3DS XL:Yeah, this was the big 'shock' in some ways even though many have been predicting this for awhile. And hey, if you keep saying there will be a hardware revision you'll eventually be correct. My initial reaction after seeing it didn't have additional buttons was I don't get it, but I think there may be some positives. Let's go over some of the changes:
Screen Size:Unless you're ultra-concerned with portability I can't see how you wouldn't like extra screen real estate. I'm old and half-blind anyway so this is a welcome change for all games and may even help with titles like Zen Pinball which suffer from the 3DS's small screen.
Then I started thinking about DS and VC games and if they would look even more blurry and pixelated. My guess is that they would, but then I started thinking about the 1:1 size mode. It seems I wasn't the only one and it's encouraging that this may actually enhance DS/VC viewing.
I usually don't play in 1:1 mode because it's usually too small even if it delivers a pretty sharp picture. (despite the fact of it being a bit of a pain to hold select or start - you'd think they could do better) Another situation is trying to use the lower screen in games like Spirit Tracks that requires extensive use of the touchscreen. You end up moving the stylus off the square too easily and your character stops moving. So it's back to the stretched version.
Overall Size:Increasing the overall size is probably a good thing with regard to hand fatigue. Now that I've been playing with a grip exclusively for months the 3DS feels way too small without it. Though at the same time I suspect a very thin case/grip would be needed for protection that didn't increase the size too much.
Battery Life:The 3DS's battery isn't that great even with WiFi off and other brightness settings in place. So more is always better.
4GB SD Card:
Pretty cool, right, and just in time for those large digital downloads. :)
No Circle Pad / Shoulder Buttons:Oh yeah, the topic that has everyone all up in arms... It does seem odd that they would go through all the effort of a hardware revision and not take the time to at least add another circle pad. Are we to expect a CirclePad Pro XL soon to accommodate the few games that support it? Were they trying to not drive a large wedge in between these first two models with the intention of releasing it later? I have no idea and while I'm not terribly troubled by the lack of a second pad I agree that it may be helpful in some games.
For example I played the Spiderman demo last night and while you can rotate the camera view via the d-pad or L/R shoulder buttons, I felt an analog pad/stick would lent itself better to this task. eg: You would be able to spin the camera faster which may help in a number of situations.
Well, there are a number of good points to the XL and if I didn't already own a 3DS I would probably buy it over the standard size for a new purchase. Though at this time I just can't see buying another or losing money on a trade-in/used sell situation. Even if I sold it for $120 (or worse $88 amazon trade-in) I'm $80 in the hole for a unit I only bought ~9 months ago.
Now this is the kind thing we've been asking for and maybe they're finally starting to listen to the three of us via comments on club surveys. :) Now if they can only keep VC going on Wii and 3DS that would be great. Overall I think it's great that they're actually taking the time to market this sort of thing and I hope it keeps the 3DS VC alive. Why did they let the Wii's die?
Before I mention the games one thing that's been bothering me is the lack of home console titles on the 3DS VC. While I enjoy some of the GB/GBA/etc. games, the 3DS is clearly capable of more so why don't we see very many? While I'm on this rant, where the hell are the TG16 games they talked about at launch last year?
Ok, the games:
- The Legend of Zelda (NES)
- Kirby's Pinball Land (GB)
- The Sword of Hope II (GB)
- Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (GB)
- Tumblepop (GB)
- Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (GB)
- Sonic Blast (GG)
- Sonic Labyrinth (GG)
Having the original Zelda on 3DS is very cool, but I'll probably skip it for now. I'm primarily interested in Kirby's Pinball, Kid Icarus and Wario Land.
New Super Mario Bros 2:
NSMB2 and NSMBWii U feel very much the same to the previous DS/Wii titles which is apparently by design. In some ways I'm a bit disappointed by that where I'd like to see more effort. (even though I know it's alot of work and not just a few skins) On the other hand I think it's great as I can buy the new upcoming title which offers DLC and also get a similar mario feel to the games I missed.
I know there were a few more games like Professor Layton (which looks interesting) and some others, but that's what mainly piqued my interest. What were your thoughts on the announcements and did I leave out anything major? (probably :D )