D, Ridge Racer 3D and the wonderfully retro Pilotwings Resort are top of our list.
The Nintendo 3DS is an irresistible toy, marred only by a steep price tag (shop around online and you’ll find it for a little less than the asking price). It’s fun, easy to use and an absolute pleasure to play. So, in short: Nintendo – winning.