I bought a Nintendo 2DS
Phone games aren’t great and that’s not just because I have a Windows Phone. Some of this stems from the lack of tactile controls but microtransactions are by far the biggest problem. There’s only a small handful of games that do a good job with microtransactions such as Team Fortress 2 or League of Legends but the majority of mobile games feel like a grind and require real money to advance - bringing us back to the days of the arcades. Unwilling to put up with any of this, I bought a 2DS.
Before purchasing the 2DS, I considered the PS Vita for the simple fact that I love Spelunky. While there were a few games I would have liked to play on the Vita (Tearaway, Rayman Legends, Guacamelee!), many of them were available on the computer or Xbox unlike the Zelda, Mario and Pokemon franchises. There was also a significantly larger list of 3DS exclusives I wanted to play, despite the Vita having the superior hardware. More than anything, the Vita feels like a companion device to the PlayStation 4, something which I don’t plan on purchasing in the near future.
So, why a 2DS? Why not a 3DS or 3DS XL? I couldn’t find a new 3DS for sale in New Zealand so unless I bought a used system, it was out of the question. The increased 3DS XL screen size is also an issue as it further lowers the PPI due to the absurdly low screen resolution at which 3DS games are run (400x240). Finally, I don’t like 3D - I personally find the effect a bit sickening and make a effort to see films in 2D. I’ve also heard that many games running in 3D see a reduced frame rate as well as a significant reduction in battery life.
I haven’t used the 3DS or 3DS XL for an extended period of time, but the 2DS is certainly more comfortable than the DS or DS Lite. All the controls feel pretty good apart from the D-Pad, which isn’t bad but could see some improvement. The graphics are certainly a step up from the original DS, but the screen resolution is still abysmal when compared with a phone. When playing original DS games on the system, there’s a weird scaling effect due to the increased, but not doubled resolution.
Being a pretty big Pokemon fan, the new games were one of the major incentives leading to the purchase of the 2DS. And really, Pokemon X & Y are the best Pokemon games I’ve ever played. The graphics are fantastic - the new cel-shaded 3D models manage to capture the distinct Pokemon style, unlike Colosseum and XD on the GameCube. Battles feel more engaging with the new graphics and the new region feels more majestic than anything preceding it. There’s not a huge amount of new Pokemon unlike previous generations but the region scatters a wide variety of Pokemon around the place. Pokemon X & Y also incentivise catching and training a wide variety of Pokemon unlike previous games where it was more common to dedicate yourself to a single team. My only criticisms would have to be the lack of post-game content and it would have been nice to see some antialiasing in game.
I also purchased Mario Kart 7 for the 2DS and like Pokemon, it’s also my favourite game in the series. The game controls well and it feels like you’re really in control of the kart. The graphics are great and new mechanics such as the gliders and underwater stages continue to keep the series fresh. The 150cc mode is pretty difficult but it was nothing compared to the brutality of the online play. Despite constantly losing online, the game was still fun and was usually pretty fair. My only real complaint with Mario Kart 7 is the lack of a VS mode which previously allowed racing on any track rather than picking a cup to compete in.
Ultimately, I feel that I made the right decision purchasing the 2DS over the 3DS XL or the Vita. There’s a large number of great games that I haven’t played yet and with titles such as Super Smash Bros on the horizon, I’m going to be entertained for a while to come. There’s also the flipside - if I didn’t waste so much time playing games, there’s always the off chance that we’ll push some new updates for our apps.