GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog

The New Nintendo 3DS: Is the Upgrade Worth Buying?

Posted: 30 Apr 2015 03:02 AM PDT

New Nintendo 3DS Upgrade Review

After two months of commuting with the New Nintendo 3DS, does the upgrade feel worthwhile?Nintendo has an uncanny knack of releasing new hardware to coincide with spare cash appearing in my bank account. The GameCube launched in a matter of weeks after my 16th Birthday, while the Game Boy Advance SP, Nintendo DS and Wii U all appeared within a month of promotions at various jobs, making it impossible to argue against buying them. With such considerate timing of their releases, it would be tremendously rude of me to shun the Kyoto outfit's latest offerings, right?Almost predictably, the New 3DS arrived a mere 3 weeks after a promotion at work that would require me to commute several times a week to London. Nintendo, you're really just too thoughtful sometimes!New Nintendo 3DS Photo 001I already owned a Nintendo 3DS XL, so now £150 poorer and after several weeks of owning this version (using it both at home and on my travels), was purchasing the New 3DS worthwhile? Was it a good decision?As an original 3DS owner (with ambassador status no-less), I had been itching for an increase in screen size. That 50% screen size increase feels, for me at least, to be the absolute sweet-spot between increased screen real-estate and keeping the unsightly jaggies to a minimum. I would urge anyone considering the upgrade to try out both sizes first, especially if the screen size versus resolution issue is going to decide your buying preference. A friend of mine has the New XL and Monster Hunter 4 is truly a sight to behold on that mammoth panel.What tipped me towards the new model in the standard/smaller size was the portability. It's far more pocket friendly than the XL. I was also drawn towards the SNES button colour scheme and those cover plates. Jesus, those cover plates! Nintendo seems to have struck real gold with the Amiibo craze at the moment and it looks as though the clip-on plates are heading for a similar degree of success, albeit with a slightly smaller market to sell to. Some of the particularly collectible ones, like the recently released Xenoblade Chronicles Monado cover, have sold out within minutes on the Nintendo store and now command a hefty price on eBay.New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 1New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 2

That's enough about the window-dressing, what's it like to play with?

In almost every area the New 3DS has been a more pleasant experience than the original model to use. It's made of a lovely matt plastic that immediately feels more comfortable to hold, particularly with its rounded edges versus the harsh, angular nature of the original 3DS. I've clocked up about ten hours on Mario Kart 7, 2 hours in a single session, without experiencing the dreaded "DS Claw" once.The control layout is generally very good with the new c-stick nicely placed with a minor recess in place on the hinge to allow your thumb room to travel a bit when applying pressure to it. At first I found this peculiar nub really strange to use but I now wouldn't trade it for anything. It works perfectly for controlling a camera or activating the smash moves in Smash Bros. But it probably isn't as good a fit for games requiring dual-stick FPS controls (much like it's inspiration - the GameCube pad). The software library for the 3DS features very few of these games however, so it's not likely to be an issue.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 002Other major improvements are that the volume slider has been moved to the top screen mirroring the 3DS slider. Both of these controls now allow you to click them into place when turning them down to zero which is a useful touch, particularly where you might want your volume to stay off in a silent coach for example. The screen can also be locked into two positions in the same way as the larger XL model does. I found this really useful when watching videos on the unit with it sat on my tray.Where some of the button positioning goes wrong, though, is the new ZL and ZR buttons. Now, I understand the need to shoe-horn the contents of the ill-fated circle pad pro onto the system. It's just that there really isn't much room around the back of these handhelds to start adding multiple buttons. It won't be an issue where their use is limited, but if you are regularly needing to use these additional buttons you're going to get some pretty severe hand-cramp. Both of these are a mere footnote next to the truly contemptible power button though. The issue is that by putting it on the outside of the system, Nintendo have been forced to set it up so it can't be turned on or off accidentally. In doing so, they've made it really fiddly to use when you genuinely do want to turn your system on or off. The little button is recessed just enough to make it difficult to press in. When you do, it's hard to tell if it's registered your press with a tactile click being hidden away behind a fair amount of "spongey" travel. It's at its worst when turning off the system as it seems to have an intentional delay requiring you to hold in the button for a second or two before registering a shut-down request. It's not the end of the world obviously, but after several weeks of of this it's really started to annoy me and I often just snap the unit shut at the end of a journey rather than turning it off properly. One further annoyance is the cartridge slot. Don't get me wrong, moving it to the front of the machine was a great move, but why oh why does the cartridge face down?! It's a similar story with the stylus which has moved to the front – great move, but then been shrunk down making it fiddly to use – dick move.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 003

Improved 3D Functionality!

