Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nintendo 3DS hands-on summary

First of all, I did not attend E3 this year, unfortunately. In March, I spent a week in San Francisco to extensively cover GDC instead. But we had a freelance reporter covering the show for us, so check out her report when it goes live in a few hours.

My predictions were slightly off, in parts. Although an additional surprise I was very much expecting may be found in Nintendo's announcement that the 3DS would also play Hollywood movies. We will have to wait and see how big studio support will be and how those movies will be distributed.

For now, I want to summarize some media outlets' early impressions after their hands-on session with the Nintendo 3DS, since you are no doubt wondering how good the effect is, as I am. First off, here are the two most interesting videos I found on the net.

The second video's claim that the 3D effect cannot be communicated via a standard video camera is probably rubbish. I myself have filmed an autostereoscopic display at the 2009 CES Samsung booth and the 3D effect came across beautifully. Unfortunately, noone seems to have tried. But there are some scenes in the above videos where you get an early impression of what the device will deliver. Far more detailed are some select media outlets' impressions and here they are:

The effect is pronounced, but seems far less distracting than you'd expect. The lack of plastic glasses imparts a level of viewing comfort that you simply don't get from 3D televisions, though the comparatively smaller screen is also easier on the eyes. The visuals are bright -- easily on par with the DS Lite -- and offer a good viewing angle. However, viewing from the side reveals the blurry, overlaying effect of the 3D screen, so you'll want to turn the 3D effect down via the slider.

The Guardian
Yes, it works beautifully. Nintendo is almost certain to have used an off-the-shelf lenticular screen technology, already seen in several mobile phones and laptops. You can perceive 3D only if the console is directly in front of you, but this is fine for handheld gaming. I actually found it pretty adaptable in terms of viewing from different vertical positions. It was much more sensitive if the handheld was turned slightly to the left or right, but really, it coped perfectly with the slight shifts and jerks you'd get on a morning commute.

It's not great, but the 3.5-inch screen on top certainly gives a firm illusion of depth without resorting to glasses -- or eye crossing. The feel is definitely reminiscent of those 3D cereal box prints, and as soon as you turn the device from left to right to try to look around anything the effect is immediately lost. You need to stare at the screen for a moment for your eyes to adjust and then not move around too much. If you do you'll need to adjust again. But, stay reasonably still and it's a compelling effect.

It's a new DS with hugely improved graphical performance - eclipsing PSP and getting close to Wii - a beautiful widescreen display, and an excellent analogue controller.

Its 3D screen (and camera), however, elevate it from a must-have games machine to a must-have consumer device of any kind. It's not perfect - there's no doubt that there are more flawless ways to view 3D out there. But it works without glasses, in your hands, in any lighting conditions - and works very well. Its simplicity and immediacy are devastating, and in their way make it more exciting and impressive than any other 3D experience you can have.

It actually does exactly what they say, which is to deliver a mind-blowing 3D experience without glasses. The effect is amazing, and there's even a little bit of leeway as far as the viewing angle (though not much). The graphics are crisp and clear, and there is no blurring or fuzziness because of the 3D effect. And as I mentioned in my wrap-up of the Nintendo press conference, the graphics are better than regular DS games, approaching Wii levels of quality and detail.

Nintendo’s new 3DS hardware is, in a word, unbelievable. The company didn’t talk about how its stunning technology works during Tuesday’s brief demo for members of the press. But work it does: Without using special glasses, you can see a deep, rich 3-D display on the top screen of the new Nintendo 3DS portable. (...) The graphics, which are much more advanced than you’d expect from Nintendo, left me pretty much in disbelief. They’re on a level with Sony’s PSP, probably even a little better than that. But the eye-popping 3-D effect makes everything that much richer.

Holy crap. Trust me, you really have to see this thing in person to understand why I'm incredibly impressed. Nintendo is using an LCD technology that sends each eye an independent image that the brain merges together, and the effect adds depth. A lot of depth. The effect is immediately obvious, yet seems so natural. And there are multiple sweet spots, so you don't have to awkwardly hold the system in a position that doesn't feel comfortable. If you twist the system you'll get double images and lose the 3D, but it's simple to keep the stereoscopic effect within view.

