During my hiatus, a couple pieces of hardware debuted and while I’ve had a chance to play with them, I haven’t written much about them until recently.
I wrote about the PlayStation Vita a couple weeks ago and now it’s Nintendo’s 3DS handheld’s turn for its closeup.
For those who wonder if it’s possible to get a 3D viewing experience without the silly glasses, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, it’s only available on a very small screen at present. The screen is about 3 ½ inches wide and has a resolution of 800X240 (400X240 for each eye). The second touch screen, on the bottom panel, is not 3D.
It’s a light piece of hardware, quiet and easy to carry. It features three cameras, gyroscopes to allow you to play by moving the handheld around, as well as a slider that lets you adjust the amount of 3D effect to your liking. That’s a nice feature, in that if you’re not crazy about 3D, you can dial it completely back of 2D, or you can use it to varying degrees.
The unit comes with a 2-gigabyte SD memory card, but you can buy other larger cards if you desire.
The battery life is pretty solid, as well, clocking in anywhere up to five or six hours depending on how much 3D you use and how intense the game you’re playing is in terms of the graphics.
The 3DS is backwards compatible with DS games, as well as DSI titles.
Personally, I’m a big fan of this handheld. I like the power of having a 3D gaming experience in my hands without having to resort to wearing glasses. And while the images are a little dull in comparison to 2D games due to the 3D effect (anyone having watched a 3D movie at theatres and seeing how the image on the screen dims a bit when you put the glasses on understands this), it’s not a terribly distracting issue.
One of the newest titles for the 3DS is Mario Tennis Open, which is an easy, kid-friendly, accessible arcade sports title featuring the usual wacky powerups, crazy courts and characters of Nintendo’s iconic main character.
You can play solo, play versus or co-op with two to four players, the game supports download play, so others who don’t have the game can transfer a temporary version to their 3DS so they can play with or against you, as well as online play over a WiFi connection.
The gameplay is quite simple, such that any six year old could pick up and play this game. The use of 3D may take younger games a while to adjust to, but once they do they’ll be hitting the ball (or turtle shells) around with abandon.
Overall, the 3DS is a winner and appears to have a solid future in terms of advancing gaming technology.
The score: 4 stars out of 5.
As for MarioTennis Open, the score is 4 stars. Rated E.
* * *
*Kid Icarus Uprising (Nintendo): A long-awaited sequel featuring a popular character finally got its day in the sun, but it has been a bit divisive because of control issues that, depending on the player, either make the game or completely ruin it. I found it to be a challenge and didn’t stick with it too long, but others I know do enjoy it immensely. Try it at your own risk.
The score: 2.5 stars. Rated E-10+
* Tekken 3D Prime Edition (Bandai Namco Games): A good martial arts fighting game in which you can play solo, co-op or head to head featuring the usual Tekken roster.
The score: 3.5 stars. Rated T.
* Tales of the Abyss (Bandai Namco Games): The old PlayStation 2 Japanese role-playing game makes a slight makeover to move onto the 3DS. The result is an OK RPG, but it feels dated and really could have been an original title rather than a port.
The score 2.5 stars. Rated T.
* Nicktoons MLB 3D (2K Games): A solid into to virtual baseball for young gamers, thanks to licensed characters like SpongeBob, Stimpy, the Last Airbender and Jimmy Neutron, as well as some real major leaguers.
The score 3 stars. Rated E.
* Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (Tecmo): An interesting game in which you use the 3DS cameras to see a spirit in your environment, assisting her by solving a mystery involving a nasty woman. The game is incredibly short, though.
The score: 3 stars. Rated T.
* Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater (Konami): This is a game for the adult gamers to dive into, filled with spies, stealth combat and more Metal Gear plot developments for fans of the popular third-person action-shooter franchise. It doesn’t disappoint, with a deep story, excellent mechanics and all the twists and turns that make MGS one of the great story-based franchises.
The score: 4 stars. Rated M.