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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?
 
Thanks for the impressions. Wish I got to go!


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 14:12:13
You jerk.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 14:23:05
Very nice impressions. Not enough money right now to get the system, but I am glad it is doing well thusfar and definitely something I will want to pick up down the line.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 15:54:40
I really appreciate this thread, thanks.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 16:02:59
Thanks for all the impressions. So how would you compare the screen quality with relation to the DS Lite and DSi?


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 16:47:06
No problems on the impressions I was very happy to write them. The top screen seemed much better in terms of clarity and detail but I didnt really notice the bottom screen too much as there wasn't a whole lot going on down there.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 17:57:19
Awesome, our own news correspondent here at NW! Thanks warerare. My fiancť and I are excited to get our hands on the 3DS, and it's always great to hear from someone who has actually played it.

By the way, where was this event?


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 18:11:48
Thanks @warerare. I'm really excited about this system. I'm just an hour away from getting the money to finish paying it and SFIV off. I'm glad to hear that they have a good D-Pad. I hope Ocarina's music gets remixed though.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 18:24:52
If you have played games in 3D on the PS3, how does the 3DS look compared to it?


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 18:26:14
In OoT3D, could you swing the sword while running?


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 18:26:15
Cool, thanks for the impressions!

Funny you just glossed over Steel Diver, that's one of my most anticipated games! I can see how it might be kinda boring though, if it's slow paced and strategic, games like that don't demo well when you only have a few minutes to play them. (and maybe it just sucks too...)


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 20:17:44  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/11, 20:20:33
deathly_hallows said:
Cool, thanks for the impressions!

Funny you just glossed over Steel Diver, that's one of my most anticipated games! I can see how it might be kinda boring though, if it's slow paced and strategic, games like that don't demo well when you only have a few minutes to play them. (and maybe it just sucks too...)

I should have spent more time with Steel Diver and I do have a few more things to add its just time was cracking on when I was writing them. If I can say anything at the moment its that I thought the Submarine controls on the touch screen were quite intuitive and cool but the periscope tilt controls were a tad unresponsive.

Secret_Tunnel said:
In OoT3D, could you swing the sword while running?

I really have to think back on this one but I dont think so, I am sure he ground to a halt to swing.

@gtarrant

I have never played a game in 3D before so i am unable to comment.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 20:42:14
You look as happy as piranha plant.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 20:48:33
Renjaku said:
You look as happy as piranha plant.

If you want a better one snapped by the Nintendo photographer then hows this for a cheesy smile, oh Face Raiders I love you so.



Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 20:52:22
Sounds awesome. After the impressions and podcast I'm much more excited about Face Raiders...

...and a bit less excited about Pilotwings. Albeit I've suspected from the start that it might be a sort of uber casualized version, so my expectations weren't super high. I hope it manages to contain elements for both crowds.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 21:36:02
@Zero
I want to be excited for Pilot Wings, but so far it seems like nothing but the free-fly mode from Wii Sports Resort. Sounds like Nintendo is pulling an Animal-Crossing with this one.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 21:44:12
Nah there are specific tasks involved (maybe Wareware can get into this more?) the free mode is its own thing. But the fact that it seems to all take place in one area (Wuhu Island + surrounding islands) and is Miis only and such kind of worries me. Not sure if it will have the depth and challenge of something like Pilotwings 64.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 21:54:27
@deathly_hallows

There is a mission mode with targets to land on, rings to fly through and runways etc.. along with licences earned for certain scores so it does have that old pilotwings stuff. I am just concerned there are only 3 types of craft and no fun novelties like the cannon. The 2 minute limit on free mode is also a concern, hopefully some of these issues will be alleviated when the reviews roll in.

I would also like to see the helicopter rescue missions make a comeback, that shit was brutal and a lot of fun.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 21:54:32
@Zero@warerare
I know but essentially it's the same as WSR, just some rings to fly through and whatnot. If they add more islands/environments plus several more kinds of crafts then I'll be happy, but if it's just Wuhu Island and 3 different vehicles to fly... that sucks IMO.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:01:50
@deathly_hallows

It is just Wuhu island but they have added some other islands to the surrounding area. I feel your disappointment though as this could have been so much more.


Posted by 
 on: 02/13/11, 22:10:48
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