Revisions can be a tricky thing. From the start we hear companies try to sell the latest and greatest with features that sound great, but end up being underwhelming. Things like stronger specs, amiibo support, improved 3D tracking and so forth sound great on paper, but it’s the practice that matters. With this in mind, I’ve spent the last couple of days messing with the New Nintendo 3DS and figured I would give you an idea of what to expect.
Despite the terrible name, the New Nintendo 3DS XL goes out of its way to differentiate itself from the original. You can get an in-depth look in our unboxing of the Majora’s Mask edition, but the gist is that a bunch of things were moved around or changed. Some of the major ones include the power button being on the bottom with the gamecard slot, the volume slider is now opposite the 3D slider, SD was replaced with MicroSD and there is now a finish on the system.
At first I was against some of these changes, but you can tell a lot of thought went into them. Like the power button on the bottom is in a place where you shouldn’t be touching, much less the original and the gamecard slot is sunk in to prevent accidently ejecting the game. Even minor annoyances were corrected, like the new volume slider has a lot more resistance than the original and even includes a stopper to prevent you from accidentally turning on the sound. The system’s only real design flaw is the microSD card.
Since the card slot is under the back cover, you need to get a screwdriver and remove it. In addition to that, the back cover can be difficult to remove, with some people accidently breaking or damaging their system just because they want to replace their MicroSD. It would have been nice for Nintendo to find a place to put the card on the side or made the back more accessible.
At first glance the New Nintendo 3DS doesn’t seem much, if any, faster, but it quickly becomes apparent when you load a more complex game. To give you an idea, I tested out Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on both systems and the difference in load times is quite apparent. This also affects gameplay and other things, but unless it’s a really complex game like Monster Hunter, then you’ll probably not even notice a difference. You can check out the video above to see the difference in launch time between the New Nintendo 3DS XL and the original Nintendo 3DS XL with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
Arguably the most exciting addition to the New Nintendo 3DS is the c-stick. This new nub, which is quite responsive, but doesn’t really move, works really well, but its uses are limited. Unless things change in the future, the New Nintendo 3DS considers the c-stick the same as the circle pad pro, meaning it only works if the game supports the circle pad pro. So it does nothing in older titles like Resident Evil Mercenaries, but does a great job in games that support the pad like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
From the beginning, fans and critics alike have criticized the 3DS’s title feature. While there is nothing wrong with 3D gaming, it certainly had its limits and felt closer to a gimmick than a real feature. Despite some thinking Nintendo gave up on the feature, they tried to improve it with the New Nintendo 3DS.
For the most part, the dynamic 3D makes a substantial difference and does a good job of maintaining the effect. Even with slow movement and slight nudges the system does a good job of maintaining the effect and it’s only when there isn’t enough light or sharp movements does it become a problem. With that being said, the system does a decent job tracking even with minimal to no light beyond what the system is producing. So if this was a concern or a feature you really enjoy, then you’ll certainly be pleased with the New Nintendo 3DS.
In addition to all the improvements, the New Nintendo 3DS is a smidge larger than the original console. While a couple of millimeters are for the most part negligible, this can affect cases and other forms of storage. Thankfully I can confirm the Persona Q 3DS XL case and logically most, if not all, Hori cases will fit the New Nintendo 3DS, as does things like the old Club Nintendo pouch. You should be fine as long as you’re not trying to use something specifically designed around the original system, such as a case that goes over the 3DS, skins and things of this nature.
For most people the New Nintendo 3DS isn’t going to replace their old system, but if you want to bet on the future, play more complex games or love Monster Hunter, then it’s definitely worth considering. For the most part, the deciding factor isn’t really what the system does, but instead what the developers do with the system. We’ve already seen Nintendo and a couple third party developers add amiibo support to the 3DS, which is nice, but impossible to say how long or even how many titles will support it in the future. We also know that the system will get at least one new game, though keep in mind that the DSi only had a handful of titles and were far and few between.