After all the talk and excitement now is the time for action. Yes, this week sees the release of the Nintendo 3DS, much anticipated, sometimes dismissed as a gimmick, but mostly a new Nintendo handheld which was always sure to turn heads. So now that we have it in our hands what do we think?
The first thing you will notice about the Nintendo 3DS is just what a quality machine it is. It’s certainly heavier than the DSi, however it also feels better built and looks like it could take a bit of punishment should you be in the habit of dropping things every two seconds.
Looking around the machine it has the usual suspects that you would associate with a DS, it flips open in the usual way, has dual screens and the usual face buttons. There are plenty of major differences before you even turn the machine on, for one there is a new analogue stick, the select, home and start buttons are now underneath the bottom screen, and there is also a SD Card slot, which in our machine houses an included 2GB memory card. Another major difference is the two cameras at the front of the machine, while there remains one on the inside. There is also a wireless switch on the bottom right hand side, and the much talked about 3D slider on the top screen. The 3DS comes in both Cosmic Black and also in Aqua Blue, both of which have a shiny exterior, although surprisingly finger prints aren’t too much of an issue at the moment.
Turning the machine on you are greeted with the now familiar Nintendo 3DS symbol, before being prompted to set up the 3D, parental settings and the date and time. You are also able to connect your machine to the internet should you have access to a wireless router, and I have to say that connecting to the internet is a lot easier than it was on previous machines, which is fantastic news.
Setting up the 3D is a fairly easy enough process. You are prompted to hold the machine in a certain position before going through the simple steps, this includes introducing you to the 3D slider which allows you to choose the level of depth for the 3D, which in turn also allows you to switch the 3D off completely and stick to a traditional 2D environment for your gaming.
Once all the pleasantries of setting the machine up are out the way you are then free to explore the various menus. The menus include Health & Safety information, the Game Card slot, the Nintendo 3DS camera; Nintendo 3DS sound; Mii Maker; Mii Plaza; AR Games; Face Raiders; the Activity Log and Download Play.
Most of these options do explain themselves, however its worth going into detail regarding a few of them. First up we will talk about the Camera options. With a click of the shoulder button you will find yourself activating the camera. The camera resolution isn’t exactly that of high end cameras, however the machine does allow you to take photos in 3D – so take that Canon. The 3D photos are easily viewed, and if you wish you can also Graffiti them, adding in your own custom artwork via the various tools on offer. There is certainly plenty of fun to be had with the camera, so make sure you have a play around should you be splashing out on Nintendo’s new machine.
Heading back to the main menu, there are some pretty other decent features worth mentioning, such as Nintendo 3DS sound. Here you have the option to record yourself singing or other strange noises and manipulate them in any way you wish. Personally I’ve had great fun changing my singing voice to sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks, what’s not to love about that?
One of the more familiar items on the menu is Mii Maker; this is essentially the same as the Mii creation on the Wii, although there are a few subtle differences. Basically you can create your Mii using the preset options, however you can also take a photo of your face to speed up the process, the machine will then roughly judge your age, before throwing the shape of it onto a Mii. This is a fairly decent feature and is fairly essential if you want to use other features of the machine, such as including your Mii in the game, or using Mii Plaza which allows you to pass other 3DS’s on the street and share Mii’s via the excellent Street Pass feature.
Thankfully Nintendo has included a game on the machine, a simple 3D – Augmented reality style title named Face Raiders. This game sees you take a picture of your face, before it transforms into an enemy and flies around the room; from here your objective is to shoot the face down using balls, before eventually taking on the boss. You are also able to collect faces, which come from anyone playing the game on your machine.
One of the most fantastic inclusions in the box is the AR Cards which are used in conjunction with the AR Games option. Included in the box and making use of the 3DS’s two outer cameras, the system makes use of flat paper cards which turn into three-dimensional objects on the screen. What this does is allow you to play various games in Augmented Reality and I have to say, it’s absolutely fantastic. A few examples of these include a shooting game which sees you firing at targets, while also looking for hidden ones, while there is also an AR golf style game. As you complete games you unlock new ones, and there is no doubt scope for more cards to be released, which is fantastic.
There is one major feature missing, the Nintendo Store, where you will be able to download games and no doubt new features, however there are plenty of slots free so expect to see this very soon.
Considering I haven’t even covered the putting a game into the machine yet (we will review those separately), it’s pretty apparent that the Nintendo 3DS is a feature packed and well built console which is a welcome addition to the World of gaming. Sure the machine will live and die by its games, but this is Nintendo we are talking about, so the 3DS hasn’t got a lot to worry about.
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