As pretty much everyone knows at this point the 3DS is Nintendo’s latest generation handheld games console and it plays games and videos in 3D without the need for glasses. At time of writing I only picked it up yesterday and I guess this is going to be my first impressions rather than an in depth review because I’ve only had a few hours of playing with it to get a feel of what it can do.
First off the 3D works well, I’ve heard reports that it’s only 3D that “Goes in” rather than “Pops out”, this isn’t true. While it mostly does go in there is also a noticeable effect of things coming out of the screen too. After charging and doing a software update there was a video to watch on the home screen, this video shows off the 3D rather well. The menu items displayed on the top screen are also 3D and the built in software does a decent job of showing off what the screen is capable of.
Talking of the built in software, there are 2 playable games, firstly the “Face Raiders” game which uses the 3D camera to take an image of a face, then places it in to the game as flying enemies you have to shoot at. It also uses the camera to make it an Augmented Reality game, meaning these enemies are flying about in the room you’re playing the game in, you have to the 3DS around to find them in the room.
The second game comes in the form of AR Cards, you place the card on a surface and it “projects” an image in to the space you’re looking at through the screen, this shows some nifty effects like deforming the surfaces, making them wobble and bend, or retracting in to the distance to make targets appear further away, it’s also a bit of a pain because you have to stay about a foot away from the card and move around it to shoot the targets. A little annoying when if you lose focus on the card the screen goes fuzzy and then you need to refocus on the card.
There’s a pedometer to keep track of how far you walk on any given day, and an activity log which shows the amount of steps taken and what games you’ve played or software you’ve used and for how long.
As for the hardware, well it’s similar in size the the DS Lite. It feels sturdy enough, but not really anything special in your hands. The analogue stick works well, though the D-Pad is a little awkwardly placed as does the button placement, though that’s true of any handheld console in my big hands and I wouldn’t like to trust the hinge on the screen in the hands of a toddler.
The 3D screen itself is a little odd, it’s really 2 overlaid screens with a slider to adjust the “Depth” of the 3D, so you see a double image if you move your line of sight too much. It’s a nice sharp image but any games that use the motion sensors to control it will be quite unplayable in 3D unless you bob your head about all over the place. This can also leave you with a headache or a slight feeling of being unfocused one you finish playing.
It seems there are several features that will become available through future software updates, such as the web browser and the 3DS shop. So it’s not quite “fully featured” yet. But overall my impression of it is a good one, of course the real knowledge of how good it is will come with how good or bad the games are over time. I’m not sure it’s worth the full £230 asking price some places are selling it at, but at £175 I don’t feel ripped off. Now to wait for some good games to come out.