It’s one thing to read about the Nintendo 3DS and it’s a whole other thing to actually play it. We were lucky enough to get my hands on the 3DS at PAX East this weekend and let me tell you, it’s everything you’ve read about and then some.
As we all know, the amount of 3D effects can be adjusted anytime during gameplay. Some people might like the full 3D effect the system offers, but I actually liked it a bit below the middle. The higher the 3D effect, the harder it was for my eyes to actually get used to it and to centralize the image I was seeing. But once I found my perfect setting, I was satisfied with what I saw. The only time I actually felt any strain on my vision was when I set the 3D slider to max. I was told by a Nintendo PR coordinator that it varies on the individual and that everybody will have his or her own preference and comfort level. Also, even if you have it on just a little bit, the game’s 3D effects will drain the battery as fast as if it were on at max settings.
I played all the big name demo games they had available including Super Street Fighter IV 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Pilotwings Resort, but I mostly enjoyed playing the simple Augmented Reality (AR) games that come packaged with the system. What I liked most about them is that they use the real world as a platform for the game. Using the AR cards that also come with the system, the 3DS reads them and loads the game onto your screen. What you see is the game popping out of the card for you to play with.
AR Shot was one of my favorite games because it literally makes you get up and move around your surroundings. The game combines golf with pool and has you aiming a ball with a pool stick to hit it into a golf hole in your environment. At one point, I had to physically move around the table in front of me to align myself behind the ball to aim it at the hole. Other AR games included Archery and Target Shooting which were very impressive since they took advantage of the 3DS’s gyroscope to aim and shoot things that appear in front of you. Despite being simple mini-games, the games had decent-to-good graphics and you could really notice them in a 3D environment.
Face Raiders was another interesting game that takes a picture of your face, and then turns it into a roaming enemy all over your screen. You have to then move your 3DS around to aim for your face and shoot other enemies as they come along. Games like this that really put your whole environment into play are what really sets the system apart from all the other 3D games that other companies have planned. And because the 3D effects are on a handheld, it opens up so many possibilities for future gameplay.
The best part is that all these AR games are free with your handheld, so even if you don’t purchase any games with your 3DS at launch on March 27, you can rest assured that these simple mini-games will give you a new and fun gaming experience to prep you for the bigger titles coming up.