Nintendo 3DS User Review
I Picked up the Nintendo 3DS in Japan
On September 26th 2011, I picked up my reserved Nintendo 3DS. I bought it with the case pack and two games. Super Street fighter 4 and Ridge Racer. When I used it for the first time, I must say I was very impressed with the 3D feeling of depth it seemed to go a go 50cm beyond the screen. This time it has an analogue controller above the D-pad and a 3D adjustment slider.
The Nintendo 3DS screens are slightly difference size to the standard DS. The lower screen is much smaller and is still the touch screen. The upper screen is the much larger 3D screen, and has a much better resolution then the previous Nintendo DS. The 3D depth or volume can be controlled using the slider on the right of the screen.
Playing on the 3DS
I first played street fighter 4 and was very impressed with the graphics however, the camera seemed to be angled to the side and slightly behind me so I couldn'treally judge the distance of my jumps. I supposed this will take some getting used to compared to the 2D version. I also found that it was necessary to hold the screen completely level, any slight deviations with the angle and the 3D effect suddenly disappears causing eyestrain.
Next up I played Ridge Racer which was a lot of fun and good depth effect with the 3D, however I would have though it would be moving at around 60fps, it seemed around 30-40fps. There is other bundled software that comes with the Nintendo 3DS which I haven't had the chance to check out yet. It has a dual lens camera which can take 3D images and also Wii compatibility modes for exchanging Mii data.
At the point its difficult to say whether this new device will be a success or not, it seems fun and is aimed more for the serious gamer than the Nintendo DS but my major concern is the 3D mode versus the eyestrain. After 30mins of playing I started to feel the strain but I am not sure if this is something that you will get used to over time. The other issue was the viewing angle of the screen in 3D which is not very large, even small variations to the left or right leaves the screen blurry and unplayable. you really need to be looking at the screen from straight on in order to see the full 3D effect.
Playing the 3DS for the second day, I didn't get as much eye strain as before. Playing street fighter in 3D mode seemed quite difficult due to the fact that I couldn't judge the distance between the characters very well because of the camera angle. Playing in 2D I was quite impressed with the frame rate and the graphics detail which is higher than the PSP.
The 3D mode maybe the step for Next Gen consoles however even without the 3D, the new DS seems to have some potential for gaming and will no doubt attract more of the hardcore gamers.
Seeing people in public here in Japan playing on the 3DS it seems that most people (around 80%) have the 3D option off.
The built in game was a lot of fun. You take pictures of faces for avatars and they appear in a shoot up style game. The dual cameras are on while you play so you can see a combination of your room, with 3D depth and the games graphics mixed in. It real feels like you are blasting chunks out of the wall in your room while you blast your own and friends (and pets) avatars using the accelerator.
There is also now a joystick add-on for better movement control, this sits behind the 3DS and extends the controls so you have both left and right analogue controllers just like a normal game controller.
Popularity in Japan
Recently I have seen a few of the larger screen newer 3DS's on the train, however smartphones seem to be taking over due to the low cost of games and massive game library that offer many games for free (with limitations).