3DS Graphics: Clearly Hit And Miss

When purchasing a new portable system, consumers should (as a rule) lower their expectations when it comes to graphics. Handhelds like the DS and PSP are capable of slick looking visuals, but let’s face it, neither of these devices have the processing muscle to compete with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

That said, the same holds true for 3DS, which appears to lag behind Sony’s Next Generation Portable (NGP).

Hey, that’s cool. Nintendo’s system has realistic limitations. Not a huge deal.

At the same time, we’ve already seen impressive displays of power, particularly with Super Street Fighter IV 3D EditionDead or Alive Dimensions and the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Clearly, the pint sized portable has power beneath the hood.

To say some developers have struggled, though, is an understatement.


Dream Trigger 3D…a far cry from Rez and Every Extend Extra in terms of eye candy.

The first game to raise red flags was Dream Trigger 3D, from D3 and ART Co. We’ll spare you the flowery language and just get right to it: the game’s unattractive. It appears to be caught between the DS and 3DS, with pixilated and fuzzy graphics that make identifying targets quite frustrating. It’s a shame, because this could have been one of the more stylish titles of 2011.

We also couldn’t help but shake our heads at Nintendo’s Steel Diver. The 2D segments look fine (this was originally a DS game), but the 3D boat missions and the subsequent explosions made us cringe. Clearly, all the work went into designing the wave effects.

This leads us to the most recently announced 3DS adventure, Shinobi.

Here’s the good news: Sega listened to fans and chose to resurrect its beloved ninja franchise.

Here’s the potentially disappointing news: It’s a mixed bag graphically.

To be fair, the game’s on track for a September release, and a lot can happen between now and then. What’s more, the 3DS just came out, and developers need time to learn the ins and outs of the hardware. Finally, everyone knows that great graphics don’t necessarily make a great video game.

On that note, Sega has gone from this…


Genesis Shinobi…AKA 16-bit sex for the eyeballs.

To this.


3DS Shinobi…needs time to cook.

Especially when we know this exists.


Ocarina of Time 3D…a visual feast.

Does this mean Shinobi’s doomed? Hardly. Sega and Griptonite Games could very well release one of the must have games of the year. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both parties chose to go with a unique style that’ll work for or against the experience. One must also consider the engine used, as well as the time and money spent on the graphics.

That notwithstanding, and while we appreciate quality play at the expense of fancy bells and whistles, we’re graphics whores. Just part of being human. We love the shiny, particularly when the system costs $249.99.

For that money, publishers and developers shouldn’t hate consumers for wanting a little eye candy.

The worst part? Infinity Blade for iPad 2 smokes all these games.


Sensory overload, and we love every Unreal Engine squeezed drop.

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