2. 3D isn't just a gimmick.
While testing out 3DS launch games, it soon became obvious that the 3D display is far more than just a visual gimmick. Playing Lego Star Wars on the 3DS, I found it much easier to judge my jumps in 3D than I do with the 2D games. The 3D image also made a big difference when playing the new Kid Icarus, a game that involves shooting monsters that fly towards the screen. While similar shooters in 2D can approximate the distance of enemies from the screen by causing them to start small and grow larger, the 3D display made it far easier to judge exactly how far away the enemies were, and choose which ones to shoot first.
These are just two examples of the many possible gameplay improvements that the 3D display can offer. Puzzle games can allow players to manipulate objects in three dimensions. Strategy games and RPGs can depict battle formations more accurately. Racing games can give players a better idea of how close they are to overtaking the car in front of them. Heck, it's even possible that 3D action adventure and platforming games will find ways to finally overcome their history of camera issues. After seeing the 3DS in action, I'm a believer that 3D visuals truly have the power to improve and enhance gameplay experiences.
1. The 3D really works. No, really.
Despite the plethora of media reports praising the 3DS, there's still a fair bit of skepticism over whether the 3D display on the 3DS really works. That skepticism is understandable considering the number of people who have difficulties with 3D movies and with those stupid dotted pictures that force you to cross your eyes to see a 3D image. Luckily, the 3DS uses a different method to produce its 3D imagery, and our tests at PAX East with the little console were very positive.
As a person who has no problem seeing any form of 3D image, I found the 3DS display easy to look at. The screen has a slider that allows the viewer to move between a strict 2D image and a full 3D image. I found that putting the slider at the maximum 3D setting was a bit hard on my eyes, but that a slightly lower setting was fairly comfortable. Although I needed to look straight into the screen to see the 3D imagery, it wasn't a struggle to find a good angle at which to view the screen, and I don't anticipate problems viewing the 3D during casual gameplay.
The real test of the 3DS display was my spouse, who has poor depth perception and sometimes has trouble seeing 3D images. He was pleased to discover that he had no trouble seeing the 3D images on the 3DS screen at all. He didn't see as large a difference between the different levels of 3D on the slider as I did, but the effect worked for him. I'd encourage anybody who is worried about their ability to see the 3D effects to find a demo station at a local store and try it out. A lot of people will probably be in for a pleasant surprise.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the Nintendo 3DS, and though not everyone will want to buy one directly at launch, the console is showing a great deal of promise. I'm excited about it, particularly because the 3D visuals work so well, and because Nintendo has been able to demonstrate that their 3D display bring some solid gameplay enhancements to the table. As the 3DS hits stores, I encourage everyone to give it a try. Nintendo's latest handheld has the ability to charm even skeptical gamers.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*