Ah the DS. So many versions, so little money. As the owner of no less than three versions of the ridiculously successful handheld, the news of yet another iteration did not exactly have me jumping for joy. E3 changed that. The 3DS is not merely a tweaked version of the same console which has been taking the world by storm for the past 6 years; this is a whole new machine. Naturally the 3D graphics are the system’s main selling point. Obviously these are impossible to view without having the actual thing in front of you, but rest assured, those who have gone hands on say it’s truly spectacular. Not only is the level of depth said to be astonishing but it’s all done without the need for glasses!
But of course, a DS with a few snazzy effects isn’t really enough on its own, which is why Nintendo has really outdone itself to give gamers a reason to buy its latest. What type of things you ask? Well, naturally there’s going to be an entirely new line up of games but the ability to control them has also been improved. Whereas the current DS only features the D-pad – making games likes Super Mario 64 DS trickier to control than its N64 counterpart – the second generation will also include the slide pad, a sort of flat analogue stick which is claimed to be a far superior to that found on the PSP.
The addition of a gyroscope and accelerometer means that the DS will also be able to rival the motion sensing experiences currently so popular on the iPhone. This opens up the opportunity for developers to create some truly innovative games which require little or no button/stylus control. (NB: Monkey Ball is a no-brainer). The camera from the DSi remains, but that too has been built upon. Not only will it be utilised to greater effect in conjunction with the motion sensor (Nintendogs will recognise your face as well as mimic your head movements) but the exterior camera has now been doubled meaning that photos can now be taken and viewed in 3D. A pretty neat gimmick even in itself, but the fact that a demo of an augmented reality game appeared on the show floor suggests that similar experiences are being planned for release.
Although the specifics of the hardware are largely unknown, the graphics speak for themselves. Every demonstration is a feast for the eyes and despite the disagreements regarding how powerful it really is, the general consensus is that it rivals, at minimum, the visuals of the Gamecube. Shockingly, Nintendo have really pushed the hardware which is rather uncharacteristic of them. Not only is the leap in graphics a welcome surprise, so too is the likelihood of movie playing capabilities. Such a possibility would almost guarantee an increased memory system the likes of which the DS only hinted at.
The promise of a more easily accessible and satisfying online system as well as a sleep mode akin to (but hopefully more satisfying) than Wii-connect 24, the 3DS promises to be the most exciting thing in gaming since... well, the Wii. The downside? With all these new features, Nintendo may be forced to abandon their usual sales technique and pitch the 3DS at a higher price than the original. Of course this is all speculation, so let’s hope they carry on selling them as cheap as possible.
Oh and the already impressive line-up from Nintendo as well as overwhelming support from third parties means if you haven’t yet been persuaded to buy one, then check out the following:
Animal Crossing 3DS
Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy
Kid Icarus: Rising
Kingdom Hearts 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS
Mario Kart 3DS
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D: The Naked Sample
Nintendogs + Cats
Paper Mario 3DS
Professor Layton & the Mask of Miracle
Resident Evil: Revelations
The Sims 3 3DS
Star Fox 64 3DS
Super Street Fighter IV 3D
And many, many more. Remember when the Wii came out? Here we go again...