By JAMES DAWSON
When the Nintendo 3DS first released in 2011, many naysayers were quick to claim it a failure—especially after Nintendo was forced to decrease the price of the handheld from $249.99 to $169.99 after only five months on the market.
However, with Nintendo’s recent announcement that the 3DS has sold an impressive 19 million units worldwide, it looks like the system is here to stay.
Nintendo has recently released the second iteration of their popular handheld, the Nintendo 3DS XL.
Released on Aug. 19 in North America, the 3DS XL has much larger screens than its predecessor.
Unlike previous system reboots, the XL is not meant to replace the original, but merely to provide an option for those that prefer larger screen size over portability.
While the 90 percent increase in screen size means the XL is unlikely to fit in most pockets, it provides a larger sweet spot to experience the system’s stereoscopic 3D.
Despite worry from gamers of image distortion, the games look just as crisp on the larger display as they did on the original. DS and Virtual Console titles can now easily be played in their native resolution without diminishing them to a smaller size.
Increased screen size is not the only improvement on the Nintendo 3DS XL. Unlike the glossy fingerprint magnet that is the original, the 3DS XL has a fingerprint restive, metallic and matte paint job that comes in a mixture of red and black or blue and black in North America.
Perhaps best of all, the system’s overall build quality feels better. Previous problems with the D-pad have been resolved. It is no longer stiff and has a responsive click when pressed. It also lacks paint that can easily chip off with extended use.
As for the “select,” “home” and “start” buttons, they still occupy the area below the touch screen, but they are now individual buttons instead of a difficult to press, conjoined strip.
The 3DS XL certainly has the potential to make the original 3DS obsolete for some gamers.
The larger screens, improved buttons and build quality are just enough to make going back to the original 3DS hard to imagine. The lack of portability will likely hurt the system for some, but if you are able to look past that, the 3DS XL is a huge improvement over the original.