I'll pick a range of different types of games, feel free to chip in with your own experiments.
You can play DS games in their native res. by holding down the start button when booting.
Disclaimer- I'm nearly 34 and wear glasses- if I say the game looks alright to me, I'm not claiming it's pin sharp or anything, just that I didn't see a really noticable loss of quality!
Hmm, poor first choice on my part. This looks terrible- the graphics aren't great on a normal 3DS, but when upscaled it looks a mess. The larger screen helps to see missile weapons being aimed at you, but it really doesn't do it any favours visually at all.
Dead or Alive Dimensions (3DS)
This is more like it. There's a tiny loss of detail to the character models, but when playing in 2D at 60FPS it's barely noticable, and feels epic on the huge screen. Very enjoyable.
Contra IV (DS)
I mentioned this in the other thread, but it looks ace. The 2D sprites stand up really well, the character models are clear, text is clear, you can see the bullets more clearly, and if anything it is far more enjoyable to play because of it. It doesn't really lose anything at all. Playing it in native resolution afterwards just makes it feel incredibly squashed.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)
This is interesting- in DoS, there was always a bit of ghosting when Soma (the main character) moved around the screen. The size of the 3DS XL screen really heightens how much it's noticable. Perhaps after more than 15 minutes or so, you'll stop noticing it, but at the moment it's the main thing my eyes are drawn to. The sprites are clear and nicely defined still, the text is clear, and the music is still great, that orchestral/rock fusion.
I boot in in native resolution- sure enough the ghosting/motion blur is still there, but maybe a bit less noticable for the size of the sprite.
OOE doesn't have the ghosting- Shanoa's sprite is nice and clear in black and blue, and the enemy sprites are a bit more clearly defined. In fact OOE looks amazing- I expected it to look good, but it feels like a whole new game! Definitely one to try if you are waiting for Mirror of Fate.
Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars (3DS)
OK, this works- this is a game with a lot of text and stats on the lower screen, and paths to be dictated via a grid on the upper screen- the larger size makes it easier to read all of this information. However, there is a noticable loss of quality on the human character models, they really don't scale up very well but buildings, drones and vehicles look OK. I'm finding the map a bit more useful for being bigger on the lower screen- all the troop locations aren't blurring into one any more! All in all it's a bit of a trade-off, but the strategy-game nut in me prefers the larger map icons and clearer data for the loss of some detail on human units.
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Animations and art style scale up beautifully. It looks lovely so far. A very slight loss of clarity on text. Kyle, Rachel and co. look good.
OK, the hotel visuals as you walk around, and the close-ups of areas to investigate don't look good. But then they didn't look that good on the DS! Thing is, the animation (and fitting music) on the conversation parts is lovely- can't believe how well those visuals scale up. Worth reinvestigating (sorry).
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
Very few complaints here compared to what it gains. A very mild loss of sharpness to character models (and scenery pieces that need a straight line, like a picture frame or a signpost) and a very mild loss of clarity on text. Otherwise, it's exactly what you'd expect- it looks great. Larger screen makes gyroscope aiming a bit easier (a bit less sensitive). Maybe it's my big stubby fingers but the larger bottom screen makes flicking through items etc a bit easier. I open up a later save file to have a look at a dungeon- flames look good, as do the enemies.
Advance Warsual Strike (DS)
The black outlines on the pixels make it look fine when upscaled- just spent half an hour diving back into the war room- amazing little game. I can see myself losing another 100+hours to it if I'm not careful!
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Pretty much like Dead or Alive and OOT- some loss of quality on the outlines of character models and straight lines, the rest of it seems to be OK. Plays great as usual, personally I find the rounded edges of the console to be a great help after a lengthy MK session, pulling those tight handbrake turns doesn't mean the console digging into your palms anymore. Maybe I just have monster hands.
Etrian Odyssey (DS)
EO static art of the forest and logos look great, text has a mild loss of clarity- to be expected really.
Mild loss of detail to character models.
Definite pixelation of detail such as flowers on the ground.
Larger bottom screen makes the map a joy to work with.
Dungeon backgrounds- the forest actually looks alright. Not great, but alright- it wasn't a particularly detailed game to start with, but I'm surprised how good it still looks. If you walk to a dead end, you can see pixelation on the artwork in front of you, but it's smooth as you are walking through the corridors. Some of the larger trees have jaggies on the trunks where they are standing at an angle just off 90 degrees.
Battles- surprising- monster art looks better than the character portraits, probably because they are smaller and in more dynamic poses, rather than headshots.
If I didn't know the EO games inside out, I wouldn't notice half of this stuff.
The bigger screens make the forest feel a bit more ominous, like it's enclosed over you!
Tales of the Abyss (3DS)
Lets try an RPG with 3D character models-
OK, cut scenes look OK, but mild loss of detail to character outlines in them as usual.
Text looks terrible- that pixel font looks grim.
Ooh-kay, the character models in main gameplay look quite poor- definite pixelation on the hair etc.
The background artwork looks great- anything manufactured looks good, field backgrounds aren't quite so good.
Hmm. Not sure about this, I don't think the XL does it any favours at all- it shows off the beautiful backgrounds and cut scenes, but murders the character models you'll spend most of your time looking at.
DS games in 2D with quality pixel art look fine- games with a lot going on on screen (Castlevania, Metal Slug, Contra etc) really benefit from the bigger screen and the sprites upscale fine. I'd make a guess that Aliens: Infestation looks pretty good too, will try that next. Games that use poor quality 3D models suffer more. I was surprised at how good the characters and artwork in Hotel Dusk look, not so much by how poor the hotel itself looks.
3DS games- well, Shinobi and Tales definitely suffer, probably due to poor original character models. Most of the others seem to have a minor loss in detail with character outlines (jaggies?), but the ones with fast-moving characters- fighters, Mario Kart, Kid Icarus etc, deal with it fine. It's more noticable on slower-paced games like Zelda, but personally I think even OOT still looks gorgeous, and the trade-off feels worth it to have better gyro (well, a bigger targeting area, but you know what I mean) and 3D controls.
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