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My Nintendo 3DS Impressions (updated with new hands on)
Editorial by 
Editor
February 13, 2011, 11:00:42
 
Wow what a day, Nintendo really does put on a fantastic event and this was no exception. The event was held at the Arnolfini in Bristol and started with a ten minute tour guided by a few of the trolley dollies Nintendo had obviously hired to keep the mostly male population of guests happy. First in a group of about ten we were taken to a big interactive floor mat meant to showcase the connectivity of the 3DS street pass functionality, as each person stepped on the mat lines were created connecting each person within a certain distance, by the end there were a lot of connections and it was actually quite impressive how much data would be shared. Next we moved on to a live Street Fighter battle between Ryu and Ken before being dragged down a dark area by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine while being chased by zombies and Baghead with a chainsaw. Then after a brief video by Jonathan Ross it was onto some hands on time with the 3DS.






The System

The system itself was fantastic, seemed very well built and it doesnít seem like the hinges are designed to crack this time. Aqua Blue was without a doubt the sexier of the two colours and I am very happy with my preorder choice.
You have no doubt heard this before but the 3D really does work, it looks really cool when playing and to me itís a testament to the technology that after a few minutes of play you didnít really notice the 3D effect but felt much more immersed in the game as a result (not sure if that makes much sense but Iíll go with it). The majority of the 3D effects were simply and aid to depth perception and the screen truly was like looking through a window, the depth slider was great and it only took a few seconds to find a 3D level that was right for me. Watching the 3D effect go from maximum to minimum in real time was also quite funky, I did notice that this was only present while playing games though, game and movie trailers either had the 3D effect on or off with no middle ground.

The controls felt great, I really like the feel of the D Pad which felt nice during my hands on with Street Fighter and the buttons had a nice clicky feel to them. The Circle pad is a work of genius and a breath of fresh air on a handheld, it is very responsive and works by sliding rather than tilting like a regular analogue stick. Nintendo really has blown Sony out of the water with this one who after 4 system revisions with the PSP still couldnít get it right.

The OS is very IOS inspired which I liked, you can have 16 icons present at once per page which was nice although you can tweak this to your liking. When you are mid game you can suspend and access the full OS and console features. You can launch any application but things like the camera, Mii Maker, eshop games will ask if you which to end your current session, icons on the top bar such as Notepad, Internet Browser, Notifications(pedometer, messages) and friends list can all be accessed without ending your current session

The Games

Street Fighter

Street Fighter looks fantastic and truly is a great port of the home console versions. The game looked fantastic and controlled very well, The 3D effect worked much better in Dynamic View mode which shifts the perspective behind the players fighter. I did have trouble adjusting to the viewpoint when fighting and felt the need to move the Circle Pad diagonally down then up for charge moves as I was moving in the direction of the camera. When using the D pad I didnít have this trouble which was a little odd, I would still prefer the standard perspective for fighting though and would perhaps use the dynamic viewpoint for watching other peoples battles. The 3D worked well and I didnít find it hard to maintain the sweet spot.

Pilotwings Resort

I am unsure how to feel about this game at present which is a little disappointing as it is one of my most anticipated titles. The game controlled well and still has a mission based structure similar to that of the original title. You fly around in your chosen craft landing on runways or targets, riding thermals etcÖ I am still not convinced by the whole WuHu Island local and would be much happier with different locals with a zany bunch of characters rather than Miiís. I had problems with the 3D effect here and the whole thing just seemed a blurry mess at times, I did notice some scratch marks on the left hand side of the screen which may have caused problems with the 3D effect.

Steel Diver

I didnít spend a great deal of time with this game as I found it to be a little boring. The 3D worked well though but the game just looked like a bit of a mess to me. Not one I will be looking to pickup during the launch window.

