Newest Review: ... black, white, grey, blue, red and pink and is incredibly stylish. It has a lightweight and compact design, making it perfect for carr... more
The Future Of Gaming?
Member Name: kellface
Date: 31/03/11, updated on 31/03/11 (55 review reads)
Advantages: 3D! Better Screen Quality, Backwards Compatible, Lots of built in software...loads more..
Disadvantages: Poor Camera Quality, Low Battery Life.
For the past few years I've been hooked to my Xbox, but every now and then I've always gone back to my old Nintendo DS or when I'm feeling like going way back I pick up my original game boy. Nintendo have in my opinion always been the leader in hand held gaming. As a child I also had the Super Nintendo Console, and the Nintendo 64. But now big boys like Microsoft and Sony own the console market really. I do own a Nintendo Wii but for me it's just a "party console" really.
However, I've always loved my hand held gaming for when I'm out and about, or travelling. It seems that everything these days is in 3D. Movies, Sky TV, and actual 3D Television sets, all of which require you to wear the special 3D glasses, which I have to say have come a long way from the cardboard glasses you got in your cereal box, but for a person who has to wear glasses on a daily basis for everything I find that I can't wear 3D glasses as they won't fit around my normal glasses, and I can't take them off just to wear the 3D glasses as my vision would be that of a drunken fool.
So when I heard that the new Nintendo DS was to be 3D I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!
I purchased the Cosmos Black console, as I wasn't too keen on the Aqua Blue colour. I bought mine from Gamestation for £209, although there are plenty of other places that are now selling them for cheaper, including Asda which is selling the console for £197 with any of the new release games costing just £15 each. I'd love to have gone there but unfortunately I had lots of money I had to use on my Gamestation reward card.
So once I got the console out of the box when I got home, it took all of about 30 seconds as I was so excited, I plugged it into the mains and checked out all the other bits inside the box. Included are the usual, instruction manual, charger, and a kind of Docking Station, which you plug the charger into the back of and slot the 3DS on top of. I don't really use this to be honest as I always plug my DS straight into the mains. Included in the box was also a set of AR cards which I will explain a little later. There was also a code for Club Nintendo which is kind of a reward system for Nintendo customers. You input codes onto the website to exchange for Nintendo Goodies!
- - Home Screen - What's on the DS - -
The system itself has 3D Movie and video playback capability, and Nintendo has made deals with various companies including Disney to deliver 3D movies to the console. In Europe it is rumoured that Nintendo will be working with Sky 3D to bring content to the 3DS later this year. For the moment though, this section of the DS has a 3D movie demo which shows what the 3DS is capable of, the video is stunning and I'm really excited to see what Nintendo do with 3D movies. It would be awesome to be able to record 3D video using the camera, but I personally don't think that the camera is high enough quality for this.
There is 1 2D front facing (inner camera) and two 3D rear-facing cameras, unfortunately at only 0/3 MP. I never had a DSi or a DS XL so I never really knew what the quality of the camera was like prior to the 3DS but this is one of my disappointments with the system. You'd expect it to be a cracking resolution, and stunning quality but it's pretty poor unless you're in perfect natural light. I took some pictures of some farm animals at the weekend when I was outside, and the quality was stunning especially with a pig in 3D lol But when I'm trying to take photographs inside in low light, the quality is dire.
However, there are still lots of fun things you can do with the Camera, apart from making 3D photographs, you can switch the 3D off and have standard pictures. There are different camera modes in which you can take pictures, normal is for standard picture taking. Sparkle enables you to blow into the microphone of the DS and various things like bubbles, love hearts, stars and sparkles will decorate the picture you are about to take. Merge enables you to merge you're face using the inner camera, to the face of a friend or family member using the outer cameras. I was quite disturbed seeing myself with the eyebrows and facial hair of my fella haha! Dream adds a glowing and shiny "dream-like quality" to your pictures. Low-Light is meant to enhance the picture brightness to take photos in low light conditions but it isn't that effective. Pinhole brightens the centre of the picture and darkens the edges, and then there's the mystery option which when you click the right or left bumper to take a photo will add a mystery effect which you won't see until the photo is taken.