The images jump out, like a window—an effect that's surprisingly natural, actually—until you view the screen from the side. Anywhere but head-on, the 3D effect fails completely and the colors wash out a bit. (...)

I'll hand it to Nintendo, they seem to have made 3D extremely intuitive. In our admittedly brief hands-on, we were impressed but not necessarily floored by the tech alone. The screen has a somewhat low resolution with plenty of noticeable jaggies. We're guessing if it were sharper, we'd have gotten a bit more of that "this is the future!" buzz.

Ars Technica
After playing with seemingly every 3D technology under the sun—going to CES for the past four years will do that for you—this is the only bit of 3D tech that I can see actually sitting down and playing with. My eyes didn't feel as strained as they do when I wear 3D glasses. More importantly, the content looked great, and the effect actually adds to the sense of space and immersion inside the game. (...) To put it bluntly, Nintendo has an amazing piece of tech on its hands, and this is a very exciting system to play for the first time.

EDIT Here is the first trailer of a third party 3DS game, which has just been released. It is ´Resident Evil Revelations´ and looks pretty impressive. I have also added the ´Kid Icarus: Uprising´ trailer below, which was the only public trailer of a 3DS title so far.

EDIT Just a quick addition regarding the ´Resident Evil Revelations´ trailer. In a press mailing, Capcom detailed: "Featuring appearances from Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine the trailer is rendered in real time using the game engine."


Unknown said...

Perhaps im getting you wrong here. But how could you belive that a stereoscopic screen would be possible to view through a mono lense and "mono"screen?

I like your blogg, though. :)

Falafelkid said...

Hi Fook.

Thanks for your kind comment, first of all. To clarify, it is possible to show a stereoscopic 3D effect with an ordinary camera. Have a look at our report from CES 2009 (I cannot open it at my end, though) and see the scene with the Samsung auostereoscopic display showing a 3D scene with a Pinocchio figure. You can clearly see the 3D effect while the camera moves sideways in front of the screen.

While Samsung's technology is not a parallax barrier, to my knowledge, theoretically the 3DS should show its 3D effect on a camera just as much. Two images are generated on one screen but each is exclusively visible from the left and right side, respectively. So a camera moving sideways past the device will move from the one image to the other. Depending on the graphics displayed at that moment, the 3D effect may communicate itself on tape. Samsung's display worked better because each pixel was split into five or six sub-pixels, whereas the 3DS has only two. But still, depending on the visuals shown, this might show.

Anonymous said...

Yo Falafeikid nice info, could you change the size of ces 2009 youtube video it blocks your links
and doesn't play for me.

Rawbiz said...

the 3DS hand on video is blocking links could you please fix

Anonymous said...

Hey guys I cant believe Metroid OM and DKC R are running on wii hardware..its 2 good 2 be true. Btw DKC R pushes 3 times as many polys and textures as Prime3!!

Raphael said...

@ E3
Great show NINTENDO!!!

@ 3DS
Nintendo has planned to introduce the 3D effect with the GAMECUBE, but 3D-LCD-TVs were to expensive at these times. Here´s an interesting interview with Iwata in german:

Anonymous said...

nintendo DS startet in 2004

WII started in 2006

nintendo 3DS in 2010

so... WII 3D in 2012?????
(6 jears between the upgrade)

without need of wearing glasses, too??

think of it ;)

jerry said...

"so... WII 3D in 2012?????
(6 jears between the upgrade)

without need of wearing glasses, too??

think of it ;)"

It's not so much the hardware inside the system that makes the 3DS 3d without the need for glasses, it's the screens. If you took the screens that are in the 3ds and put them on a 42 inch tv it wouldn't have the same effect. Maybe in a few years they'll be able to pull it off but right now the prototypes are just that, prototypes, plus it would be insanely expensive.

RGB said...

