Written on: 30/03/2011 by mark lucas (13 reviews written)
Having never had much to do with Nintendo, but being an avid gadget freak, I thought I'd pick one of these up. I'm hardly new to 3d having used stereoscopic drivers and anaglyph glasses before with various PC games. So I was hardly expecting anything miraculous. But I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by this hand-held console. The Build quality of the 3DS is superb. I went for the aqua blue version available in Europe. It doesn't look anything like it's depicted on most ads though, In fact the unit is metallic on the outside with a thick layer gloss lacquer on the housing. This makes it look especially good quality. Unlike the PSP lite handheld series, it doesn't creak or make cracking noises as you handle it or press buttons. A really nice sturdy piece of kit with some reassuring weight to it. The 3D effect, for the most part, is an aquarium illusion, giving depth to images on screen. Things are hardly popping out, but they still look very impressive and have dimension. There isn't any of the usual blurry ghosting you get using red / cyan glasses . It's a really crystal clear image. The battery time is excellent giving me 5 hours use after just one first initial charge. To give unfamiliar readers an idea of how good that is, my psp lasts 2 hours (if I'm lucky). The touch screen is incredibly accurate and very sensitive. Also the new analog stick on these is a nice addition. Having typed that, I dont think it's as responsive or has the same range as the PSP's. That leads me to my main criticisms of the 3DS which are such: I understand that Nintendo have always directed their consoles at a mainstream family market - but I find the browser and menu options juvenile. Theyre well designed and set out, but a little too basic and condescending for my personal taste. The on-board software which comes on the unit is basically fluff. There's a sound recorder and editor, A couple of onboard games which utilise the stereoscopic cameras - these are two things I probably wont use. Disappointingly the camera quality is not very good indoors either. I would say that most mobile phones currently on the market take better pictures. The images are off colour and heavily pixelated. It seems a bit silly having the stereoscopic feature without decent quality hardware to back it up. With cameras on just about everything now these days, this is a feature I won't be using to take photos. Hopefully the cameras will be utilised more for gameplay. The other thing I don't understand is the incorporation of gyroscopic motion control. I can't understand how this will work with 3d titles - the 3DS needs to be held very securely and still, or the user loses the 3D effect. My final criticism is directed, not at the console itself, but the European launch titles. Some of these games are absolutely yonks old. They are just adaptations that most people could pick up on ebay for nothing, then play using 3d glasses on PC. Puplishers are charging £40 for some of these! I hope that developers are going to embrace the consoles capabilities and actually design proper 3d games. The 3 current titles I have tired do look good, but some of the rendered 3d models look like paper cut outs. Features which appeared 3d on ordinary games (such as shaded stairwells or boxes) sometimes appear flat because of the 3d effect. Otherwise, this portable handheld does what it says on the tin. It plays videogames competently with improved graphics, on the move. I'm glad I bought it and I'll be hoping for an improved software catalogue compared to the NDS and DSI's history of weird Japanese detective games, virtual pets or brain teasers. I would say this is an essential gamer but if you already a PSP Go, try before you buy.