We’ve had our 3DS for a while now, we’ve spent some time with it, played all the games we could get hold of, and we’ve gotten to know Nintendo’s the 3D capable portable console. Is it a gimmick? Or a portable revolution? It’s somewhere in between. Read on for our full 3DS review.
When Nintendo announced the 3DS, people mainly fell into two camps: the ones saying it was a gimmick and that Nintendo is just following the new hot 3D trend. Others were simply excited that Nintendo was trying something this new: a 3D capable console where one doesn’t need glasses to enjoy the third dimension. Not a bad setup. But does it pay off? What’s it like playing a 3DS? It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve played 3D games before (on a PS3 for instance), you get the idea. Only that on the 3DS, you don’t need glasses. Instead, though, you need to keep your eyes square on the screen, and adjust the depth slider to fit. If you go outside of that narrow boundary, the 3D effect is fizzled and disappears.
Hardware wise, the 3DS has the same iconic design as all DS consoles, and almost the exact size as a DSi, only a bit thicker. Besides the 3D screen, the other new hardware feature you instantly see is the new left control stick, which is now analog. All other buttons are as you expect. Under the hood, the 3DS packs a much more powerful processor and graphics chip, in order not only to deliver a 3D image, but to make some really nice looking games as well. The three inch lower screen has an updated resolution to 320 x 240, while the main, 3D screen is at 800 x 240 pixels, but since it’s in 3D, each eyes needs its own pixel, meaning the effective resolution is at 400 x 240 pixels. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s quite adequate. Other hardware features include 3 cameras, two at the back for 3D pictures, and one in the front for video calls.
Playing 3D games isn’t effortless, as there are a few rules, for one, it’s best if you keep the screen 12 inches or so from your face, and keep your eyes centered on the console. On top of that, you have to keep the 3DS as still as possible when playing, which was sometimes a bit hard to do when we were riding on the bus or in a car with someone. We played a number of games on the device, including Nintendo’s cool new Argumented Reality minigames. Some of the game were amazing while other lacked in both visuals and gameplay, but one thing is certain: the 3D works (albeit with a few caveats), and it clear to see developers taking great opportunities with this device. While some games were barely worth in 3D, others utilized the new feature greatly.
Overall: we can definitely recommend the 3DS for those who want the latest and greatest, because the 3DS is such a piece of hardware. However, at $250, the price is quite steep, costing twice as much as a DS Lite. On top of that, the battery life is anything but impressive, and the 3D effect requires you to keep a certain distance to the screen, and keep it steady. On top of that, you may be at risk of getting a head ache while playing it. We didn’t experience any issues of that kind. Bottom line: the 3DS is a hard sell for $250, but the hardware and 3D effects aren’t just gimmicks, they’re genuine selling points.
3D effect is wonderful
Powerful hardware, great looking games (for the most part)
Lots of potential
Pricey at $250
3D effect has limits and requirements
Poor battery life
Overall score: 8/10