Author Topic: New Nintendo 3DS Review  (Read 1508 times)

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Offline Daan

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New Nintendo 3DS Review
« on: February 04, 2015, 12:01:00 AM »

Cover Plates, upgrades and fun with your mates! The New 3DS brings a great little system into our hands.

The journey of the New Nintendo 3DS is a long one. Announced in August 2014, I almost immediately wanted the system in my hands. I have been toying around with the Japanese version for the longest time now and more recently with the European counterpart. The system is almost here in Europe and it looks like our North American friends will be missing out for now. It is a shame really, because when I compare the system to the New Nintendo 3DS XL, this is the real upgrade and there are fine improvements made to system performance.

Naturally, it all starts with the form factor. While smaller than the 3DS XL and New 3DS XL systems, the New Nintendo 3DS is somewhat wider than the original. It steps far away from what made the original version its own and takes design ideas from the Nintendo DSi. That is not a bad thing at all, considering I found the Nintendo DSi always somewhat nicer to hold. The New Nintendo 3DS takes it a step further though, as the plastic on its initial body gives a good grip. As an added bonus, the rounded edges make it desirable to put the system in the palm of your hand. Some hands may to adjust how to hold this smaller model, but it just feels right after the test run.

Talking about test runs, I found myself quickly addicted to the brand new Cover Plates. These beauties are exclusive to the smaller model and come in a variety of textures. Players can opt for design types such as wood, felt, see through plastic and solid plastic and create an even more solid way to hold the system. Next to their functional purposes, they just look really sharp overall and there is a nice variety for players out there. Everything from Mario to Monster Hunter is represented and clicking them on the back just requires a simple screwdriver. The Cover Plates eliminate the need for overly expensive special editions and makes it easy for the fans to treat themselves on something new.

Another side of the form factor is that quite a number of buttons and switches have been moved about. The cartridge slot has been moved to the front, which is quite radical to say the least. The risk was worth taking though and as plopping a cartridge in and out is quite easy to do. A change I am less found of is the POWER button, which can also be found at the front. The location is fine all things considered, but the button itself requires a harsher push. I can understand why it was done that way, but it is not ideal. The Wi-Fi switch is now gone and has become an option in the HOME Menu, while the Volume switch can be found left of the 3D screen. That and the 3D slider have a soft lock at the bottom, while at the rest it can easily slide up and down.

The usual array of buttons and options await you on the inside, though there are some interesting tweaks. On the left, you find the usual Circle Pad and a very clicky D-Pad, which is perfect for those platformers or arcade style games. At the other side, you will immediately see that the START and SELECT buttons have been moved to the right. This makes room for a nicer HOME Button, which only needs a light press to be activated. Colorful ABXY buttons grace the right as well and this is a fantastic reference to the SNES in Europe. The buttons itself are a bit more ingrained into the system, which makes tapping them a snap.

Then there is the C-Stick, which can act as a secondary stick on the New Nintendo 3DS. The nub does not move on its own and that is strange at the beginning. It does not take long to understand its functionality, however, and I was surprised with how well the nub works. You will find additional ZL and ZR buttons on the back which are for future games that might need those extra buttons, as well as Circle Pad Pro compatibility. Most hands will be able to reach them with ease and it makes games like Monster Hunter even better. Some will complain about the lack of an extra Circle Pad, but the location of the C-Stick is just perfect. Your hand can quickly switch between the stick and the buttons and this makes the interruption during gameplay minimal. What did break the gameplay somewhat though, is the extremely small stylus. On both versions of the New Nintendo 3DS, I found it just to be the tiniest thing and quickly grabbed one from my other systems.

The New Nintendo 3DS is not only stronger in the design department, but also with what takes place under the hood. The system runs at a faster clock speed and its CPU is able to run applications and software better than ever before. The differences were clearly noticeable in a number of instances and I want to share a couple of highlights. When I turned Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS on both an old and New 3DS, it took the shinier system just a few seconds to get started. By the time the other old hardware was done, I was already training against some CPUs and getting ready for the next battle. Online matches and going out of the game were equal highlights and using the C-Stick for attacks made this version more comparable to the console releases.

The differences in CPU could also be felt in the Nintendo eShop. I could download software faster and this got me into the game sooner. The Internet Browser and Miiverse were also seriously impressive, as it loaded websites and posts at a much faster rate. I was mostly impressed with the HTML5 possibilities of the browser, which allowed for native support of YouTube. The whole kit is available to you and this includes subtitles, running the videos faster and slower and full 3D support. It was an honest delight!

That last thing goes hand in hand with another improvement and that is the Super-Stable 3D functionality. When you use the 3D on any other Nintendo 3DS system, you can lose focus on it fast when you move your hands just a little. On the New Nintendo 3DS, the front facing camera will follow your face and will try to track it to the best of its abilities. When you use games with gyroscope functionality in mind like Majora's Mask 3D, you can keep the slider all the way up and enjoy Nintendo 3DS software the way they are supposed to be experienced. The system rekindled my fondness for 3D and I discovered that mostly with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Previously, I moved my hands a lot during action games and that is why I turned the 3D visuals off. Next to upgraded visuals on the new system, I was able to enjoy 3D without any side effects and that was pure bliss!

Finally, we are going to talk about Amiibo. In the last couple of days, I have been fortunate enough to try some Japanese games that use this functionality and it works as one would expect. You can scan your Nintendo figurines on the touchscreen of the New Nintendo 3DS and it reads them in a snap. It almost immediately unlocked the content in Ace Combat and One Piece, which are the first games to support the NFC technology. In comparison to the Wii U GamePad, it felt more natural to put the Amiibo on the touchscreen. With its flat surface, it was nicer to do and felt a bit more magical. We will be able to train our Amiibo on the go soon in Smash Bros. 3DS and that is certainly something I look forward to.

New Nintendo 3DS is a new fine entry in the Nintendo 3DS family. With many improvements in its design and functionality, it really feels almost like a brand new system. There are some quirks that could have been better, in particular the small stylus is a bit irritating, but overall I just had a blast toying around with it. The Super-Stable 3D made me enjoy 3D all over again, I found the best way to enjoy Smash 3DS and the Cover Plates just offer constant variety to the system. If you want a true portable for on the go, Europeans should stop at nothing to get a New Nintendo 3DS in their households!

Offline Crazybee80

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Re: New Nintendo 3DS Review
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 04:04:55 AM »
Hello Daan, thanks for the great review! I have a question: I'd love to buy this new 3ds, but I wonder, is it comfortable to use the d pad in such a small system? I'm used to the XL now, and on the origlinal 3ds the d pad was really hard to use! Do you recommend this version over the New 3ds XL? I'm not interested in faceplates. Thank you ;)

Offline the asylum

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Re: New Nintendo 3DS Review
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 06:57:27 PM »

wake me when xenoblade 3d comes out