So I bought a 3DS Original on day 1. I suffered through the lack of games. I bought several games with hopes that sometime soon I would enjoy my system. The 3D effect was fun... for the first 5 minutes. The screen seemed to hinder the games, with the 3D having too small of a sweet spot to enjoy, and much of the detail lost in the smaller screen.
Today, I picked up a 3DS XL based on video comparisons other reviewers had posted prior to release.
This system has brought life back to so many of my games. And I even play them in 3D again.
The changes in hardware in a nutshell: - The system fits better in your hands for longer gameplay without the cramps the original had. - You won't realize how much you appreciate having the 'Start' 'Select' and 'Home' buttons as actual buttons until you play a game on the XL. This should have never been the issue that it was on the original 3DS. - Without the glossiness of the original, the 3DS XL does not feel like its going to slip out of your hands. - It seems they have corrected the problem that lead to the original 3DS scratching its top screen with the border of its bottom screen. Will update if this changes however. - On the negative... I already miss my drop in charging dock from the original.
Let me make a few observations about some games I have tested.
- Legend of Zelda O.of T. 3d: you can see some small jagged edges on Link whenever there is camera movement. Overall, you can see that the people who remade this game did pay attention to details when you can see the game blown up though. 3D image did have a bit of a 'ghosting' effect, meaning if not centered just right, you would see duplicate images of things... I like the 3D, but on a minimum setting.
- Mario Kart 7: This game was silky smooth, easy to see, easy to navigate... I would never play this on an original 3DS again if given the option. 3D effect was fantastic all the way up.
- Kingdom Hearts D.D.D.: There is so much going on in the screen on some levels, that the only way to truly keep track of what is going on in the fight is having an XL. Major Improvement to the game. 3D effect was nice. Way up on the cutscenes... mid level was good during fights.
- Star Fox 64 3D: Once again... size matters. The XL provides the eyes the ability to focus without squinting. 3D effect ok on max settings, but I still played just below the half way mark for comfort
- Lego Star Wars 3: So much easier on the eyes. 3D effect great just below the mid level mark.
- Super Mario Bros (1985): The screen is large enough to enjoy this title... before it seemed like squinting for any details.
- Legend of Zelda: Same as Mario Bros.
- Metroid Prime Fusion: This looked really good on the XL. I didn't mind it though on the 3DS original.
Sonic Classic Collection: I never liked how this looked on even the DS Lite. I actually thought it looked pretty good on the XL.
Pokemon Platinum: Looked good, not complaints
Super Mario 64 DS: Jaggies around the characters... but I remember it being a little like that on the DS Lite as well. On a side note, the game is actually pretty nice having a analog stick on the 3DS.
Mega Man Zero Collection: For a GBA port, this looked really sharp. Then again, the GBA games looked pretty good on the GBA Player for the Gamecube.
I would not buy the original 3DS after trying the XL. If you are a fan of Nintendo games, you will not be disappointed. I know there are people who are upset about the lack of a second analog stick, however, I have found that current games seem to do ok without it. As an FPS fan on Xbox... I don't think I could really take an FPS seriously on a portable screen regardless. Its a different experience. Kingdom Hearts plays just fine without it. And, if you really want the second stick, I have read that they will be releasing an XL version soon.
I would highly recommend this as an adult, as a modern gamer, and as a classic gamer. Nintendo seems to have learned from some mistakes in the past.