Hands-On Review: Everything That I Love/Hate About the Nintendo 3DS

Peter Mai/OC Weekly
I have my hands on the Nintendo's newest handheld, the 3DS. As an update to the Nintendo DS, one of the most popular video gaming devices of all time, the 3DS has a lot of expectations to meet. Promising 3D graphics without the need for glasses, along with a handful of many features such as augmented reality, the StreetPass feature, and the ability to push graphics that look as good as the Wii, Nintendo's newest gaming device seems like it has just about everything a gamer can ask for.

However, does it live up to all of the hype, and does it deliver everything Nintendo promised? After spending a few days with it, here is everything I love and hate about the new Nintendo 3DS.

Things I LOVE About the Nintendo 3DS

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The Augmented Reality Feature is New and Mind Blowing
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Peter Mai/OC Weekly
That's my right hand, holding my own Mii. Mind-blowing stuff!
The Nintendo 3DS' augmented reality, to me, is a feature that's much more exciting than the glasses-free 3D. By placing one of the included augmented reality cards on a flat surface, the 3DS can do a variety of neat things. When I used one of the cards that came with the system, a dragon came out from the table that I placed the card on, and I had to shoot the 3D monster while pointing the system's camera at it from various positions. Sure, I must have looked like a complete idiot playing the game, but I have never seen technology like that in a handheld before. The possibilities for new gameplay features using the augmented reality are very exciting, imagine taking down a virtual Metal Gear in the next Metal Gear Solid game with this technology.

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Pedometer and Coin System are Clever Ways to Encourage Gaming Outside
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Nintendo came up with a clever way to get 3DS players to carry their portable systems outside with them. The system has a pedometer built into it, and is able to track the number of steps you take while carrying it around in standby mode. For every 100 steps you take, you're able to earn a coin, which can be used as currency in various games. Clever, right?

By taking your system outside, your 3DS can come into contact with other 3DSs and exchange Mii avatars and data from various games with its StreetPass feature.

Zelda Heart PROS.gifGlasses-Free Gaming Works--and Looks Good
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Peter Mai/OC Weekly
A picture I took of my dog. On the 3DS, he would appear on a different plane than the grass in the background.
The ability to project 3D images without the need for those lame 3D glasses is one amazing feat, and the Nintendo 3DS delivers exactly what it promises. The system has the ability to take photographs in 3D as well, using the dual cameras on the front of the system. I've taken a picture of my dog, my cat, my girlfriend's hand and my ridiculously long tongue. The grass in the background appears to go into the screen, as opposed to my tongue which looks as if it's coming out of the screen. Of course, you can always adjust or turn off the 3D effects off with the slider on the side of the system at any time.

Zelda Heart PROS.gifOne Friend Code To Rule Them All!
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Gone are the annoying-as-hell friend codes from the Wii and DS. Now, all you need is one friend code for each person you add, and it'll work across all games for the 3DS. Looks like Nintendo listened to everyone's complaints!

Zelda Heart PROS.gifSlick, Glossy Finish
Similar to the way the DS Lite feels like, the glossy finish of the 3DS makes the system feel like a sophisticated piece of technology instead of some kind's toy. Unfortunately, it's also vulnerable to fingerprint smudges and scratches, so it'll be a good idea to invest in a pouch.

Zelda Heart PROS.gifFree Game "Face Raiders" is Hilarious and Fun
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Freaky and Funny (That's not me, by the way)!
"Face Raiders" is a free game that come pre-installed in each 3DS system. If I had known how much fun I would have with this game, I probably wouldn't have felt the need to purchase the launch title Pilotwings Resort. In Face Raiders, you take a picture of your (or your friend's) face, and the face attacks the player. The background is whatever you're pointing the camera at. By turning and pivoting your body, you have to locate the faces in the room that you're playing in and shoot them. The expressions of the faces that you shoot are priceless.

Zelda Heart PROS.gifThe 3DS is Almost Always Online
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The 3DS is always online- whenever there's WiFi available. This is a big step forward from the older DS systems, which are only online after you spend a few minutes signing in from WiFi-enabled games. At any point while you're connected, you can check your friends list and see who's on, and what they're doing.

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