Mar 14, 2011

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3DS Demo Event: Reactions and First Impressions

This weekend, Nintendo sent the 3DS on tour to many locations around the U.S., hoping to give everyone a chance to check out their newest portable device. I was able to head over to San Francisco’s famous Pier 39 to get some hands-on time with the 3DS and also got some fan reactions to their first experience with the handheld. The verdict: it was a mixed bag, with some people loving it right away and others being very skeptical.

This was my first opportunity to play a few games on the 3DS and my first impression of the launch titles available wasn’t the best, simply because the demo titles aren’t franchises that stand out like a Mario or Zelda. They did have Nintendogs on hand which is certainly a system seller, but it doesn’t have the same broad appeal as Mario does.

The games available at Pier 39 were: Pilotwings Resort, Steel Driver, Asphalt 3D, Nintendogs + Cats, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Madden NFL Football, and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Of these games, Nintendogs, Star Wars and Street Fighter drew the biggest crowds. I headed to the same stations minus Nintendogs.

LEGO Star Wars has always been a great pick-up-and-play title and perfect for a handheld, so when I got a chance to play I wasn’t all that surprised to see that it was really fun. Obviously, if you’ve played one LEGO game you’ve kind of played them all, but at least this one is in 3D! Speaking of which, the 3D effects during the cutscenes were a bit worse than during actual gameplay. During cutscenes, the screen looked like it was out of focus, but once you get into the game the 3D effects really stand out. Not as in a popping out of the screen effect but instead, the effects give the game a nice sense of depth and look especially nice when using force powers.

For those who don’t know much about the 3DS, there’s a slider on the top half of the screen that you can hit to change the 3D effects. The Nintendo reps at the event were telling everyone that the 3D slider is there to adjust the effects to your eyes, which makes sense. It’s also there to turn off the 3D effect. With LEGO Star Wars in 2D wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t that bad either. The game is meant to be played utilizing the 3D effects, but it’s nice to see that when you play in 2D it doesn’t look horrible.

My time with LEGO Star Wars wasn’t that long, ten minutes, maybe, but in that time I really saw the appeal of the game and its 3D effects. The gameplay itself didn’t impress me as much, but it’s not like I went into it thinking this LEGO game was going to be that much different from the previous Star Wars titles.

Street Fighter was next on my demo tour and it was definitely the most impressive title there. I didn’t get to try out the various modes, but Super Street Fighter 3D will be packed with a ton of modes one would expect to see in a console version. All 35 characters (with alternate costumes) will be included in the game, along with the barrel and car busting bonus stages, trial challenges, versus, online and arcade play. You can even turn on the function that allows you to randomly search for nearby players while in arcade play.

With all of these modes included, the game still looks pretty solid. The 3D effect, when set at the optimal settings (for your eyes), adds a good amount of depth to the game which is a nice effect for the 2D fighter. While in 2D the game looks just as good, but the 3D surprisingly adds a good amount to the enjoyment of the game.

One thing that surprised a lot of gamers at the event was the touch screen controls for Super Street Fighter. Using one of the two control modes, Lite and Pro, you can assign specific moves to touch screen panels. In Lite you can assign any move, special moves, EX variations and Ultra Combos to the touch screen panels.  In Pro you can only assign special moves to the panels. What this means is gamers won’t have to go through the normal button combos to execute things like Fireballs.

To the “hardcore” gamer, this might be a bit disappointing, but for someone like me who doesn’t play that many fighters, I welcome this control style. Especially for a portable device as small as the 3DS, I don’t want my hands to get all blistered or cramped up because I have to hit every button combo.

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About Eric Galaviz

Currently learning how to play League of Legends and recovering from E3. You can follow me on twitter @theherp80 that's also my Xbox Live and PSN Name if you want to hit me up on there feel free.