PAX South: First Impressions—New Nintendo 3DS XL

The very first stop for the Nintendo Fire team at PAX South was the Nintendo booth—obviously—to get our hands on the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Admittedly, coming into the convention, one of our members was feeling upset by the lack of the regular sized New 3DS and another was all right with it, believing the larger size would be all right (and our third member declined to take a side). After getting our hands on the device… those opinions were more or less reversed.

First things first—the New Nintendo 3DS XL is worth the upgrade. While you may be scratching your head and wondering what the point of it all is, let’s just say this: Face tracking 3D. Yes, no longer will you have to keep that 3D button down on the low setting, because the device tracks your eyes and matches the 3D. You can move that controller around and thrash all you want, and the 3D works just fine. When you look away it does have to reset, but that was neither distracting nor unwanted.

You get a real sense of depth with this kind of 3D, and it will definitely allow for more immersive gameplay. The boost in power also helps with that, and according to the booth reps, the New 3DS is up to 5 seconds faster with load times between screens or when booting up a game. We didn’t get to play around with the home screen to really get a good sense of this, but 5 seconds is really a lot of time when you’re playing a game such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, where you’re moving in and out of different areas constantly.

And what about that C-Stick? Those camera controls make all the difference, and we imagine that it’ll be a huge boost for shooters—in fact, it may finally allow for some real shooters on the system, reviving the genre on the handheld console.

We didn’t get a chance to test out the amiibo compatibility, but there were some other small upgrades that prove Nintendo really does listen and pay attention to the small things. The headphone jack has been moved to the bottom of the console, so the cord won’t get in your way while playing. The wi-fi button has been moved, and the volume control has been shifted up to the second screen, so there’ll be no more accidentally turning off wi-fi and missing Streetpasses… and no more random volume ups or downs, potentially creating embarrassing scenarios (or just being really annoying!).

The power button has been moved as well, though we can’t remember where to. None of us have had a problem with the regular 3DS XL power button, but we can’t say the same for others.

The only real issue here is that the New 3DS XL is massive. Really, really massive. And for someone with smaller hands—like our writer Faith, or small children—it’s actually quite difficult to reach all the bumper and trigger buttons. Our other Nintendo Fire members, Micah and Dave, had no difficulty reaching the buttons and found the system quite comfortable to hold. It won’t fit in their pockets, however—leaving us once again with the conundrum of size. It’d fit easily in a lady’s purse but the buttons are hard to reach, while it won’t fit in a man’s pocket but it’s well sized for men’s hands.

Either way, we’re still hoping that the regular sized New 3DS makes its way here eventually. And even so, the new system is a considerable upgrade from the regular 3DS/3DS XL, and we’re looking forward to purchasing our own next month!

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Dave
Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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