June 28, 2006

DS Lite

by psu

I had pretty much decided to get a DS when the Lite hit earlier this summer. One of my co-workers had imported one a few months ago, and the new form of the device is pretty irresistible. Of course, I also had to keep up with Pete.

Where the original DS was fat, clunky, and full of sharp edges, the new DS is like an iPod that plays games. Soft lines, a shiny white exterior, and a new screen which is wonderfully bright indoors (although useless outdoors) round out the brilliant industrial design. The device finally competes with the PSP on the pure shiny level. However, unlike all the other "next-gen"-ish hardware I have, the DS has one cool advantage: it has games.

Don't let anyone lie to you, the PSP and the Xbox 360 are one game boxes. For the PSP and me, that one game is Madden. Your one game might be Lumines or some other sports franchise. But there is really nothing else. Daxter and Syphon Filter have a lot of potential, but both suffer from the same basic flaw, which is that by the time you manage to play a single level of the game, your hands have cramped up from the abuse of the tiny little analog stick and face buttons. Why there are not 15,000 little ports of Japanese RPGs for this thing I'll never know. But there are not.

The Xbox 360 has Oblivion and that's about it. Nothing else is actually any good. Even Madden fails to please, it actually plays better on the PSP.

By comparison, the DS has a dozen or so titles that are actually worth picking up. And, if you throw in all the GBA titles, there are dozens more.

Here are a few short impressions of what I have played:

Animal Crossing

A wage slave game about being a wage slave. In this game you play an opressed member of the proletariat, painfully scratching out an existence by doing odd jobs for the members of your "town", and also harvesting and selling the native flora of the area. As you obtain more material wealth, the game does nothing but drive you to obtain even more material wealth. It's like a recruiting video for unfettered consumerism.

You can also exchange fruit over wi-fi. That's really the main point of it. I'm still looking for a shovel.

Mario and Luigi

It was great on the GBA, and it's great on the DS too. I am concerned though, because the DS game uses the second screen to provide a map that greatly eases navigation through the various areas. This is a slippery slope towards seriously dumbing down the game for the noobs. Pretty soon it will be no better than a 2-d side scrolling hack and slash.

Advance Wars Dual Strike

It's Advance Wars but there are some new modes, tag teaming and the stylus makes picking units much easier. This means it is the best strategy title on the face of the Earth, only better. This is all you need to know. Buy it.

Trauma Center

My token entry in the gimmicky game play sweepstakes. This game makes you use the stylus to perform "surgery." There is an anime soap opera narrative going on too in between "missions." The game is hard, but the surgery mechanic is strangely mesmerizing and addictive. Recommended if you can find it.

Other notes

So there are four easy winners for you to look at. There are many more I have not covered. I started Phoenix Wright which is actually more of a novel where you stop the story to yell "OBJECTION" once in a while. I borrowed the Kirby game, and it seemed fun but too fast. Meteos is too hard.

I haven't even mentioned Mario Kart or both Super Mario games.

Finally, I can't stress this enough: the instant sleep when you close the machine is simply awesome, and all the games support it transparently.

It's too bad the thing doesn't really have a proper verison of Madden. Otherwise I could sell my PSP.

Posted by psu at June 28, 2006 10:15 PM | Bookmark This

if you sell the PSP what am I supposed to play Lumines on?

Posted by kvd at June 28, 2006 10:31 PM

New Super Mario Bros. is awesome. Not to mention Brain Age and Big Brain Academy for us puzzle geeks. I love my DS (even though it's the "big, clunky" one).

Posted by M at June 29, 2006 12:50 AM

I've been getting into Meteos, I just wish the "screen was bigger." Damn my aging eyes!

Posted by Adam Vandenberg at June 29, 2006 10:08 AM

I currently have 6 games for my DS, my PSP has a SNES Emulator on it. And that's it.

Posted by Wladyka at July 2, 2006 05:47 AM

Please help support Tea Leaves by visiting our sponsors.

November October September August July June May April March February January

December November October September August July June May April March February January

December November October September August July June May April March February January