Ten reasons to buy the Nintendo 3DS
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With its glasses-free 3D - and the obvious bevy of Nintendo goodness and Japanese ingenuity - the Ninetendo 3DS is certainly an attractive prospect. However, is this enough to warrant a buy...?
With the arrival of the Nintendo 3DS less than a week away, it's decision time - to buy or not to buy. It's the console critics are calling revolutionary, and the world's first 3D console where glasses aren't needed. But, if you're still unsure about whether it's worth buying after my review last week, allow me - and Shadowlocked - to give you ten reasons you need a Nintendo 3DS in your life..
10. 3D without the glasses
It's an obvious one, but the Nintendo 3DS' 3D capabilities have to be mentioned. The console projects a dual image which allows the user to see a 3D image without the need for special glasses. The hype around this feature has been huge, and even Mario himself has been seen sporting a pair of 3D glasses in preparation for the launch (surely someone at Nintendo should have told him he doesn't need them?). The technology used to create the console's 3D is ground-breaking, and, despite television manufacturers assuring us that it is 'on the way', to have the technology in your hands right now is mind blowing. I got my hands on the console a few weeks ago and the 3D aspect blew me away. Objects appear to fly out of the screen, which makes for an immersive experience when playing games, and the possibilities for the use of the 3D are even more exciting. Furthermore, Nintendo have spoken about the possibiity of watching 3D movies on the console in the very near future.
2. 3D Camera
The 3DS sports one 2D front facing camera and two rear facing 3D cameras, allowing the user to take 3D photographs. Although the photos are only 0.3 megapixels, the fact that they stand out in 3D overshadows this. The front facing camera can also be used to take photos that can later be turned into Mii characters, which is a fun addition and means you don't have to spend ages trying to create yourself on the standard customise screen. Furthermore, photos can also be used for some of the built-in games such as Face Raiders, in which your face becomes the enemy in a sci-fi shooter. No doubt the cameras are set to become an ever-expanding inclusion in the 3DS' release, but a 3D camera alone is an exciting concept to have on any console.
3. Backwards Compatibility
Some of Nintendo's best releases in recent years have been on the DS, so a lack of backwards compatibility in the 3DS could have condemned the console. Luckily this isn't the case and all DS titles are backwards compatible with the 3DS. Unfortunately, the older games can only be played in 2D, but this still means you get to play great games like GTA: Chinatown Wars without having to change consoles. Another nice feature is the Nintendo e-shop, which allows the gamer to download and play classic Gameboy games such as the first Mario and original Zelda...and who here doesn't like a bit of Zelda?
4. Analogue Stick
Nintendo finally answered fans' calls to add an analogue stick to their handheld console, and it works a treat. It's become somewhat standard nowadays for a next-gen platform console to have an analogue stick on their controllers - and, in recent years, on handheld consoles - so it's surprising that it has taken Nintendo this long to add one. During testing, I found it to be fluid and responsive when scrolling through the console's main menu and when playing games. After just five minutes of play, I had forgotten that previous Nintendo handhelds had never featured one, as it felt like it had been there all along. Either way, Nintendo have certainly struck gold, finding yet another way to diminish Sony's handheld market share.
5. Built-in Software
The built-in software that comes preloaded on the console was so good, it has left me salivating over the console's release, regardless of the quality of the games. The AR software and Face Raiders mini games are unbelievable, but Nintendo didn't rest on its laurels after creating these, creating and adding many other nifty features. An activity log plots your gaming usage on a graph to show which games you've played the most and for how long; as well as plotting how many steps you have taken with the console in your pocket. This may seem pretty mundane and standard in consoles nowadays, but what is different about this is that as you walk you earn play coins, which can then be used to buy additional content in games. One of my favourite built-in features on the console is StreetPass. This software silently transfers gaming data to other 3DS users' consoles and vice versa when you pass them in the street, meaning the next time you open up your console you will have a new person to play against, and you can see their Mii character in the Mii Plaza, potentially allowing for hundreds of gamers to be stored on your console. It also features an internet browser, allowing the user to browse websites and emails whenever they have a Wi-Fi connection.
6. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality, or AR, is where the 3DS really comes into its own. If the 3D feature on the console didn't blow you away, this certainly will. A pack of cards come with the console which, when placed down on a flat surface and viewed through the 3D screen, spring to life. Mario, Link and the Pikmin characters - to name but a few - appear in 3D in front of you, allowing you to change their pose and size before taking photos of them. The chance to get in front of the camera and have your picture taken with Mario is one I will personally never get bored of; such is my love of that fine Italian stallion. However, this is just the start, as one card that comes with the console transforms the surface in front of you into a lake or a forest and invites you to play games in this augmented reality. You can go fishing, moving the console up and down to cast the rod into the lake, whilst making full use of the motion and gyro sensor built into the console; or head into the forest where you can shoot targets that appear all across your AR surface. Both games climax with a battle against a dragon that looms out of the screen at you. The AR cards do just feature mini games for now but, with the impending releases of games such as Pokemon, it won't be long before cards are being used to full effect and are a main feature in the games. The possibilities are endless with this feature, and I am excited to see what the developers come up with in the near future to utilise the AR to its full potential.
7. The games
Release day sees a collection of games available from Nintendogs + Cats to Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. However, it is the games that have recently been announced that are causing the biggest of stirs amongst the industry. One of the all time great Nintendo games, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, has been remade for the console - complete with 3D graphics - and for any self-respecting gamer, this is reason alone to buy the console. Conversely, some people have been sceptical that such a good game should - or could - be remade, but who can turn down the chance to play arguably Link's best adventure in 3D? Furthermore, at the current moment there are just over 110 games set to be available for the 3DS in the not so distant future, with titles such as Assassain's Creed: Lost Legacy, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D; and the yet to be announced Batman title all set to make their 3DS debut.
8) Memory Card Included
The memory of the console has been vastly increased since the previous DS, mainly because now the console has to create two images which are put together to give the 3D effect. This means saved games will take up more memory. However the kind people at Nintendo have included a 2GB memory card in every console. If you find this isn't enough you can always buy a bigger memory card at a later stage when they become available.
While the majority of release dates - be they game or console releases - come hand-in-hand with massive price tags, Nintendo have never quite matched the mould. Since the Wii released for a very modest £199, Nintendo have set a precedent for affordable, next-gen releases; and, with some online retailers offering the console for as little as £187 (see above), the 3DS looks set to continue Nintendo's budget-value pricings. Furthermore, the previous Nintendo DSi had a price tag of £160 on release, so the price hasn't risen too drastically since then; and with the built-in software I previously mentioned, it's a real bargain at less than £200.
10. Future of Gaming
Finally, the last - and in my opinion main - reason to buy the 3DS. Unlike the others, this isn't a reason you can see or touch, but it still requires you to play the console for you to realise it. After playing with - and writing about - the 3DS for a few weeks now I can safely say, without hesitation, that it truly is the future of gaming. There is no doubt that future next-gen consoles are all being geared around the use of 3D graphics and AR technology, but who knows when that will be, and the 3DS is here now. So, if none of the other reasons excited you enough to go out and pre-order the console, let this reason be the one that does. It is the first step towards an imminent, mass-produced technology, and can be in your hands from the 25th March.
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