Monday, January 30, 2012

My Experience With The Nintendo 3DS' Circle Pad Pro

Yesterday I made a trip to the Nintendo World Store in New York City. I expected to get some street passes, see merchandise that’s available nowhere else, and see children running around having fun. Or rather adults who are children at heart. I did not expect to have a Circle Pad Pro put in my hands from behind the counter and then check it out with a Nintendo World employee’s 3DS. The best part? They just got the device in that morning and even they weren’t used to it yet. Cool!

As you can see, the Circle Pad Pro is just a bit larger than my hand and it’s not as ugly as originally predicted. It’s actually fairly light and only adds a bit of weight to the overall handling of the system. Although I will admit that it will make fitting the 3DS into your jean’s pocket more of a chore than before.

The design isn’t entirely sleek, but what Nintendo does go for is the theme of being comfortable. When holding the system with both hands, it really does fit well. It’s much better than just the 3DS alone, and it will make playing Mario Kart 7 a more enjoyful experience for your hands.

The Circle Pad Pro will be adding an additional circle pad that is identical in function to the one that is already in place on the left side of the system. For those of you who have used the 3DS’ existing circle pad, you will know that an additional analog stick on the right will be very beneficial. The add-on will also extend the left and right shoulder buttons, adding R1 and R2-like triggers to the right side and an R2-like trigger to the right. I tried seeing how reaching for the shoulder buttons would work, and it sort of doesn’t. This actually makes me question the device’s compatibility with Mario Kart 7, as the game was released before the Circle Pad Pro. It sure would be nice to have these new left and right triggers to drift with.

The Circle Pad Pro will be a GameStop exclusive which is interesting in its own right. The add-on is certainly more than just a piece of plastic, as it will enhance the experience with future games. But what if you decide not to purchase the Circle Pad Pro? Will future games give the option to use just one thumb stick? If a game is designed to use the two thumb sticks it would be beneficial with the add-on, so why not get it? I personally believe it will take some sort of a bundle with a great game that makes excellent use of the Circle Pad Pro to get me to invest in the attachment. Bundle the game with the add-on and Nintendo will sell a lot of Circle Pad Pro’s. Just a theory!

Oh wait, Resident Evil: Revelations is being bundled with the Circle Pad Pro and is releasing February 7th. My bad! Although the bundle price is $70 when the game and attachment bought separately total $60. Hmm...

-Jared Cyhowski

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