Id prefer HD 1080 in Wii 2 than 3D. if they go the 3D only with the same graphics next system I will be quite disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys this is ials again concerning mh3!! Damn son this game hardcore 2 da max!played almost 60 hours and Im tellin ya sum of da creatures in this game require all my 20+ yearz gaming skillz 2 kill!!4real!! Ive just beaten the hell out of a king laggi + barroth in 1 quest single player mode! And... I wanna see one of you guys pull thiz of! if u manage 2 do it u get my maximum respect coz it requires pure skill and intelligence and also max prepration!! Be prepared! Mh is different!! Its hard man its fu**in hard!! REAL HARDCORE SKILLAZ GAME!!

Anonymous said...

Monster Hunter is pretty amazing.

I'm more curious as to why Kotaku and other gaming blogs have barely even acknowledged it.

It really is a good game and a has amazing graphics for what Wii has to offer.

ials said...

im willing to bet that 90% of the reviewers havent played half of the quests based on their reviews lol coz it takes minimum 40 hours to get there if u ve never played a mh before thats 4 times the length of your average videogame nowadays just to get 50% completion in single player mode!! it takes a lot of patience to reach your goals but the moment you finally defeat a gobul for example after an astonishing 40 min battle is priceless.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Anonymous.

Monster Hunter is pretty amazing. (...) It really is a good game and a has amazing graphics for what Wii has to offer.

At first glance, the game is visually astonishing. The environments are beautifully detailed, the characters are great and animations fluid. But all this comes at a steep price. Capcom has implemented no character collision whatsoever. You can walk through other characters and most monsters. Even the levels have pretty lousy collision borders. I have not seen such shoddy programming in any videogame over the last eight years, at least.

Also, the levels are far too small and loading times are too long. A simple dissolve to fade game and blank screens in and out is standard to communicate an aesthetic visual experience. But it is rarely used.

Given all the hype (especially since it was a PS3 exclusive that became a Wii exclusive) the game disappointed. I haven't played much of it. It simply hurts too much.

IALS said...

"Capcom has implemented no character collision whatsoever. You can walk through other characters and most monsters. Even the levels have pretty lousy collision borders."

Umm sorry, but that is simply not the case at all. You can only walk through monsters that you have slayed which in fact might as well be a design compromise benefitting the gameplay. so please get your facts right on that.

"Even the levels have pretty lousy collision borders."

Yes? Where? give me at least one example please.

"Also, the levels are far too small and loading times are too long. A simple dissolve to fade game and blank screens in and out is standard to communicate an aesthetic visual experience. But it is rarely used."

It's funny that you say that because this statement pretty much proves to me that you haven't grasped the concept and gameplay style/flow of this game at all I'm afraid.

The areas being split up like that is crucial to surviving when facing off against gigantic monsters. You wouldn't stand a chance if the areas weren't split up like that. It's perfectly justified. And the load times between areas are most certainly not too long.

It's evident that you haven't taken the time to understand the characteristics of this game. At least based on what you state there.

Again the split up is purely a gameplay design related choice and not an aestethic one as it's meant to give you the chance to escape and return to your base in order to recover health among other things which again is crucial to surviving.

"Given all the hype (especially since it was a PS3 exclusive that became a Wii exclusive) the game disappointed. I haven't played much of it. It simply hurts too much."

The only thing that hurts is the mixture of blatant ignorance, superficiality and sheer foolishness on display here. Seriously m8, you shouldn't be so quick to judge something you haven't taken the time to get behind and truely grasp.


Falafelkid said...

The only thing that hurts is the mixture of blatant ignorance, superficiality and sheer foolishness on display here. Seriously m8, you shouldn't be so quick to judge something you haven't taken the time to get behind and truely grasp.

It is not me here who doesn`t know what they are talking about. Why don't you write to GameInformer and all the other reviewers who completely agree with me, fanboy?

Most of your time is spent in awkward combat plagued by spotty collision and no way to lock onto your enemies. (...) Load times abound throughout the confusingly laid-out hunting grounds. Despite all of these significant setbacks, Monster Hunter Tri offers numerous moments that lend insight into why it’s such a sensation overseas.

