Nintendo 3DS XL review
Review Nintendo has supersized its 3DS with a 4.9in screen that's almost twice the
size area of its predecessor. The handheld goes on sale this week, but if you're unsure whether its worth the upgrade, here's what we thought after a weekend of gaming on it.
With the enlarged display more or less the only improvement, it was obvious this was where I'd be most focused… or not – such is the visual experience of the console's 3D capabilities. Gaining perspective from the ever evasive 'sweet spot' was easier to keep with than the smaller 3DS That said, sudden head tilts or shifts in arm movement still mean you'll have to adjust accordingly and before long I gave up, returning to 2D.
I haven't lost complete faith on this added dimension malarkey, but have yet to find any 3D gear that convinces me the tech is worth investing in. For now, at least, the 3DS XL joins that growing list of dimensionalised products with 3D tech that's found wanting.
3D grumbles aside, the overall increase in display size is a welcome improvement and – based on its predecessor alone – is certainly more of a joy to use. Evidently, Nintendo has begun to realise that, when it comes to gaming, bigger is better. Indeed, the 3DS XL's display is the largest yet for a Nintendo handheld. Sure there's a trade-off regarding compactness but the user experience is much improved as games are easier to get sucked into and short sighted sufferers, like myself, need not hold it so close to focus either.
As reported when the 3DS XL was first announced, the display resolution hasn't been improved. Consequently, games tend to look less sharp then before and in many cases, come across extremely pixellated. A resolution to match the PlayStation Vita would have been too much to hope for.
Fortunately, Nintendo has included a 1:1 pixel mode - activated during a game's boot. This keeps older DS titles sharp by not stretching them to widescreen proportions like its baby brother did. The hinge has also been tweaked to include another lock-point, so users can play the handheld without the need to fully open it.
There's no doubt 3DS fans will prefer this new model, so long as they don't mind the smoother more rounded design, which didn't appeal to me much, truth be told. Personally, I prefer the matt finish to the 3DS' fingerprint-magnet gloss.
Certainly, repositioning the headphone socket to one side – away from the centre – is a good move, however, the package as a whole feels cheaper and slightly too clunky to carry around comfortably. Transporting a 3DS is easy enough and I can just about get away with a PlayStation Vita, but I look far too happy to see everyone when there's an XL in my pocket.
Next page: Cramp it up
Problem there is that smartphone designs are moving away from physical buttons; for "proper" gaming you need them. Trying to play GTA:Chinatown on a phone is a very unpleasant experience compared to a proper console.
Re: "Cue fanboys."
Zelda skyward sword is "just" zelda (i mean "just one of the best games ever made"), but the controls aren't worse than ocarina on an n64, both are perfectly tuned to their control mechanisms. And the idea that the 3d marios play like the 2d ones is misguided. 2d mario has a special momentum that i've never managed to get the hang of, 3d mario I can control fine, even in 2d style sections. Super Mario 3d land is structurally similar to the 2d ones (in terms of worlds and levels within them) but the gameplay is markedly different. If it wasn't I'd be as shit at it as I am at the SNES mario games.
I totally appreciate that some people don't "get" nintendo but to claim that they don't innovate is bizarre, of the 3 big console manufacturers they're far and away the most inventive. Admittedly when they find something that works they iterate it but compared to the yearly fifas, cods etc. they're very restrained. It's one smash bros per platform not one per year...
There are no doubt a load of interesting cheap games on pc, but you buy a console (well, nintendo one) to get simple quick access to games that work. I've just spent too much time fucking around with pcs trying to get games working in the past, just can't be arsed anymore....
"Smart phone gaming is making this design redundant unless your parents won't let you have a phone."
Phones are not equipped with the correct user interface for gaming, so until thats sorted then I will have to stick to dedicated portable gaming systems for my kicks.
"And for people who doubt that try using MAME on a touch screen smartphone, it's not the best experience."
RE: Smart phone gaming is making this design redundant..
Bullshit! For many types of games touch screen control is nothing but a total fucking pain in the arse.
Don't understand the logic?
Don't understand why they didn't include a second analogue? It's pretty straightforward. They don't want to splinter the 3ds games market by having games the won't work on older handsets because the only have one.
To my mind, the real problem with the 3ds is a lack of killer software. While the console itself comes with some fun games and stuff built in, finding a full price game worth buying is tricky. I've been playing wario land 4 on mine recently, that's a gameboy game... If they don't get themselves a killer app soon the phones will win!!!