Since Nintendo Direct happened yesterday (14th Janurary 2015) I decided to write about my experiences with the New Nintendo 3DS XL
I haven’t had a portable games system since…the Gameboy Advance in the heady days of 2003, even then it was a glorified Pokemon Ruby machine. I’ve never played on a NES or a SNES and I thought the Nintendo 64 was crap. I did own a Gamecube and Wii, however, and I think that they were great systems with some amazing games on them. What I am getting at is that I have no great reverence for Nintendo nor any real nostalgia.
So, saying that, why did I import a New Nintendo 3DS XL from Australia?
Well, honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I have a feeling that it has much to do with the huge amount of games that have received glowing reviews from various media outlets and random people off the internet that swayed me. Plus, I have always wanted to know just how good the 3D was on the system since it didn’t require special glasses. What I didn’t expect, thanks to my lack of experience with Nintendo products, was the quality of the machine itself.
It has a good weight to it and just looks aesthetically pleasing with the smooth rounded corners, ergonomic button placement and huuuge screen in the dead centre. It is obvious that time and care has been put into the design of the n3DS XL. Which is to be expected as Nintendo is famous for their quality hardware. It just feels great to hold. As a plus, the stylus, which I sadly lost whilst travelling, is comfortable in your fingers.
Opening it up and turning it on, you are greeted with a menu that is very reminiscent of Apple’s products. It has been noted in the past that Nintendo have been ‘inspired’ by Apple, just look at the Wii’s design, and the user interface is no exception. It is clean, clear with an emphasis on ‘apps’ but actually has a personality. Which is probably because of the n3DS being partially targeted at children. There are bright colours, informative yet charming icons for software, little jingles whenever you highlight one and most importantly moving through the menus is snappy, something I heard was lacking on the previous iteration of the 3DS. Also, each icon serves as a showcase of sorts for the 3D. Nintendo should be applauded for making a system that pretty much out does Apple when it comes to simplicity and clarity of information.
I was sceptical about the 3D on the n3DS XL. When I heard about the system my immediate reaction was “how can you have 3D without glasses?” and then when I heard it actually worked I thought “how can you have good 3D without glasses?” Well this system answered those questions and then some. The 3D capabilities are astonishing. Nothing exactly comes at you like some 3D films – the screen is too small for that – but the sense of depth it gives is very impressive. The first “woah” experience I had with it was when I was making my Mii, yep they still exist, and I rotated him. It felt like the features of the Mii were sticking out of the screen and that he had actual depth. Then I messed around with the 3D silly mini-games that come packed in with the n3DS XL. I was so amazed with the technology that I had to show everyone I could and they echoed my reaction. It is a cool gimmick that is done so well that it defines the n3DS XL and is probably the best feature of the entire system.
As much as I am gushing about the entire thing – and don’t get me wrong, the n3DS XL was well worth the money in my opinion – it does have some problems. First and foremost, it didn’t come with a cable to charge the damn thing, so I couldn’t use it when I first bought it. This, I believe, is common practice in Japan (and now America I guess) but was surprising and supremely annoying for me. The battery life isn’t exactly long either, especially if you have the 3D cranked all the way up. But I never used the thing for longer than say…an hour or two at a time so it has been no great bother. Finally, and this is really nitpicky of me but the fact that you can’t buy replacement styluses in this country is ridiculous. I had to buy some 3rd party ones which, admittedly, work fine. Hell, when I tried to go on the Nintendo U.K. website to see if I could order some, it just directed me to the Nintendo store…which doesn’t even sell them! Which was very frustrating to say the least.
But all my criticisms of the system are very minor. So minor in fact I probably shouldn’t have brought them up. But damn it, a man has a right to air his grievances, no matter how tiny! The New Nintendo 3DS XL is a fantastic product that makes me glad that I chose that over the Playstation Vita.
Note: You’ll realise that I haven’t mentioned the games. Well I only own a couple at the moment: Fire Emblem: Awakening or Animal Crossing New Leaf which I will be talking about rather soon. So stay tuned!