The DS came with a free 2GB SD card which enables you to save your photos, videos and in game photos I've taken around 30 pictures and still have room for over 2900. There is also a self-timer, and a zoom option for the camera. You can also change the settings yourself for the brightness, contrast and sharpness. In the bottom left corner of the screen is a little budgie that is there to help if you need it when using the camera.
I was really pleased to find out that you can make a Mii character like you could on the Wii, your Mii character is used in some of the new 3DS titles, some of the built in software on the DS including Street Pass Mii Plaza, AR Games and for your friends list. You can send/receive Mii characters wirelessly to/from another 3DS that is close to you, or you can connect to the Mii Channel on the Wii.
AR Games - Augmented Reality:
This was one of the things I didn't even realise the DS would have, until I opened the box and there was a little packet with a set of 6 Cards inside. One with a large question mark, and others including Mario Zelda and Kirby. You start off by using the ? Card, and place it on a flat surface, making sure that there is plenty of light so the cameras can see the card, built into this card are various mini games including a shooting style game, fishing, a pool style game, and others which use your Mii Character and enable you to take pictures of it etc. The other cards like the Mario one, when used in front of the camera on Augmented Reality enable you to have a mini Mario in your living room! I've also used the AR cards in Nintendogs 3D, my little Pug has had pictures taken with a Mushroom from Mario Hat, and a Zelda haircut haha.
Health & Safety Information:
At first I was wondering why waste the space on the system for health and safety, but then I thought nobody ever reads the instruction manuals, so this was the best place for it to be. Whether it has made anybody actually take an interest in the health and safety information of the 3DS who knows. I had a brief look at what it was about, and it has Precautions for the 3D Display, General and Usage Precautions. The main warning on the 3D Display section is that the use of the 3D feature by children aged six and under may cause vision damage. There are various recommendations for people who may suffer from motion sickness, or for people with vision impairments. I myself can't play the DS In the car whilst moving, but then I can't even read a book in the car without feeling sick so I haven't bothered playing it whilst moving yet. I have played my old DS on the train though, I can see how the 3D could affect some people, and it can give people headaches etc., as it takes a while for your eyes to adjust and what not. The other precautions on the health and safety section are things like over use, and make sure to take breaks after a period of play time. The same precautions given for most other games consoles.
This is the same as it was on the previous DS systems, enabling you to connect to nearby systems to download demos and play wireless multiplayer titles. This time however you have the option of what kind of title you wish to download, whether it is 3D or standard DS.
Nintendo 3DS Sound:
This is pretty much the same as it was on the Dsi and XL according to my partner. It enables you to record and edit sounds using the built in microphone, it's a little bit of fun but I personally haven't used it all that much. You can change the pitch of people's voices or the sounds that you recorded, or you can change it completely to sound like a trumpet, a whistle or even a robot. I can see younger DS users getting more fun out of this than I do to be honest.
Street Pass - Mii Plaza:
This is similar to the Mii plaza on the Wii, it's a place where all the people you meet online or on street pass will be. I've currently "met" 2 people whilst I was in town the other day without realising it. If you keep your Wireless on, if another person with a 3DS passes you in the street with their Wireless on, both consoles "meet" and exchange some goodies! I didn't realise until I checked my notifications on my home screen that I'd met people. I got free puzzle pieces and some help in my quest which is on Street Pass. You can view their profile but that's about it, I think it would have been cool if you could contact the person afterwards by a simple messaging service to say hi at least! I can't wait to go to a bigger place, as I can see in a city you would meet lots of people in Street Pass, I'm not sure how well it's going to work for me living in a small town.
