Sound: It’s Nintendo, people. Quirky sound effects and annoying bleeps/bloops whenever you access a menu. ‘Nuff said. In terms of actual in-game sound quality, it’s not always completely synced but for the most part good. Sound: 7/10
Presentation: This thing has the graphical equivalent of a Wii, no joke. It’s ridiculous how great the visuals are for such a small handheld, one the same size of the original DS Lite. Aside from crisp and clean visuals, the 3D gimmick also does its job impressively. The 3D actually works! Now, it is definitely shown off better in some games (Sonic Generations 3D is a lot better than Super Mario 3D Land, ironically) but the 3D effect is there and really feels movie-theatre quality. Now, minor gripes with the 3D are that A.) You need to be in a certain position to see the effect (otherwise you’ll just see double images) and B.) It makes you sick to your stomach. No joke. I don’t know why, but after about fifteen minutes of solid 3D playtime I’m feeling queezy. Turn that fifteen min. into an hour and I’m ready to vomit. Now, this is a big problem considering the system’s title is also demonstrating its most sickening (literally) flaw. But again, the 3D is awesome in small dosages and the 2D visuals are downright stunning on their own. Presentation: 7/10
Gameplay: A Gyroscope and a new thumbstick (D-Pad)? Nintendo, I like your style. The new D-Pad works like a charm and is no doubt the best portable one I’ve ever used. The gyroscope is a cool addition, with the only major problem being that when you use it you lose the 3D effect if you have it activated. Other than those two things, the gameplay is relatively similar to the original DS. The handful of things I think the original did better are the layout of buttons, the hinge strength and the stylus location. The current button layout is a little awkward, the hinges on the 3DS are definitely not as strong as the original, and the stylus location is now obnoxiously in the back of the system by where you put the games in, terrible for when you need it on the fly. But other than those mostly minor gripes, the system is a fairly large improvement on its predecessor. Oh, and it even has a pedometer. Gameplay: 8/10
Multiplayer: Since this is a hardware review, I’m going to talk about the online features here. There is local multiplayer options (for specific games) and the 3DS still retains the ability to copy multiplayer data from someone else’s handheld so you both can play a game without both owning it. It’s also got the Nintendo Shop channel from the Wii, which has a much smaller library than the Wii’s and is much less impressive (at least for the moment). Other than that, the 3DS really doesn’t have much online going for it, but in its defense that’s not what the machine is primarily for, either. Want premium online content and gameplay? Go play your Xbox 360. Multiplayer: 6.5/10
Length: The 3DS comes packaged with some Augmented Reality games which pretty much demonstrate the system’s capabilities, but you’ll spend ten minutes on that, max. Now, in terms of games, the lineup of titles isn’t looking very strong, with only a handful of big names coming up (Kid Icarus, for example) but it’s that sort of first-party stuff that you should be expecting for the 3DS. I think there’s a lot of games to come, but currently it won’t last you very long. Length: 6/10
Overall: Nintendo’s latest flashy handheld gets a 6.9/10! Not the greatest new console out there, and with the upcoming release of the PSP Vita Nintendo’s success is looking iffy. But when more games start coming out for this visually entrancing handheld, that’s when it’ll become more than a time-killer and definitely worth a purchase.