The lights are on
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Sunday, March 27th, the Nintendo 3DS handheld hit store shelves. After a year long wait from the system's announcement, gamers everywhere could finally see it for themselves. With 3D that doesn't require the use of glasses, Wii quality graphics, and the big games coming out for it, there was many a reason for people to be excited for the handheld. Does the system live up to the hype? Read on to find out.
First, we'll start off with the built in software.
Nintendo 3DS Camera
The 3DS has three cameras; one on the inside and two on the outside. The two cameras on the outside are used to take pictures in 3D. These can be viewed in Nintendo 3DS camera. The software is easy enough to use; you can take pictures with the L or R buttons, you can view your different photos by clicking on them with your stylus; etc. It's all pretty standard stuff. The pictures themselves are pretty low quality, and certainly aren't going to make there way into photography classes anytime soon.
The biggest draw, and funnest feature of Nintendo 3DS Camera is obviously the 3D. With the 3D cameras, you can take some really cool pictures that either partially come out of the screen or have some really nice depth.
The sad part about the 3D pictures is that they work like eyes. If the object you're taking a picture of is too close to the cameras, it produces a double image. Since the 3DS uses two separate cameras for 3D pictures, this is an unavoidable yet still disappointing flaw.
Another disappointing aspect is that it doesn't have nearly as many features as the DSicamera software did. Withthat, you could quadruple your image, (in a non blurred way) turn your eyes into cat eyes, make a kaleidoscope- like image and more. WithNintendo 3DS Camera, you're limited to just drawing on your photos. You can only draw on the photos with one color, and the only stamps you can put on your photos is a heart. This is extremely strange, considering even the Wii had more features than it. Hopefully more will come later in an update.
Nintendo 3DS Sound
Nintendo 3DS Sound is no more than a little toy. You use the 3DS's microphone to record ten second clips of sound that you can then edit and alter. While it's not extremely deep, it's still a lot of fun to mess with.
When you record a sound, you can go into the editing menus and apply filters, speed, and pitch. There's a certain charm to making yourself sound like a chipmunk.
There's not much left to talk about Nintendo 3DS Sound. Like I said, it's a fun toy, but it's just a toy. There's not much you can do with it that won't just make you laugh a little. If I could ask for one thing with it, I'd want more filters and a longer recording time.
The MiiMaker is a feature that I'm sure not many people expected with the 3DS. The whole point of the name "Mii" was the fact that it was "Wii" with the "W" upside down. However, the Miis fit great in the 3DS, and it makes finding specific friends on your friends list very simple.
Making your Mii is still pretty simple; you choose facial features that look the most like yourself. The Mii making features are more expanded than the Wii's, but they're still simple. You can't choose different clothes for your Mii, just different colored shirts. If you're someone who likes to play dress-up withyour little friend, you'll want to stick with the 360's Avatars or Playstation Home.
The coolest part of making your Miis is sharing them. If you want to share them via the Internet, you have to post their QR codes. If you want someone else's Mii, you'll have to scan the QR codes, which is extremely easy and fast.
Here, if you have your own 3DS, try it yourselves with a Mii TurdFurgy made.
To get TurdFurgy's Mii on your 3DS, follow these simple steps:
1. Go into the Mii Maker app.
2. Click on the "QR Code/Image Options" bar.
3. Click on the "Scan QR Code" option.
4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
Easy as pie.
Another cool feature is that you can take a picture of yourself and have the 3DS make a Mii based off of it. ...Well, it would be cool if it worked as well as you'd want it to. A lot of times, the Mii that comes out needs to be changed a lot. Here's an example.
Dan's 3DS seems to think of him as a drug addict...
That said, it does always seem to capture the nose, eyebrows and shape of the head well.
AR Games/Face Raiders
The AR Game and Face Raiders are essentially the pack-in games, similar to Wii Sports for Wii or Kinect Adventures. These are the games that show off the really cool things the system can do.
With the AR cards, you point the 3DS'soutside cameras at the specific cards to cause what's printed on them to appear on the 3DS screen. The 3DS comes with six cards, which you can see in this picture.
The "? Block" card is your main hub for the AR games. To play with any of the AR features, you have to use this card. This can be annoying if you just want to take a quick AR picture of Mario or Link, but it's not too bad.
The AR games include Fishing, AR Shot (which is basically mini-golf), Archery, Star Pics (where you can take pictures of the other AR cards) and others. You can even unlock some games by using the Play Coins.
