Tuesday, 12 April 2011

First Impressions: The Nintendo 3DS!

Wow. Just wow. That was my reaction when I turned the latest Nintendo handheld on and witnessed the plain old 2D Nintendo 3DS logo transform instantly into 3D - And this was just the calibration bit, what was to come was even more awesome. That's right, after waiting long and hard, going through stressful clashes with a crap delivery company (DPD suck), getting a refund and waiting 2 weeks to get my hands on the new handheld, I finally have - I now own a Nintendo 3DS. Naturally, it's time I post this long overdue (DPD's fault) First Impressions post on Nintendo's latest and potentially greatest handheld console. After a day on extensive playing it's time I shared my opinion on the 3DS, so without any more blabbering, let's get on with it! And it's about time too... (DPD's fault)

The Nintendo 3DS is more than just a simple handheld that plays games and has a few nifty extra features like its predecessor. Instead, the 3DS is packed full of so much free built-in software that I literally didn't know where to start when I first entered the Home menu. Despite the fact that I bought a game to play on my 3DS, I actually checked out the Augmented Reality games on the 3DS. If you aren't familiar with the concept of Augmented Reality, let me take you through it. AR is a nifty little thing that allows you to see virtual objects in real life through a camera, thanks to the placement of an AR Card. After you place the card on a flat surface, the camera will recognise the image and a 3D object that you can freely look around as if it were right there before your eyes. The 3DS comes with AR Games, which make use of the 6 cards that come with the 3DS, and they work pretty well. I've had a bit of trouble with lighting and the tricky Fishing game, but the whole concept and the amount of games on offer is mesmerising. AR Games isn't only piece of built-in software on the 3DS though. Soon after playing through AR Shooting, I checked out Face Raiders; The standalone minigame that so many people have praised in the past for its sheer hilarity. They were certainly right. Playing Face Raiders with my brother was absolutely hilarious, and a whole lot of fun too. After taking a photo of a face you play through a level that involves shooting down evil floating faces that appear in your real-life surroundings with tennis balls. Several levels are on offer, and you are rewarded for building up a collection of faces. This awesome minigame is definitely one of the coolest ways to show off the 3DS, and will even make the grumpiest people giggle.

Now that I've talked about the main built-in games, I'll quickly run through the other built in software on the 3DS. I decided to make a Mii on the new and improved Mii Maker application soon after trying out the aforementioned stuff. Mii Maker is, in short, a massive improvement. The amount of options in comparison to the Wii's avatar creation tool is just immense, and as a whole everything has been made much simpler and easier to deal with. The Miis you create can be converted into QR Codes, which can be scanned by other 3DS owners to instantly download them onto their systems. Say goodbye to trying to replicate Miis from scratch on the Wii, QR Codes are the way to go. You can also take pictures of your Mii in the MiiViewer AR game which is particularly awesome. On top of the Mii Maker, there's also the StreetPass Plaza. This software involves you using the Miis you've walked past via StreetPass in two minigames. Unfortunately, I haven't actually passed anyone (not that surprising to be honest) but fear not, because this isn't actually a requirement. Built-in to the 3DS is a pedometer that counts your steps. Every 100 steps you take, you earn a currency called a Play Coin (10 of which can be earned each day). These coins can be spent on replacements for the Miis you can encounter in the StreetPass Plaza, such as puzzle pieces for the StreetPass Puzzle game and cat warriors to use in the beyond awesome StreetPass Quest, a brilliantly simplistic RPG built into the 3DS. Enough about the built-in stuff though, let's get on with the actual hardware.

The 3DS is a little bulkier than past iterations of Nintendo handhelds, and it's for the best. You genuinely feel the weight in your hands, which is a great feeling. Built onto the system are three camera lenses; Two on the front for taking brilliant 3D photos and one inside to take regular 2D photos and scan your face for various games and such. The cameras are no different from the DSi in terms of megapixels, but the 3D really makes up for that. Plus, there's a ton of all new camera functions, lenses and various other tools to use in the camera mode which improve over the previous handheld. One big thing about the 3DS is the slide pad. After Sony screwed up the PSP's tiny analogue nub multiple times, Nintendo's new slide pad caused much controversy. However, in short it definitely works. The nub has a nice rubbery feel to it and it slides around without much effort. Another win for the 3DS.

There's so much more I could go on about, but this is just a first impressions post after all. Plus I've got work to do on other things, such as some exciting new reviews. Who knows, you might just be treated to my blogs first console review sometime soon. Until then, get a 3DS and believe your eyes...

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