My Weekend with the 3DS

Two things I’ve learned: I am really, really awful at Super Street Fighter IV and the 3DS is, overall, pretty damn awesome.

I picked the system up on Friday on a bit of a whim. A local store had pre-orders that hadn’t been picked up in proper time, so I stopped by and snagged one and a copy of Super Street Fighter IV. Cracking the box open, not having done a lot of research into it, I was fascinated by a couple of things. First of all, what the heck are AR cards? And second, holy crap, that’s a huge manual. But as someone who has owned every Game Boy system to date (with the exception of the Mini and Micro),  I figured I could puzzle through it. I dove right in.

The system requires a bit of set-up when you first turn it on, setting date and time, wireless, nickname, and all of the usual stuff we’ve come to expect from our gaming experience. You also have to calibrate the level of 3D, something that works so well that I’ve decided it must be magic. A nice feature is that it can be turned off (indeed this is recommended for gamers 6 and under, as it says right on the box the 3D can damage their vision) or adjusted to whatever level you find most comfortable.

The 3D is impressive. It is easily equal to a 3D film (though perhaps not quite as good as one shot in 3D; perhaps a converted one?) and didn’t strain my eyes at all. However, you do have to be careful to look directly at the screen, as if it is tilted things can become a little wonky. And forget watching someone else play games; you’ll go blind.

The upper screen is where all the 3D action takes place, while the lower is the touchscreen/menu we’ve gotten used to with the DS and DSi. The game comes preloaded with a bit of software and an SD card for saves. You’re given a camera which takes (fairly low resolution) 3D or 2D photos, a sound/music editing software (haven’t played too much with it, but it seems to require recording sounds first, with no way to generate them on the system itself), a way to make and share Miis, and a couple of really neat built in games.

The first of these is Face Raiders, which may be the most bizarre gaming experience I’ve had in a while. The system takes a photo of your face, or any face you desire to integrate into the system (so far I’ve got me, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, my cat, and Abraham Lincoln) and then lets you do battle with that face. The interesting thing is that the environment you do battle in? Whatever room you happen to be in at the time. So you have bizarre armored heads in propeller hats flying out of the walls to attack you and you must turn and look up and down with your system to find and defeat them all. A hell of a lot of fun, but not something to play in public if you don’t want to be committed.

The other built in software is the AR cards, or Augmented Reality. These are a pack of cards that come with the system. When you start the program, it asks you to take out the ? block card, focus the camera on it, and then…well, stuff gets weird. Boxes pop up out of whatever flat surface you’re looking at (I was playing on my desk at work…no judging) and you can then choose whatever game you want by aiming the cameras and firing. There’s a firing range, a mini-golf game, fishing, a Mii/Nintendo character photobooth, and a drawing game. The more action oriented of these each have set challenges, culminating in a deskbound battle with a dragon. Pretty neat.

What’s cool about the AR cards is that some enterprising users out there are already making some pretty amazing modifications. Check out this video, with a group of Japanese gamers making one of their Miis rather ‘Gigantor’.

There’s other features, including Streetpass when the system is in Sleep Mode. It downloads other people’s Miis when you pass them on the street, allowing you to use them in some games as well as adding to your Mii collection. There is a pedometer which helps you earn coins that can be spent in certain games.

So far, I’ve only found one downside (besides how utter crap I am at SFIV) and that is the battery life. It’s a bit of a joke. Right now, the system will only get you about 5 hours of play after being fully charged, though this may be fixed in later iterations.

So, would I recommend the 3DS? If you’ve got the cash, it’s a great time, though I’ve only played one of the launch games. SFIV at least, is a beautifully responsive and wonderful fighting game, perfectly copied from its console big brothers. In May, we’ll be getting the eShop, which will use real cash, not Nintendo points, to allow you to purchase old and new games to be saved on your system. However, the battery is a bit of a bummer, but not a crippling one. Worth checking out definitely, and particularly if you don’t suck at SFIV.

Posted on April 4, 2011 at 10:59 by Lincoln Eddy · Permalink
In: Gaming, Reviews · Tagged with: , , , ,