My 3DS XL review for your reading pleasure, my friends! My New Super Mario Bros. 2 review is right around the corner. I just want to finish all the secret content! Yes, it's really taking me this long. For now, see what I have to say about the 3DS XL! See you in a few, short hours.
Doesn't it feel like the 3DS just launched? I remember being outside in NYC, waiting in line with a mass of Nintendo fans, all waiting to get their hands on Nintendo's latest portable gaming machine. While that might seem like it was yesterday, here we are a year deep into the system's life. Not surprisingly, that event is being celebrated with the first redesign of the system. After the 3DS' rocky start and return to profitability, is the 3DS XL the perfect way to re-introduce the 3DS to the public?
What's the most important thing about the 3DS XL? Well, you don't have to worry about missing out on any games if you don't purchase it. Unlike the jump from DS Lite to DSi, the 3DS to 3DS XL transition is purely cosmetic. You're not going to get any added functionality. Any games that are playable on the 3DS will play on 3DS XL, nor is there any content that will be 3DS XL only.
That's really fantastic news, especially this early in the 3DS' life. You don't want to split the userbase already. If you have a 3DS and don't have extra cash on hand, you can rest easy knowing that your funds can go to 3DS games without missing out on content. The 3DS XL is for those of us that have yet to take the plunge into 3DS gaming, or the others out there that just like the portable's style.
Style...that's the name of the game with the 3DS XL. This baby is nothing but a cosmetic remix of the original 3DS, but man is it nice. In all honesty, the only trade-off that might make people upset is the bigger size. If you didn't like the DSi XL, you're not going to enjoy the 3DS XL. This is a bulky system, even though it comes in a bit smaller than the DSi XL. As long as you don't mind more girth in your pocket (dirty minds), it's going to be very hard to resist this beefy brother.
I'm warning you, you might not want to look at the 3DS XL screens in person. They are going to be very, very hard to ignore. I mean that in a good way. Trust me, looking at the 3DS XL will make it so much harder to go back to the 3DS. When I got my DSi XL, I couldn't bring myself back down to the DSi. I have that same exact feeling with the 3DS XL. When you're talking about screen size, bigger is definitely better.
Things are even more pleasing to the eye when you look at that gorgeous upper screen. The bigger widescreen format does wonders for just about any 3DS game you can play. It also makes your 1:1 pixel ratio for DS/Virtual Console games that much closer to perfection. As a matter of fact, if you're looking to make that 1:1 experience that much better, the 3DS XL is going to be a godsend. It may not be spot-on with all types of games, but it'll definitely be better than what the 3DS offers.
If you're worried about system weight, I really don't think you should. The 3DS XL is definitely heavier than the 3DS, but it's not nearly as hefty as I thought. I've been putting in a lot of time with the system, but I've never felt fatigued from holding it. There's definitely more to hold, but it should make for a more comfortable gaming experience.
On the 3DS and DSi, I found myself getting hand cramps after playing for a number of hours. I didn't find that to be a flaw of those systems, but something that just happened with my hands. I'm very happy to say that the hand cramps have disappeared with the 3DS XL. The size helps me to space my hands out a lot better, giving them a chance to stretch a bit while I play. I've heard that quite a few of you have the same hand cramping issue, so hopefully the 3DS XL works out those kinks for you as it did me.
Like I said earlier, there really aren't any downsides to the platform. Besides the upgrade in size, the only other thing I can gripe about is the speakers. The speaker quality is definitely fantastic, just as good as the 3DS. Personally, I feel that the 3DS XL's speakers are a bit quieter than the original 3DS. I don't think they're a huge difference, but I've played the same game on both the 3DS and 3DS XL, side by side, and it does seem that the volume pumped out of the original 3DS is a bit more buff. It's not a dealbreaker by any means. I'm guessing most of you guys play with headphones anyway!
The screen size is definitely the biggest seller with the 3DS XL. If you're looking to buy the system, that's the factor that'll be the make-or-break point for you. With that said, there are a few more little details that might add up to merit a purchase. It's the small things that you'll notice after time spent with the system, thing you'll really come to appreciate.
For example, the stylus placement on the 3DS XL feels a lot more natural, since it's been moved from the back of the system to the side. It may be a slightly smaller stylus, but the positioning really does make it feel right at home. Tie that in with the more clicky-style buttons, which I happen to prefer. The satisfying click feels better to me than the more 'mushy' 3DS buttons. On top of all that, you have the completely redesigned Select, Home and Start buttons. These are hands-down better than the original 3DS. Instead of bubbly semi-buttons, we now have nice, long, flat buttons to press down on. This makes it much easier to reach down and utilize any of the three.
The 3DS XL serves many important purposes for Nintendo. Along with the launch of New Super Mario Bros. 2, the 3DS XL is almost like a second launch for the system. New hardware with a Mario game can be a killer combo, pushing even the most reluctant gamers into giving the system a look. This redesign gets the ball rolling for another push from Nintendo, with which they can take the 3DS in a different direction commercially. The bigger screens will also make the system more appealing to those that compare the 3DS to Vita, or those that just like bigger portables due to their ease of use on the eyes.
Do you need a 3DS XL? If you don't have a 3DS already, I would absolutely say yes. If you were looking for a time to jump in on the 3DS, this is absolutely the time. Given the choice between the two, my head nods fully in the direction of the 3DS XL. What about those of you that have a 3DS already? That choice is completely up to you. Trading in your 3DS for an XL certainly seems like the best option. I'd say go hands-on with the system at a demo station and see how you feel. You'll definitely be pleased with the purchase no matter what. Just do whatever is best for your wallet!
The 3DS XL is sure to be the first of many 3DS redesigns. It seems like Nintendo is working in reverse, starting with the large (size-wise) revision of the 3DS and then taking things wherever they go. You could always say you're holding out on the next 3DS redesign, as one is sure to come. With that said, I doubt we'll see a redesign with bigger screens than this. When you see those screens in action and feel the bigger system in your hands, it's hard not to fall in love right away.