Nintendo 3DS XL review

The other day I was lucky enough to get a nice offer from Nintendo PR. They said that after the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS, I could swap my XL for the new version so I could enjoy its shiny newness, tweaked design and extra features. Of course I accepted and I must say, this is quite the improvement!

Of course, this isn’t a brand new handheld, just a remodel of the current system. The New Nintendo 3DS XL comes in at the same size as the old XL, but, like its smaller cousin, has a brand new button design in line with the colours on the SNES pad. You’ll also notice straight away a small grey nub just above these buttons which is in fact a C-Stick. Designed to take the place of the chunky Circle Pad Pro, the stick works with any compatible game, letting you use the handheld like a standard controller with your thumb controlling the camera or looking depending on the viewpoint you have. What’s weird is that you can’t really feel it move under your thumb, yet it’s sensitive to the touch and works in an analogue fashion – the more you push it, the further or faster you go in game.

When switching the device on, you’ll also notice a brand new 3D calibration where the handheld uses the camera to track where your eyes are in relation to the screen. Whilst I don’t’ actually use the 3D apart from to turn on now and then to marvel at it, it’s a definite improvement and means you don’t have to keep your head locked into position and follow the screen about like a mad person if you’re using motion controls in a game and have to look up on the bus.

What’s weird is that you will also find the MicroSD card slot behind the bottom cover, meaning you have to take a screwdriver to the device in order to access this slot if you want to upgrade to anything over 4GB. Volume controls and the stylus slot have also been moved, as well as the power button, which is now located flush with the bottom of the device. The Start and Select buttons have also been moved to the side of the screen, with a smaller Home button remaining in the centre. Oh, and if you’re new to the 3DS, you’ll have to buy a separate power adapter as it doesn’t even come with a USB charging cable! Not quite sure of the wisdom there. Nintendo do like to do things differently!

Whether you decide to upgrade is all a matter of personal preference. If you’re still yet to buy a 3DS and want it to play, say, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, then I’d highly recommend getting this version. The C-Stick really helps in a game of this nature. If you already own one, and have already upgraded once, you may not think another upgrade is totally necessary.

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