The AR games themselves are fun and impressive. A lot of the games change the shape of the object that the card is laying on, and keeps its shape if you move the system. What you can do with these features are outstanding.
The sad parts about the AR cards is that you need really good lighting. If you don't have the proper lighting, the 3DS cameras will get confused and mess up the cards' on-screen images. This can make it extremely frustrating to create Mario versus Mega Man photoshoots.
This took a lot more time than it needed to.
Now onto Face Raiders.
Personally, I believe Face Raiders is one of the funnest games on the 3DS at launch. Once you pick a game mode, you're prompted to take a picture of yours or someone else'shead. After doing so, the face jumps off of the pictures, puts on a helmet, and starts attacking you. You then have to protect yourself from the faces by shooting bouncy balls at them. You get bonus points if you shoot them in the mouth.
Sounds weird, right? That's because it is, and there's really no other way to explain it. It's a fun, trippy and impressive experience. The fun is optimised by the responsiveness of the cameras and controls. There's no lag whatsoever, and the controls are simple and easy to learn. Well, if you count moving a camera around and pressing "A" a lot easy.
The online features of the 3DS are easily the bast of any Nintendo system, even though that's not saying much. The 3DS gives you a friends list, and instead of a box that says "Guy1829 is Online", a notification light blinks whenever a friend signs on. This sounds annoying, but it's actually really cool. Anytime that little orange light blinks, I quickly press the Home button the see which one of my friends has signed on.
The 3DS uses friend codes, but it's not as bad as it sounds. The friend codes are easy to put in with the touch screen, and there are only twelve numbers, so it's quick. The bad part is that you have to share these friend codes. If you just put in someone's friend code, but they don't put in yours, they'll get no notification whatsoever. I find this not only incredibly annoying, but it's extremely stupid.
Another thing that bugs me is that there's no messasing system whatsoever. I can't send TurdFurgy a message asking him if he wants to play Street Fighter on my 3DS; I have to use Gameinformer Online's own conversation system. This is a huge oversight on Nintendo's part, and I'll be dumbfounded if they don't add it in an update in the future.
Also, I have not gotten to check out Streetpass much, since I live in a smaller town.
The system is built like a DSi, and is no bigger than a DS Lite. It fits nicely in your hands, and feels fine. It's not very bulky, so it'll fit neatly in a pocket. (As long as you don't wear skinny jeans.) The worst part about how the system is built is that it's angled. After holding the system for a prolonged period of times, I felt it was stabbing my hands. This may have been because I was playing Street Fighter, which requires intense squeezing of the system, but that's beside the point. The 3DS is no where near as smooth at the DS Lite.
The system looks very pretty. It's easily identifiable from any former DS. It has a layered structure that makes it look a little like a cake, and I think it looks great. The color, however, looks a little strange. I got the Cosmo Black one, and it goes from solid black to a darker grey as it goes around the system. This would look ok if done right, but it's not. If the system is in the right light, there's an extremely noticeable line on the top that makes it look like the system was dipped in black paint.
The oddest part of the hardware is the buttons. The A/B/X/Y ones aren't a problem, but the L and R buttons annoy me. They don't take up the full piece that they're sitting on, unlike the DS Lite, and they're protruding from the system, so it hurts a little to press them. I'm not sure if this was what they were like on the DSi/DSiXL, but I don't understand why they fixed what was never broken.
The Slide Pad and Directional buttons however, are fantastic. The Slide Pad is rubbery and concave, and it feels very similarly to the 360's joystick, except it's not protruding from the system. Unlike the PSP's nub, which is convex and plastic, the 3DS's Slide Pad feels great and is very easy to keep your thumb on.
The Directional buttons also feel great. I was worried that they'd feel awkward, considering the position they're in, but I was wrong.
The eShop/Internet Browser
Oh wait, those aren't in the system yet. Why Nintendo would promise these features, yet not include them at launch and instead patch them in at a later date I'll never know.
And now we're at the system's selling point; 3D without glasses. It works. You have to hold it in front of your face with only a little room for error, but it works. I can't really explain it; you'll just have to go to your local Best Buy, Target or Gamestop and see it for yourself at one of their demo kiosks.
All in all, it's a great, but flawed system. Of course, like any video game system, the games are going to make it or break it. If the already announced games are any indication, there will be a ton of fun to be had with the system. If you're wanting the system, but aren't sure if it's worth it yet, I'd say wait until the eShop/Internet Browser update if you can.
3DS SCORE: 7.75