New Nintendo 3DS XL Review

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So I just got the New 3DS XL the other day. And yes. That is the official name: “New Nintendo 3DS XL”. Nintendo, for all the great and wonderful things they’ve done for us, have ballsed up every console name since the Wii. But that’s not important – the New 3DS XL is the tits and let me tell you why.

New Nintendo 3DS XL

 

Stable 3D!

This is to me, the single most important reason to upgrade. Whilst it may not be a deal maker for some, those of you who have really invested some time into their hand held companion, will testify with me that the original stereoscopic 3D technology was only fun when you were sitting down or with arms stuck up in the air like some weird turtle person on their back.

I remember showing off the 3D effect to my family and friends when I first picked up the original 3DS; trying to show off Ocarina of Time and the AR cards gifted with the console, but the effect was always lost unless that person was holding the console themselves, making the casual ‘look over the shoulder’ spectator quite hard to appease.

N3DS XL

You could see this as a minor inconvenience, but I’m a pedantic twat in that regard and I’m sure there are those people out there, who like me, enjoy the 3D effect on their 3DS and as such, like to have it on most of the time. It becomes a literal eye sore when the effect is lost due to the blurry strain it puts on the eyes.

 

Automagic Brightness!

Thank Shiggy this is now a thing. I often times would have to pause game play to get to the home menu and reduce/increase the brightness when moving around. Hard to do? Of course not. Unnecessary button clicks on such an advanced and brilliant piece of technology?

nintendo-3ds-25

 

Yes, lots. The inclusion of automatic screen brightness is a welcomed function and compliments the new stable 3D quite well making for the best 3D gaming experience to date. A caveat however; when playing in a dark room (for me this is the case most nights when

I’m in bed refusing to sleep because there are games to play), the lowest brightness setting, whether triggered automatically or otherwise, is still quite bright and may cause some unwanted eye-strain.

 

Moar Shoulder Buttons!

We now have 4 shoulder buttons, much like our console relatives, however rather than the traditional L1/L2, R1/R2 the extra buttons are actually ‘Z’ buttons (ZR and ZL) and rather than the traditional layout of shoulder buttons stacked above and below each other, they are now situated horizontally to the left and right of each other respectively.

New Nintendo 3DS XL

 

Ergonomically I can’t imagine that placing the buttons vertically would have felt all that different given the relatively small amount of physical real estate your hands have to play with, although if you have tiny hobbit hands you may find difficulty in reaching the two inside (Z) buttons. As there are no games right now that support these extra buttons, I can’t comment on them in RL, but they’re buttons and they’re there.

Expect to press them and have them trigger actions. Fighting fans will more than likely get the most out of these extra triggers but keeping in mind that these are actually “Z” buttons, perhaps Ninty have some specific plans on incorporating their use into future games?

 

The C-Stick.

I had high hopes for this addition. Ever since I first heard that this was a feature coming to the new model I immediately thought “Smash”. But after having the opportunity to try it out at Pax Aus 2014, I was severely disappointed.It functions just like the C-Sticks of old – however it doesn’t feel at all like it’s yellow predecessors.

New Nintendo 3DS XL C Stick

 

While the original c-stick moves much like the typical analogue sick, this C-stick is more of a C-nub (amiright!?). Like if the C-stick were Tyrion Lannister’s nose. It is the stubbier, less effective version of something that was much better. I can see one reason behind it of course, and that is that it physically needs to fit the space inside the device when closed, so I don’t really know how they could’ve created anything less Tyrion than they have – Having said that I would have preferred they left it out entirely and instead released an add-on accessory.

It is very responsive however, so no functionality has been lost and, if anything, it recognised more angles than previous iterations (I have no test evidence of this), however this thing doesn’t budge and that is a very strange sensation indeed. Put a coin on a flat surface and slightly move it with your thumb.

That’s what you would likely expect from a stumpy, C-stick. Now glue, or if you’re boring, imagine that the coin was stuck to the surface and try to move it. That is what happens on the New 3DS XL whilst. Folks will probably get used to it and some strange people may even prefer it; only time and internet rants will tell.

 

Buy digital content faster!

It’s been proposed that the download speeds from Ninty’s E-Shop have been increased – I would assume that this is attributed to better network hardware within the device.

Wii-U-eShop

Thus far I’ve only downloaded the latest updates to Pokemon Bank and in that instance it did seem quite snappy, although the Bank is a relatively light-weight application.

 

Game faster!

The general speed of the device has been improved although I can’t really say how much. Load times don’t appear to have been reduced and navigation through menus is already so quick that an increase in speed is hardly noticeable. The only real evidence I have is the transition from game to home menu and back to game or other application.

This sequence of actions does feel quicker than in previous iterations of the console, but again the difference is negligible. Assuming that Ninty have implemented better hardware into the system then the differences will more than likely be prevalent in the games that it supports. Better hardware means the ability to run bigger and ‘better’ games. Again, time will tell.

 

Insert here!

Ports have been shuffled around but don’t cause any issue or benefits by doing so – I imagine this is a result of the physical size and placement of the new hardware in the device as is often the case with laptops and mobile phones of similar model.

Screen-Shot-2014-08-29-at-1.12.05-PM-615x342

The SD card has been swapped out for Micro SD which was a logical move given the much larger capacity of the storage medium and via the 3DS software, transferring all your data from your old 3DS/3DS XL (or 2DS) to your shiny, New 3DS XL is quite simple and can be done within the first 20 minutes of switching on your new toy. (Much longer if you had a lot of data on your SD Card >_<)

PRO TIP: Uninstall any demos and useless crap you’ve hoarded on your existing 3DS card before performing the transfer.

 

And Speakers!

I’m no audiophile and cannot say whether the speakers have been updated – however even at max volume they don’t appear to crack and the tones are rich and clear and can be heard clearly even when surrounded by moderate ambient sounds.

Screen size has remained the same, which is a slight bummer, but the XL screen was already a fantastic size so there’s no real complaint here.

 

I like to be fancy.

My only other gripe with the New 3DS XL is the lack of colours/designs for the XL. Upon walking into your retailer (or from the confort of your lazy boy and Internet device) you’ll be given  the choice of Black or Blue, which is fine, but I’ve had to shelve my Pokemon X/Y edition XL for this one and honestly I’m a little sad that I don’t get to see Yvetal when I open and close my lid anymore.

This is most definitely a first world problem but I make mention because Ninty decided that the smaller model (‘New 3DS’ sans XL) is somehow the cooler brother in this family and offer owners a collection of funky, interchangeable, Ninty themed cover plates! Why they didn’t offer these for the more expensive, XL version boggles my mind.

New Nintendo Cover Plates

 

But you know, Nintendo. So I guess there’s your answer. This lack of customisation I’m sure will be rectified by clever people on Etsy who will inevitably create awesome decals for the XL (if they haven’t already) so there is a sliver lining for those who opt for the larger model.

 

Is the New Nintendo 3DS XL for you?

So should you go out and throw your dollars at this upgrade? Well if you’re on a shoestring budget aka a Uni student, and you already own a 3DS in some form then you can safely avoid making this purchase, as it is by no means a ‘must-have’.

Nintendo 3DS XL

 

However if you can afford it and really enjoy your portable gaming then I would highly recommend picking either model up because the increase in quality of gaming does justify the cost. To put it another way, this isn’t trading in your old car for a new one as much as it is dropping a turbo under the hood and giving your old car a new coat of paint.

It’ll make the drive a lot more enjoyable, but it’s still the old car.

Do you have a Nintendo 3DS, XL, New, or a combination? Let us know what you think of the current generation of Nintendo handhelds.

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