Comic-Con 2012: 3DS XL hands on

Nintendo 3DS XL Screenshot - 1112455

Though there hasn’t been any major news out of Nintendo from Comic-Con, the show has provided a chance for gamers to go hands on with the new Nintendo 3DS XL, with plenty of units scattered around the Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the Marriot hotel next door.

Let me stress that I have been a longtime opponent of Nintendo’s handheld, confused by the wonky 3D graphic feature, embarrassingly small screen size, and lack of a second thumbstick. Ten seconds alone with the 3DS XL however, and I was immediately having second thoughts about Nintendo’s prospects in the handheld wars.

nintendo 3ds xl

The second thumbstick is still sadly missing, and I worry how easy it will be to hold the oversized unit with whatever circle-pad attachment they drum up for it. However, it’s clear that the XL is to the original 3DS what the Lite was to the original DS, a vastly superior option that makes the original piece of hardware look like a piece of junk. My initial worries were that the screen’s unchanged resolution would mean games were bigger, but would have their quality reduced as a result of the up-scaling. However, the 3DS’s resolution seems a perfect fit for this gorgeous screen, games looking very impressive, and making it hard to put down truly gorgeous new titles like the atmospheric Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

Castlevania lords of shadow

Perhaps the most important thing to note though, is that the 3D slider is actually worth using now. Before, the tiny 3DS screen meant that achieving the depth affect involved keeping your head at a ludicrously precise viewing angle, while holding the machine right in front of your face. Now, the big honkin’ screen means the depth effect is actually kind of cool! It’s still a cheap little visual gimmick, but sliding it slightly upwards gives each game some chunkiness. Again, the effect still hasn’t proven to be useful in terms of actual game design, but I will admit I’m kind of feeling stupid for having not checked out the Kid Icarus demo units on the floor, as I can only imagine that game looks fantastic now.

nintendo 3ds xl

In short, if you have a Nintendo 3DS know that there’s really no good reason not to pawn it off on a younger cousin and invest in the new version. It’s really that good.

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Vito Gesualdi GameZone.com Senior Editor, DraftMagic.com Editor-in-Chief, NoNoComedy.com Contributor, and the hardest working man in show business. King of video walkthroughs for new games. Follow me on the twitters @VitoGesualdi.
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