After 19 months, Nintendo has released an upgrade to the DS… but is it worthy? Nintendo paid attention to what people did not like about the original, and took care of it. We are taking a fresh look at the DS, and find out what the new revision has over the first.
I have never played the original DS to a great extent. In fact, the last portable system I ever played on a regular basis was the Nokia Ngage. My last Gameboy was a Color. Needless to say, the new Mario and upcoming titles reinvigorated my faith in handheld gaming. I purchased the Lite this past Tuesday, and have been playing it each day for about an hour at a time.
What I think so far… is that this is a well put together system. The screen is just incredible. While playing games, never have I thought, “Wow, this is horrible looking”. In my case, I’ve been playing New Super Mario Brothers, and the graphics are top notch. They are not PSP quality graphics, but we don’t expect it to be for a system that costs only $129. I will be publishing a review for that game next week. All I can say right now though, is that if you are a fan of Super Mario Bros. for the original NES and Super Mario World for the SNES, you will -love- NSMB.
At any rate, one factor I always consider when playing a portable is the comfort factor. Staring at a small screen can give people headaches, and holding something so small can cramp your hands. In the short time I’ve used it, I found the system to be a joy to use. Though, in New Super Mario Bros, there were a few parts that actually strained my hands to the extent that I wanted to set the system down. When you need to simulataneously use the D-pad and XYAB buttons at the same time repeatadily, it can bother your hands. My friend who has been playing the same game, and system in general, has never had this problem, however.
One thing I do wish was a little better, and I expect people to disagree, is the volume. In general, I find it quite low. Granted, even sitting in my house, there is noise everywhere, mostly from outside. The only time I can play it at a comfortable sound level is at night when everything is quiet. I am forced to believe that people who play these in public simply play with no volume, because I have no idea how it can be heard.
Overall, I’ve been extremely pleased with the system. I have not had the chance to take advantage of the online feature, but will do so in the future. I have also not used the stylus to a great extent either, since NSMB does not stragetically require it. In the end, this doesn’t have to only be a portable system. It can be enjoyed while sitting back on the couch. It’s a great system for pulling out when you need a little break.
Should you pick this up if you own an original DS? If you are not fussy about a bright, backlit screen, then don’t worry about it. However, if you’ve owned the original for a while, you will not regret an upgrade. My main complaint is that they did not sell a black version on these shores!
From what I have experienced with the system so far, I am awarding the DS Lite an 83%.
Pros & Cons
+ Worthy upgrade to the original
+ Bright, backlit screen
+ WiFi capable
+ Touch screen! How many portables have that?
- Hard to hear sound during day with noise around
- Only White color in US/Can
- May get hard on the hands after extended play
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