The changes aren't limited to new buttons and layout though, the New 3DS' real party trick is its super-stable 3D feature that tracks your face to ensure the 3D effect isn't broken. It's a feature that works really well and has made 3D usable on public transport at last! I've been jostled and jolted while gaming on the way to work, but the 3D effect rarely breaks and, if it does, it quickly finds your position and adjusts itself. If you're one of the large number of existing 3DS users who plays with the 3D off, you should really give these new units a look. The 3DS library features some incredibly well constructed 3D titles and you're really missing out if you've been limited to playing them in 2D up to now.The only areas of improvement that feel truly under-used are the ones that have been made under the bonnet. While there were lots of impressive videos at launch showing how much faster the new models booted or loaded up internet pages, it's very rare that I've found myself doing anything other than playing games and for those, there's little change. The system can swap between your in-game action and the home screen faster, but it's not something many are likely to notice. The promise of more software on the horizon requiring the additional processing grunt is completely absent at this point so it's very hard to recommend the upgrade on the grounds of software alone. The new HTML 5 browser compatibility does open up the opportunity to view YouTube videos in 3D, but I've found this to be very hit and miss with few videos set up to work with the 3DS properly. If the YouTube app is ever updated to cater for these properly, then maybe this will improve though.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 004

To Buy, or Not to Buy? That Is the Question.

This brings us nicely to the overall problem here with what is unarguably an amazing piece of gaming technology. Existing users who maybe don't game on their 3DS all that often or just don't have any complaints about the existing hardware will probably come away from these new iterations disappointed by the lack of truly tangible benefits. It could be argued that Monster Hunter 4 really needs that C-stick to be properly playable, but aside from that there's no killer-app that cannot be played without switching to the new hardware, even if Xenoblade Chronices 3D is a tempting proposition.But if you've got an original 3DS or if you're unhappy with the 3D effect of your XL, this is a purchase you should really be considering. If you game primarily on the 3DS then, again, you'll get more than enough out of the upgrades to make it worthwhile.If you've yet to discover the world of 3DS ownership though (and by God you really should, for my money it's Nintendo's greatest handheld of all time at this point) then the New 3DS really can't be ignored.

True Football Manager

True Football Manager

-Odegaard, +Zaha

Posted: 25 Apr 2015 11:07 PM PDT

Blog post 899 Hi dear blog readers, You see I am coming up to the 900th blog update and that's awesome. Sometimes it's even difficult to believe into that bearing in mind for how long I have been blogging... This Sunday I am sharing the latest news about Crystal Palace matches and also transfers since I reached the winter transfer window. Transfer news -Odegaard It was impossible for

True Football Manager

True Football Manager

Supersonic reconstruction

Posted: 18 Apr 2015 09:34 PM PDT

Blog post 898 Hi guys, I am still in the very beginning of season 3 and played 5 official matches only. Anyway I have something to tell you regarding tactics since I rejected to use asymmetric tactical approach and decided to reconstruct good old Supersonic one. Can anybody of you recall how I had been using Supersonic tactics for Leeds in FM 2012? I am. I do remember its very well and deem my

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog

Mortal Kombat Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 14 Apr 2015 01:19 AM PDT

Mortal Kombat 1 Review

https://youtu.be/h0030O2q9y8In 1992 a new, brutal and exciting fighting game franchise blasted onto the scene and punched Street Fighter 2 right in the balls! It was everywhere and the gore, the violence, mixed with an impressive level of realism (for the time), created a controversial whirlwind in the media. Just about everyone was outraged, apart from those who dwelled in the arcades, uppercutting their friends into a pit of spikes.We're talking about Mortal Kombat and within a year later it was ported to the home consoles! In this review, we'll be looking at the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive version.

