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40 Reviews

Nintendo 3DS

FIRST HANDS-ON VERDICT: We get acquainted with Nintendo's new kit - and give our view...

[UPDATE: Read our full and final updated Nintendo 3DS review through the link.]

March 23, 2010. The day that Satoru Iwata himself dropped the bomb that Nintendo was creating a 3D version of the most popular console in world history.

The official Nintendo 3DS announcement was bizarrely unbrazen - merely a matter-of-fact detailing.

Oddly, it didn't warrant an explosive E3 reveal - nor a triumphalist gathering of the world's media. Just some plain, unexciting words - and a meat-and-potatoes press release.

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The lack of fanfare was more resonant of a new coloured console - or even a revised Stock Keeping Unit. Nintendo may be the ever respectful Japanese company (even when others are pilfering their motion control innovations) - and aren't prone to bombast. But even for Miyamoto et al, this was alarmingly subdued.

Whispers arose that this was Iwata backed into a corner; thinking on his feet to appease shareholders, whilst battling with the spectre of market saturation and a full-blown recession.

Other evidence also pointed to a rush job. The tech behind the device was supposedly a last-minute buy from Sharp; a smash and grab for the mantle of Interactive Innovator as Microsoft and Sony's vultures begun to circle.

And then there was Miyamoto-san. Or wasn't, more to the point. Nintendo's universally loved talisman - whose endorsement is all we need to know there's something special on our hands - was nowhere to be seen.

Today, the smoke finally cleared - and CVG is able to share the truth: 3DS has no chance of emulating the impact big brother Wii had on the video games market four years ago.

It's much more important than that.

For what it represents, for its potential to wow the non-gadget freak while leaving the hardcore open-mouthed - and for being far more than a novelty - Nintendo has pulled out its trump card just when it needed it most.

Five years ago with the original DS, the firm promised us a 'new way to play' video games. Now they've given us an entirely new way to see them, too.

Whilst Sony blares out that it's ushering in the 3D revolution - slapping weighty, £100 glasses on the bridges of our noses to make it happen - Nintendo may have just created the most important piece of entertainment technology in decades.

Attractive, lightweight, (no doubt) affordable, it's a marvel. Those who previously scoffed at the Nintendo 3DS as a 'mere' hardware update will be left dumbfounded.

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It may be backwards-compatible with old DS games, but this is a new console - and one that well and truly sparkles with the ageless magic we'd started to worry had deserted Nintendo.

The first thing that hits you is the screen. 3.5 inches wide, it fills you vision in a magnificent way. Make no mistake: Any bigger would be a distraction. We've just seen a special Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater demo, and we're blown away.

A slider on the right-hand side of the machine allows you to adjust the depth of perspective that you require. We begun in Metal Gear in a jungle area - and it took some customising to correct our field of vision. But once we did, the super-sharp splendour that fell out in front of us really was something to behold.

Robust, spiky foliage poked out of the ground and seemed to tickle the back of the DS screen. Meanwhile, arrows flung in our direction soared through the air towards us - from what seemed like 50 metres away.

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