Very exciting as this is the first time I’ve got to experience a console launch.
On first viewing in light I noticed that the aqua color was infact a lot more appealing in person, and the tone of color is much nicer. Perhaps not as appealing to males as much, to be honest, but as a female – it is a very nice color. It is more pearly aqua blue (and more ocean green undertones) than the primary blue it appears in photographs. It also shimmers quite pleasantly – and most of all, I was very impressed that it did not, infact, look plasticy and flimsy as expected. It is a far higher build quality than the previous iterations of Nintendo handheld and feels a lot more grown up, slick and satisfying in hand. It’s more Apple-esque than kiddy.
The aesthetic of the menu was the next thing to please me – very nice and swish. Easy to use and get around and just plain pleasant to use. Messing around with the camera, the augmented reality cards, games and other such features was very fun and they are good demonstrations of what it is capable of.
Then of course, the 3D. That third dimension blew me away. I did not expect it to be so noticeable on the high setting… it looks amazing. It is quite unlike anything I’ve ever viewed. Takes a while to adjust to and I tend to find myself keeping the 3D slider pretty low down.
Face Raiders is very fun for an included game – very nice use of the features and capabilities. It’s just, fun, really. I was quite impressed with the facial recognition and the expressions it managed to maneuver – and moreso the augmented reality aspects of the games themselves; shooting the little things flying in the air in your living room whilst having to move the actual handheld to do so is great.
I also got Nintendogs, Super Street Fighter IV and Lego Star Wars 3 – all of which remain outstanding in their own way. The puppies in Nintendogs look much better than the previous ones, the fur being the most notable improvement – they look, move and behave a lot more realistically.
I’ve always enjoyed most has been walking and picking up presents. I chose a spaniel in memory of my old king charles spaniel Nell!
Super Street Fighter IV looks fantastic in the 3D, pulling the characters to the foreground and the backgrounds mesh beautifully to the back. Works really well and the graphics themselves are a great improvement bar the 3D. They look impressive for a handheld. The gameplay is very fun, as always in this series and it’s the main launch title with online abilities – allowing you to fight other people. A great draw for me and the only reason I really wanted it, had it been single player I would not have bothered. Also with download play to enable you to play with a friend nearby who does not own a copy is a great bonus. Though it has the easier system for fighting with simple clicking on the touch screen it can still let you carry out the same old moves and combos!
Lego Star Wars 3 looks outstanding! I was very surprised to see what a nice, but subtle, effect the 3D has on the character and environments. Again, with the 3D slider off completely, it still looks very impressive and well polished for a handheld, however the 3D adds just nice little touches here and there and continues the overall feeling of “wow, I’m playing this in 3D”. It adds, pardon the pun, a definite new dimension to the game – and the way you enjoy it as a result. The lego games are always fun and rarely have faults, but this is certainly a good iteration of it and very well presented with the typical fun gameplay mechanics and humorous story to boot.
The 3D has really blown me away and I’m very surprised at what a difference it can make. It does take a little while to adjust to and get used to – and certainly do not recommend playing for long periods at the start, it can leave you a bit headachey.
Also, as a little side note – the included video download when you do your first system update is really rather nifty. Very cool addition and has left me wanting to view more 3D videos on the handheld. The only problem of course being its small size.
A few more things I’ve noticed, a few days in – the battery is a concern, as people have noticed. It flashes a red light on the right when it’s about to go, but literally, about to go… you don’t get a huge amount of time to run around in your game and such – just save, get out of dodge and charge up. Obviously you can continue to play whilst charging without problem. I managed pretty much a level of Star Wars, and a few matches of SF4 online before it went, that’s from full charge. But I have max brightness and wifi enabled at the moment.
Another observation – today discovered in Nintendogs that you can use the AR cards during the obedience trials to show your dogs tricks, very nice touch and awesome integration & use of the augmented reality.
Thirdly – Super Street Fighter IV online has lots of matches constantly, very impressed. It just keeps giving. I suck, but I love it too much to care – so much fun. Sakura has become my favorite and I’m gradually learning how to kick slightly more butt.