There are some serious graphic flaws. Collision detection is almost nonexistent; you'll regularly walk through enemies. And the third-person camera is fine when you're wandering countrysides, but it struggles to keep up during battle. Against some bosses, you'll find yourself running away, repositioning the camera, then charging back into the fray.

All is not perfect in "Monster Hunter Tri," as sketchy collision detection and a confusing inventory system plague the journey, but that doesn't stop it from emerging as one of the best games the Wii has to offer.

IALS said...

"It is not me here who doesn`t know what they are talking about. Why don't you write to GameInformer and all the other reviewers who completely agree with me, fanboy?"

First of all I'm not a fanboy. I have always been a multiplatform gamer and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Secondly, why don't YOU write to Famitsu for example who gave this game a perfect 40 - 10 10 10 10 score?or to eurogamer? or to IGN uk?

Or better yet, why don't YOU spend some reasonable amount of time with the title in order to be able to make up your own mind instead of blindly believing in and citing what some reviewers have to say?!?

Or do you think a reviewers opinion automatically equals ultimate source of infinite wisdom???

Dude, I mean seriously....

"Most of your time is spent in awkward combat..."

...this is where I stopped reading.
"akward combat" Excuse me, but I really can't be asked to read on after such rubbish because if the reviewer really can't tell how this isn't tryin to be your average God Of War or Devil May Cry clone then I can't help but start questioning what qualifies him as a reviewer.

In one of my previous posts I was quick to point out that MH3 leans more towards a realistic simulation than easy to pick up, arcadey- button masher style gameplay controlwise since it's trying to convey that feeling of being a real hunter in the wilderness albeit in a fantastical one of course. Unfortunately, there's a big misconception with some reviewers blatantly mistaking the more realistic approach on combat controls for being "akward", which couldn't be further from the truth. The realistic approach in fact forces you to much more carefully evaluate and ajust your combat tactics to the individual threat you are facing than in your average beat em up /action adventure. It should be clear by now that mere button mashing will lead you nowhere in this game m8. Again this isn't trying to be your standard arcadey Devil May Cry.

MH3 executes combat superbly well imo and thus I couldn't possibly disagree more with that game informer quote. It simply lives up to what it IS tryin to live up to exceptionally well. I love the combat mechanics because once mastered, they simply feel extremely authentic and rewarding. One could say it's closer to the "real deal" if you will.

And concerning collision detection - that is just a minor issue that doesn't ruin the fun or anything and it's most certainly not nearly as big a problem as some reviewers are making it sound like. As I said it's unique to monsters that you have slayed and that could in fact very well be intentional on the developers part.

However, you cannot run through living monsters, period.

And lastly, throughout the 60 hours I have spent with MH there were maybe two occasions where I had problems ajusting the camera. 99% of the time it works flawlessly.

So anyhow, moral of the story:
Don't even consider talking to me about this game if you haven't spent AT LEAST 20 HOURS!! with this game yourself, which would be barely scratching the surface in terms of content.


Falafelkid said...

...barely scratching the surface in terms of content.

*Sigh* We are not talking content. Just quit it.

King Msomi said...

In regards to MH, let us not forget that all we can state are opinions.

No need for anyone to get butthurt because someone has a different opinion than you.

Keep it fresh :)

Anonymous said...

For once I'm shocked about 2 things.

1.IALS is typing like a normal person without excessive caps usage or exclamation points.

2.He's completely right and Falafel is wrong.

It's a game that requires at least 20hrs to understand.
And it's really amazing.

Game Rankings: 85%

It really feels like you are hunting.
Not like playing Dynasty Warriors and killing everything in sight with ease.

Anonymous said...

People are going apeshit for this game.
And these people are playing many, many, hours at a time.

So why does the gaming press hate it so?

jerry said...

I think falafelkid is now seeing what happens when you speak bad about anything concerning the wii.

Anonymous said...

Jerry that's not fair.
That's a standard defense argument
for these places.

