Kyle’s opinion on the New 3DS is divided. What do you think?
My 3DS had issues. Well, really only one issue. I bought it used (like, from a Gamestop employee that sold it to me outside the store) and, while it came with most of the bells and whistles, it lacked functional shoulder buttons. This proved a more manageable flaw than you’d think as most games I played didn’t necessarily require them. Fire Emblem bypassed them, Layton used the stylus, and even Smash Bros allowed button remapping. Still, it was an unnecessary hurdle. Therefore, the announcement of the New 3DS piqued my interest more than most and I bought it on release day. Actually, I tried to buy it on release day but it had already sold out. In fact, the New 3DS proved so popular that I had to order it online and wait a week and a half. Still, I’m pleased with my purchase and it’s a solid handheld. However, prospective purchasers should bear some things in mind.
First off, what makes the New 3DS different from the old model? Well, unless we’re talking about the 3DS XL (or live in Japan), it’s larger. I didn’t expect to like this feature as I use it mostly on public transit where it sits mostly in my pocket, but the larger screen does make a difference. Certain games, like Smash Bros, definitely have greater accessibility on the larger screen and, like having a larger phone, it’s the kind of thing one gets used to and never goes back from. Additionally, the 3D function now features a face-tracking mechanic. This particular blessing means no more fiddling with the 3D knob to get the right depth, whatever that might be. The device has a nice feel too. I’ve previously complained about Xbox One controllers feeling cheap and plastic but the new 3DS has a pleasant gloss and weight to it. Finally, the C-stick, essentially one of those laptop nubbins, does have surprising utility. Having played lots of Majora’s Mask, I can say with certainty that the ability to rotate the camera at will is much appreciated.
The New 3DS also retains the best qualities of its older brother. Unlike its awkward cousin, the 2DS, this new handheld features a closable screen that pauses the game, a source of endless joy on a crowded train. Moreover, the 3D function remains optional, good for those of us wanting to save battery power or those of us banned from using it by girlfriends afraid of eye cancer. Backwards compatibility with both 3DS and DS games is nice too, considering its lack of an exclusive library. The internet blew up when it heard screwdrivers were required to transfer data from the old model to the new but, frankly, I didn’t have to. I just did the wireless transfer (prepped and ready on the device from the get go) and I honestly can’t tell what data was left behind. Streetpass still works like a charm, the built-in camera still takes 3D pictures, and this device continues to save my life, or sanity, on every commute.
But is it worth the $200 price tag? Well, it depends. In my case, totally, what with my previous model lacking functional shoulder buttons. Still, if you already have a 3DS (or even 2DS), you probably don’t need to pick it up. Some of the new features are nice but none terribly necessary and lack of exclusive games means there’s little need to upgrade. I’ve been told that the processor is better or it’s faster or something but I’ve never really noticed major differences. On top of that, the larger screen (or processing power?) means a shorter battery life so the new 3DS must be charged every night. Speaking of which, if you don’t have a 3DS at all, you may still pause in your purchase. I saw it for sale at Target for $200 without the charger right next to a regular 3DS XL for the same price with a charger. Since I had a charger from my old 3DS, the choice was a no-brainer. However, if I lacked one, conundrums would ensue.
The New 3DS is a solid piece of equipment. It has all of its predecessor’s strengths with some of its own added tricks. However, the price and lack of truly unique features and games mean prospective buyers should think hard before buying one themselves. Ultimately, the device charms but does not compel.
Unless, of course, your current 3DS needs tossing.