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1. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 21:47 GMT
I got my hands on a 3DS today, Nintendo of Europe are running a few invite only hands-on sessions with the thing. Invite only simply means being registered on nintendo.co.uk and since I am, I got an invite. After getting a place, I then got a chance to drag the wife along too.
So I found myself in Manchester at around 10:00 this morning getting rained on. We spent the time queueing to get in playing "guess if the person walking past will join the queue or walk past" - otherwise known as "spot the nerd". The wife had 100% accuracy.
Eventually we got inside. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it certainly wasn't what we got. At first we were stuck infront of a little live action scene with Ken from Street Fighter doing some warm ups. When we all gathered round, Ryu turns up and they had a little scrap. Was very impressive - I wish I'd recorded a video of it. From there, we were led in groups of 6 through Resident Evil land with 2 of the game's characters shooting at zombies, telling us to hit the ground etc. Was very weird.
Next we had to wait for everyone to gather so we could be shown a video of the 3DS that has been on the internet for a couple of weeks already. Jonathan Ross then came on to tell us how wonderful it was and why. Finally we were taken into the area with a good number of the systems set up and again had to wait for everyone to get there. For about the 17th time, they emphasised that you don't need to wear glasses when playing on the systems, like anyone there didn't know more about them than the hired models who were showing the things off.
Finally, we were let loose on them. Obviously, the first thing anyone wanted to see was how nice the 3D effect was. I initially headed into the Zelda area, but so did most other people and we missed out so I settled on Pilot Wings, which is one game I definitly plan to get at launch, so I was happy with that. The 3D screen was definitely better than I expected. I was expecting a similar effect to the lenticular 3D sticker things, but this was pretty different. The graphics had a certain shinyness to them which I also see when watching 3D movies, but that effect seemed to enhance the look of the visuals.
The woman demonstrating the device showed me the slider which adjusts the depth of the 3D effect. Just seeing that actually made me feel a little weird and when I set it back to max, it seemed to be too intense, but I settled into it. I then discovered the first (and only) flaw of the system. I'd gone to a particular screen trying to get the game running and I needed to press Start. Without looking, I ended up pressing the Power button which is in the same place as the Start button on a DSi and as a result ended up back in the system menu (which I wanted to fiddle around in anyway). The demo lady managed to then interfere and load up the wrong thing, so it took a little while to get back into the game. Gameplay was fun, as already mentioned, the 3D effect was really nice. It only takes a very slight tilting of the screen to lose the effect, but it's also pretty easy to hold it in the correct position to keep the effect there.
Whilst at this first stop, I had a look over the hardware. It's a lot thinner than it looks, I think on all the images I've seen it looks pretty fat, but it's not. It also feels very solid. The d-pad looks a little small in all dimensions but I suspect the expectation is that it won't be used much. The analog stick is very comfortable to use and responsive. Certainly feels a lot better than the PSP analog nub.
Next I had a look at Street Fighter, another game I probably will get at launch. I had been hoping to see a game with 2D graphics on the 3D screen as I'd assumed there could still be a 3D effect, but there were none on show, however most of them menus on this game were in 2D and as I'd expected, different graphics were at different 3D depths and it looked really nice. The game again was impressive in 3D.
After this, my wife collared me and suggested I look at Steel Diver which was another game I definitely wanted to look at as it utilises the motion controls. The machine I got my hands on was on a side on section of the game which is mostly 2D but with the look of travelling inside a pipe. I got the demo lady to show me how to get into the periscope section which was really impressive. The visuals were good but the most impressive thing was the responsiveness of the motion control. Other motion control games I've played have a certain lag but there was none evident here. Move the 3DS and the scene changed immediately.
Time was running out in this area so we moved into the Zelda area and had a quick look at Lego Star Wars and Zelda. Both looked really nice in 3D.
The new area we moved into had a demo of Nintendogs and Cats as the only "game". Had a quick stroke of a kitten but moved fairly quickly on to look the the rest of the demos which were mostly of the system software. The Mii Maker was first and it did a terrible job of creating a Mii of me from a photo. I was disappointed with how much of the Mii you have to set in advance - hair colour, eye colour, skin tone and hair style. I have a much more accurate Mii of me on my Wii already.
I watched someone else playing the Face Raiders thing but didn't have a go myself. Next was the Augmented Reality card thing. Nothing too new, I think the PS3 had something similar when it was first released, but it was still impressive and possible enhanced by the addition of 3D. The frame rate was a little low and that made it feel a little laggy, but when some of the animations involved parts of the real world and not just the AR Card, it looked really good although it made my wife feel a little ill.
