It seems that we have been waiting forever for the Nintendo 3DS and now that it is almost here we are in a position to say what it includes and how it plays. So let’s have a look at it then.
What does it Look Like?
The 3DS looks quite smart really. The first thing you will notice is that is comes with two screens much like the current DS and DS Lite.The bigger one at the top (3.53 inches) provides 3D images but also works in plain old 2D. The lower screen (3 inch) is the one which gives you touchscreen functionality. The casing and controls are solid enough and look built to last much like the entire range of Nintendo handhelds stretching all the way back to the Gameboy.
What does it Come with?
The Nintendo 3DS has a motion sensor and a gyro sensor, which allow you really experience the likes of the driving and flying games the way they should be played. You tilt or twist and the game reacts in the same way, much like the iPhone.
Another interesting inclusion is the analogue stick which opens up the DS to a generation who prefer anologue to the more traditional D pad. It will make genres like racing, first person shooters and platform games more playable and make cross platform gaming with the Wii a possible reality in the future.
The 3DS comes with 3 cameras, one front facing and two rear facing. The two on the back can take 3D images (more on this later) and the front one takes snaps like before and provides motion detection for games.
It also has an enhanced microphone allowing some games to respond to sound, this became mainstream on the original DS which at the time was hugely popular, believe us when we say the enhanced mic on the 3DS makes sound recording and gaming even better.
The 3D Depth Slider housed on the side of the screen lets you adjust the level of 3D imaging you would like to see, as well as a 2GB Nintendo Game Card thrown in.
What can I Play on it?
There are a number of dedicated 3D games coming out – Resident Evil, The Sims, Mario Kart with over 70 titles in development – while the new device will also be fully backwards compatible with DS games. Apart from this you can also connect to the internet to download 3D movies and play games online.
New titles are being added and are emerging all the time, we heard about the new Lego Pirates of the Caribbean game the other day which will come with a new 3D duel mode – we can expect a lot more ‘mini’ games on the 3DS based on social and multiplayer action – Nintendo are calling this service Streetpass.
How does it Perform?
The 2D gaming is excellent, but it is the 3D option which most of us are interested in, and this is what looks like taking a bit of getting used to. The 3D Depth Slider might appear to be a fairly useless addition at first but early testing has shown that it is actually essential, as different types of game and indeed eyes need a different level of depth adjustment.
The Nintendo 3DS suffers from a flickering screen when it is in 3D mode and the device is moved. However, keep the 3DS still and you will get the full benefit of 3D but not in a cheesy 80’s way. The system gives depth to backgrounds with great detail being worked into scenery and spaces. It does take a bit of getting used to and it won’t be for everyones taste.
As mentioned earlier the 3DS can take 3D pictures, well with a little help from a clever piece of software. Basically the dual cameras on the back snap a photo producing what can best be described as a messy blur. You then simply tweak the two photos together until the 3D image is rendered, it’s a system that is as simple as it is brilliant and one that we feel will be replicated by other brands and manufacturers.
Watching 3D films on the 3DS isn’t as thrilling or indepth as when using passive at the cinema, you could never expect that from such a small device. It’s great for short films and footage which when you consider Nintendo’s own 30 minute usage guideline makes sense, you shouldn’t use the 3D mode for more than half an hour so watching long films on it should be out of the question anyway. This also ties in well with Nintendo’s new spotpass Wi-Fi service, users will be able to access shorts of Shaun the Sheep, Sky 3D and other news services including Eurosport for the big kids among us.
Early indications are that the 3D function is going to take a bit of getting used to in order to adjust our eyes and find the right level of image depth and device steadiness. We are pretty confident that most people will easily be able to get used to it, we did and loved the added depth this simple system gives – no glasses and no fuss.
The 2D presentation is pretty faultless, although impressive the 3D technology is still in its infancy, we are sure the system on the whole will be wildly popular, whether the 3D side of it will catch on remains to be seen. If it does we may, just may, have a new way to play on hand held devices.
The 3DS is available for £197 from Amazon with free delivery (best deal at time of writing).