Friday, May 1, 2015

So I Got A New 3DS...

Wal-Mart had a bundle deal going on where you could get a New 3DS XL and a game of your choice (from a limited selection) for $209 before tax.  Tax for me was $11, bringing it up to $220.  Out of all the games, most I didn't really want, and I already own Smash Bros, so I went with Fossil Fighters Frontier because I'd been looking at it on the eShop and it seemed interesting.  If Mario Kart 7 or Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds had been a part of the offer, I'd have gotten either one of those instead.

Also, I have system transferred from my Old 3DS to the New 3DS.  I'm not getting rid of my Old 3DS, rather, it now enables me to StreetPass myself for the purpose of the StreetPass games, as well as any other game with a good use of StreetPass.  I do plan on doing some StreetPass shenanigans with Bravely Default on my Old 3DS, possibly involving purchasing another copy of the game.  It'll probably be a digital copy from the eShop.  I may also get a DS flash cart to live in its cartridge slot.

All of this happened on Monday, when it arrived at my doorstep.  I decided to stay eerily silent about it until now, just because.

Because I was an idiot, there was a slight, non-fatal hiccup in the system transfer process.  Basically, my wireless router is a piece of shit.  The wireless interface on it goes down completely at random after it's been on for a few days, without the lights on the front updating to reflect this, and it went down during the wireless transfer of the SD card contents.  For some reason, even though that happens over Local wireless, it interrupts the whole thing when my wireless router decided to stop being a wireless router.  I cycled the power on the router and restarted the transfer, and this time it finished without issue.

Nintendo at least had the foresight to make the process as simple and guided as possible, to the point that before you even begin it, they refer you to their support website where you can select the options you want to use and get a step-by-step set of instructions.  That's pretty neat.  Though they say the wireless transfer will take 4 hours, mine took right around an hour.  The big variables are data on your SD card, if you choose wireless transfer, and built-in software.

I probably should have had the forethought to reset the router beforehand, or to select the PC transfer option and just copy everything around using my computer.  But the latter option would involve removing the backplate of the New 3DS to get its MicroSD card out, because Nintendo are a bunch of geniuses who don't think being able to access your SD card easily is a good thing.

After the break, we'll move on to my thoughts on the New 3DS.

Things I like:
  • Immediately, before even turning the system on for the first time, I noticed how much quieter the hinge is.  That's really nice.  The Old 3DS XL's hinge makes this loud clicking sound whenever it snaps into position.
  • The speakers are much louder.  Should be a lot easier to hear what you're doing in a reasonably loud environment now.
  • The volume slider was moved from the side of the lower half of the system to the side of the upper half of the system, is more resistant to being adjusted, and locks into the "off" position just like the 3D slider does.  Considering I'm always accidentally adjusting the volume on my Old 3DS XL, this is a welcome change.
  • The screens are much better.  Everything's brighter and smoother than the Old 3DS XL.
  • The super-stable stereoscopic 3D really works.  I was surprised just how well it works.  Being that I'd always seen the images splitting on my Old 3DS, I now feel like I'm finally seeing the stereoscopic 3D the way it was meant to be seen.  I tried Ridge Racer 3D, where on the Old 3DS I had to turn off the stereoscopic 3D because of the images splitting, and while I still noticed image splitting, it was a lot better.  The stereoscopic 3D still isn't well-suited for high-intensity action games, because the system itself moves around too much during gameplay.
  • The d-pad and A/B/X/Y/L/R buttons just feel better.  In addition, the new ZL and ZR buttons are easy to press without accidentally pressing L or R at the same time.
Things I'm indifferent about:
  • Start and Select were moved from just below the screen to just below A/B/X/Y.  In addition, the Home button was made smaller and can no longer be pressed by putting pressure on the edge of the console, which I'll have to get used to since that's how I pressed it before.
  • The addition of the ZL and ZR buttons, and the C-Stick.  The C-Stick is kind of awkward to use, but once you figure it out, it works.  Smash Bros doesn't really use any of it very much (ZR makes it look for an amiibo when you're on the character select screen).  I don't have a game that previously used the Circle Pad Pro to try the C-stick on, nor do I have either of the two (2) New 3DS-exclusive titles, only one of which is actually released at this time (Xenoblade Chronicles 3D) (the other one being The Binding of Isaac).
  • The cartridge slot was moved to the bottom left of the lower half of the system.  I occasionally experienced accidental cartridge ejections on the Old 3DS, so it'll be interesting to see if they're less likely with this new position.
  • The headphone port and AC adapter ports are now in the center of the lower half of the system, on their respective sides, instead of being offset to one side or the other.  I would have thought that the headphone port would be better placed on the right or left side of the console, since such a position would be much better suited for being in a pocket while listening to things with the system in sleep mode (Smash Bros supports this, Mii Plaza will now play one song on repeat in sleep mode, maybe Nintendo 3DS Sound supports it too?  Hands up if you've actually used Nintendo 3DS Sound.  Yeah, that's what I thought.  Just like with the Health and Safety Warning and the Activity Log, you chucked it in a folder and forgot about it.)
  • The system is only slightly larger than the Old 3DS XL.  Only slightly.
Things I don't like:
  • The stylus was moved from the absolutely perfect position on the Old 3DS XL to a newer, much more awkward position.
  • The power button is now on the outside of the console.  People have complained about the system turning off in their pocket or backpack, and I have confirmed that it is indeed possible to turn the system off while it's closed.  That said, it hasn't happened to me accidentally yet.
  • The wireless switch was removed and replaced with a software toggle in the Home Menu Settings.  This setting also toggles the NFC (for amiibo use, and little else).  They can't be toggled independently of one another, which I can see affecting battery life.
  • In making the transition from an SD card to a MicroSD card, which I'm totally fine with, they also removed easy access to it from outside the system, which isn't cool.  You now have to remove the backplate of the system to get to the MicroSD card.
  • The system ships with a MicroSD card that only has 4GB of storage.  You may need to swap it out depending on how much digital content you've purchased from the eShop.
  • It doesn't come with a charger.  Nintendo somehow got away with classifying what's clearly intended to obsolete the Old 3DS XL as a "hardware upgrade", and as such they aren't required to include a charger with the system.  Problems with this:
    • They're trying to attract new customers to the 3DS line of consoles with the New 3DS, who won't already have a charger.
    • Trade-in offers at gaming stores require that you include your charger along with the system you're trading in.
    • Nintendo's official charger is rare.
    • A "hardware upgrade" would involve an official service to change the hardware in my existing console, for a fee, instead of buying a whole new console.
Overall, it's a pretty decent improvement to the 3DS XL.  I'm especially enjoying being able to StreetPass myself.

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