Checkpoint: New Nintendo 3DS XL Edition

A New Nintendo 3DS XL was always in the cards but not at the price of $229.99. But when Amazon.ca fudged up and discounted the “New Red” version down to $139.99, I couldn’t refuse.

I actually ordered this nearly 3 weeks ago and had my doubts that Amazon.ca would honor their snafu but to my surprise it arrived. After a couple of days of using it, here are some rapid fire observations

Hardware & Styling

  • Glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet
  • Lighter than the original 3DS XL
  • Slightly larger footprint than the original 3DS XL
  • Screen hinge is significantly sturdier
  • Slide pad/joystick has a bit more resistance
  • Receded front loading cartridge a better decision (I’ve accidentally unloaded the cartridge on the 3DS XL because of the flushed nature of the cartridge slot)
  • Relocating the volume controls to the left side of the screen was also a plus

Performance

  • I love how quick everything loads compared to the original 3DS XL
  • The screen quality is noticeably better
  • Speakers are a little louder
  • 3D is noticeably more stable but it’s still not perfect

I would also like to note how long it took to perform a wireless transfer from my old 3DS XL. I watched three and a half quarters of Thursday Night Football before the transfer completed. Fortunately, Pikmin were on screen making light of the excruciatingly long transfer process.

I still have more to test out including the C-Stick and the additional shoulder buttons but all I’ve done was play Theatrhythm. I have Xenoblade Chronicles but I’m not quite ready to check it out yet.

I’m almost done with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I can see the final confrontation in the distance but I just have to wrap up some story threads before embarking on it. Next, it will be Halo 5 with Call of Duty: Black Ops III not far behind.

Your E3 Wishes Granted

posted in: Game News, News 0

“It’s a hearts and minds game.”

It’s a phrase that I heard uttered after Sony’s E3 2013 press conference and suspect after this year’s E3 conferences from all publishers, we’re going to hear more and more of it.

It began with Bethesda’s late Sunday evening presentation where they showed off lengthy demos of Doom and Fallout 4; Pete Hines kept the pace brisk but slowed it down when it mattered. Todd Howard was brought on stage to speak to those who were forgoing Game of Thrones and other Sunday night programming to watch a streaming presentation. They knew who they were talking to. He dropped F-bombs when appropriate and tried his best to pitch Fallout: Shelter as a mobile game for those who scoff at F2P trappings.

It was an impressive showing for a publisher who never put on a show before. But was that a one off? Of course not.

Monday began with Microsoft and the announcement of Xbox One backwards compatibility. They followed up with Xbox One Elite controller targeted at the hardcore audience with its swappable components. They would mention its exorbitant price tag away from the cameras but the message was clear: “We’re catering to you, the gamer.”

Electronic Arts gave us more Mirror’s Edge and intentionally reminded us that we’re not going to see Faith pick up a firearm in this game. They tried their best to make their sports and other properties appealing but they knew why we’re here and why we would stick around after Pele and the Hoop God made their appearances. It was no coincidence that Star Wars: Battlefront was played on a PlayStation 4. A PC would have brought skepticism about the console version’s quality. They made sure that we saw those PlayStation prompts.

Ubisoft made us laugh and continued the trend of “one more thing” with the reveal of Ghost Recon: Wildlands at the end. Alicia Tyler continued to win fans over with her enthusiasm and energy. Her debut on Ubisoft’s stage may have been awkward at first but I felt she won everyone over. The annual Ubisoft message isn’t always palpable but she livens it up considerably.

And then there was Sony who transformed themselves into the genie of E3 by granting three wishes. Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III and The Last Guardian all made appearances on their stage. Not all three were exclusive to them but it was damn obvious that they wanted the PlayStation 4 attached to all of these. There was no lengthy TV show pitch and while it would have been nice to see VR on the big stage, I felt it could have been another Move situation if they demonstrated it on-stage; fine for those who already bought in but a tough sell to those who’re peering from the outside.

Nintendo’s digital event was marred by the fact that it didn’t have much to say this year. Nintendo reminded us that NX is a 2016 thing and we should be content with the likes of another 3D FPS Metroid game on the Nintendo 3DS. They pushed more Amiibos and celebrated Mario but it was evident that Nintendo’s 2015 was considerably weaker.

Square  Enix showed the people what they clamored for with Kingdom Hearts 3 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided footage, they flexed their quality mobile offerings by leveraging a known quantity like Hitman Go and they promised Rise of Tomb Raider would have tombs. They even brought in PlatinumGames to work on a new Nier title while promising JRPG fans that they are committed to JRPGs with the creation of the Tokyo RPG Factory studio.

Square Enix served as a nice summation of everyone else’s E3 presentation. They focused on what worked and showed their audience that they’re understanding what their fans want — or at the very least — starting to listen. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get that Final Fantasy XII HD Remake that I wanted or Half Life 3.

Nearly Everyone Did Well

I have some marks to give out to the E3 press conferences. I’m rating pace, content and the delivery of said content.

  • Bethesda: A-
  • Microsoft: A
  • Electronic Arts: C+
  • Ubisoft: B-
  • Sony: A
  • Nintendo: D+
  • Square Enix: B+

Some personal notables:

  • ReCore and Horizon: Zero Dawn were the two new intellectual properties that immediately grabbed me.
  • A new Nier? Yes, please. The first one was unique but flawed. I’m glad Square Enix are bringing in action experts to help
  • Star Wars: Battlefront surprised me with how well it performed on consoles and if I’m not mistaken, DICE are targeting 60FPS.
  • I hope Tomb Raider Go lives up to Hitman Go’s lofty heights.

Savestate: New Retail Exits XL

New Nintendo 3DS XL

I’ll likely pick up a New Nintendo 3DS XL but not for $229.99. I’ll wait for it to hit the $179.99 price point or something. I’m not going to migrate to the new one because I’m going to pass the “old” Nintendo 3DS XL to my brother.

Do I even need it? Probably not. I don’t even have a Nintendo 3DS game of interest on the horizon.

There’s a bit of controversy behind this “New” Nintendo 3DS XL. First, only the XL version is coming to North America. I’m guessing the regular sized ones weren’t selling as well as the XL — or — the profit margin for the 3DS XL is higher than the regular size one. Who knows? Second, that $229.99 New Nintendo 3DS XL will not include a power adapter which is bonkers in this market. Nintendo have been omitting the power adapter for other regions like Europe and Japan but kept it North Americans consumers happy by including it. Now we’re just like the rest of the world.

I’m a fan of the XL size so, the lack of regular size didn’t phase me. The power adapter omission was also a non-issue for me because, like Nintendo insinuated, I have extra power adapters since I own an old 3DS XL and a Nintendo DSi.

If I were to hazard a guess, I believe I’ll get one at my preferred price point by the end of 2015.

Sony Store & Target Exiting Canada

I’m disappointed by the departure of Target. It barely got off the ground and now it’s already leaving. I was hoping Target would end up being a viable competitor to Walmart but with a compelling online presence. But I guess losing $2.1 billion since day one isn’t a recipe for success. Then again, opening 100+ stores in 22 months may have been a tad aggressive on their part. It’s a real shame that they’re departing Canada. A real shame.

Sony also announced they’re leaving the retail market in Canada but I don’t think anyone would miss their presence. It was never a hot bed for deals.

 

LTTP: Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

posted in: Reviews 0

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Logo

LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I didn’t jot down my thoughts on Professor Layton and the Last Specter but then again, there wasn’t much to report. It was a was a new trilogy that introduced some new characters and side activities but it didn’t further the series in any meaningful way. I enjoyed the story but coming from the finale of the last trilogy, it was a bit of a step down.

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