By >Akihabara News Team
Nintendo World 2011, we played with the 3DS
This past weekend at the Makuhari Messe was held the Nintendo World 2011 convention, during which the now well-known 3DS, the brand’s latest portable gaming system, was unveiled. We at Akihabara News had no choice but to rise to the occasion, thus we left Tokyo for the neighboring prefecture of Chiba, so we could take a peek. Ninety minutes later we arrived by train at the Makuhari Messe, a gigantic forum composed of a dozen exhibition halls.
First thought, they should have actually named this 3DS World, because 3DS is all you get there. The setting is incredibly simple, with around 15 booths granting access to different games and a central stage with professionals discussing the upcoming launch of the latest sensation.
Our path was already set for us, on to the waiting lines and may the best man win. We shared a similar experience at each booth, after waiting through a long line we were given access to one of the podiums, where a hostess gave us a quick tutorial (after getting concerned over our Japanese ability or lack thereof) and started a five to ten minutes countdown, depending on the size of the line at the current booth.
No retail versions here, only time-limited demos of release candidates, among the star players were three remakes, the 3D versions of Zelda : Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Solid : Snake Eater as well as Super Street Fighter IV, and many new opuses of successful series, like Resident Evil, Professor Layton or even Dead or Alive. Kid Icarus also makes a noteworthy comeback, after having disappeared from our screens for twenty years. Nothing really new since E3.
As far as the hardware is concerned the finish is impeccable, especially on the black model whose shiny casing reminded us of summery night sky, the screens are magnificent only a little small and even the stylus got a quick facelift to look its part. As far as usability is concerned on the other hand, everything isn’t perfect, with a power switch dangerously placed under the hand of the user while playing, and a hard to reach to Start button to say the least. The 3D is high-grade albeit not very useful as of now.
To sum it up, the 3DS will be available from the 26th of February here in Japan, and theoretically not too long after that in America and Europe. Sold here for 25000 yen (around 250 bucks), it still is quite the investment for a mobile gaming system but I’m betting that the exponential growth of the catalog and the impressive number of studios working on it will quickly turn this baby into a must-have for any respectable gamer.
And finally, a word from our happy folks at the office:
“Finally! Finally I had real concrete gaming time with the 3DS, and like most of you I will get one as soon as… There will be more games! Seriously I really enjoyed the time I spent with the 3DS, I like the new design, the hardware looks and feels rock solid, in 2D the screens are just way better and more colorful than on the DSi for example and the 3D mode really works as advertised… Better than what Sharp offered on its Lynx 3D Phone series, the 3D of the 3DS seems to work pretty well even if you are slightly moving your console while playing, but none of the games introduced at this weekend event took advantage of being played on a 3D screen, this 3D effect did not bring anything in the game we played. Add that to the fact that after playing with these games for two minutes my eyes hurt, I have had, personally a hard time justifying the need for 3D on the 3DS.
So yes I will get a 3DS, but I will most probably spend my gaming time enjoying its gorgeous 2D mode and screen and will wait for someone to come with a game that will fully use the 3DS 3D gaming capabilities.”
“To me the 3D seems kind of pointless. Yes it can be useful for some games (sports, for example, where 3D really helps estimating distances and throw passes more accurately or shooters, where grenade throwing will be facilitated) but in my opinion it will require big studios really putting their mind to it before we can see games truly use 3D.
Right now, a simple as they come Resident Evil, which one can already picture ending up in the discount store for 500JPY, a handful of remakes, an nth Professor Layton and Augmented Reality card games that are already available on iPhone won’t be enough to convince me. Although now that I think about it, it will be tough not to draw my wallet if a 3DS Ocarina of Time pack comes around… What can I say, that’s how I roll…”
“I’m not a huge gaming fan, unlike Mathieu or Ben, and an even smaller adept of the DS but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the showcased games, and the system in itself. Using the infamous 3D screen designed by Sharp, the resolution is quite excellent. No headache after a couple hours use… All good. As far as the games are concerned, although rather unoriginal they are quite enjoyable! The Metal Gear Solid demo left us wanting more, Zelda is easy to play with nice and improved graphics. Finally I have to say I was disappointed in Resident Evil’s gameplay, even if the graphics are quite good. In short after the few hours I spent at the convention, I’d readily spend the 25000 yens on the 26th.”