Nintendo’s latest handheld gaming device 3DS XL released barely a year after its predecessor named 3DS, which too didn’t perform according to expectations. Some attribute the underperformance of 3DS to the steep price tag and some claim the lack of post-release games was the cause it couldn’t garner the desired attention. Whatever the cause might be Nintendo seems determined to make amends!
As for the alleged reasons that brought around the underachievement of 3DS (3DS Games 2012), this time around Nintendo has learned from its previous errors and stocked up on heavy hitting titles such as Mario 3D Land and Resident Evil Revelations. The price tag has been brought under the 200 GBP mark and gamers have the choice of color between red, blue and silver.
First off, the physical appearance of the console has undergone noticeable changes as the screen size has been augmented to 4.88 inches. A new hinge would enable locking the screen in two places and overall shape has been remodeled to fit the contours of the hands perfectly. Nintendo claims that 3DS XL battery life would last longer than 3DS which I haven’t put to the test yet.
The matte plastic finish gives 3DS XL a distinctive look and makes it less prone to finger imprints and smudges. Some would argue that it makes it look less impressive than its predecessor but I am of the opinion that functionality should prevail over aesthetically pleasing features. 3DS XL has two 0.3 megapixel cameras (a fact that could’ve been improved on). The front sided camera is capable of taking 3D snaps.
3DS came with a 2GB memory card which wasn’t quite adequate for storing all the eShop downloads. That has been rectified, as 3DS XL comes with a 4GB card.
With a larger screen, I was expecting top notch resolution and crisp & vibrant graphics, but to my surprise I learned that pixel density remains as same as 3DS. On larger screen, this tends to cause detectable polygon movements and low resolution textures. This practically lessens the joy of playing 3D enabled games, although 2D graphics rendering games don’t suffer as much. The stereo speakers have been upgraded from five points to nine point circles, making the audio experience more clear and enjoyable.
The 3D effect rendering mechanism has received revamping as well. The slider control for adjusting 3D effects works wonderfully but still you need to keep your head positioned center and perpendicularly to fully enjoy it. This proves fatiguing for longer sessions of immersive game playing and even more troublesome for motion sensing games which require constant moving of the console. Using the conveniently give switch to pull the 3D effects down to minimum was the only solution that I could devise. Owners of 3DS would notice the absence of a second thumb nub, but Nintendo’s reason is quite plausible as they declare, it would have further increased the physical bulk of the console. Secondly, the second thumb nub has almost been rendered obsolete by now as hardly any game uses it.
Nintendo should’ve realized that it’s competing for market share with the likes of PlayStation and even tablet devices like iPad which offer more optimized hardware. The device is a simple restructuring of the physical attribute and doesn’t do much in terms of performance. There are no hardware upgrades available for it and it doesn’t come with a charger (Nintendo believes that all buyers of XL would be owners of 3DS, go figure). 3DS XL would be more appealing for individuals who are looking for an upgrade of their existing 3DS. Those new to it are rather better off investing in PlayStation Vita and benefiting from its glorious OLED screen or even iPad with its new retina display.