Nintendo 3DS Hands On: Games & Hardware

Dead or Alive Dimensions


Another game that took a bit of adjustment before I was comfortable playing it, but my goodness it looks nice. The 3D looks good generally, but really comes into its own when you pull off some of the fancy moves, or throw on opponent up in the air. The Circle Pad is a joy to use, and a streamlined control system means that some of the game’s harder moves can be done by tapping the relevant section of the touchscreen.

Gameplay is classic DOA, so it won’t convert the haters, but it will please the fans. Please don’t ask me about 3D boobies.

Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition

Wow. Woah. Holy moly. I could go on and on, but instead I’ll just say this: Street Fighter 4 3D Edition is mind blowing. Capcom have absolutely nailed it in terms of when and where to use the 3D. Add to that graphics that aren’t a million miles away from its console counterpart, and you have something very special indeed.

As part of the demo I got to try the ‘Dynamic Camera’ mode, which sits the camera slightly behind and above your character’s shoulder. As a demo for how good the 3D is, the Dynamic Camera is excellent, although I’m not sure how many hardcore fighting fans will use it. As with DOA, the Circle Pad works a treat, and Capcom have allowed you to map moves to the touchscreen, meaning ‘Ultras’ and ‘Supers’ are never more than a tap away.

Some may baulk at this idea, but it keeps the flow of the game going. This is the 3DS’ killer app.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

Whilst many will remember the Kid Icarus games as a mash up between Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, the 3DS’ entry plays more like something that developer ‘Treasure’ might craft. The section I played had the game’s protagonist ‘Pit’ take to the skies in an on-rail shooting level. It looks gorgeous, with some stunning backdrops as you weave your way through the clouds, before spiralling to the earth below. As with several other games, the depth is what impresses most, and when a giant Medusa bursts from the clouds it really is jaw-dropping.

The on-foot section that I saw lacked that visual sparkle, but I hope that was just a one off. The in-flight control scheme is deliciously simple, as the Circle Pad is used to move, your stylus aims where you want to fire, and pressing down on the left shoulder button will unleash all sorts of projectile hell on your enemies. The on-foot control scheme isn’t as smooth as I would like, and the ‘slide the stylus to dodge’ mechanic will take some adjusting to. All in all I am very excited about the finished product.

Ridge Racer 3D

Ridge Racer on the 3DS is a game of two halves. On one side you have some very well implemented 3D effects (planes flying to the screen being one of them), and some beautiful backdrops, and on the other side are some very lo-res looking car models. This meeting of hi and low res images creates such a clash, it really does look bizarre.

Elsewhere it’s typical Ridge Racer, with drifting being a core element to the way you race. It plays very well (assuming you’ve played a Ridge Racer game before) and within one race I was already vying for pole position. I actually had a lot of fun with Ridge Racer, and I can see it being a bit of a cult hit.

Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D Edition

Resident Evil The Mercenaries is a hard game to call. On the surface it seems very samey, but then again I only played a short snippet before having to move on. The premise of the game is to take control of one of four characters, then kill as many enemies as you can as a timer ticks down. Performing certain tasks, or collecting crystals will see your time increase, so it’s a case of run, shoot, collect, then run some more.

It plays just like Resident Evil 4, and graphically looks just as good as well, although the 3D was barely detectable. My only worry is can it keep your attention?

Combat of Giants Dinosaurs 3D

This is a game that would make TSA’s Kris weep with joy as it has a Triceratops in (although you have to kill it). You take control of one of a handful of dinosaurs with the aim of exploring a map. Occasionally you will come across another dinosaur and engage it in battle, which is a bit like an extended QTE sequence.

I’d like more time with this game, because on the surface it seems a bit boring but there were several options I didn’t get to explore, such as ‘customisation’ (pimp your dinosaur?). The 3D was also very effective, with tails poking out of the screen, and huge chasms that you could almost sense how deep they are.

AR Games

Each 3DS console comes with its own AR card. Laying this card on a flat surface, and pointing the 3D camera at it initiates an augmented reality game where an on-screen box pops up from the card, and you have to shoot it. Completing that task sees bigger boxes with more targets appear until you end up hatching a dragon which you have to defeat. It looks great (the dragon’s jaws snapping out of the screen is particularly good), but it’s more of a tool to show to your friends/colleagues/parents how cool your new toy is.

Trailers and Eurosports demo

Sadly there were a number of omissions from the 3DS playable games line-up (Starfox, where art thou?), although they were there in trailer form. Mario Kart looks fantastic, and halfway between a PS2 and top end Gamecube game. Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater looks phenomenal, and I can’t quite believe it’s running on a handheld.

Eurosports was also showing off some of its upcoming 3D content for the 3DS, but I wasn’t very impressed. The only real thing I could spot in 3D was the tennis scores flashing up, which is disappointing to say the least.

