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Tomorrow is the release of the Nintendo 3DS in Europe, Nintendo's newest handheld. We have it, so let's take a look at what's inside the box and what our first impressions are.

When opening the box, you are greeted by a lot of paperwork. There is a pin booklet with a code that can be entered on the Nintendo site. This will give you stars that can be used to buy special products like ringtones and wallpapers for a mobile phone but also Nintendo Points, games, statues and lots of other Nintendo goodies.

The other paperwork consists off a quick guide, a manual, a parentel control guide and a StreetPass guide. Of course everything is in multiple languages. The last thing we see is a little envelop with multiple AR cards. There is one with a question mark box and the other have familiar Nintendo characters on it. We have Mario, Kirby, Link, Samus and the Pikmin. We will come back to that later.

In the section underneath the paperwork, things get interesting. We see a grey power cable. The connector that goes in the handheld is different from the one that came with the DS and the GBA. It's much smaller. Underneath the console there is an interesting dockingstation. It has one port, the same that goes in the 3DS itself. When you place the 3DS in the dockingstation it will charge the battery. So there are two ways to charge the battery and I like the idea for the dockingstation.

Then the console itself. I bought the Aqua Blue version and it looks pretty good. We see two little camera's at the outside of the top screen. At the left side of the handheld we see the volume button and a SD card cover. Inside is a 2GB SD card. The cover looks fragile, but it's not someting you will open every day and getting the card in and out was without problems. In the front we will see a 3,5mm connector for headphones and two small lights, a power led and a charge led. At the right side we see the 3D slider and a swith to turn the wireless connection on or off. At the back we have the L and the R button. In the middle there is the slot for DS and 3DS games. Next to this slot is the stylus. It's pretty small but the end can be pulled out to make it longer, much like a radio antenna.

Let's open it up. The top screen shows another camera, not a 3D one. Next to the screen we see two little speakers and of course better access to 3D slider. The bottom screen have a regelar D-pad and an analogue stick above it. On the other site of the touch screen we have the X, Y, A and B buttons and a little Power button underneath it. Under the touch screen we see a Select, Home and Start buttons.

Installation and Programs
Alright, let's start it up. Of course you start by setting up the language. After that, we first see the 3D effect during the 3D calibration which also tells you how to hold the 3DS for the best performance. We then see the 3DS logo moving that shows the effect. After that we need to set up basic stuff like date, time and your profile. We are almost done with the setup. There are Internet Settings and Parental Controls left. All can be changes later on, but is very easy to do.

Enough with the setup. Let's see what we can do with it. We see the main menu, or Home as it's called. In the upper screen there is 3D logo of the program you have selected. It looks great and is easy to use. It reminds me of the Wii Menu. When you blow in the microphone the logo spins around. A nice touch. Well, on to the programs. Every program have a manual that can be entered by pushing the Home button. You can also close the program this way.

Health and Safety Information: Nothing special, just some warning documents about using the Nintendo 3DS and the 3D feature.

Gamecard: When there is a 3DS or DS cartridge in the system you can start it from here. When you insert a DS game you will see a spinning DS cartridge with the logo of the game. A 3DS game looks more polished and comparable when starting up a game on the Wii.

Nintendo 3DS camera: Here we can use both camera's to make pictures. 2D with the inner camera's, 3D with the external camera's. It's easy to use by itself and if you're stuck, there is always a cute parrot to help you out. Their are some nice options like a self-timer and different camera modes. But a bright lit room gives the best results. You can also view your pictures here.

Nintendo 3DS Sound: Here you play the music on the SD card or record sounds using the microphone. There is also an editor in it. There are some nice options like changing speed and pitch, just to name a few.

Mii Maker: Here we can make a Mii with a similiar function as on the Wii. It will appear in games and it is just in StreetPass. You can make one from scratch or you can take a picture of yourself and let the 3DS see what it can come up with. I used on two people (including myself), but they didn't look anything like it. Thankfully you can change it anyway you like. People with a Wii see a lot of familiar options. So again, it's easy to use and everyone can do it.

StreetPass Mii Plaza: Here you collect all the other Mii's that have the StreetPass option enabled and you encountered while passing by. It has two games. Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest. When you meet other people you could get a piece of a 3D puzzle. You can also exchange play coins for pieces. The other game is StreetPass Quest. You are the king, but you have been abducted. Ask heroes to help you escape. Again, you could get them by meeting people with the StreetPass option or use coins to hire them. The more you walk with the 3DS, the more play coins you get. So get walking.

There is not much gaming here. The puzzle piece is automatically placed and you can only choose if your hero attacks the enemy with his sword or with magic.

Augmented Reality Games: Now we are getting to the interesting part. Remember the cards that we got with the system. We can use it to play games. The most important card is the one with the question mark block. The program tells you how to set up the card before you can shoot a little yellow block. There are quite a few games here to play.

Shooting: First is a shooting game. You have to shoot your way trough a couple of levels. When there are targets, you have to point the crosshair to the target and press A. It's a fun little game but it might be difficult to walk around the card without losing the image or make it stutter. A well lit room is recommended for these games as well.

