I’ve had the 3DS for about five days now. Why even bother writing this article? Simple: there are a few aspects that you can’t be fairly judged until some time has passed! So, let’s revisit the lands of the new, not-so-explored land of the console release, about a week after.
The battery is still probably the biggest issue with the 3DS, though I don’t personally have much of a problem with it. The way my day-to-day life goes, I’m back home from my commute before the system is even in the red, at which point I just plop it down onto the docking station. For those who will be using the 3DS more frequently than I do, Nyko has released their own battery and charging dock, which supposedly doubles the stock 3DS battery life. Joystiq ran a review of the peripheral in contrast to the stock battery, and reported that it indeed holds true to its promise. While such an investment represents another payment on the system, it will most likely be worth it for those who need to game for hours on the go. While I won’t be picking it up immediately, I will probably grab it further down the line.
Tag in, pass out
After about two days, everyone else got their 3DS systems purchased and set up, and I finally started seeing some StreetPass data flowing. For the uninitiated, StreetPass is the name that Nintendo gave to the data that is sent passively from one system to another while it’s in sleep mode. They tinkered with the concept a bit in the previous DS iterations, calling it Tag Mode, but the major issue was that you had to have the game running in the system with Tag Mode queued up. It wasn’t very likely that you’d run into someone else who just happened to be Tagging with the same game at the same time as you unless the game was very new and you lived in Tokyo and your game was called Dragon Quest IX.
Any 3DS game that uses StreetPass/Tag Mode gets it installed into the system itself. This means that it doesn’t matter what game you’re playing, or even if you have a game open at all. Even if your system is in the start up menu and it’s sleeping, you’ll transmit and receive the data of any StreetPass enabled title you have set up on the system. For example, the built in functionality for 3DS involves transferring Miis. You can use each Mii that is passed to you from another 3DS to gain puzzle pieces in Puzzle Swap, or in a very simple RPG type game called Find Mii. They’re good distractions and a great way to introduce the concept.
Street Fighter IV takes it a bit further with Figurine Battles. In this mode, you set up a team of five figurines, all of levels varying from 1 to 7 (which can’t exceed 20 altogether), among other stats. When you pass someone else who has set this up, your figurine teams will fight automatically, rewarding the winner with points to buy more figurines, improving your team. It’s a neat concept, not too unlike the minigame called Crimson VS in .hack//G.U. for the PS2. It’s obviously not as deep as the main portion of SSF4, but there is a certain complexity to building a good team of figures and ordering them in such a way to directly counter your opponent.
Speaking of Super Street Fighter IV, the online sure is authentic. Meaning sometimes your opponent will lag up the match if you’re winning, or will straight up disconnect if he’s about to lose. The ad hoc multiplayer works very well, though, and even tracks your BP and PP statistics to boot. It’s enjoyable, and helps this title remain the most impressive launch game for the system. SSF4 makes good use of the 3DS features, including impressive 3D, good multiplayer both online and off, and good StreetPass functionality. If you could send friends game invites, it would be perfect.
That brings me to my final point.
The 3DS is in dire need of some sort of messaging system. You can see if your friends are online and what they’re playing, but other than that? Nothing. Without a way to contact or chat with your pals, the 3DS will never be the social powerhouse that Nintendo clearly wants it to be.
That sums nearly everything up. And don’t worry, my next article won’t be on the 3DS. I’ll actually be talking about Roguelikes again, two favorites in particular. Next time, it’s strategies for Spelunky and Dungeon Defenders!