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    DF PwNagE _Belial's Avatar
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    Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 3DS Review

    Mine aren't shipping from play-asia until Monday so i'll post a little review once they arrive, but in the meantime here's a review from mmgn

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Nintendo has taken the best handheld on the market, tweaked it, and prolonged its lifespan. If you’re a Nintendo fan, you’ll want a New Nintendo 3DS. But you needn’t necessarily buy one right now as, frankly, there’s almost no benefit to upgrading when there isn’t a single game that requires it or fully takes advantage of its new control features. But if consumers, and gamers in particular, followed such sound logic, there would never be any day one adopters.
    With a steady stream of games over the past three years and 44 million units sold to date, the 3DS has proven the dedicated handheld gaming community is well and truly alive, despite stiff competition from considerably more powerful smartphones and tablets, which benefit from annual updates.
    While I doubt the 3DS will last the six years (and 155 million sales) of the DS, considering how much faster technology evolves now, Nintendo has made a concerted effort to keep the 3DS juggernaut rolling for a little while longer with a revision that plays to its strengths.
    With a faster processor, improved 3D, colourful face buttons, a second analogue nub, kind of, and two extra bumper buttons, this is a handheld for 3DS purists that know their phone, while more powerful, will never replace a Nintendo handheld.

    The 3D fad has passed. I have a 3DTV at home, a headline feature I tried once, and actively avoid wasting the extra $3 on 3D Blu-rays. I don’t like it, it doesn’t add anything to the experience and even though Nintendo pioneered glasses-free technology with the 3DS, which has since been dabbled with on smartphones to little avail, the 3D Depth Slider has firmly been entrenched in the off position since 2011.
    Now, as 2014 draws to a close, they’ve finally gotten it right. Dubbed “Super Stable 3D” on the box, the New 3DS uses facial tracking to ensure 3D visuals actually work. The original model necessitated the player’s head be in the sweet spot for their eyes to catch the 3D effect, and even slight movement ruined it, but the New 3DS knows exactly where you are, and tailors the image to suit.
    It goes a long way to reduce the disorientating dizzying effect, which is what turned me and millions more off 3D to begin with. I used to feel nauseous as my eyes painfully strained with 3D activated. With New 3DS, I’ve played several games with the Depth Slider fully engaged and not had a single problem.
    As an experience, there’s still no benefit to 3D in my eyes. It floundered as a distracting gimmick in the early part of the decade, and I doubt anything will change my mind. Personal preferences aside, the "Super Stable 3D" makes a massive difference. Coming up to four years after release, the New 3DS finally offers 3D visuals you can actually choose to use, if you like. The decision hasn’t been made for you by inferior technology. This is how 3D is meant to work.

    The jump from the 3DS to the 3DS XL was dramatic as soon as it hit your hands, but the redesigned New 3DS, which is available in both variants, doesn’t feel like as big of a leap. The New 3DS XL looks and feels a lot like its predecessor, weighing a few grams more and measuring in at the same size. I can’t downgrade to the smaller size, but if the XL is too bulky for your portable needs, the New 3DS has seen a slight increase in screen size over the original 3DS.
    The smaller model is only available in white, while the big boy comes in fingerprint-magnetised metallic black or blue. Seriously, I think it became ensconced in filthy fingerprints when I merely thought about picking it up. While it’s only sold in white, Nintendo has equipped the smaller model with changeable faceplates. There are more than 40 options already on-sale in Japan to customise the look of your 3DS, and a bunch have made the journey to ANZ.
    I feel like I'm saying how much I love most of the improvements to the New 3DS, but I can't in good conscious tell you to buy a new handheld with no exclusive games. But if you're here reading a review, we both know you're already going to buy one, and that's exactly the market Nintendo is targeting.
    Faceplates aren’t a thing with the New 3DS XL. You’re stuck with your shiny black or blue case, probably because Nintendo intends to continue selling New 3DS XL Limited Edition designs, and the market that will buy a new handheld that has no games is the same market that will buy a new one for pretty artwork. It’s not ideal for adult consumers, but follows an obvious business plan, while letting children and their tiny hands have some aesthetic fun without hurting Mummy and Daddy’s wallet.
    The 3DS XL has always felt sturdy in your hands, and this is no exception. It feels like a durable quality product, which is something that couldn’t be said for the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. The volume switch now resides symmetrically to the 3D slider atop the screen, and the game slot has been moved from the top-back to the bottom-front of the device, allowing the AC adapter to be centred on top, opposite the headphone jack on the bottom.
    The Home button now sits solo beneath the touchscreen, as Start and Select have been relocated beneath the recoloured A-B-X-Y configuration. On the New 3DS, they have been given a stunning splash of paint reminiscent of the Super Nintendo’s Yellow, Blue, Green and Red colour scheme with white lettering – that alone will be enough to have Nintendo fans torn between the comfort of the XL and the nostalgia of the regular. The New 3DS XL has black or blue buttons with coloured lettering. It’s still a nice touch, but not as endearing for long-time Nintendo fans.
    Both editions of the New 3DS use a microSD card, rather than the standard SD you’ll find inside other models of the 3DS. It’s hidden away under the detachable backplate on both models, which can be changed, and means you can’t use your old SD card during a System Transfer. All data can be transferred over the Internet, but using two 4GB SD cards, I found that to take more than two hours. Instead, I would recommend using a PC to transfer the data between SD and microSD cards and perform the smaller System Transfer over wi-fi. Speaking of which, there's no more external wi-fi toggle, which was too easy to accidentally hit. It's on by default and is now disabled in the menu.

