Depth charge!

March 21, 2011 by Tim

Nintendo 3DS demo units should start hitting stores this week, so everyone will finally be able to check out the 3D tech which is supposed to be the big selling point of the new handheld. Right now I feel pretty set in my decision not to purchase one, for a variety of reasons, but I also feel that resolve is only going to last up until the day the Ocarina of Time remake hits shelves.

It’s less that I’m not interested in any of the launch titles, and more that I just know how little I play handheld consoles. It takes something special for me to spend my free time playing on a handheld over say, a regular console or PC.

I am however pretty interested in reading some general reactions and talking to friends who pick it up about their experiences with the 3D. We’ve been hearing since the 3DS was first unveiled how fickle the tech can be from a person to person basis, and judging from some of the reviews coming out now, that’s still the case.

I’ve spoken to people who couldn’t manage to see the 3D effect, or had a really hard time finding the right distance/angle to hold the system at in order to get the correct effect, and I’ve also talked to people who could punch the slider up to full blast and had no problems whatsoever. It’s unfortunate that most people won’t know whether it works for them until they’ve already bought the system.

I also have concerns about the battery life, especially once Ocarina of Time rolls around. I’m hearing 2-4 hours depending on how much 3D you’re running, which seems a little on the low side for a system you want to be carrying around with you. I’ve little doubt that an outside company like Nyko will eventually offer a newer, better battery, but I’m sure that will also mean that your 3DS is then the size of a brick.

I think that if I did break down and buy a 3DS before Zelda, it would be for Steel Diver. For me, that’s the most interesting of the entire launch lineup. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Street Fighter 4, or Resident Evil 5… but that’s sort of the point… I’ve already enjoyed those games. Steel Diver is a new IP though, and I don’t know about the majority, but for some reason I’m a sucker for submarine combat.

I grew up watching my Dad read (and eventually reading myself) Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler novels. I love sub movies like The Hunt for the Red October and K-19. Still, I’m not sure it alone justifies buying a whole new handheld which will, admittedly, collect a lot of dust.

So what about you? Have you already pre-ordered a 3DS, or are you staying hands off until you’re sure the 3D thing isn’t just a gimmick?

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