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It’s an age old question and not just for Nintendo’s last and current generation handheld consoles: is the new really better than the old?
Often manufacturers launch products that aren’t exactly revolutionary, or in many cases are actually a lot worse than the product they strive to improve.
So, with that said, we went in search of the real jewels in the New Nintendo 3DS XL‘s crown to see what the Kyoto company really has improved on the new handheld, if it indeed improved anything at all.
1. A 3D system that finally works
The previous 3D system on the older 3DS and 3DS XL wasn’t exactly eye- or brain-friendly, jumping out of position with a simple head movement which resulted in headaches not just for gamers but Nintendo too. The company has largely solved this using a new infrared sensor mounted alongside the traditional camera, to account for the body’s natural movement during gaming. It works a treat.
Why is it a big thing? It provides a more immersive gaming experience, especially with games that are explicitly designed for 3D, like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.
2. NFC support: amiibo and local multiplayer
Amiibo has become a big seller for Nintendo, with over a million sold worldwide. It’s no surprise that Link is the planet’s favourite amiibo character, but the entire gang can now be used on the New Nintendo 3DS XL, thanks to new NFC (Near Field Communication) support. This also ensures that players can compete against one another on different consoles in local multiplayer mode, which works really well too, provided you can find another friend with a New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Why is it a big thing? Gaming in groups is much more enjoyable than gaming alone in certain titles, so multiplayer is integral to a console’s “fun” arsenal. Additionally, amiibo is fast becoming a big industry in the West, so providing support for the characters on the New Nintendo 3DS XL is important to make them even more relevant to prospective buyers.
3. MicroSD card support
Although SD cards are generally cheaper, microSD cards are more ubiquitous, featuring in smartphones, tablets and other hardware. Nintendo’s move to the smaller SD format also ensures that the New Nintendo 3DS XL can be slimmer in profile without sacrificing external storage which becomes an integral part of the gaming experience.
Why is it a big thing? The advantages we’ve mentioned already, but it’s good to see that even the smallest of advancements are being considered to improve the gaming experience.
4. The C-Stick
The new C-Stick (or Circle Pad Pro, on the top right-hand-side) is an important part of the new Nintendo 3DS XL experience. It allows more subtle camera panning and control without requiring a complete system redesign. It also allows gamers of other consoles, like the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One, to feel more at home on the console.
Why is it a big thing? If you’re a big Super Smash Bros. player, you’ll know how important granular control is. The C-Stick gives gamers a more tactile means of controlling the character’s movements or the camera’s position, and it just feels right.
5. The awesome coverplates (for the New Nintendo 3DS owners)
Customisation is something all gamers love, from crafting the perfect character in-game to changing the console’s look and feel. The New Nintendo 3DS (and not the XL, unfortunately,) allows gamers to choose between a multitude of new coverplates, from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D to the more traditional and simple plain colours. Additionally, Japanese fans of the console will be getting a Xenoblade Chronicles 3D coverplate, slathered in red and looking oh so sublime. And we’re totally jealous.
Gamers can also be their Nintendo character by popping on a Luigi or Princess Peach cover plate, if they are that way inclined. The choice is ultimately the gamer’s — how it really ought to be.
Why is it a big thing? It’s your New Nintendo 3DS, so you’ll want it to look awesome, would you not? And even if you do have a 3DS XL, we’re giving Nintendo a point here for customization options on the smaller 3DS model.