Kid Icarus

One of the standout titles for me although I got removed from it half way through the first demo level to move to the next room. The level I tried was a flying section which was very fast paced and had some story segments going on in the background as I shot down the various enemies, I got to choose my weapon at the start of the level which varied in range and power one declining as the other improved. The 3D effect was very nice and I had no trouble maintaining the sweet spot, and I very nearly had the depth slider maximised here, objects actually felt like they were flying out of the screen here which worked well, controls were very intuitive and felt nice although I hear this is different in the ground segments.

Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time felt like the game we all know and love with improved visuals and obviously the 3D effect. Textures were much clearer although they are still very N64 looking, character models have had a significant upgrade making Link and Ghoma much more detailed and they also to benefited from improved animation. I am really looking forward to seeing some other character models now, I bet Ganondorf, the Goronís and Zora are going to look fantastic. The controls were also great and having the touch screen there to select items on the fly was a great addition. Music seemed unchanged although the room was very loud so I couldnít hear a great deal. I am really looking forward to the game when it releases.

AR Games

They just had the Dragon game on show as usual at the AR games stand which was a lot of fun. You have to maintain a distance of 35cm from the card for it to scan, the fact that the system knows how far away you are and shows a counter as you move towards or away from the surface was impressive in itself. At first a small cute little box appeared which I didnít really want to shoot but the nice young model next to me insisted, then some targets appeared which I had to physically strafe around in order to shoot the table then started to morph and the Dragon burst out, I had to shoot each section of his body which turned from gold to red then to black, when each section of his body turned black the game was over. This is a high score game so hopefully there will be some sort of online leader board. I didnít expect to be as impressed with AR games as I was, it was very cool to watch it all unfold as if on the actual surface and I look forward to seeing what other cards come packed with the system. It is also worth noting that I was less than impressed at first until it was pointed out that the depth slider was all the way down, once the 3D was turned up the effect was far more impressive.

Face Raiders

Man this has to be my game of the show I was very impressed and the game is a lot more fleshed out than I realised, this is not just some pack in tech demo, in my eyes it is a full-fledged game. The first level was pretty straight forward your face gets stolen, laughs at you with what I can only describe as a Vigo the Carpathian style expression and decides to rip apart the very fabric of reality. Itís put on a nifty little protective helmet too.
The idea of the game is to shoot as many of the little versions of the faces as possible before they either shoot you or throw some of the background at you. You then square off against the boss which is usually more complicated to fight than the others. As the levels progress things become more complicated, Square faces appear made from the background that have to be pushed back into place, smaller and harder to hit enemies become more apparent and there are some puzzle elements such as enemies that are sliding puzzles that you need to arrange to look like your face in order to defeat or a boss that makes bizarre versions of your face (old, moustached, clown) that you must avoid while trying to focus on the original picture of you.
This game is a must own and luckily you will as it is a pack in with the system, this is quite possibly the best pack in game Nintendo has ever offered and I think people are going to have a lot of fun, I look forward to a leaderboard thread here on the boards

Others

Nintendogs to me didnít seem to benefit from the 3D much and just seemed like the same old game with some new items and a fresh coat of paint. The cats were boring.

Raving Rabbids seemed like a fun 2D platformer, 3D added a nice touch to the backgrounds although you are unable to interact with any of them. You can collect new suits which act as power ups, I picked up a suit of armour which gave me a short period of invincibility.

Monkey Ball was by far the worst demo, I was forced to use tilt controls which if used on later levels would really have had an undesirable effect on the sweet spot however the 5 demo levels pretty much had me stuck on a small narrow path sunk into the floor which did not allow much in the way of left or right movement. It was basically a case of tilting up to the goal. 3D was nice though and the game looked pretty good.

Unfortunately no Virtual Console games were available at the event.



All in all I had a great time at the event. It was a fun day and I now really look forward to getting the system in my hands for a longer period of time. If you have any questions please let me know.

