Currently I am the proud owner of a 3DS XL. It is the Special Edition one, the Mario and Luigi one that came with that boring Dream Team game. However it doesn’t look like that anymore. I found decals online that allowed me to make the system look like the Persona Q edition. I play the system almost every day, and there a ton of good games for it. Coming in ahead of my PC and PS4, I can say with certainty it is the system I play the most. Despite this system being only a half-step up from the current version of the handheld, I am excited for it for a few reasons, some are just hopeful, some are bullet points for the system.
1. The better CPU:
I am looking forward to the faster load times, the faster digital downloads. There is nothing wrong with moving to a new CPU, especially as the costs for such things have gone down since the original 3DS. I also have other, weird hopes for the new CPU improving things. Ever notice in the newer Pokemon games, the game suffers from terrible slowdown whenever the camera comes in close on the two combatants? I have no idea if this new CPU will fix that problem, but I am hopeful.
Also unlike when the DS Lite got changed out for the DSi, Nintendo isn’t removing any capabilities from the system. It can still play DS games, unlike the DSi, which had its GBA slot gutted for a reason that put a big middle finger up to the consumer. So luckily this isn’t a two steps forward, one step back situation, which is actually the reason I never bought a DSi, I loved the GBA slot too much.
However, like the DSi, Nintendo is promising exclusive software for the new version of the system, and enhanced experiences for other games. Unlike the DSi, which only had a few crappy downloadable titles, the New 3DS is swinging a little harder, by bringing the formerly Wii-exclusive game Xenoblade Chronicles to the system. While I doubt Nintendo intends to cannibalize its user-base too much by making a ton of these “New 3DS Exclusive” titles, I do hope we get more titles like this, that will appeal to the niche audiences that tend to be the early adopters, and re-buyers of systems anyway. While it would be financial suicide to make a New 3DS-only Pokemon, someone like Atlus could probably get away with making the next Shin Megami Tensei game only for the new system, and not endure any real financial loss.
2. The C-Stick:
I get why Nintendo didn’t slap another circle pad on the right side of this new model. Space-wise, it would make no sense to. I had a Circle Pad Pro for my old, original 3DS, made the system huge. Also it seems this tight, think-pad nub of a C-Stick will be doing exactly what most of us want it for, moving the camera in games like a Kingdom Hearts, or the new Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate, which comes out the same day as the system. While handhelds have been getting away with work-arounds like the L and R buttons, the PS Vita showed the world how handhelds can benefit by adding second actual stick. While Nintendo doesn’t often truck in as purely 3D experiences compared to what the Vita has put out, this is still a great move by Nintendo to address the absolute lack of a second analog previously. Definitely a lot more elegant than the clunky Circle Pad Pro shell.
3. 3D that doesn’t give me massive headaches (hopefully):
I am one of those people who cannot use the 3D functionality on the 3DS at all. It makes my head hurt more than any headache I have ever had previously, even when the 3D is turned on just a little bit. It got to the point to where I had to turn off the ability to activate the 3D at all, as accidentally switching it on was not good for me. The new 3DS promises a better experience with eye-tracking to reduce the need for that perfect sweet spot, and just an overall better experience aimed at making it more useable. I don’t know if it will work for me, but I hope it does. While I know it is a battery-draining gimmick, I would like to be able to use every feature of the system, and not need to lie down after 20 seconds of trying it.
So I will be at Gamestop in a bit, finalizing payment for the New 3DS. While I get that not everyone needs to upgrade to this system, and the older 3DS is still perfectly capable, the new one seems to offer enough new stuff for someone like me that it is worth the investment. Hopefully Xenoblade Chronicles sells well, and more developers see the value in taking advantage of this more powerful hardware.