Manufacturer: Nintendo | Year: 2012 | List Price: $199.99 | Buy from Amazon
So I got a PS Vita the other day, and I thought that I should do a review on it. To set a benchmark, though, I wanted to do a review on the Nintendo 3DS XL, easily my most-played game system ever. I’m going to do hardware reviews differently. I’ll still break it down into segments where I talk about various features and points of interest, but I won’t give a percentage score. Instead, I’ll tell you whether I think the console is worth your money and why. Anyway, on to the review!
The 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS, a highly successful handheld game system which has sold more units than any other system except the PlayStation 2. Although not quite as successful as its predecessor, the 3DS kicked off the current generation of gaming back in 2011 with its primary gimmick being glasses-free stereoscopic 3D. After a rocky start and a dramatic price drop, sales started to pick up and the 3DS remains the best-selling console of the current generation. The 3DS XL is a redesign of the original, with larger screens and (supposedly) improved durability.
Design: The 3DS XL is, as its name implies, quite large, so portability predictably suffers. I can fit it into my pocket, but I have rather large pockets in my jeans and even then, it’s uncomfortable to sit down. For total portability, then, it would be better to get the original 3DS, which is actually roughly the size of the DS Lite. The XL is made of a matte plastic that resists fingerprints and seems to be more durable. I’ve actually dropped it down the stairs at school before! It fell 5 feet then bounced 3 more on hard tile and suffered no more than a scratch. Storage is via an SD card slot, and the system comes with a 4GB card (2GB on the original 3DS) to start you off, which should be plenty for a while. The buttons are responsive but not clicky, and the Circle Pad works well. A minor complaint is that the D-pad is rather low down, requiring your thumb to be quite close to your palm if you still wish to reach the L Button. Also, there is only one analog pad, so games that feature dual-analog camera control either use the touchscreen or a separate Circle Pad Pro peripheral which’ll cost another $20 or so. (Great)
Library: The 3DS game library is rather massive, with the latest installations from longtime Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, and Zelda. Fire Emblem has also caused a big stir, with its 3DS iteration, Awakening, receiving universal critical acclaim. Other great games include Bravely Default, and Shovel Knight, an eShop indie title. Speaking of the eShop, you can get lots of cheaper 3DS downloadable titles as well as Virtual Console re-releases of many of Nintendo’s classic hits from the NES, Gameboy, and Gameboy Color as well as the Sega Game Gear. My favourite of these titles are The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, The Legend of Zelda, and Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya. Of course, your old library of DS games will work here, giving you the chance to play the thousands of games in that library. And many games are still coming down the pike, such as Fantasy Life and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. (Excellent)
Value: The Nintendo 3DS line of systems offer great value for money. The 3DS XL is the most expensive of these options, priced at $199.99 but has larger screens and more durability. Games are usually priced at $39.99 ($44.99 here in Canada) but if you shop used you can get most games for $30-$35. Virtual Console and eShop releases are cheaper, most no more than $7 and $10-$15 respectively. (Great)
Should you buy it? YES! With the great library of new 3DS games released in the past 2 years, you won’t have any problem playing the 3DS for years to come. Add backwards compatibility with the DS to that as well as Virtual Console support and you’ve got yourself the ultimate handheld gaming experience.
List Price: $199.99 | Buy from Amazon
Do you have a Nintendo 3DS? Do you agree with my opinions above? Tell us in the comments!