The Blood Code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B)

The main advantage this had over the Super Nintendo was that it included all the gore. By entering the blood code during the grey startup screen, you had a more faithful port of the original arcade game. As you can imagine this made it much more popular than Nintendo's censored version.

"Get Over Here"

Mortal Kombat 1 features 7 characters to play as, which by today's standards feels really limited. What Midway did though was give each character a brief but interesting back story and separate ending, which paved the way for their now renowned universe and mythology.Each character has a unique style and series of moves, from harnessing the power of fire, ice and lightning, to acrobatic skills and brute strength. The graphics are also made up of digitised real actors, which is why they are a lot more lifelike when compared to other fighters from around that time.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 1


What made Mortal Kombat stand out most though was not just the pools of blood, but the Fatalities! The concept of finishing off your opponent was original, shocking and exciting. Prior to this you would land a finishing punch or kick, but now you could rip their head off!Creators Ed Boon and John Tobias are said to have created this game in just a mere 10 months with John Vogel and Dan Forden. The full arcade release used 8 megabytes of graphics data, with each character having 64 colors and around 300 frames of animation.In the Mega Drive home conversion, there are a few differences which make it not quite perfect, such as the lack of various sound samples and missing some key frames of animation. Although, it's still pretty damn close and quite a technical achievement for the hardware and time of release.

"Test Your Might"

Thankfully, this game has an options screen which you can set to "easy" for the single player mode. Mortal Kombat is known for being brutally hard and often the AI uses cheap tactics to beat you. One rumoured trick I read about was that the AI reads your controller input and quickly uses a counter move, making things slightly unfair. I don't know much about the coding, but I often find this game much harder than most others. I remember having serious problems with Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 3 for example, making M. Bison feel like a friendly stroll in the park by comparison!The single player mode is enjoyable thought and Goro is one of my favourite characters in the series. During progression, there's also a few fun "test your might" mini games to break up the battles. One slightly annoying flaw though is that you cannot pause the game during fights as that button is used to block. Which is not ideal when your dinner is ready!Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 2

"Finish Him"

The most important area for a fighting game to shine is in it's multiplayer mode. The characters in Mortal Kombat are well balanced, requiring you to use various moves and tactics to beat your opponent. Blocking also opens up a countering mechanic which I believe was new for the time and there was room for some small combos, which was also expanded on in later games and has influenced a lot of other titles.One major downside to Mortal Kombat 1 is that compared to modern fighters, it does feel very slow and a bit clunky. When it comes to playing old games you have to get in the mindset of what it was like to experience during its original release. Failure to do this often results in misconceptions that a game is rubbish, as by today's standards not every "retro classic" can keep up.It is for this reason that I personally love this game, but find it very hard to recommend. For someone interested in fighting game history, the origins of Mortal Kombat or just a hardcore fan of the series, I would say definitely pick this up if you haven't already. I think that's a clear and easy decision to make.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 3If you are just looking for a great fighter on the Mega Drive, I would urge you to try out Mortal Kombat 2 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, as they improve on the great foundations set by this game. The series as a whole is an incredibly enjoyable one even though they've made a few bad decisions over the years (Here's looking at you Mortal Kombat Mythologies). I think it's fun to explore these and overall, the Mortal Kombat franchise is definitely up there with the likes of Street Fighter.Another title worth looking at is Eternal Champions, which I hope to review in the near future along with Mortal Kombat 2 and 3. But for now, that's all for this review. So please let me know what you think of the game in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching and I'll see you again soon!

True Football Manager

True Football Manager

Extending Crystal Palace squad much

Posted: 11 Apr 2015 05:03 AM PDT

Blog post 897 Hello dear readers, I am writing this blog post being ill and having quite high temperature so I won't be too verbose this time. I should have posted this update tomorrow following Sunday schedule but I won't be able to do that. There is it. Season 2 totals  Of course it's nice to see my team in Overachievers and Signing of the Season categories. Loaned McGeady was a

True Football Manager

True Football Manager


Posted: 04 Apr 2015 10:31 PM PDT

Blog post 896 Hello dear readers, Eleven - that's the position number where my Crystal Palace have finished the second season. It's better than the 13th place last year, however, I am slightly disappointed with the ending interval when we should really fight for becoming the 9th. 65 goals scored, 65 goals conceded - what an equality! Unfortunately, I cannot boast about that because The