AR Shot: Here you need to play pool. Get the ball to the target. It's ok and not too difficult. Try to go through the levels in as less moves as possible. Fun is that a terrain appears from the card that changes. The end boss could have been better. Since the terrain changes, the balls roll their way to them almost by itself.

Mii Pics: Here you can take pictures of your Mii in different poses.

Star Pics: Similair to Mii Pics only you can now use the other AR cards. The familiar Nintendo characters can change pose as well and you can walk around them. You can also use multiple cards at a time. This could make some nice pictures like Samus shooting Mario out of the air.

Graffiti: Here you can draw whatever you want and take a picture of it. There are a lot of options to choose.

Fishing: The name says it all. Use the 3DS as a line and catch some fish. You use it similair as the fishing game in Wii Play. There is a twist at the end which is a lot of fun.

Finally there is a store where you can buy new levels with the play coins. Another reason to keep on walking.

Face Raiders: This is a very fun game. Make a picture of your face (or someone else) and then shoot it down in many different levels. It's great to see your face open it's mouth or closes his eyes. It's fun, works well and there are many levels to unlock. The more faces you collect, the more levels you get.

Activity Log: Nothing really special. It just shows which games you have played and for how long. It also tells you how many steps you took that day.

Download Play: Here you can connect with nearby systems to download demo's and play wireless multiplay titles. I tried it shortly with Super Street Fighter: 3D Edition and it works smoothly. There is also an option to connect with DS systems and it looks basically the same as the download option on the original DS system.

System Settings: Basically change settings of the 3DS. Here you can also configure the internet settings and parental controls.

There is already a small update. It adds 3D Video to the menu which shows a short but nice 3D video. Just to let you see the 3D effect I guess.

At the top of the touch screen, there are some smaller icons. The first one lets you adjust the brightness. The second and third make the program icons bigger or larger. The fourth one is called Game Notes. A useful little program that let you take notes while playing a game. The fifth icon shows your friends. You can add them too with this program. The sixth shows messages you receive from the system or other users you encouter with StreetPass. The seventh and last one is a internet browser. But this one isn't active yet. We have to wait for the system update that adds this. The same goes for some extra options like transfering DSiWare games. I couldn't locate icons for a store, so I assume those will came with updates as well.

First Impressions
Out of the box, the 3DS is a great device. It's very easy to use and even if you don't buy one of the launch titles, there is still a lot of fun to be had. You have the AR cards with some fun little games or you have Face Raiders with multiple levels. I also like that you can collect coins by walking a lot. With it you can buy extra levels, puzzle pieces or heroes. Curious to see if other games are going to use this feature.

The 3D effect is pretty cool, but not as earth shattering as I expected. It's revolutionary that you see the 3D without glasses, but it's not as amazing as the commercials let you to believe. Moving your head or the handheld a bit to the left of the right causes the effect to wear of. So it's important to follow the guidelines in the beginning and sit straight in front of it. If you want to show the effect to others then you better give it to them. I tried it with two launch titles (Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and Splinter Cell 3D) and the 3D effect is much bigger there. You see a lot of depth, multiple layers and it looks pretty cool. The 3DS is also much more powerful then the previous DS line so even without the 3D effect, it still looks very, very impressive.

The AR games are fun, but the camera needs a brightly lit room to function well. Walking around the object is very interesting as you really look around it, but you might lose focus of the card, pulling you out of the game in the progress. It is a lot of fun to shoot at your head while it destroys your house. So AR games is a great addition to the system.

So even though the camera needs a well lit room to function properly and the 3D effect isn't as amazing as I hoped, the Nintendo 3DS is still a great handheld. It uses a lot of elements from the Wii in terms of usabiliy and a clean interface. It's easy to use and has a lot of features. This will only be expanded once Nintendo releases the browser and the shops. The 3D effect adds depth to the Home menu and the games looks more impressive. But even without the 3D, it still looks amazing. The 3D just add something special. Add the AR cards and the StreetPass functions and I'm really curious what developers are going to do in the future. I look forward to it. A worthy successor to the DS line of handhelds.

Last edited by Sneaker on August 14th 2011, 5:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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on May 2nd 2011, 9:42 pmAussiegamer
This is one of the best first impressions I've seen in ages mate,even after already reading it on your old site I'm still impressed

Nice work Smile
on August 14th 2011, 5:09 amAndy
Wonderfull reveiw! Kudos!
on November 9th 2011, 1:12 amTowafan7
This was a fantastic first impressions Sneaker!
on November 9th 2011, 11:50 amKingreX32
I saw a Used 3DS in a store the other day for $130 bucks. I think i may get it. Not sure yet.
on November 9th 2011, 12:08 pmSuperVash
@KingreX32 wrote:I saw a Used 3DS in a store the other day for $130 bucks. I think i may get it. Not sure yet.
Seriously!? Well it's sold out by now Razz
on January 22nd 2012, 1:01 amMarth
Good impressions there, Sneaker. I'm currently enjoying the system, but I feel like it lacks the "newness" that a console should have. Not a fan of the different screen sized either.

By the way, it's not too hard to find a $130 3DS anymore since the price is $170 retail. I'd defnitely pick one up,Kingre.
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