While earlier today we had a quick hands-on with the 3DS, I've now had the chance to play a…Read more Read more
Some observations from today:
• The amount of 3D you want is gonna vary wildly from game to game: I had it cranked to the max in Street Fighter IV, Kid Icarus and a bunch of the AR games and it was great, but I could only stand it around halfway on Pilotwings before I started feeling cross-eyed. And it's gonna vary wildly from person to person—somebody else was fine with it all the way on Pilotwings, but Kid Icarus made them woozy.
• The line of sight for proper 3D is verrrry narrow. You have to be looking at the screen dead-on, in the center. If you move just a little bit left or right, you totally lose the 3D effect. And it's really jarring! It was a problem with Kid Icarus's control scheme because I kept unintentionally shaking the 3DS and breaking the sight line, killing the 3D. There's gonna be a huge aftermarket for 3DS chestmounts to keep them steady, I think. Also, your friends can't really watch.
• The 3D works best when a game is trying to show you depth, not pop stuff out at you. Dead or Alive and Street Fighter IV surprised me the most with how damn good they looked in 3D and 2D. Street Fighter's got a new over the shoulder viewpoint to really push the 3D, and it looked pretty amazing: lots and lots of depth that felt natural.
• 3D definitely impacts gaming performance. Dead or Alive is probably the most stark illustration. When you move from 3D to 2D, the game seems like 200 percent faster and everything looks a little smoother. (Obviously, that's because with 3D, it's effectively generating twice as much video, a set for each of your eyeballs.)
• The augmented reality games are my favorite, and do stuff like place targets around a table top where you've set the AR card down. Wherever you set the AR card, the game builds a little level around the card, and you do things like shoot at targets by moving the 3DS around. In fact, that's one of the most major changes in games besides 3D—Nintendo's incorporating a lot more motion. In Steel Divers' periscope mode, you actually move the 3DS around in 360 degrees to spot enemy ships and fire torpedoes.
• The analog stick is easily the best one yet on a portable. Super mooth and responsive.
Overall, the 3DS is a lot of the fun, the 3D works surprisingly well and the graphics are pretty punchy, but $250 might be too much for some people to throw at a dedicated gaming console when they can grab an iPod touch with sorta okay gaming but lots of other functions for $230. We'll see.