We are talking a bout a game for wii that wii doesnt usually get.

And the gaming press has poo pooed it.

That's all Im talking about.

If the wii didnt have so many bad titles, this would'nt be an issue.

How about contributing to the conversation instead?

Jesse Patterson said...

3ds was the highlight of E3 by far. I got to play around with it. trust me. its pretty mindblowing.

jerry said...

MH3 has an 84 on metacritic.

I don't think the press has poo pooed it. What exactly do you want the press to do, shower it with praise because a third party actually put effort into a wii game?

IALS said...

@jerry if you had been following this blog since it's early days you'd know that I've always been Nintendos biggest critic on this blog, standardly. However, I have to give credit where credit is due as far as MH3 is concerned. That's not to say tho that MH is perfect. What can be kind of frustrating for example is having to repeat quests every once in a while in order to obtain enough of the material needed for better armor and weapons. That would be my main gripe after 60 hours. So there's still some room for improvement...

IALS said...

Btw, concerning E3 I gotta admit I can't remember being as happy with a Nintendo line up as this year. They really nailed it this time around: Epic M., Other M, Goldeneye, DKC R, Zelda all look great even Conduit2 seems to have learned from its mistakes. I'm really impressed with the line up for once especially with the darker tones in Epic M & Other M.
The one thing that really shocked me tho was Retros statement according to which DKC R is pushing three times the textures and poly count of Corruption. That's absolutely mind blowing. They really must be technical wizards to get this performance out of Wii. Anyone who has seen the better parts of Corruption knows how good it looked like in skytown for example. And it shows the texture quality, colour depth and effects are unbelievable for a Wii title. Id even say this is the first title to match some 360 stuff technically that's how impressive it is...

Unknown said...

Why do you write about MH3 here, when the blog-post was about Nintendo 3ds?
Write about it in your own blog, why don't you?

Anonymous said...

loading times tooo long monster hunter tri

well galaxy 1 and 2 run near free of any loading times as do 99% of nintendo games on any system and all nintendo consoles are designed this way

ps3 x360 xbox ps2 psp ps 1 all have the most outragus loading times around and now god darn install times as well

chuching aloadtime complaint at wii is pot calling kettle black

how dare you

but its true of monster hunter i bet zelda wii out graphics so to speak monster hunter tri and doesnt have loading breaks ether

its called streaming data thats what wii is designed to do

if capcom struggeled why not have mini install that stream into say 64mb of the flash as you play and removes them not so hard is it

simply put on the box and on the game menus etc this game requires 64mb of memory theres512mb plus a 32.64gb card reader slot

its so simple to do this

oh 3DS what this thread is accualy about its going to disrupt sonys 3D plans and finish the psp along side wii it will hurt ps3 bigtime and i believe will be the most successful 3d thing ever and it will steal all hype from sony and all other tv manufacturing companys with glasses 3d will flop

sharp will be close to nintendo and wen sharp offer ful size 3d tvs the wii 2 will hit 2012

Falafelkid said...

Hi everyone. Just to stop the discussion about MH3. Of course, I never said that it was a bad game. I am simply astonished that some basic details are missing or shoddingly implemented. To notice that, it does not matter whether you have played for two hours or twenty. While those details have spoilt the experience for me for now, I will go back to it sometime and I am sure the game has much to offer in other departments. There.

Now, back on topic: Not having been to E3, how long do you reckon it will take me to get my own grubby hands on the 3DS?

a) This Monday
b) The week after next
c) Mid-August at gamescom
d) When the device launches

You will find out when you read my impressions right here.

Anonymous said...


Hands on impressions of the 3DS is fine and all, but what about the Nibris article you mentioned 2+ years ago? I've given up on ever playing the game but I want to know all the details on what you saw (or didn't see) when you went to visit nibris in poland. Post it please!!!!

Anonymous said...

e) germany stinks.


RGB said...

You forgot F.

f) If Germany stinks I'd hate to know what that makes Argentina.

Anonymous said...

f) Argentina doesn't stink.

Brav said...

More fantastic Games machine now

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