Bigger and Badder than before
At the end of April, I celebrated (?) my 35th Birthday. Around the same time, I had the opportunity to spend a little money at Argos. It had been a long time since I bought any new video game gear and started to consider the PS Vita. Whist it has been a slow burn, it still looks like an amazing piece of kit. My other thought was to get hold of a Wii. I sold mine a while back and as Argos sell some good Nintendo Wii bundles, it seemed like a plan. My ulterior motive for getting a Wii was to see if my daughter would play with. She has been playing on the iPad for ages and I wanted to see if I could get her into something like Lego Star Wars. However, in the end I was swayed by a gadget I had wanted since the day it first appeared. I decided to get a Nintendo 3DS from Argos, an XL to be precise. My daughter still benefited from this particular decision as she ended up with my DS!
90% bigger screens
We have reviewed a 3DS on the site in the past, but it was a while back and the 3DS brings a few new things to the table. First, let’s examine what you get and don’t get with a 3DS XL. The version I went for was white and came with Mario Kart 7 installed. It also comes with a host of AR (augmented reality) games built in. What it doesn’t come with is the proprietary charger you need for it! For me, this is a little inexcusable – the assumption is made you have a standard 3DS or a DS XL, the charger for my DS Lite was of no use at all.
The unit itself boasts 90% bigger screens than the original 3DS. This translates to a massive top screen that is beautiful! It also means a larger body. Having watched my daughter (who is 6) play in it, she does struggle with the size. On the flip side, for me it is a great handful and feels great in the hand. Whilst the case seems to be slight cheaper made than the original 3DS, it is still sturdy and can live with a few gentle drops! I do have a complaint about the new form factor though.
The face buttons on the right are just too small. I find my hand cramping playing anything that needs me to hold a button down for any length of time (like Mario Kart for instance). Other than that gripe, it is all good on the hardware front. The thumb stick is responsive, as are the shoulder buttons. Also the Home, Start and Select buttons are nice and large and easy to get to. Since our first 3DS review, the software and especially the Nintendo eStore have had a few changes. The eStore is one of my biggest complaints, but that is really a Nintendo complaint, not a 3DS XL complaint.
It is a shambles and extremely badly priced in places. However, there are some great sale bargains to be had from time to time as well as a wealth of cool videos to watch on the 3D screen (I love the Shaun the Sheep shorts they have). The AR games are almost worth the price of the unit on their own. You have a set of cards that you can place on a surface. The games can then use those cards to create a game world on the surface. I had great fun fishing on my ironing board!
Another trick that the 3DS has up its sleeve is the ability to take 3D pictures. Now, you may not be able to send them to anyone but other 3DS users, but it is pretty cool! All in all the 3DS is a great games console. The 3D effect may be a gimmick in most games, but it is a great gimmick! I may also have a gripe about the face buttons being too small, but for most I imagine they are fine. On almost every front the 3DS XL delivers a bigger and badder experience than any handheld I have used to date and I am a very happy little birthday boy!