The star in Nintendo’s booth at this year’s PAX East booth was definitely the Nintendo 3DS. There was a massive line of people waiting to try out the new handheld all weekend long. And as soon as they were allowed in, everyone immediately became immersed in all the 3D worlds the games offered.
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time was actually the last of the 3DS games I played, simply because I already knew what it was going to be like. Like most remakes, the game offers nothing groundbreaking, and keeps the same simple features and gameplay of the original title. But because it’s on the 3DS, the bottom screen lets you tap the items you want Link to use and makes it a lot easier to multitask without the cumbersome menus of the original. Also, using the system’s gyroscope, you can move the 3DS around to aim your weapons and to look around. You can always use the control stick to do this, but this added effect makes the game feel fresh and new.
Depending on the game, you will be able to take snapshots of your screen to send to your friends. A Nintendo PR coordinator told me that you can also take 3D pictures of yourself and send them to other Nintendo 3DS systems. You can only notice the 3D effects on a 3DS, but you can still view the image normally when transferred to a computer via the included SD card.
Games that take advantage of this include Nintendogs and Cats which is similar to previous DS titles but with added features exclusive to the 3DS. It uses the system’s camera for facial recognition. Your puppy or kitten will recognize your face the more you play with it, and if someone else comes along to play with your pet, it may not be as friendly to them as it is with you. The game felt familiar, but new at the same time and the updated graphics really made the game come alive. Because the game involves your pets coming up to your screen to interact with you, the 3D effects are really a welcome addition to the immerse feel of the series.
I also tried out Super Street Fighter IV and was not disappointed. The game retains all the main features of its console predecessor, but it also offers more simple button combinations for those who want it. Sure, it’s the same game we’ve been playing for a couple of years now, but now you can play it on the go. The game’s Lite Mode lets you tap your Super and Ultra moves for quick combos, for example. You can always turn it off, so it gives players of different skill levels an equal playground.
All these games work without 3D effects too, so you don’t have to have it on all the time. Turning off the 3D slider preserves battery life and it also gives you a more familiar playing experience. But turning it on, is great for those who want an added splash of excitement to their games. In my opinion, some games are better off without any 3D elements, and others have graphics that really pop out when you use it.
Overall though, I was very impressed with the 3DS games shown at PAX East. Nintendo always releases a product that continues to change the way we play games and amazes us with their ingenuity. Some may like the 3D effects, and some may not. Luckily you can choose your degree of 3D effects until you feel comfortable. You can try it out for yourself March 27!