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I've long been a fan of the Nintendo DS console due to the fact that it focuses more attention on family friendly content and mind stimulating puzzle games than it does on violence and gore. However I was hesitant to upgrade to the 3DS due to a lack of interest in the 3D screen and a budgetary concern that couldn't be ignored.
This was where the Nintendo 2DS came in handy. Nintendo's latest entry into the DS family is a budget friendly stepchild with all of the power of a 3DS and none of the motion sickness drawbacks.
Aesthetically speaking the 2DS doesn't initially seem to be all that. Gone is the 'clam shell' design of previous consoles,and instead you have a single unit that can not be closed. I do admit to having my concerns in this regard as some of the older DS games (Hotel Dusk) used the closing feature in a number of important puzzles. Games like that will become impossible on the 2DS! However this is only a minor drawback that has not affected any of the games that I have purchased since buying the unit.
After getting over the shock of the new design however it quickly grew on me. The Blue and Black colour scheme that I chose gave the console a stylish look that nicely hides the cheaper nature of the plastic. The new 'Cake Slice' shape of the console looked pretty enough and all of the buttons seemed to be placed decently.
Unfortunately using the machine with this new shape is not always the easiest of tasks. When holding the machine in such a way as to access the rear trigger buttons it can feel like you lack a stable hold, and whenever you're playing touch-screen games it can be so easy to slip your finger over the single speaker and totally block out all of the sounds. It's also worth noting that this new design means that; while the actual screens are the same size as the pocket friendly DSI/3DS, the unit size is as bulky as a DSIXL/3DSXL and will not fit into your pockets.
This drawback however is to be expected when considering the price that you'll be paying. In order to cut the costs of the console over the 3DS Nintendo have used cheaper plastics for the case, and cut the number of screens down to one. There is a piece of plastic that draws a line between the top and bottom screens, but in actuality you have just one screen. One screen means no hinges between screens, and no hinges means a new design is required.
Once I accepted that fact I found myself adequately satisfied with the feel of the new machine. The analogue stick runs smoothly, the triggers are not overly sensitive and the weight is just right for extended bouts of game-play
For me however these sacrifices were well worthwhile. Priced at just £89.99 the console is significantly cheaper than either the 3DS or the 3DSXL and yet is able to play all of the games from every single DS console ever released. This opens up a range of fantastic possibilities for Platforming (Donkey Kong Country/New Super Mario Bros.), Puzzle (Professor Layton), adventure (Ace Attorney) and much much more. The range of games that Nintendo have available is staggering and easily trumps the FPS focused antics of the home console markets.
If that wasn't enough the console also comes with a very stable wi-fi connection that enables you to download and play a host of other games. These can range from classic titles (Super Mario World) to indie classics (Shift) to full priced new releases. It must be said that the value of the latter is diminished due to the fact that they cost the same as the physical copies do, but without the option of reselling. However the shop is otherwise a fantastic addition that opens up a world of smaller/cheaper games, and enables you to download demos for any games that you're not quite sure of.
So yes, I was very happy with my purchase. This does not mean that I am blind to the consoles faults however. The single speaker has adequate sound but would never win out as a music player. The single screen looks very clear, but has no high def bells and whistles. It is also insanely hard to find decent accessories for the thing. Other than the bog standard Nintendo sleeves there seem to be no other carry cases available for the 2DS.
Other than those; admittedly strong, drawbacks however this is a very solid piece of equipment. The resistive touch screen is very responsive and will work with any DS style styluses you can find. The battery life is very nice, and the range of games unmatchable. It also has a few bonus options such as front and rear cameras that can take 0.3 mega pixel shots and can be used for building an avatar for the online world. Obviously the online multi-player and connectivity to any other DS has also been included. All of this for a fairly powerful machine that still costs under £100. It's the console to go for if you want to upgrade but are on a budget, or worried about the effects of 3D on your children's eyes.
PS- One thing I was confused about. Nintendo have decided to keep a feature in that enables the gamer to take 3D photos of their environment These photos can only be viewed in 2D unless they are transferred to an SD card and into a 3DS, so I'm not too sure why Nintendo stuck with these fancy cameras. They could have lowered the price even more by removing this seemingly useless feature, but it's not something I'll dwell on.