Update:

So I just walked into my local game store to see an employee walking around with a 3DS in his hands. I asked if I could have a go and he promptly placed an AR card on a box and let me at it. It was the usual dragon game and my impressions of that havent changed but when that was over it gave me the option of selecting from a few more games. There was a graffiti tool, Mii profile and a fishing game and 2 others. The Mii Profile just let me change the pose of a Mii and move it around. I also had a go of the fishing game which was a very Animal Crossing inspired fishing game with shadows swimming under the card and using the motion functionality of the system I was able to dip the rod into the water move it around and then pull back to hook the fish. The games were ok but the dragon game is the best one I played. Now I have to wonder whether the system comes with 6 AR cards or if the card comes loaded with 6 games.

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Posted: 02/13/11, 11:00:42  - Edited by 
 on: 02/17/11, 18:46:26    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
What are the 3 types of craft? Is there jetpack stuff?

I hope there is a lot more variety than fly through rings. 64 had all kinds of stuff, including fighting the huge robot!


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:20:03
Jetpack, Plane and Hang glider.







I have no idea if there are Giant Robots etc.. but all I know is the first Mii I make is one that looks like Goose.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:23:28  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:25:21
@warerare
It's just that I've spent hours playing the free-fly in WSR, I love it! But damn, I know every tiny blade of grass in Wuhu island. There will be no (or very little) joy of discovery for me.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:26:12
Yeah that is really the problem with Miyamoto's concept of Wuhu Island as a recurring character. Part of the fun of these type of games is exploring new environments. But I also wonder if Miyamoto truly believes in this idea, or if he just sees it as a way to make game development faster and more efficient.

Still, glad to see jetpacks, hang-gliders and planes. Maybe there is a bit more to this game than would first appear. I really, really hope they do hang-gliders right, that was my favorite part of the 64 game. The subtle movements of the hang-glider, catching and riding drifts, etc. The photography based missions!


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:36:01
Thanks for the impressions! Just paid off my 3DS today! w00t!


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 23:53:05
Honestly im still not sold on the new handhelds, but all these positive previews are starting to change my mind.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 23:57:27
Finally paid off my 3DS today with Super Street Fighter IV! I'm also waiting to hear more on Pilotwings. Next month is going to be EPIC! Pokemon, 3DS, Super Street Fighter IV, AR Games, Face Raiders! I wish I could just skip straight to March 27th.

I am a little disappointed to hear about the dumbing down of Pilotwings. I was hoping for a really awesome game akin to the SNES and N64 versions. I hope there's a lot they aren't showing us. Ditto for Ocarina's soundtrack.

Edit: @Deerock69 Just saw your post. Congrats! Are you getting any games?


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 00:04:08  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/11, 00:06:27
Does anyone fancy posting this as a link on the Wii and DS boards on the site that shall not be named . Not that anyone would see it over there these days .


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 00:49:42
You guys do know that it's just a...demo, right? I've played dozens of hours of WSR's Fly Over, and aside from Pilot Wings' free flight mode, the games are are nothing alike in terms of gameplay. In fact, Wii Fit Plus' Flying Chicken game (which also takes place on Wuhu Island) has a lot more in core mechanics in common with Pilot Wings than WSR.

I can understand not liking the basic mechanics of a demo, but being disappointing because of lacking features and content purely based on demo impressions makes zero sense. I mean, Nintendogs + cats was a very limited demo. Supposed this was the first Nintendogs game, should I have assumed that there would only be 2 dogs and 1 cat, and cancelled my pre-order? Even if it made sense to draw that conclusion based on a limited demo, I could only imagine how stupified I would have looked after Nintendo just updated the Official page to say that there will be 27 different breeds of dogs. Some informative demo, eh?

Look, the experience events serve the purpose of providing bite-sized representations of the core experience of a game. Judging the scope and full contents of a game is just impossible, and if you're trying to determine if a game's got some meat on its bones, you'd be better off renting it first.

