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A cool console which is let down by poor battery life.
Member Name: Hannard
Advantages: The graphics are pretty good, and the 3DS effect is reasonably impressive.
Disadvantages: The battery life is quite poor, it would benefit from a second joystick.
Nintendo's 3DS may have got off to a shaky start - not least because it was stupidly overpriced - but now there's a few decent games out for it I finally decided to get one. And I can honestly say I'm not disappointed. Although I'm not amazingly overjoyed either - the 3DS is good, but there's still room for improvement. Which will probably come a year or two from now when Nintendo release the 3DS lite.
But first things first. The 3DS's biggest selling point is that it offers 3D graphics without glasses. What this really means is that you view the screen head on, there's a sort of 3D effect going on. I say 'sort of' because you're still looking at a 2D screen, and it's not the same 'coming out of the screen' effect you get when you're watching Avatar with 3D glasses at the cinema. It's still kind of cool, though it's mildly worrying that Nintendo advise you to take a break every half hour or so if you're using this feature. There have been reports of people's eyes hurting. Personally, I turned the 3D feature off and decided to stick with the graphics running in 2D mode.
Speaking of graphics, the 3Ds's graphics are actually pretty damn good - they're better than the PSP's, though not as good as the PS Vita's. I played Resident Evil Revelations and Sonic Generations and both looked great. Metal Gear Solid 3, which is soon to hit the 3DS, also looks fantastic. DS games also look good - some people have said they appear worse on a 3DS console than they do on a DS, though I haven't noticed this. If you just want to play DS games, though, you're better off with a DS XL which has a much bigger screen than the 3DS.
Another nifty feature is the fact that the 3DS sports three cameras, two of them front facing, so you can actually take 3D pictures. There are some games that make use of an 'augmented reality' feature where you have characters appearing over a video overlay of the real world, but these are far and few between. Like the DS Lite etc the 3DS has two screens, one top one which is three and half inches in size and a lower touch screen which is a bit smaller. It also sports a mini joystick as well as a directional pad. Oddly, there's no second joystick, although you can buy an add-on circle pad which gives you such a feature. No games require this add on pad as yet, but it makes you wonder if someone at Nintendo figured out they should have put an extra one on in the first place.
The console also sports Wi-Fi and a built in browser. And you can build and exchange your own 'mii' characters, a feature first seen on the Wii. Though given that a third of the characters on Nintendo's Mii system seem to be either Adolf Hitler or some dong-faced character, I'm not sure if that's entirely a good feature to have. If you want to download DSIWare games or GBA games you can, though you're limited to the titles available on the DSI Store. I'm sure the 3DS should be capable of playing a few of the Wii based WiiWare games, but those aren't downloadable as yet.
So that's the good - what about the bad? Well, there's the battery life, which is pretty poor. With the 3D effect on and brightness at full blast you'll get about four hours max. With the 3D effect off you get about six hours, more if you're just playing DS games, but it's a far cry from the fifteen or so hours the DS Lite offers. Nyko and a few other companies have put out extended battery packs but it's still a pain. And the platform still need a few more 'A' titles. I don't think the 3DS is going to fail but it's still needs a few more good games to sell it.
So if you're just interested in playing DS games, you're best off picking up a cheap DS Lite for now. But if any of the 3DS games that are out now or that are coming soon - I'm personally waiting for Layton VS Ace Attorney - appeal to you, then it's worth picking one up. But the 3DS isn't going to set the world on fire just yet.
(also posted on Freeola)
Summary: A good console, but I have the feeling there'll be an improved 3DS lite coming along quite soon.