Hands-On | Nintendo 3DS Preview
Jennifer Allen went to see the NINTENDO 3DS as well as future Nintendo DS releases in London. This is what she thought of them.
AFTER SPENDING a while with the Wii games, it seemed like a good time to move onto the DS side of the event. After all this was what I’d come here for in the first place. Joined by he-who-created-this-fine-site, Lewis Denby, we take to the 3DS displays. We’re immediately surrounded by pristine Nintendo women all with identical uniforms and perfectly manicured nails. They usher us immediately to the Mario Kart display. My first experience of the 3D effects, how exciting.
It looks damn good too. I’m no great fan of 3D films – spending much of my time muttering in a Luddite fashion that it’s all a gimmick – but this does look nice. Comments may be made that the effects look exaggerated and it’s true in some cases. Mario Kart suffers for this especially as you’re just watching it rather than interacting with it meaning that the urge to be extra critical is very tempting. I was quickly encouraged by Lewis to see the Resident Evil demo. This is where it all comes together. It looks phenomenal. 3D effects aside, it looks as detailed as its GameCube siblings. Now if only there was the option to play it rather than simply watch it and move the camera around.
Moving on, I give Hollywood 61 a shot. Hurrah a playable game. Well, nearly. It’s a game trying to be film noir, so the demo is really all storytelling with one puzzle at the end. I saw too little of the storyline to really know what it would be like but it did pique my interest a little. I can’t resist a gritty serial killer tale. The puzzle is a simple mirror based puzzle that I’ve seen countless times before. Hollywood 61 on the whole just doesn’t feel like it’s using the system’s potential as much as I’d like to see on a launch title. It did at least demonstrate the 3DS’s slidepad well which feels much more comfortable than the d-pad of old.
I moved onto my guilty pleasure: Nintendogs and cats. With no cat available in the demo, I played with a virtual golden retriever. It’s cute and the 3D effects do make it feel more ‘real’. The Nintendo lady kindly points out that if I put my face to the screen, the puppy will try to lick me – thanks to the 3DS’s face recognition. Ultimately though, it’s Nintendogs all over again. It’ll sell ridiculous amounts.
After a brief time messing around with the 3DS’s cameras – which do create nice 3D effects if that’s your sort of thing – and gazing at the Kid Icarus non-interactive demo. I found myself at the two strongest 3DS displays: Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater and Pilotwings Resort. Metal Gear Solid 3D’s non-interactive demo is long at 7 minutes but it’s sublime. It shows off the system’s hardware beautifully. Watching Snake as he roams through the jungle feels nearly real. Well, ok, maybe not nearly real but it looks rather impressive. Insects fly across the screen and for a brief second; it does actually feel like they’re coming out of the screen.
Pilotwings Resort might not look realistic – it’s not meant to be admittedly – but it is fun. In a display with relatively few playable 3DS games, it was fun to mess around with a title. The demo is brief – only offering a ring race mode and a quirky mode that involves you popping balloons by flying into them – but it demonstrates the 3DS’s slide pad perfectly.
The 3DS is looking good in terms of software support. It might be relatively early days but if the launch line up includes Metal Gear Solid 3D, Resident Evil Revelations, Mario Kart 3DS and Pilotwings Resort, it’s going to be a good one. That’s without even having the opportunity to play Star Fox 3DS, Super Street Fighter IV 3D and Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS.
My only real suspicion is the 3D effect. As a spectacle wearing person, I found that if my glasses moved for any reason while watching the 3D screen, the image felt briefly distorted. It also felt slightly awkward to switch from the 3D screen back to the usual 2D screen underneath. Extended play sessions are needed really to see if this becomes a serious issue or is just something that takes a period of adjustment. I’d suspect the latter will be the case. There is always the option to turn the 3D slider down which still allows people to play 3DS games, just without the 3D effect. Arguably though, surely that’s missing the point? Time will tell.
A New Dawn
Besides the 3DS games on offer, there were also some new DS games to play. Skipping over Dragon Quest IX as I’d been playing that on the train to London, I had a brief play of Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. It felt exactly the same as previous Professor Layton games which is pretty much what everyone wants. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn was a more intriguing proposition; pity there wasn’t much to see in the demo. The visuals were nice though. Annoyingly I didn’t get any time with Okamiden which sounded very tempting. With only one machine demonstrating it, it was constantly in use while I was there. I’m guessing that’s a good sign though as it was the only one that I felt I had to queue for.
It was time for me to leave though. I had a train at Paddington with my name on it. Not literally of course, that’d be silly.