New is Not Always Better
Recently Nintendo is not performing to their standards. Their numbers are down, their systems are losing popularity and they have seemed to drop off in the map in the console wars. However I love Nintendo and their recent struggles do not change my interest for their awesome library of games.
2014 was my favorite year for a Nintendo fanboy with releases such as Super Smash Bros, Pokémon remakes, Mario Kart 8 and perhaps the most dangerous of collectible items in Amiibos. 2015 started out decently with games such as a Majora’s Mask remake, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
I proudly own a Wii U and I carry my 3DS XL wherever I go for all the StreetPasses. However, why would I spend $200 dollars on the New 3DS XL? The best sway to put it would be that this upgrade to the New 3DS XL is a lot like upgrading from an iPhone 5S to an iPhone 6.
First things first, I have to point out that Nintendo made two versions of the new handheld, the New 3DS and the New 3DS XL. Japan and Europe received both versions while America only received the New 3DS XL. The systems are similar aside from the screen size, except for that the New 3DS has customizable faceplates that can be interchanged. Nintendo offers over forty different faceplates, but only if you live in Europe and Japan.
The New 3DS XL does have several changes from its not-so-new counterpart. Perhaps the most impressive change would be the new face recognition sensor next to the inside camera. The sensor detects head movement and alters the 3D effects to optimize viewing even when moving. Getting hands on with the New 3DS XL I learned that the 3D is now worth having on. Personally I never played with 3D anyway, so it honestly did not mean much to me.
As for physical changes, there are several movements and additions to the handheld device. The volume slider is now on the left side of the top screen, and the Wi-Fi switch has been removed entirely in favor of a setting in the home menu. The cartridge port and stylus are both on the bottom of the system now as well as the power button. The changes seemed optimal and neat aside from two problems I pictured. The power button is very exposed and I worry about it getting turned on/off during travel. Secondly, the stylus is now vertically kept in the system and after a few months of use I fear the stylus could easily slide out at anytime.
The most obvious physical changes are with the additions of a small nub called the C-stick (from Nintendo’s GameCube controller). However, it seemed far too close to the ABXY buttons and was very difficult to keep a grip on it. Many people including myself would have preferred another circle pad. The system also sports two new buttons, the ZR and ZL buttons, same as the Wii U Gamepad. They are placed inwards of the regular L and R buttons and although they are made to be easy to press, I feel overwhelmed having my index fingers controlling two buttons each. A last novelty change would be the colors of the ABXY, which are now green, red, blue and yellow. The change is a nod to Nintendo’s history of controllers.
With those damn addictive Amiibos now everywhere, Nintendo was smart to include NFC support built-in to the bottom screen. With this addition also comes increased CPU power along with a faster processor. Nintendo says that they will take advantage of the under the hood beefing with future games, but the only detectable hardware change would be he faster load up times for the home menu and games.
The new 3DS XL is the handheld that we should have had three years ago. Unfortunately my current 3DS XL is still in tip-top shape, and with all the games coming out this year I don’t want to spend money on a handheld I technically already have. While some changes may seem useful, they are not enough for me to dish out another sum of money when my handheld plays the same games.
I applaud Nintendo for constantly trying to push out new products for their fans but this fan is not dishing out the cash. This is coming from the same guy who still rocks an iPhone 5S and not a 6.