Well, after what was an incredibly tough week, I was incredibly glad when the 13th rolled round, for this was the European release date for the New 3DS. I’d pre-ordered my New 3DSXL with a copy of Monster Hunter 4 (which I will wax lyrical on later on in the week, no doubt).

What’s different about the new 3DS? Well, the immediately noticeable difference is that it integrates into the base device the extra controls that previously the Circle Pad Pro attachment had added. It actually looks pretty decent, for having more buttons than an A380’s cockpit, although many might be curious about the implementation of the second analogue stick – In order to minimise the real-estate taken up, the right-hand analogue stick is actually a little pressure nub – It doesn’t slide or move anywhere really, it just measures how hard you’re pushing it in any given direction. It looks a bit weird, it takes a while to figure out really, and I don’t know how it’ll hold up over long-term use. But it does work, and surprisingly well!

The main, major change however, is the internals. The New 3DS has received a significant hardware upgrade, to the extent where software that had previously slowed down during intense graphic sequences now run incredibly smoothly – I was quite impressed with how much better it handled 1p vs 3 CPU smashes. I’ve yet to fire up Pok√©mon, though – Some of the battle animations caused a bit of slowdown, and if they’ve managed to sort that out, I’ll be majorly happy! There’s also an NFC reader built-in, to use with amiibos – something I’m not particularly up on, and so can’t really comment on, other than to say that an NFC reader attachment will be released for the 3DS to compensate for its lack of inbuilt equipment.

The major selling point to me (and market push, if you’re cynical) is that some software will simply not run unless it’s on the New 3DS. The major offering that certainly convinced me was Xenoblade. I’ve been looking forward to its release on 3DS, and was startled to find out that I would have to upgrade, as normally I only purchase the first model in every portable product line.

However, I’m confident that investing in a New 3DS will provide dividends, and already I’m happier with the machine’s performance, especially where battery life is concerned. I’m looking forward to many more years of entertainment from this console, and have bid a fond farewell to my old one (although I’m hoping to pass it onto a pal, as I’d rather see my old companion go to a good home than sell it on).

On a final note, if you’re anxious about system transfers between your old 3DS to the new one – Don’t be! It’s actually really, really easy, and you can transfer data between your SD card and a microSD card to cut down on transfer time. I was pleasantly surprised with just how well the system transfer worked!

Right, I’m off to play some Monster Hunter now. I’m quite excited about the new weaponry – Although I think I’ll be sticking with the RIDICULOUSLY mobile Insect Glaive.

Seriously, it’s awesome.

Toodlepip, y’all!