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The Dose: Should you buy the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL?

The Dose: Should you buy the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL?

The Dose: Should you buy the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL?
February 13
19:46 2015

Nicholas Friedman / Features Editor

Everyone knows Nintendo. They’re like the Disney of gaming. In an industry chock-full of everything from pay-as-you-play iPhone games to $60 shooting galleries, it’s nice to know that Nintendo has stood their ground.

The “New” Nintendo 3DS XL is Nintendo’s latest handheld game console. It’s a super-sized, dual-screen platform full of nicks and knacks that could make any gamer go crazy — four years ago.

That’s the thing: the original 3DS came out in 2011, and this new system sporting more RAM, a faster processor and enhanced “Super-Stable” 3D, is more or less the same product.

The form factor

The build of the “New” 3DS XL still shares the same clamshell design as its predecessors, and it’s pretty ergonomic, fitting into the largest of hands. The new system features two new buttons at the top of the system: a ZR and ZL bumper that are for the most part useless for now. They also shortened the length of the L and R buttons to make room for the ZR and ZL buttons, so holding the system is a little more difficult.

Two of the biggest physical additions are the C-Stick, a nub on the bottom half of the system that functions as a second analog stick, and the NFC reader, making the console compatible with the ever-popular amiibo figurines.

The nub, as we’ll call it, does not  move at all. It reads force feedback, sort of like the little red button that used to be on computer keyboards.

It’s very sensitive, but doesn’t add much to the experience, other than improving camera control in games like “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate” and “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D,” both of which launched with the console today.

The amiibo support is a good thing, and extends the legs of the figurines, but good luck finding most of them in stores. In a recent report, Nintendo announced sales of nearly 5.7 million amiibo figures worldwide, yet store shelves in the U.S. are stripped to stock anything other than Mario, Peach, Pikachu and Donkey Kong.

Current amiibo-supported 3DS games are “Super Smash Bros.” and “Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+” (phew). The soon-to-be-released “Codename: S.T.E.A.M” and “New” 3DS exclusive “Xenoblade Chronicles 3D” will also support the figurines.

Under the hood

The “New” 3DS XL now supports microSD cards, a welcome change from the soon-to-be irrelevant standard SD card. One problem: the slot for the memory card is behind the battery cover, and requires a special screwdriver to be opened. It was bad enough trying to find a Phillips head.

In addition to the increase in virtual RAM and a faster processor, Nintendo implemented face-tracking 3D into the system. So now, when you’re in a well-lit area, the 3D will map itself to your viewpoint as opposed to the opposite. This actually works pretty great and minimizes motion sickness in most games.

In terms of the system’s performance, loading times and frame rate drops seem lessened and the menus move as smooth as ever, but it’s not too noticeable of a difference. Think of it as the difference between high-definition and Ultra high-definition.

The verdict

Overall, the system does what it’s meant to do: improve on everything the original 3DS offered. The new glossy finish on the console is welcome and done properly, despite retaining fingerprints easily.

The stylus and game card slots have both been moved to the bottom of the system, which take some getting used to, but it’s not so bad.

There is also not an AC adaptor included in the box, so expect to pay an extra $10-15 if you don’t already have a member of the 3DS family.

At $199, Nintendo has made a safe, small step into the next generation, but if you already have the 3DS, you might want to wait for a little more innovation.

Should you buy the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL?



  • You already have a Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL
  • You’re expecting the next evolution of handheld gaming.



  • If you’re a Nintendo fanatic that needs to have this now.
  • The 3D, amiibo support and exclusive games entice you.

Featured Image: The “New” Nintendo 3DS XL released Feb. 13, 2015. Photo by Nicholas Friedman – Features Editor

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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