Nintendo 3DS Demo Madness

29 12 2011

It seems somebody lit a fire under Nintendo’s collective asses as 3DS users have seen a slew of demos for upcoming games become available for their beleaguered systems.  Maybe it was the release of a competing system, the PS Vita, or maybe they’ve finally figured out how to deliver great downloadable content.  No, you’re right… it was probably the Vita.



What guy hasn’t wanted a girlfriend that they could switch off from time to time?  Well, apparently someone at Konami felt that way, because they created a game for the Nintendo DS called Love Plus.  To say it was a hit would be a massive understatement.  Cafes offered places where you could sit and share a drink and a bit of cake with your virtual date, and there were even vacation packages offered that were digital girl friendly.  I could write an entire article on just the phenomenon of virtual relationships created by this series.  Some guy even married his digital sweetheart.  In real life.  No kidding.  Success breeds sequels, and so Love Plus was followed up by a game called Love Plus+ (or Love Plus Plus).  This, too, proved popular which leads us to this game, New Love Plus.  The idea is that the abilities of the 3DS can create a more realistic virtual dating experience.  Now the girls can be viewed in 3D (like real girls!) and you can use the system’s motion and gyro sensor to view the little darlings from any possible angle.  Plus, the addition of augmented reality can literally bring these digital maidens into the real world… sort of.

I’m in no need of a virtual girlfriend; but I was interested to give this a whirl nonetheless.  Boy was I in for a shock.  This “demo” can take up to six minutes to install on your DS system, and it warns you that you might have to plug your system into the power cable so it doesn’t conk out during the install.  Those are some hefty words.  Makes me expect something magical, for a dating sim at least.  So after all that downloading and installing and charging (which translates to waiting) you end up with… a chance to take pictures of the girls.  And not even in 3D.  This is a 2D picture taking exercise being used to promote a 3D dating game.  What the heck.



2011 has definitely been a good year for Hatsune Miku.  She started out as a mascot for music production software called Vocaloid and ended up being an international figure hocking cars for Toyota.

Project Mirai is Miku’s first foray onto Nintendo hardware, her other iterations being available on the Sony PSP and PlayStation 3.  This is less a demo than an example of what Miku will look like in 3D, offering up videos for two songs that last barely one minute each.  Am I the only one who finds the bigheaded Nendoroid versions of Vocaloid characters a little creepy when they’re animated?



This is the biggie.  Resident Evil (or Biohazard in Japan) has been a genre defining and sales behemoth since the first game in the popular series was released back in 1996.  Resident Evil kick-started the survival horror genre and popularized killing zombies beyond the niche that seemed only reserved to b-grade George Romero films.  Some people complained that series had strayed from its roots in recent iterations such as in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: Mercenaries; but Revelations seems to show that the game is returning to form.  Similar to the first Resident Evil movie, the protagonist wakes up in a creepy room all alone.  Similar the to spin-off series Resident Evil: Gun Survivor, the creepy room happens to be aboard a luxury cruise ship.  And similar to the majority of the series, the undead are trying to kill you (not Europeans as in RE4 or Haitians in RE5).  The controls are simple and easy to use… dare I say intuitive?  There’s a nice mix of button pushing for actions and screen tapping for switching out guns and other objects of destruction.  The only thing that really didn’t work for me is the 3D.  I played the demo with the 3D on and with the 3D off, and it didn’t make one lick of difference in my experience of the game.  In fact, when I played with the 3D off, I didn’t even notice it was off.  I’ve read that some found the 3D effect in the game to be “sublime”.  No, the 3D effect in Mario Kart 7 is sublime.  The 3D effect in Resident Evil: Revelations is negligible.  One of the biggest challenges for developers working on Nintendo’s 3D hardware will be getting the 3D right and making it relevant.  There’s still time before the finalized version of Revelations hits the streets; let’s hope they give a little extra thought to the 3D… though my gut instinct is, they probably won’t.



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