So how do I sum up the Nintendo 3DS? Truth be told I feel a little bit burned by the possibility of a £230 price tag. The console is good, but £230 good? I don’t know. Sub £200 though, that’s a different story…

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  1. Oh wow. So, much like those 3D Stereogram illusion posters, there’s only so much you can take before you have to focus on the real world once more. :-)

    On a more serious note, did you notice minor movements were enough to unsettle the 3D effect? For example, someone travelling home on the daily commute with the usual jostling around whilst seated and trying to prod at the screen during a game of ‘Dead or Alive 6: 3D Tiddies’.

    • I would imagine a bumpy bus ride would require the 3D to be turned off.

      • It’s been mentioned in most gaming outlets hands on that even a slight movement destroys the 3d experience. It seems the parallax screen tech is not ready for a mass market product quite yet and serious testing need to be done to try and see if the eye strain is a healt issue.

  2. From the sound of the article the 3ds comes off as just as gimmicky as ps move and kinect, something I’d love at first but shortly after don’t feel the need to play and for something over £200 nintendo can f*ck right off.
    Ps. I’m quite burnt that it cost so much :(

    • Sounds about right to me.

    • Im not sure I agree. I can see the potential for some interesting games, not to mention being able to watch 3D movies on the go.

      • And by “on the go” you mean sitting still so the 3D effect isn’t ruined, I suppose?

      • Sat on a train, in an airport waiting lounge, in a hotel room – all the sorts of places you won’t have your hd gaming, blu-ray playing, media centre behemoth with you.

        It’s not like anyone plays a handheld whilst they’re walking down a street is it?

      • Public transport rides aren’t always that smooth. ;)

    • I’d have thought the possibilities for 3D in games like Layton is fantastic, normal games I’m not sure I see the point, but with the 3D content providers like Sky & Eurosport signed up along with an SD Card slot you can watch 3D content on the go

      • … pressed submit before I’d finished.

        I’d definitely say it has a point, especially as it looks like it actually makes a difference to games when it’s implemented well like in PES etc

  3. So its a bit hit and miss then? I guess that’s what we all expected.
    The idea of having to hold it at a certain angle, for a console that is primarily going to be used on buses and trains, is flat out ridiculous.

  4. I’d have to have a go on this myself before committing to buying one. Especially with the pricing past the £200 mark. From what it sounds like though you enjoyed you time with the 3DS and it’s certainly made an impression.

    Just wanted to say Dan, I’m enjoying the stuff you’ve been writing on TSA, the Project Legacy article in particular was a highlight. The only thing I think that could make me like you more would be if you got yourself a goddamn Gravatar. Otherwise though, keep up the good work.

    • Well thanks, but Jim wrote the Project Legacy piece! And I’m far too posh for a Gravatar :oD

      • Oh right disregard it then. It’s Jim I like. And he has a Gravatar already so I don’t think he could possibly get any better as a human-being.

      • These comments have made me realise that I don’t actually have an avatar.

        On the topic of entirely irrelevant comments, is there any way to make the spell-checker check for proper English, e.g. realiSe, rather than this phony “American”?

      • If you’re using Firefox, search for an add-on called British English Dictionary.

  5. A really interesting article. If I’m being honest, with this being Nintendo and the new DS, I was expecting after everyone’s debate (/moaning) that it would turn out to be just short of fantastic anyway. From the sounds of it though, something has derailed the simple fun factor that the old DS used to provide.

  6. The more reviews I read about the 3DS, the more I feel comfortable knowing I will never own one. At least, not this first generation of the 3DS. It just sounds too awkward to use, especially considering this is intended to be a portable device. The slightest bump or dip in the wrong direction forces your eyes to flip between the 3D effect and 2D… which I’m sure is what is causing all the headaches. No thanks Nintendo, I play my games to alleviate stress and reduce headaches… not to create them. :)

  7. I’ve said this in an earlier post but it’s a valid point. There is one big thing that holds the 3DS back for me at the moment. That’s the headache issue, I know you said you hadn’t slept for some time but my eyes are very sensitive and I really don’t want to pay £250 for something only to find out 2 days later that I can’t use it due to headaches. Which is a shame as I really like the thought of DOA, Resi and MGS in 3D.

  8. Nice article and good round-up.
    After this abundance of 3DS concerned articles I’ve moved from want to apprehension. I’m still extremely interested but I can’t help feeling that Nintendo will be releasing a revised version to iron out issues in the not too distant future, that may also depend upon what the world sees from Sony come the 27th.

    At this moment in time, the cons are outweighing the pros for me and sadly, I will not be making a purchase come release day but will be keeping my DSi and watching the progress of the 3DS very closely instead.

  9. @bunimomike I thought of the “Magic Eye” pictures when reading the article too lmao

    Really enjoyable article Dan; however I am not convinced enough to get this at launch, the high price (I know there is an article on TSA suggesting it is a good price, but I disagree) for both the console and games really puts me off. Combined with a battery that wont get me to and from university and now that I read it won’t be very good on the bus, I don’t think this is a great product from good old Nintendo.

  10. Pre-Ordered :D
    This better be worth it >.<

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