June 20, 2011

Charcoal’s Late Review of the 3DS: Part 1- The Console

What’s up, every­one? It’s super great cap­tain Char­coal (bonus points if you get that 78% obscure ref­er­ence), who is super late on his DS review. But you know by now that this is how I oper­ate. This review isn’t for the Nin­ten­do total fan­boys. This is for the skep­tics, the doubters, and most impor­tant­ly, the poor peo­ple who can’t just imme­di­ate­ly drop $250 on some­thing. So, here comes my review of the 3DS!

^You total­ly trust this guy with your reviews, right?
So, for those of you who don’t like read­ing because big words hurt your inter­net-pwned brain, I’ll give you the tl;dr / the­sis:

  • The 3DS is very, very good.
  • There are very few good games cur­rent­ly avail­able for the 3DS (specif­i­cal­ly).
  • If you don’t have any oth­er DS, go ahead and get a 3DS.
  • If you have plen­ty of mon­ey and you like Nin­ten­do, go ahead and get a 3DS.
  • If you don’t have much mon­ey and you like Nin­ten­do, wait until the new Smash Bros. comes out, there may be a bun­dle deal.
  • If you’re indif­fer­ent to Nin­ten­do and have a lot of mon­ey, wait for the afore­men­tioned Smash Bros.
  • If you don’t like Nin­ten­do, or don’t like them enough to spend a lot of mon­ey on their prod­ucts, skip the 3DS.
  • If you like “Apps”, and you like ran­dom cool stuff, you will have way more fun with a 3DS than an iPod Touch.

There. Eight bul­let points. If you can’t han­dle eight bul­let points, I high­ly sug­gest watch­ing ani­me in Japan­ese with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles as reme­di­al read­ing train­ing.
Now, on to the actu­al review. Brace your­self, this one’s gonna be huge.

I am total­ly in love with the 3DS’s hard­ware. Its design is sleek enough to fit into the pock­ets of Amer­i­can Eagle jeans (which, if you don’t know, have a tough time hold­ing a golf ball), yet it feels stur­dy and I don’t feel bad about keep­ing it in my pock­et when work­ing (unless I’m doing some crazy stuff). Con­ve­nient slid­ers for the vol­ume, wire­less, and 3d lev­el are present, the but­tons are nice and sol­id, the slidey thumb­stick (of which I was­n’t a huge fan when they were first used on the PSP) does­n’t suck, the d‑pad is a d‑pad,  and there’s even a con­ve­nient “home” key. You’ve also got an SD card port for a num­ber of func­tions, and three cam­eras: One on the front of the opened DS to see your face for face-relat­ed fea­tures, and two on the back to take 3D pic­tures. The qual­i­ty is built-in grainy web­cam lev­el, but the cam­eras are more game-ori­ent­ed. If you want to take qual­i­ty pic­tures in 3D, I’m sure there’s a cam­era for that. The screens are ginor­mous. The 3DS is as sol­id as any­one could ask for. Even the sty­lus is the best yet; it fits snug­ly in its lit­tle sty­lus­hole, and it tele­scopes out.

^It looks small at first, but then it dou­bles in size. Ref­er­ence pre­vi­ous pic­ture.
The3 DS does­n’t choke on any of its soft­ware. For the built-in stuff, the 3D is spec­tac­u­lar. There are a lot of cool things that are avail­able right from the get-go, includ­ing some Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty games (which can be some­what dumb, but it shows a LOT of poten­tial for things to get REALLY cool if a seri­ous devel­op­er takes this ball and runs with it. Miis are present. I’m not real­ly pro-Mii, but it is a nice touch for kids, and it intro­duces a cool way to meet peo­ple who also have 3DS’s via Street­Pass. Street­pass works in the back­ground of the 3DS, scan­ning for oth­er 3DSes whilst you have it in your pock­et in sleep mode or out play­ing a game. When it finds one, you’ll swap Miis, as well as oth­er ingame con­tent. I’m not total­ly sure if you can friend-add some­one this way (I’ve yet to pass some­one in my lit­tle hick town), but Nin­ten­do’s good at updat­ing and imple­ment­ing new stuff. There’s also Spot­Pass, where the 3DS will auto­mat­i­cal­ly con­nect to Wi-Fi net­works and down­load free stuff for you (you can set it to down­load mag­a­zine arti­cles and what­not, but some­times it will just sur­prise you with a gift). If you think this sounds dan­ger­ous, don’t wor­ry. Both of these are opt-out­able. Wire­less con­nec­tiv­i­ty is way bet­ter than the orig­i­nal DS, and updates down­load decent­ly fast.

^Rush Lim­baugh is rad­i­cal­ly pro-Mii. I’m more of a Miider­ate.
The 3DS, like the DSi, has an “App store” of sorts. There are all sorts of appli­ca­tions, and free games and paid games. This is Nin­ten­do’s bid in the whole “tiny thing that fits in your pock­et with a touch screen and cheap games” busi­ness. How­ev­er, instead of SQUIRREL INTRUDER LITE or some bull­crap, you can cur­rent­ly get Excite­bike for free. And yes, it’s in 3D. And it is AWESOME. Oth­er games are clas­sics that you have to pay for, but they’re cheap, and they’re clas­sics. One of them is The Leg­end of Zel­da: Link’s Awak­en­ing, which I reviewed in a pre­vi­ous “Games for Game­less Sit­u­a­tions” arti­cle, and is one of my favorite games ever. Super Mario Land is also avail­able. Nin­ten­do is set to wreak hav­oc in the hand­held mar­ket again, just as it has always done. What do you know, we might even get Angry Birds and Doo­dle­jump here. Oh wait.
Angry Birds
Hey, uh, any­one wan­na buy an iPod Touch? I no longer have any rea­son to own one.

^I mean, just look at this ancient thing.
I’ve done noth­ing but brag on the 3DS so far. I only real­ly have two prob­lems, one minor and one major (and one pen­ta­ton­ic). Lots of games for the 3DS have but­tons on the touch­screen that you touch with your grub­by, greasy thumbs, rather than a sty­lus, and this smudges it up real good. That’s fair­ly minor. The clear prob­lem here with the 3DS is the total absence of games. Pret­ty much every­thing out now is either too car­toony and gim­micky, or a remake. The only ones I can real­ly say are worth own­ing are Oca­ri­na of Time (Might not be the great­est game ever, but it’s in the top 3.), and Super Street Fight­er IV 3D (Enjoy get­ting pwned online but too on-the-go for Star­craft? Try this on for size.) How­ev­er, I’m sure Nin­ten­do will have this worked out by Christ­mas.

^Nin­ten­do: San­ta Claus’s best bros since the 1980’s.
So, what you may be think­ing is “Should I get a 3DS?” Con­sult my lit­tle bul­let­ed sec­tion above. If you have any ques­tions about specifics, or any com­ments to make about the 3DS, or you think I look real­ly good in a cow suit, drop a com­ment below!
Part 2 of this review will be out some­time soon. I’ll review a 3DS game that made me incred­i­bly hap­py, and anoth­er that pissed me off quite a bit.

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