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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