Nintendo 3DS - Is the Latest of the Nintendo Systems Worth Getting on Day One?

Nintendo 3DS - Is the Latest of the Nintendo Systems Worth Getting on Day One?
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Are You Avoiding the 3DS for Now?

With its impressive stereoscopic 3D visuals, a strong legacy behind it, and the potential for bringing some of Nintendo’s hottest franchises to gamers in a new way, there are certainly plenty of reasons for gamers to be excited over the Nintendo 3DS. However, for all of its bells and whistles, there are also a number of reasons for gamers to question picking up the latest Nintendo system at launch.

Have You Seen the Launch Library?

Combat of Giants is the launch title nobody wants.

At E3 last year, Nintendo showcased impressive trailers as well as playable demos for a myriad of 3DS titles. Zelda, Resident Evil, Paper Mario, Kid Icarus, Mario Kart, and Metal Gear Solid are just a few of the big names that have been promoted largely since then, yet none of these titles are actually going to be available on day one or, for that matter, through the game’s entire launch window. Instead, titles like Steel Diver (previously a tech demo to showcase the handheld’s 3D capabilities), Battle of Giants: Dinosaur Strike, and Samurai Warriors Chronicle will round out the portable’s launch.

Admittedly, there are a handful of good releases set for launch with the 3DS. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, and Rayman 3D are all worth looking forward to. But there seems to be a lack of first-party support. And with high profile games like Zelda, Animal Crossing, Star Fox, and plenty others currently under construction, fans of Nintendo systems are bound to wait quite some time before their favorite first-party franchises appear on the console.

Weak Battery Life

At six hours, the battery life of the 3DS is a bit underwhelming.

Handheld Nintendo systems are technically supposed to have some serious lasting power when it comes to battery life. After all, many gamers take these platforms on the go with them. With only a six-hour battery life to keep it going per charge, it’s hard to see the 3DS being a viable travel console. Don’t even think about leaving this one on standby for too long, because if you plan on taking it with you everywhere you go, you’re going to want to conserve that juice.

The Inevitable Release of a Better Model

Remember the original, clunky DS?

You know it’s going to happen. I know it’s going to happen. Heck, Nintendo knows it’s going to happen! As awesome as you’re going to feel if you pick up the 3DS at launch, you’re probably going to feel like a schmuck when that second wave of lighter, prettier, longer-lasting 3DS systems launches a year after the initial release. Personally, I love my first-model tank-like DS with all my heart. But even I got a little disheartened when I learned that the DS Lite – and shortly after, the DSi – would replace the original model of Nintendo’s dual screen system. It’s not going to take long for Nintendo to release a better version of the 3DS, but by then, countless gamers will already own the original.

Nintendo’s Track Record for Poor Online Play

Nintendo is hardly known for delivering a solid online experience.

Unlike other Nintendo systems, the 3DS won’t feature game specific Friend Codes. Instead, a single universal Friend Code for the system is all you’ll need to register friends onto all of your online games. This is certainly a step up for, but how well will the online functionality actually be? The DS has decent online connection, but it does suffer from occasional lag issues and a library full of hacked games (I can’t even enjoy Metroid Prime: Hunters or Mario Kart DS anymore!) And the Wii is easily the poorest machine for online gaming in the current generation of consoles. Is the 3DS destined to falter in terms of its online component like the other Nintendo systems?

Waiting for the Second-Generation 3DS?

The Nintendo 3DS is definitely a step in a different – and really interesting – direction for the Big N. However, even if the latest in Nintendo systems is indeed awesome, a day one buy is hard to recommend to many gamers. If you do get the 3DS when it launches, just be prepared to rotate the same couple of games until more solid releases land on store shelves. Oh, and don’t give someone a dirty look a year from now when you see that person with a snazzy 3DS Lite.