My second look at the Nintendo 3DS

So after having my hands on a Nintendo 3DS earlier in 2010 I definitely wanted to make sure to have another go before the handheld's launch on March 25th. Luckily Nintendo put together an event which fell on a weekend, so I made sure to get myself over there with my fingers crossed for new games I hadn't played before. Luckily I wasn't let-down with there being a lot of games available to play, so many in fact that there wasn't enough time to play them all.

After knowing what games I'm interested in for the 3DS I made my way over to one of the helpful ladies to find out what was on show, the first thing I was told was Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D. Being a huge fan of the Resi games the second she told me it was here I jumped straight to the demo pod. Going straight into the game the controls weren't explained so it lead me to be unsure of exactly what I could do to move the camera (however I've been told now) it plays like the new style Resident Evil's like you'd expect and interweaves with them. There were two levels available to play, one from a scene in Resident Evil 4 and one from Resident Evil 5. The choice of characters were out of Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield, Hunk (RE2) and Krauser (RE4), all featuring different weapon loadouts. Immediately going for Claire because of her RE2 outfit I jumped straight in and ended up getitng my bum kicked a little.

The controls once having got the hang of them were simple, however it had only just dawned on me that the Xbox 360 and DS X and Y buttons are reversed, so instead of picking up the handgun ammo, green herbs or shotgun ammo I kept accidentally taunting, which annoyingly takes away player control and doesn't allow you to interrupt the taunt. Once drilling it into my skull to remember which the Y button was (I've been playing too many Xbox 360 games) the game was quite enjoyable (except for the inverted camera by default) and looked amazing while being played on a handheld. After dying the first time as Claire I was so determined I jumped in again as Chris and kicked some Zealot butt. Definitely on my to buy list.

I next then had the chance to play Nintendo's revival of an old NES classic, Kid Icarus, which has evolved a fair bit from the original vertical platformer which fans will remember it for.

Kid Icarus has been redesigned and now sports a more Sin and Punishment/Space Harrier type on-rails shooter gameplay which handles pretty well. From the announcement at E3 last year I imagined Kid Icarus may have been a Nights style platformer, however I was pleasantly surprised when playing the demo, and very happy when finishing it. The controls felt better while flying in the air as opposed to when running on the ground. However I imagine with a little longer than a few minutes of play (however long the entirety of the demo was) the flicking the touch screen to move the camera would probably feel more natural. Overall it looked great, the enemies were similar to those found in the original and hat tipping to Greek Mythology in a game is always great, even if it is a little different to the actual tales. Kid Icarus is also on my definitely going to purchase when it's out list. It also made me then want a whole range of on-rail shooters or any type of shooters on the 3DS, I'm keeping an eye on Dream Trigger 3D to see how it turns out.

I then went over to give Steel Diver a go as it has had a lot of mention and interest on forums and I wanted to see what it was all about, other than of course submarines. Sadly while making my way over to it I saw a lot of people pick it up and put it back down again, unsure of what on earth to do. I chose a level and jumped straight in, on the touch screen you had a lever to change your vessel's pitch, your acceleration, and the ability to fire torpedoes vertically or horizontally. The gameplay was side-scrolling from left to right, needing you to get to a certain location while trying to get a good time. The level I played wasn't very intense and gave the impression that Steel Diver is far away from the hardcore submarine sims like Silent Hunter, and is there to create a casual experience for any interested in subs. I didn't get a large amount of time to play Steel Driver as we were then asked to leave the room, however from what I played it was an enjoyable little game, that for the right price I would definitely pick up.

In the next room I got to try out the AR games, which ever since hearing about them on the internet I knew it was something I wanted to try out. The AR games in my opinion are what the 3DS really needs to create some diversity in the games that I can imagine will be coming out on the handheld. I can only hope that they actually create more of these and perhaps package them in first party Nintendo titles. The AR game that I had the chance to try out was the shooting gallery one, requiring you to line up the handheld with targets on the screen allowing you to knock them down. It wasn't very long, but it was a nice example of exactly what can be done with the 3DS, and I only hope it doesn't just get forgotten about later in development for the console.

There were a couple of stations set up with Super Monkey Ball, which having known that there was tilt sensor functionality used in it I knew I had to try it out, especially as from what I knew it was one of the only games to utilise this new piece of technology that has been bundled into the 3DS. So I played a couple of levels, and it is just your standard Game Cube looking Monkey Ball on a handheld. But it was hard to tell how well the tilt sensor worked as the levels I played had barriers along the path, stopping you from falling over the edge, so I couldn't tell if the sensitivity was just right or massively off. The fact that it can use the tilt sensor is also then a little iffy as the idea of bundling a tilt sensor with a product that uses has a 3D screen which is required to be straight in front of your eyes at all times loses the uniqueness of it all. Of course if you turn off the 3D while playing that way it's fine, however you can always play it in 3D with button controls instead.

I also had the chance to play some Face Raiders, which I hadn't actually heard of before, it works similar in a way to EA's Photo Face, having you take a picture of yourself that then maps your face onto a character in the game, which happens to be a mass of floating heads. The best part of it is though, is that it doesn't just map your face onto a round surface, it modifies your face to become 3D instead of 2D like the photo you take, allowing animations with facial expressions that look pretty darn good. Similar to the AR cards; Face Raiders puts an array of your face floating around in your environment, so you have to move your 3DS around in order to find them and shoot them down.

I briefly played a few other games which I spoke about on the podcast last week, so feel free to download Episode 234 if you'd like to hear more. I am now once again tempted to pick up a 3DS on launch, even with the idea of not being able to transfer my DSiWare games over on launch, download any GB games, (especially wanting to replay Link's Awakening for like the third time) and with having only a couple of games on launch that I would enjoy.

The Nintendo 3DS is available in the UK on March 25th and has an RRP of £229.99 however most retailers are pricing the console up at £200 and under on websites and it is available in Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue.