Written by Twisted Ideas
I got my dirty little hands on the New Nintendo 3DS last Friday. While I haven’t spent as much time as I could have over the weekend with it I do have a fair amount of play time with the machine. Is this new model worthy of being a version of the 3DS line?
There are several non-featured improvements for the New 3DS that are welcomed. There isn’t a loud clicking sound when the top screen snaps in place. It’s a softer sound and isn’t as attention grabbing as before. The previous versions of the 3DS had a LED light indicating it’s on standby. The light dimmed and brightened periodically was basically an annoying night-light because it was so bright. This used to bug the hell out of me because I almost never shut off the system and had to remember to put the 3DS away at night because it was that annoying. The new light still dims and brightens but it’s either behind a thicker plastic or it’s just dimmer but you’re not going to be bothered by it anymore.
The New 3DS relocates nearly everything except the face buttons. The stylus, game slot and power button are all located on the small bottom portion of the New 3DS. The volume control is on the top screen and is much stiffer so it’s harder to accidentally move. The wireless button is now gone and has to be controlled through the 3DS menu. The Start and Select buttons are placed where they were on the original DS models and the home button is much smaller. The SD card slot was replaced with a micro SD card slot and is hidden behind the back panel of the system. It’s a hassle to get to but it’s nice to know that little kids won’t try to play with it anymore.
All this serves to remove everything from the sides of the console where your hands rest. This prevents needless fiddling with controls that you may not want to be pressing while playing. Also while the stylus is harder to get to, you aren’t going to be wearing out the nub needlessly by fiddling with it anymore.
There are a couple of new controls on the New 3DS. The C-Stick is more of a nub than a second analog stick. It’s less prone to ware and tear (hopefully) but outside of camera controls you might have accuracy issues with Super Smash Bros. The lack of force feedback on the nub may lead to you move it in the wrong direction because you would still get input errors with the circle pad.
There are also additional ZL & ZR buttons. Monster Hunter 4 only uses them for a second L & R button but they serve no function on older 3DS games. These will be used in future games that want to take advantage of them but they’re negligible at the moment.
The operating system is slightly faster than before. It’s hard to notice if you haven’t played around with the 3DS menus before. Menu options and folders are near instant and starting games and applications is faster. The home button even has less delay, getting you back into the game faster. Somehow, the improved operating system or hardware improved the speed of browsing the Nintendo eShop. Thumbnails still take a while to load but moving through pages is much faster.
The system has dynamic brightness adjustment. It’s a feature that HDTVs and cell phones have that adjusts the brightness for the amount of light that it detects. I haven’t experienced this feature much beyond the first time I turned on the system. I usually have the brightness at the lowest settings or in places where the light won’t change. When I did see this feature I was on my bed not completely still and it would start to dim and brighten. It was annoying so I disabled the feature.
I haven’t used the system enough where battery life has become an issue. I did need to charge it a few times but it does seem to last longer than the 3DS XL. When the battery indicator is red you actually have a fair amount of play time before it starts flashing. The 3DS XL only really had about 10 minute before it would flash even at the lowest settings and maybe another 10 before it died. This is a good thing because ever since I retired the DS Lite I feel that all my handhelds don’t last anywhere as long as that one did.
The 3D has been improved and features new eye tracking technology. You don’t have to be forward facing the console or perfectly still anymore, improving the experience. The 3D of the entire line has been negligible since the beginning but it has been good for some games. This makes me more tempted to use the 3D, however the 3D on some games still just sucks.
I had no need for the New Nintendo 3DS XL but my old 3DS XL is a little worse for ware. Nintendo made a lot of little adjustments and changes that makes the system work better and feel better in my hands and I can’t really complain about that. I also love how the standard and XL models were released at the same time, let’s just hope that there isn’t a New Nintendo 2DS announced anytime soon. I’m perfectly happy with the system but there isn’t a need to upgrade if you don’t need to. If you do decide to upgrade, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you get your hands on a special edition.