Anyway, Pilot Wings is a Day 1 for me, along with SSFIV and Nintendogs + cats.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 00:53:58
The fact that its set on Wuhu island and uses just Miis reduces the feeling that this is a true Pilot Wings though. If the game does feature cool things like the skydiving, cannon, birdman, giant robots etc.. then I will be happy. The 3D was also quite blurry for me in Pilotwings but that may have been due to the small mark on the screen of that unit.

Mind you I think I would be happy if it is like the first game, having crazy stuff during bonus stages but maintaining the learn to fly feeling of the main game. I guess I won't really know how i will feel until i see some in depth reviews or get the game myself.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:10:41  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:13:17
As long as Pilotwings Resort has those photographing missions/games, I'll buy it. That was the best part. Well, that and the frog jumper.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:12:34
warerare said:
Does anyone fancy posting this as a link on the Wii and DS boards on the site that shall not be named . Not that anyone would see it over there these days .

I would but my insider ran out.

@casper884

While I agree that this is just a demo and many features are probably yet to be shown, I think everyone is still feeling the sting of Animal Crossing City Folk. I'm very interested in this game, but I still want to hear a little but more about it. Speaking of Animal Crossing, I hope that game receives a an overhaul to the gameplay.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:12:35
The original game had multiple locals, or at least differing weather effects with stages etc.. There was even another country who had taken hostages you had to rescue in a helicopter. You even had to avoid missiles while shooting the launchers.

The N64 version also had multiple locales one of which was a pretty cool version on the USA with certain landmarks like Mt Rushmore and Kennedy Space Center.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:27:11  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:28:12
@warerare

I actually am very glad that the main area is Wuhu Island. The whole Island was ingeniously crafted, and feels alive and real. Pilot Wings simply introduces new gameplay mechanics in an environment that feels natural and immersive. You're not going to find that kind of level of detail on a bunch of maps. Wuhu island is fucking huge and rendered to scale. There are so many different types of terrain on the island itself, and I would hardly equate it to one map in the previous Pilot Wings. I mean, imagine if Pilot Wings was based in Hawaii. Sure, it's one setting, but it's varied and beautiful, with lots of stuff to do.

@sirmastersephiroth

Yeah but Wuhu Island has seen many different core gameplay mechanics over the span of its implementations, while Animal Crossing has always just been a Life Simulation game.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:29:51
@casper884
I'm not assuming Wuhu Island is the only local, it's just the only one they've showed and confirmed so far, which has me worried. Nintendo has proven with Animal Crossing City Folk they have no qualms about repacking a near identical game and passing it off as new, and if Pilot Wings turns out to be just one mode from WSR with a couple extra features then I'll be very disappointed.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:44:11
@deathly_hallows

But...Pilot Wings Resort is not just one mode from WSR with 'extra features', unless you consider an entire game of Pilot Wings to be considered 'extra features'. Just like Fly Over mode in WSR was just one mode, Free Flight mode in Pilot Wings Resort is just one mode, and is where the similarities between the two games end.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 01:54:52
@casper884
If you say so, I look at those screenshots for Pilot Wings and it looks almost exactly like WSR to me. That would be fine if it's a $10 download game but I'm not going to pay $30-$40 if it's just Wuhu Island and nothing else.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 02:17:24
Of course it looks like the same game, it's the exact same setting! But surely we're not going to judge the contents and features of a game based on screenshots!

I do have to say, Nintendo is being very tight-lipped so close to launch, which is a little annoying. I mean, the 3DS launches in Japan in a week and half. I think it's about time to start releasing more info on the launch games.


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 02:28:38  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/11, 02:34:15
I was just thinking how awesome the helicopter music was in the original game only to find out its a Koji Kondo piece. That man is frikkin awesome



Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 03:17:30  - Edited by 
 on: 02/14/11, 03:17:43
Secret_Tunnel said:
In OoT3D, could you swing the sword while running?


Posted by 
 on: 02/14/11, 03:23:30
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