With the recent reveal of the successor to the Playstation Portable, the Next Generation Portable (NGP), gamers will have a big decision to make as far as handheld gaming goes in 2011.
Revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2010, the 3DS is Nintendo’s latest iteration of the DS handheld series. As the name suggests, the system will be able to produce 3D video game images without the need for special glasses. Nintendo has had just over eight months to hype the system with their games lineup including Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3DS, Kid Icarus, and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, with a planned release date of March 27th in North America for a price of 249.99 USD.
-3D Output and Adjustment
This is pretty awesome in and of itself. Nobody wants to rock the 3D shades no matter how stylish people try to play them off as. Plus the ability to moderate how much 3D output you want is very smart and the high resolution camera and screens is a huge plus.
-Motion and Gyro Sensors
No longer is the DS constricted to games where you mindlessly tap the stylus in a series of dots or lines to accomplish things. Nintendo seems to be incorporating the motion controls from Wii and this will likely work a lot better in this format.
-On Board Memory
The 3DS now boasts SDHC storage utilization, where you can have smaller cards with infinitely more memory. This definitely will come in handy in tandem with the 3D camera, sound recordings, and optional music player feature the system will feature.
One of the biggest changes in the 3DS is the added analog stick. There’s only one problem, there’s only one of them and it’s on the same side as the d-pad. It seems as if Nintendo is following in Sony’s footsteps on this one but the issue is that a single analog control simply doesn’t cut it for third-person action handheld games. The telescoping stylus and motion controls may help with this issue but it’s doubtful.
Nintendo has announced that when the 3DS is running its 3D software and hardware, it’s battery only lasts three to five hours per charge. This seems a bit lame, as most of the 3DS game lineups are ones that generally call for long playthroughs (Metal Gear, Kid Icarus), but gamers will be forced to wait for the system to charge for three-and-a-half hours to resume the fun.
-The Possible Side Effects
This is something the company has already cautioned the public on. It is highly recommended that young children under six do not utilize the 3D mode on the system and that any other players should take breaks every 30 minutes of game play. Nothing can quite stifle a gaming experience like scorched retinas. Hopefully Nintendo is just exercising heavy oversight on this issue and it’s not as bad as it seems, but it is definitely something to be concerned about in the first few months of release.
Now we examine the NGP…..
Unveiled at Sony’s own Tokyo event in January, the Next Generation Portable is the successor to the ailing PSP and PSPgo. The handheld sports a sleeker design, OLED screen, analog sticks instead of nubs, and a new touchpad control on the backside of the system. Footage, pictures, and general rumor of the device has been leaked long before the reveal on January 26. Sony has created a lineup of games for the NGP from popular game series such as Uncharted, Killzone, and Call of Duty. The officials at Sony only commented that the NGP will go on sale at the end of 2011 and there is no official price point, but many analysts are estimating the handheld will sell anywhere from 299 to 399 USD.
The revamping of original PSP controls is a great step in the right direction. Having dual analog sticks instead of the single nub on one side, as well as a gryoscope, will greatly smooth out the control issues many had with third-person action games and such. Also the backside touchpad is bringing a new element to the playing field that could turn out to be very interesting for games.
-The Connection Capabilities
The new NGP system will reportedly have 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-fi, and GPS, effectively making it a game system, iPad, and TomTom all in one. Having these amenities in your corner is a big plus for the NGP.
While not as impressive as 3D graphical output, the OLED screen is beyond beautiful as far as display and the screen is about 1 ½ inches bigger than either of the 3DS screens.
Sony has a bad penchant for having great systems that demolish wallets. If the price of an NGP far outweighs that of a regular PS3, Sony might just find themselves eating a loss for quite awhile till an inevitable price drop is in order.
The new LiveArea interface looks all good and well, but as many gamers know, dashboards and interfaces don’t always work as smooth as the commercials tell you. It looks great, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be a little buggy in the first few months of release.
-The Battery Life
Something that runs very parallel between these two systems is their low battery life. The NGP has been confirmed to only have a battery life of four-to-five hours before needing a charge. This again routes back to the 3DS, where the low battery life could seriously cut into the fun factor of the handheld.
The NGP is bringing new stuff to the table. Touch screens on the front and back of the system, as well as all the connection capabilities is going to make the NGP a force to be reckoned with. It’s a vast improvement over the initial system and you’ll just plain be able to do more on it, which is generally the point to updated iterations of devices.
Even though the 3DS has the power of 3D behind it, I can’t help but feel it’s not really bringing anything new to the table. Of course the innovation of 3D without glasses is amazing, but behind it is just regurgitated games, an analog stick that will likely not fix anything, longer stylus, and media player options (something that has been homebrewed since the first DS).
The NGP definitely has its share of shortcomings such as its own lineup of repeat games (Uncharted, Resistance, etc.) and short battery life, but overall I feel that if I were to buy one, I wouldn’t regret it for awhile yet.
(This post has been written by IncreaseBlue, who owns both a Nintendo DSlite and PSP-3000.)
Do you guys agree with our breakdown or disagree? Let us know in the comments section below!