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NDS Review p2

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Nintendogs on the DS (non-Lite)

Control: 9.5
Ok, maybe you're thinking why would I even rate such a part of the device when all there is with most consoles is a directional pad, and a bunch of buttons ... right? Well not with the DS since it adds up 2 additional control option ... a mic and a touchscreen.
You guys should be already awfully familiar with the directional pad and buttons since its been used in like more than a decade now right? So let's just move on with the somewhat new stuff ...
The touchpad has been used in many other devices before. But seeing it being used on a portable game console is something new. Tapping and dragging your character across the bottom screen is really fun and refreshing experience ... not to mention makes controlling your character a lot easier. To give you a better idea, here's a couple of games followed by a description on how they utilize the stylus:
  • Zelda: tap on an opponent to attack; tap on an object to pickup/throw; draw circle around your character for a special round-house type attack; draw a line/path for your boomerang to follow
  • Nintendogs: give your dog a rub, bath, walk ... play with your pet by throwing toys ... comb his hair ... or teach him tricks.
  • WWE: perform your moves and body slams with stylus gestures.
  • Brain Age: write down your answers on the touchscreen.
  • Cooking Mama: dice, chop, mix, fry, slice, stir, etc your way into making your dishes.
  • LifeSigns: take a role of a doctor and do a surgical operation with the use of your stylus (as your knife for example).

As for the mic, well other than its obvious use ... its got a couple of tricks up its sleeves:

  • You can blow unto it to perform a specific move depending on the game. Like take out a flame by literally blowing unto it, etc.
  • You can do voice commands (ex: telling your dog to "sit" with Nintendogs)
  • Answer questions by using your voice
  • Do voice chat


The directional pad and buttons are very responsive and I have yet to experience any problems with them. The mic on the other hand proves to be a bit tough to use when you're in a noisy area since it makes your voice unrecognizable to the device. Trying to voice train your pet with Nintendogs for example will prove to be a real challenge unless you're in a really quiet room.

So if this device have two additional control options, why didn't I give it a perfect score? Well, I kinda like the PSP's analog (or at least how it pretends to be one) stick. It makes sports games like Fifa, Madden, or racing games easier to control. Then again, having a stick on a clamshell game console might be a design challenge for Nintendo. They might need to place a small dimple of the top cover for it to work. Still, it's not as big of a loss based on my experience.


FF XII: Revenant Wings (cut-scene)

Games: 9
People in the know are aware that its the games that defines how good a console really is. If the PSP has a broad range of sports, action, and mature titles. The DS is focused with family oriented games. To be honest, I was one of the tons of people who look at Nintendo as a "kiddy" console that contains nothing but recycled gaming characters/titles like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid. But having the chance to own one, I have to say that those games, although kiddy looking are really one of the best games in terms of gameplay available for Nintendo. Yes they might look cute ... yes they might be old ... but their gameplay really stands out along with innovation where in my opinion Nintendo is really well known for. And that is coming out from a previous Doom, Quake, Call of Duty, NFS, CnC, Hitman etc fan. So that right there is saying a lot.
Like what I already mentioned, the games on the DS cannot compete with the PSP in terms of graphics. But gameplay, control, and innovation wise, the PSP in my opinion would not even come close. Using your voice, blowing air, bashing buttons, and drawing with your stylus makes playing with this device a much better and refreshing experience from the usual button mashing "only" fun that other consoles can deliver.
Before you go out and make up your mind with a DS purchase however, be aware of the game types and their availability with this console:

  • Action/1st-3rd person shooters: Average availability. Gaming experience with the use of the stylus against the PSP's analog stick or left/right shoulder button is a joke in my opinion. The stylus makes running around and shooting people much-much easier.
  • Fighting games: Limited availability. Besides Bleach and MK3, the remaining titles will only make you disappointed.
  • Sports: Limited availability. There's football, soccer, golf, tennis, and wrestling (if that's a sport). But its lacking some of the popular games like Basketball, Ice-Hockey, and Boxing.
  • Adventure/RPG: Tons. Besides the usual Nintendo titles, the DS have the ff as well: Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Sonic, Hotel Dusk, Lunar Knights etc.
  • Puzzle/Unique titles: Tons. Games like Cooking Mama, Rayman Rabbids 2, Nintendogs, Elite Beat Agents, Brain Age, LifeSigns, etc to name a few will make you wonder why those games are not available with other consoles because of the fun and/or unique gameplay experience that they offer.


As with any other games, the multiplayer experience is one of the best part of having a good console. The difference between the PSP and the DS can be probably better explained by making you guys imagine a scenario:

  • PSP: they are both trash talking, and bashing buttons.
  • DS: they are both trash talking, bashing buttons, writing/scrubbing their touchscreen with the sylus or their fingers, shouting/talking on the mic, and blowing air on the device.

Now ... who among those peeps you want to be when you're playing against each other is up to you.

Also, be aware that the NDS has a single-cart capability w/c means that some games will allow you to play multiplayer with a single copy of the game with limited to no decrease in features.


Price / Overall Value: 9

The Nintendo DS is currently selling better than the Sony PSP and is outselling it around 2-to-1. The Nintendo Wii on the other hand is still the highest selling console followed by XBOX and PS3. What's the reason behind it? Innovation ... repetitive and "done that" type of games can be fun. But experiencing new things is always better in my opinion than having to play a new incarnation of last year's game with nothing but better looking graphics, updated roster, etc to offer. With the DS, game developers are forced to be more creative due to the unique specs and features of the device.
The DS here in our country cost a bit more than what it sells for in the US. It is still cheap in my opinion considering the number of things that it can do if you know how and where to find them (see page 3). The graphics quality might not satisfy hardcore gamers who are used to playing good looking games but the amount of innovation, unique titles, refreshing gameplay, good looks, makes this a very solid all-in-one device.
I highly recommend this device to anyone who wants to experience games that hasn't been heavily used up before ... or are better off being played on a home console+TV setup or a PC. It's best experienced playing games along with a friend via multiplayer. So if you're gonna grab one .... make sure that a few of your friends will have one as well.

Recommendations: Page 3 >>