There were a few machines running videos. The first one was for Sky showing clips of Toy Story 3 and the other ones had gameplay videos of Paper Mario and Mario Kart. Two certain purchases for me.
Last of all I just messed around in the system software again having a little nosey round. The interface is very clean and as with the menus on Street Fighter, the 3D layers just add to the niceness of it all.
I'd already pre-ordered my 3DS on the day they started taking pre-orders, but if I hadn't, I definitely would do now. I don't know how they keep doing it but I really can't see Nintendo losing their handheld crown in this new generation. I've played on the 3DS and the PSP2 now and I know quite a bit about the direction Sony is taking with the PSP2. It's not a direction I'm interested in.
The downside of taking the wife - she also wants one now. £230 each. Ouch.
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2. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:16 GMT
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3. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:24 GMT
Great impressions! And well-written! Thanks.
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4. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:31 GMT
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5. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:47 GMT
So.The Power button is in the same place as the Start button was on DSi.
Good to know but, maybe anoying.
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6. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:58 GMT
@ImDiggerDan.... great post my friend. I've yet to see the thing in action myself, but I literally can't wait until March 27th finally rolls around so I can finally get my hands on the system and Pilotwings.
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7. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 22:59 GMT
Aww yeah! I can't wait to go tomorrow!
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8. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 23:01 GMT
Post back here, would be good to hear another opinion. Should add: my wife looked at Ridge Racer but I didn't (not interested in driving games that are not Mario Kart) and she said that was another really impressive looking one.
9. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 23:02 GMT
Great impressions, Dan. I can't wait until launch day.
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10. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 23:27 GMT
Will do, hope I get enough time to properly try a few games! DOA: Dimensions will probably be the first one I go to.... then probably Resi...
11. Posted: Sat 5th Feb 2011 23:34 GMT
That was a nice, well written, impression article Love the last sentence about the wife wanting one xDYou have convinced me to pre order right nao! (i was gonna wait till later)
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12. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 10:47 GMT
Thanks for your impressions Dan. I wanted to go to the show in Manchester myself, but I already had plans for the weekend and was really bummed I couldn't get there.
I have a question for you .. you mentioned the buttons being in a different place than on the DSi. Does that mean you currently have a DSi? I was wondering what you thought of the touch screen's size compared your DSi? That is the one thing holding me back getting a 3DS. I think I'll struggle to see it properly.
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13. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 11:30 GMT
Yes, I am a regular user of a DSi hence why I automatically went for what I assumed would be the start button.
As for the touch screen, I simply did not notice anything particular about it. I used it on Steel Diver and in the system menus and nothing stood out as being wrong with it. My wife also says the same and she is the owner of an XL.
Is the touch screen smaller on the 3DS compared to the DSi? Obviously it is smaller than the 3D screen, but even on Nintendogs where you use the touch screen to interact whilst watching the top screen, it all felt very natural and intuitive.
14. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 11:39 GMT
Edit: Nintendo have added some photos from the event to that vile creation, Facebook.http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=190983434264808&se...
15. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 12:04 GMT
@ImDiggerDan.... I do have a question for your my friend. When you pressed the Home button by accident, did it pause the game for you to go back into the game, or completely shut down the game and return to the menu as on DSi?
I've read that the 3DS will use the ability to instant pause the game, go to menus, and then return to the game without data loss.
16. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 12:51 GMT
Sounds like it's a good device. The only problems were getting used to the 3D and the controls, then.
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17. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 13:22 GMT
@Slapshot - the app was paused. When loading a different app from the home menu (in this case the Download Play) it did warn that the game would be shut down first.
18. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 13:31 GMT
Is the device fingerprint-resistant?
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19. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 13:39 GMT
I have heard that the touch screen works better with fingers than it did with the ds lite or dsi. Is this true?
20. Posted: Sun 6th Feb 2011 14:45 GMT
I didn't notice any fingerprints on the device at all, but I wasn't looking for them and the first encounter with the device was in almost complete darkness. In the lastest Iwata Asks on Nintendo Europe, they do talk about the hardware being fingerprint and UV resistant.
I initially tried to control Steel Diver with my finger and couldn't do it. I can't say if that is an indication of how responsive to fingers the screen is, though, or a statement about how fat my fingers are...