The Nintendo 3DS is the current line of portable video game consoles from Nintendo, following the Nintendo DS before it as well as the Game Boy family of handhelds. Coming out in North America in 2011, it boasted a stereographic 3D system that was designed to made the graphic pop out. I was an early adopter of the system and I was not too impressed with either the 3D or the available games. In fact, In the 4 years I have had it, I only got 10 games, mostly getting AAA games (Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS), remakes of older Nintendo games (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) and niche Japanese games (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers and two Senran Kagura games), not counting the 20 Virtual Console games I got as an early adopter thanks to the Ambassador Program. Mostly, it was I was mainly using my PS Vita as my “To Go” console, taking it with me the last two times I was “out and about” in the world.
With the newer games, such as Smash Bros, I found myself playing my 3DS more, but wishing for a model with a bigger screen. So, the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL (released in North America February 2015) is that, XL meaning that it is bigger and the “New” indicating upgrades to graphic and performance with addition features not found in the older version.
The XL version is larger, no surprise there with the two screens being bigger as well. The layout or the controls and buttons has some minor changes. The D-Pad and thumb stick are still to the left of the bottom screen and the face buttons (A,B,X,Y) are still on the right, with the left and right bumper buttons on the top edge of the lower half. The Home button is still bottom centre beneath the lower screen, but has an elongated oval shape. The Start and Select buttons have moved and are now below the face buttons. Additionally, the “New” 3DS has a C-Stick, a little nub at the top fight of the lower screen that can be used to move the camera in some games as well as two more buttons ZL and ZR at the top by the bumper buttons. The C-Stick and Z buttons work like the ones on the Circle Pad Pro, an add on that was used for some games in with a second thumb stick would be useful.
Since it has “3D” in its name, lets talk about the systems 3D system. Like the older models, it still uses the stereographic 3D system (essentially, it show two copies of the same image, one on top of the other to create “3D”) with the new Super Stable 3D system that detect the angle you are looking form and adjust the image. Like the older system, it game make it seem like it is 3D, with the new system helping to keep the effect if you move your head. It works okay, I guess, but I am not a fan of it. I usually play with the 3D turned off.
Other changes are the placement of the cartridge slot and SD card slot. The game slot has moved from the top of the low half, in the centre, to the bottom left of the lower side. The slot for the SD card is no longer on the left side of the unit, nor does it use standard SD cards. The slot is not underneath the casing of the bottom half, near the battery and requires a micro SD card, either standard or HC (High Capacity) versions. The unit does come with a 4 GB micro SD card already in the unit, so you don’t have to go out and get one, unless you have a large card in you old 3DS and plan to transfer to the new one.
The Transfer process is pretty simple and the steps are laid out in the instruction manual that comes with the system. Under System Settings-Other Settings, select System Transfer on page 4 on both systems and follow the instructions. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour so it is best if you plug both in. You have the option of re-downloading any titles you have on you old SD card or transfer it to the new micro-SD card using a PC (a micro-SD adapter and a PC with a SD card reader is required. While transferring you will be treated to animations of little pikimans moving you data. So if you plan to upgrade to a new one and you have stuff to transfer, buy the new system first and do the transfer. If you reformat your old 3DS before transferring, you will lose all of your stuff.
Other than that, it is just like the regular 3DS. The new is the same, with the newer firmware adding themes that can be downloaded form the Nintendo eShop (some are free.) The eShop does require you to have a login which can be used on the Wii U as well. Most software is tied to the console downloaded on, unless System Transfer is used. Spot and Street Pass works the same as does all the software that is preloaded in new consoles.
The one I got was a “Hyrule Edition”, featuring a Gold faceplate with the Tri-Force symbol from The Legend of Zelda series. This special edition is only available at EB Games in Canada (Gamespot in the United States) and cost an extra $25 than the regular “New” 3DS XL model. It was on sale during the run up to Christmas and again, at least in Canada, during EB Games Boxing Day sale, in which you save $30.
The “New” Nintendo 3DS is a great system and has definitely gotten me to play more of my 3DS games. The 3D is better, but still not my thing but the bigger screens are great, especially when playing Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS (that the games official title!). I wish there was a screenshot option of this system as I’d would do more review on 3DS games. Some games do allow you to take pictures and save them to the micro-SD cards, but there is no way to transfer them to you PC wirelessly. While I do still prefer the PS Vita in that regard, games for that system are becoming few and far between. The Nintendo 3DS library has a few gems that are not Pokemon or other “capture the monster and fight ’em’ type of games. With old favorite getting remake and new games, both first and third party that are not too kiddish (though I do enjoy the new Skylanders game) I may add a lot more games to my library. And I might have to bring my 3DS along the next time work takes me abroad.