The New Nintendo 3DS vs. The Internet: Reviews and Deals

By on February 13, 2015

Say what you will about the smart phone makers of the world, iterative hardware upgrades is what makes the tech world turn these days. This month, it’s Nintendo’s turn to once again improve upon its portable gaming machine, transitioning from the current standpoint Nintendo 3DS XL model to the new, New Nintendo 3DS XL. It hits retailers on February 13, to be exact, but the reviews have already flooded the web and made apparent just where this new model sits in the eyes of the hypercritical tech masses.

Here’s your most straightforward review, from a website that comforts in its desire never to deviate. Admit we must the inherent need of this kind of review, and the value it holds.

Kotaku just recently put up a pretty informative discussion about the system, from two people who have spent weeks with it no less. Instead of running down the checklist of expectations fulfilled or failed, they hone in on exactly what entices them about system and what might justify a purchase. Whether you’re actually looking for a new system, according to the two reporters, is a larger factor than you might think, and larger than Nintendo might want. Kotaku’s Down-To-Earth, Normal People Discussion About the New Nintendo 3DS

The 3D Part

Dave Thier over at Forbes Tech devoted an entire blog post to his ecstasy over no longer approaching nasea when using the system’s 3D capabilities, finally. The New Nintendo 3DS’s head-tracking means you no longer need to lock your head and the system into one position to keep the effect kosher. When before you were the guy grasping the rail on a wading boat, desparate to achieve an impossible inner stillness, now you’re the guy wearing roller-blades and a thong on that same boat, martini in hand. At least, that’s how I imagine it. Here’s Thier’s take:

He pretty much sums up the consensus on one of the domineering new features of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Past Nintendo 3DS games that took great advantage of the 3D effect are made better by the head-tracking, especially those that attempted to combine gyroscope controls and the 3D together. You can actually move the system around without inducing a headache.

Most importantly of all, it’s about the kooky mini-game that launched with the original 3DS, Face Raiders, which saw you shooting at augmented-reality face-balls in 3D, using the entire 3DS system as your weapon. It was weird. And glorious. And now it can work really well.

Face Raiders New Nintendo 3DS

A Nub for Your Dollar

The other outwardly important new feature for the console is that little nub on the right side of the controls, which serves to some degree as another stick the likes of the circle pad. By no means does it offer the same versatility as the circle pad. It’s stiff and tiny, but it is precise enough to introduce full third-person camera controls to any game that would’ve depended on the touch-screen for it in the past.

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is its own example, which utilizes the nub as another way to perform smash attacks, much like its console brother uses the Gamecube controller’s C-Stick,  a hugely important feature to that game’s control scheme. In essence, the nub offers parity of this kind, but doesn’t really open up the console to more complex experiences, most notably first-person shooters. It just isn’t flexible enough for that. A number of reviewers feel this way, including Sam Byford from The Verge and Tristan Ogilvie from IGN.

Don’t Forget the Memory

There’s been a small fuss made about how the new system handles external memory. Unlike past 3DS models, the New Nintendo 3DS utilizes microSD cards instead of the standard size. Not only does that complicate the already complicated process of transfering all your crap from an old 3DS to a New 3ds, the microSD cards are hidden behind a screw-fastened back plate. Also, the provided microSD card is quite small at 4 gb.

Here’s the 16-step odyssey you have to look forward to if you’re upgrading.

And, another unfortunate sidenote to what is and isn’t in the New Nintendo 3DS box, Nintendo isn’t including an A/C adapter with the console. Though freely available for relatively cheap purchase, the expectation is all those power cords from all those other 3DS consoles floating around should be sufficient for the masses. Whatever the case, there’s bound to be some extracurricular purchasing sometime down the line. Speaking of which…


Super Smash Bros. for 3DS will be the first and only game with amiibo functionality once it’s patched on launch day for the console. With a built-in NFC-reader, the New Nintendo 3DS is far and away the best way to make this happen, though Nintendo has promised an adapter for older consoles sometime in the future. Here’s a great little vid on how the amiibo stuff works for the new console:

The only other games confirmed for amiibo functionality on the 3DS are Project S.T.E.A.M. and Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. You can get all the information on that stuff at Nintendo’s website. Always remember that not all amiibo are guarunteed to work with all amiibo-functional games.

Limited Editions

If any of this random information has enticed you into buying the new device, you might as well do it right. One decent launch deal is currently floating around the web, particularly worth consideration if there’s a certain game on your radar. Gamestop’s exclusive Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate bundle, which will save you a slight, but meaningful, $10 between the console and game, is a stylish choice.Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate New Nintendo 3DS XL Bundle

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is a great game to start your life with the console. It’s reviewing quite well, looks pretty great and takes advantage of the nub for its camera controls.

If silver’s not your thing, the classically gold Majora’s Mask version of the console is quite the looker. You can also find that one at Gamestop, though its bound to hit Ebay in waves after launch. Be warned, this one does not come with the titular game.

Majora's Mask New Nintendo 3DS XL

Not Necessary, Yet

The grand conclusion of the internet is a tepid one. This is a good console, but not a necessary console, at least not yet, even if the improved 3D and the nub-stick-thing are worthy improvements. One thing we didn’t mention over the course of the article is the improved processing power within the console, which is obviously great in the lessened load-times and snappier operating system, but there’s a major drawback for people who don’t want to buy a new console. The games that truly take advantage of the upgrade in power will be exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS, splitting the family of portable consoles in a way Nintendo’s never really done before.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D new Nintendo 3DS XL

The only game we know that will simultaneously fall victim and thrive because of this is Xenoblade Chronicales 3D, a port of the critically beloved JRPG for Wii that serves today’s market as the predecessor to the Wii U’s upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles X. The New Nintendo 3DS game is due out April 10, 2015. That day will be the first true test of the console’s success. That day may even carve out a certain future for Nintendo’s entire portable plan, because if it looks like the New Nintendo 3DS can sustain its own lifecycle, forcing new buyers out of steadfast old 3DS owners, then we may not see a truly new device for some time. Whether that’s a bad thing, though, isn’t so clear.

About Trevor Ruben

Though I contribute to many online publications on a regular basis, including The Checkout, the crux of my writing lies in video games. When not writing, I'm often streaming a variety of games on Twitch.

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