    The most noticeable design changes are the addition of the C-Stick, a much smaller secondary analogue nub, and two additional bumper buttons. These aren’t new control schemes for the 3DS – Nintendo added clumsy variants via the bulky Circle Pad Pro accessory that never took off, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
    The second analogue nub should add longevity to the New 3DS, if developers are permitted to use it. It looks strange and is a firm nub that doesn’t slide around like the C-Pad. With its size and unyielding nature, it feels like a trackpad nub built into laptop keyboards during an era best forgotten in the early 2000s. However, after actually using it, I think it’s a great design. It doesn’t feel like you’re moving it at all, but it’s responsive when applying pressure to navigate the 3DS menu or use a Smash attack in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
    Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how it really performs. With the Circle Pad Pro dying an early death, there just haven’t been many 3DS games designed for dual analogue support – and there-in could lie the problem. With an install-base of over 40 million, how many 3DS games are going to be designed for a second nub? Maybe camera control is what Mr Aonuma meant when he said there would be some differences in Majora’s Mask 3D, but is Nintendo really going to make many games designed for it, or will it be relegated to an optional extra, like unnecessary camera control? That would explain why it’s been given such little real estate, paving the way for it to be forgotten if things don't work out. Conversely, this could be the kickstart the Circle Pad Pro needs to make a comeback.
    Likewise, the second bumpers – ZL and ZR – don’t have much to do just yet. Smaller, but protruding slightly more, they sit inside the L and R buttons, rather than beneath them. From pictures, I thought this was ridiculous, but in practice it works really well. It’s easy to find them with your index fingers and comfortably shift between all four.
    The New 3DS also adds NFC functionality for amiibo support out of the box. There will be an adapter for old 3DS in 2015, and with amiibo launching as a Wii U event later this month, it’s yet another feature that’s not really relevant on New 3DS yet.

    The faster processor is a welcome addition for Super Smash Bros. It was clearly pushing the old 3DS to its limits and loads much faster upon start-up on New 3DS. The 3DS menu also benefits from the faster speed, turning on almost instantly compared to the slight delay of the lagging 3DS.
    Although, it’s a shame it launches exactly the same menu we’ve had for several years. Maybe Nintendo is waiting for the US and European launches, as Australia and New Zealand is a minuscule market, but this would have been the perfect time to overhaul the 3DS menu. Tablets have come a long way since 2011, and with Microsoft and Sony constantly updating the Xbox One and PS4, it feels terribly out of date. We can apply that to the clunky eShop, as well, which doesn’t benefit from the added grunt – but hey, at least there’s no automatic Internet filter that requires payment to be disabled like there was in Japan.
    The increase in overall performance across menus is notable, but as a revised handheld in the trend of the Game Boy Color and DSi, there’s no gameplay reason to buy a New 3DS, as it has zero exclusive games, and besides Super Smash Bros, none that offer noticeable performance increases.
    There’s only one New 3DS exclusive confirmed to be in development: a port of Wii hitXenoblade Chronicles, which requires the extra power, and has only been confirmed for Japan. In the unlikely event something goes horribly wrong and New 3DS never launches in other regions, Australians won’t be able to import it because the New 3DS is still region locked. I never understood that with handhelds. They're designed to travel with you, so why locked them to a single region?
    Nintendo also missed a trick by sticking with a rubbish battery. All the way back in 2011, it quoted a dismal 3-5 hours battery life. The New 3DS, at best, will last 6 hours. The XL lasts between 3.5 and 6.5 hours. The New 3DS XL will hit up to 7 hours. I’ve worked my fingers to the bone, scrimped and saved for a New 3DS XL, all for an extra 30 minutes of battery life on the most energy efficient settings – Nintendo still says between 3.5 and 7 hours. That’s just not good enough for an enhanced model of a handheld targeting existing owners.

    The New 3DS XL is ideal for European importers, as it comes in a small box due to Nintendo’s ludicrous decision not to include a power adapter. The New 3DS costs $219, while the New 3DS XL is $249 – but you’ll need to spend an extra $15 to charge it and another $15 on top of that if you want the charging cradle.
    The New 3DS XL is targeting the dedicated handheld market. Consumers that probably already own multiple units because they wanted one with Pikachu and another with the Triforce on it – the same people that will buy a new iteration of the 3DS now, before it actually has any gameplay advantages.
    However, even with that in mind, assuming almost everyone who buys a New 3DS has an old 3DS, it’s ridiculous that the charger is not included. It’s awkward for those that need to sell their old 3DS to pay for the new one — you can’t reasonably sell it without a charger secondhand but Nintendo has done it new — and there’s always going to be newcomers with Super Smash Bros and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby out for the holidays. I hope Santa reads the small warning on the box, otherwise there’s going to be a lot of upset 10-year-olds come Christmas morning.

    Honestly, I think you already know the answer to that question. This is the best iteration of the 3DS on the market. While most of the changes are negligible without software support, you’re either a life-long Nintendo fan that upgraded from the 3DS to XL and need to have the best model, or you only play two games on it a year and don’t really care.
    I feel like I'm saying how much I love most of the improvements to the New 3DS, besides the disappointing battery and outdated menu, but I can't in good conscious tell you to buy a new handheld with no exclusive games. But if you're here reading a review for something called "New 3DS", we both know you're already going to buy one, and that's exactly the market Nintendo is targeting.
    There’s nothing here you don’t already have access to, but it future proofs the handheld and, if enough people upgrade, hopefully future games will strongly support the C-Stick and ZL and ZR buttons which, when combined with a little more power, should allow experiences not previously possible on 3DS. However, that’s all speculation. Here and now the New 3DS offers a vastly improved 3D experience with colourful buttons, a couple of relocated switches and slots, and faster speed zipping around the menu.

    Thanks to _Belial

    elephantsoup (23rd November 2014) 

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