I’ve been curious about Nintendo’s new eyesight destroying handheld that projects 3D images without the use of those always stylish glasses. I got the opportunity to play a little Pilotwings Resort on the 3DS and my expectations have tempered a bit.
First off, this is an absolute improvement on the already sturdy DS platform. It shares a similar size as the DS Lite and the DSi and has lots of bells and whistles attached to it including removable storage, dual cameras and widescreen display for 3DS games. It also includes a new analog nub which is a bit too reminiscent of the PSP nub which incited hand cramps and frustration after long gaming sessions so I’m a bit worried about that.
As for the crowning glory of the system, the 3D, it works pretty well and is impressive to look at upon first glance. While the images don’t necessarily pop up out of the screen, it does create the illusion of depth, kind of like you’re looking into a box and you can see deep down into the bottom. The 3D image is created by projecting two separate images that are marginally different from the other. Each image is aimed at a single eye where the brain will combine the two images it sees to create a 3D image. Similar technology has been employed in car navigation systems that display a map to the driver and a DVD movie to the passenger.
While the 3D is a neat trick, it does get old quickly. The first reason is that the sweet spot is particularly sensitive. For most gamers, the controller or handheld will tend to shift slightly depending on the type of input you utilize. As I flew around the islands in Pilotwings, I noticed I would get slight double vision as my hands naturally twisted slightly with the left and right input of the analog. If a small adjustments to direction disrupt the sweet spot, I can only imagine what a hectic fighter like Super Street Fighter IV or Dead or Alive Dimensions will do upon quick button input and swipes of the analog.
At the very least, the 3D can be adjusted by a slider on the side. This is a nice touch if you feel like you’re getting a little disoriented from the 3D image. But I have to ask, if the primary grab of the 3DS is its 3D image, why does it reek of gimmicky cash in?
Lastly, I’m saddened by the lack of titles available at launch. Sure, no launch has ever truly been stellar, but there is not one game that I would jump at to get my hands on, let alone in 3D. The best game available so far, Super Street Fighter IV, is a game that has been available on several other platforms already. Even Pilotwings Resort is not nearly as fun as I imagined it would be. It’s closer to Wii Sports than to anything reminiscent of the old Pilotwings titles.
At this juncture, I find myself wanting a new DSi more than a 3DS. I’m still interested, but I really need to have some quality games available before I make a decision to purchase this new handheld.