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3DS Hands-on Impressions

by Garnett Lee, Jun 15, 2010 12:46pm PDT
Related Topics – Nintendo 3DS, E3 2010

On the way our of Nintendo's E3 press briefing I got to play with a 3DS that had a demo video running on its 3D screen. One look at that screen drove home how much difference it makes to watch the device without glasses. The images were vibrant and that worked naturally with the 3D effect to pop everything out. It brought into sharp contrast the dimming caused by the glasses used for the various large screen 3D technologies.

The tech also seems to eliminate the uncomfortable jitter that can crop up while watching 3D through glasses. In one scene Link's sword threw off a shower of sparks, an effect I've seen to cause that in some of the 3D shooter demos. Here, though, the sparks shone clearly, without any flicker. Not having to wear glasses also eliminates the jarring switch from looking through them to seeing parts of the world without them in your peripheral vision.

All of the demo simply featured Nintendo characters in static scenes that could be rotated with the new analog stick. The stick felt smooth and solid under my thumb. While not controlling game action, the movement of the scene related very comfortably to my thumb motion.

One potential drawback to the system is the limited screen size in the handheld format. While the screen looked great, it got crowded pretty quickly with 3D objects. In part, the depth of field control should help some by allowing the effect to be turned down for more complex scenes. I did find myself wishing it was a little larger, though; if only it used the larger body of the DSi XL. But from the long list of games announced, the graphics power that seems to almost rival Nintendo's home console, and clear, crisp 3D, the 3 DS will be a day-one purchase for many.




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