I've had a lot of fun with face raiders since I got the DS, It is a great addition and fun for all ages. You start by taking a picture of your face, or you can get someone else to take a picture for you to play with. The aim of the game is to "rescue" faces, and to shoot others. The game uses the outer cameras so the background of the game is your living room, or wherever you are at the time. It helps to be stood up to play this game, as it requires you to twist and turn to shoot the faces on screen. There are lots of levels, I myself have only done 5 so far as I'm a bit of a perfectionist and my partner and I keep competing to beat each others scores on levels. You can take pictures in game by clicking the right or left bumpers, these pictures will then be stored in your 3DS Camera/Photo Album.
This part of the home screen simply keeps record of what you've been doing on the DS. It has daily records, and a software library to show what games you've been playing, and for how long. It also has the amount of Steps you have taken since buying the DS. As stated at the start of my review, there is a stepometer inside the DS which records how many steps you do each time the system is closed. We take ours everywhere now, as for every 100 steps you take you receive a game coin which helps you on your street pass quest, and I myself when playing Nintendogs I set my dog to go for a walk, and the steps I do in real life whilst the DS is closed, count in game and I receive free stuff! I think it's a great addition, and it's always good to see how many steps you do in a day. I was surprised that it takes around 2000 steps for me to get into my town centre!
System Settings: Does what it says on the tin really, this is where you can change the settings for anything on your DS, Internet Settings, Parental Controls, Data Management and Other Settings including the date, touch screen and profile. It's also the place to calibrate your 3D settings.
There are other things on the Home Screen including an Internet Browser which I can't comment on at the moment as the update isn't released until May. But I'm really excited to check this out, any new place to be able to check my Facebook or my emails is a winner in my book. There is also a Friends List on the 3DS. It's set out really simply and easy to navigate just like an Xbox or PS3. You can add your friends by inputting their "friend code" and see their little Mii on your list. It also shows what game they are currently playing, or have played the most on.
Available on release date in the UK there was something for everyone, including Rayman, Street Fighter, Super Monkey Ball, Nintendogs & Cats and lots more. I myself purchased Super Monkey Balls 3D and Nintendogs 3D - Golden Retriever edition. I will be reviewing these separately along with my other Nintendo DS games.
This was one of the biggest selling points for me, is still being able to play my old Nintendo DS games. Unfortunately they aren't in 3D but it means that I can still play my old games, I personally think they look a little better on the 3DS as the quality of the screen seems to have been improved. The only downside is you can't play old Gameboy Advanced games, but then you couldn't with the Dsi's etc. I still have my old Nintendo DS which I will probably use just to play my Advance games from now on, or to use with download play with my original DS games like Tetris and Mario Kart.
It is rumoured that a lot of the old Nintendo releases will be available on the "Nintendo Marketplace" which was known as Dsi Ware, and I'm assuming will be now known as 3DS Ware once it is available with the new update coming in May.
- - So let's sum up the Good Points - -
Better Screen Quality
Lots of built in stuff
Circle "analogue" style stick
Smooth touch sensitive buttons.
Better layout of the console.
Wireless switch and smooth volume slider.
- - Are there any downsides? - -
I've already mentioned the Camera, which was a big disappointment for me, the late release of the internet browser, and the biggest downside, is Battery Life. It seems that I have to recharge my 3DS at least twice a day. I have got quite a few hours play time out of it, but I think there's just that much for it to do that it drains the battery. I really think they should have made a better battery to support the capabilities of the 3DS. As you can see, the good points completely outweigh the bad points.
I absolutely love my 3DS, OK there are some disappointments especially with the camera, but everything else outshines the camera anyway. I'm glad I waited around for it instead of forking out for the Dsi or DS XL. The screen quality is stunning, the 3D is brilliant, I can't wait to see what new games they bring out for the system, I'm especially excited for the release of Super Paper Mario and fingers crossed a Mario Kart 3D release!
I'd recommend this console to any geek or gadget nut out there! There is something for everyone with the 3DS and I really can't wait to see what the future holds for 3D gaming!
Summary: The future of gaming, but on a small scale.