The monster is here. After the DSi XL, the minuscule 3DS never did feel quite the same in my giant hands, so the XL version of the 3DS was an instant purchase. Bigger is usually better, though not always. That’s an important point in case the bad big ends up knocking on my door. The 3DS XL happens to be the good big thankfully so I’ve let it in.
Tucked into a smaller box than the original 3DS, thanks to an idiotic decision by Nintendo that I’ll come to in a moment, the XL doesn’t feel quite as humongous as one would expect. It will still fit in a pair of baggy trouser pockets and it is actually slightly smaller than the DSi XL. The screens are the biggest yet and it all fits together without becoming a bloated piece of plastic thanks to how compact they’ve managed to make it. The screens are 90% bigger which bring new life into the likes of Mario Kart 7 and Kid Icarus. When you see some of the better looking games in motion, you’ll want one. The screens aren’t perfect however, a slight yellow tinge can be seen on the white menus, but new standard 3DS models also have the same screen tinge. Cheaper parts for a cheaper console are the price we have to pay unfortunately.
Speaking of cheap, the 3DS XL doesn’t come with a charger. Nintendo presume everyone already has one without taking into account that most current 3DS users will be upgrading and trading their old console in, charger included. Having to buy one separately seems like such a pointless decision, it probably saves the one per cent some money, god damn the one per cent! No charger also means no charging cradle, XL users will have to wait till August 24th if they want one of those.
Another problem at hand for users is the transfer process. If you want to upgrade your 3DS to an XL, you’ll want to transfer all your data. To do this you need both consoles and a wireless connection. Certain stores have allowed buyers to take their old console back for the trade in deal after they’ve gone through the transfer which is nice, but you can see how much of a ball ache this whole thing must be for everybody. I had to venture around Liverpool looking for a stable wi-fi connection and when I finally did my transfer screwed up after around thirty minutes of data transfer. Most things carried over, but I had to redownload a bunch of downloaded titles and was pleased to find all my data on those games I had to redownload had been wiped. Oh boy.
These small irritations have made the XL launch a rather cumbersome experience, one full of tedium and pointless actions. Though the yellow tint, charger and transfer troubles are the only troubles with the XL, two of them alleviated after the first day and the yellow tint is only noticeable on the home menu. The big screens are great, the smooth smudge proof plastic and the large screens makes for comfortable playing. The 3D effect seems a little easier for the eyes to adapt to though I’ve noticed the effect itself doesn’t seem quite as striking. It seems to vary from creature to creature. The good quickly erases those annoying memories of running around coffee shops for an internet connection and I don’t miss my old 3DS one bit. That’s just how heartless we humans are.
Then when your eyes start to adapt to the mega sized screens, you begin to notice the little things. The console hinge can now be clicked into a laptop type position without flopping over, the select, home and start buttons are actually proper plastic this time round, little hooks are on the edges of the console for phone straps and the battery life is a little better. Shutting the console doesn’t leave scratches on the top screen, a problem which plagued many 3DS’s including my own so that is a big plus for those incredibly anal people out there. Like myself. Nothing major, but welcome all the same.
The 3DS XL is a welcome upgrade for those with hands bigger than their head and eyesight worse than Velma’s. For people looking to get into 3D gaming for the first time, this is the one to go for. It isn’t an essential upgrade for those with the older model, but if you get the chance to play with one, the standard 3DS will never feel the same again. Once you go big, you won’t go back! Is that really right?