Luigi's Mansion Look Pretty Darn Good On The 3DS XL

The 3DS XL is big. And bright. And round. I got my hands on Nintendo's just-announced big-boy version of its 3D handheld at Comic-Con 2012 last week, and it's an impressive upscaling of the 3DS experience.

I felt a bit less eyestrain looking at 3D images on the larger top screen of the XL, even if the sweet spot was still a bit finicky. The unit felt more comfortable in the hand too, lighter and requiring less wrist tension to balance the portable. A telescoping stylus will be coming with the XL but it wasn't on hand when I tried the portable out. The 3DS slider is a bit different as well. On the XL model, it clicks shut when it slides all the way down to the off position, preventing any accidental movement that would turn the 3D effect on again. The analogue nub feels about the same as in the current model, the XL exterior comes in a finish that's more matte than the shiny paint on the 3DS 1.0

The game I took on my 3DS XL test drive was Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The sequel to the 2001 GameCube game looked great on the new handheld hardware. I laughed out loud several times playing Dark Moon, prompted by the hilarious animations of the game's quivering, scared-senseless hero.

Elements of the game will be familiar to players of the first Mansion game. You're still helping Professor E. Gadd purge pesky spirits from old houses. After searching the first mansion's garage and finding the Poltergust 5000, Luigi uses the ghost-trapping vacuum cleaner to do things like pulling away curtains to reveal coins and secret passages. The preview I experienced seemed to be identical to the ones other Kotaku writers have seen, but the game's graphics looked better in 2D to me and the 3D effect didn't hurt my eyes as much as it general does.

The 3DS XL makes the viewing experience for Nintendo's handheld offerings a much more pleasant one overall, and that should only improve once gets optimised for it start showing up. The new handheld should be out in Australia on August 28.


    Just a note, it's not actually upscaling, it's just a bigger screen. Each pixel is just made bigger.

    However being bigger can and does look better. Even the old DSi XL, the pixels were positively huge on it (the biggest pixels on any Nintendo handheld, being slightly larger than that on the original Gameboy), but the games still looked great. They looked even better than they did upscaled on the 3DS. This is because the game art looks great in its native resolution, the way it was meant to be seen. A very minor bump in resolution isn't worth scaling, as it will look terrible with art designed to to match one pixel is now expected to occupy 1.04 (random guess) pixels (which is impossible, so everything looks a bit blurry!).

    But anyway, the 3DS XL is meant to look great as you say. I'm definitely getting one on launch. The game art looks great in any size, so long as it is the intended resolution (which the 3DS XL will be, as the resolution is exactly the same as the 3DS). The XL is definitely the one to buy, you will feel cheated by the small 3DS screens after using the XL.

      Also, I'll have to check my own unit out, but I don't remember the slider on the 3DS clicking shut, but I do remember the 3D not turning on when just sliding up a little bit (accidentally bumping it, say). I don't use it a lot though, I usually have it up to full, so I could be mistaken.

        Disregard that. 6.42am is wayyyy too early for reading comprehension.

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