Feature | Tech Up! – Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro

By Shane Jury 30.12.2012 1

Back when Nintendo first revealed its answer to the 3DS' lack of dual analogue wizardry in the form of a Circle Pad attachment accessory, the main reactions to it were to remark on its overly bulky size that would limit portability and the idea that Nintendo was admitting the initial design for its newest handheld had a key design flaw. A good number of games, including bigger names like Resident Evil, Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear Solid provided healthy support for the device, providing key incentive for purchasers to overlook the general rough look of the Circle Pad Pro and enjoy the extra control option and better grip instead, as stated in Cubed3's previous impressions article. Now with Nintendo's Miracle Gro version of the 3DS out and about taking the world by storm, the Circle Pad Pro has also been blown up in size and thus far released to the Japanese public. Should 3DS XL owners keep an eye out for this one in the future, though?

Image for Feature | Tech Up! – Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad ProAnyone who has tried the original Circle Pad Pro with their '3DS Lites' will already have the general gist of what this model offers, but there are some key differences to consider. Like before, the Circle Pad Pro works through IR sensors and a single AAA battery that comes in the box, attaching itself to the receiver along the top for the signal and around the entire base of the unit for stability. Also like before, attaching the XL Pro to your jumbo handheld (this time with a sturdy and satisfying click it has to be said) blocks off some of the areas of the unit including the stylus slot, SD Card slot, Game Card bay, and Wi-Fi switch; easy to regain access to by gently slipping the machine out of the Pro but slightly annoying to have to do so nonetheless.

This time around, however, the Circle Pad Pro looks to have been designed around the XL's form factor instead of presumably a bolted-on peace offering to secure Monster Hunter like the original model was. To look at the Pro on its own would definitely give the impression of a gigantic unwieldy device, but when clipped onto a 3DS XL and put into action, the narrowed-down and slimmer sides (when comparing the aesthetics of this version to the original, at least) means that the XL's overall width is barely increased at all, and whilst the XL alone is far more comfortable to hold than its lighter predecessor anyway, the grips that the XL Pro offers are still great for a long amount of play time, if a less portable one due to the volume increase. On the original 3DS, the power and Wi-Fi lights were blocked from view because of their placement on the sides of the unit, but because of the wrapped nature of their indicators on the XL they can now clearly be seen. Even the ZL and ZR triggers look to be more improved, pressing inwards with a satisfying amount of pressure not unlike the equivalent triggers on the Wii U GamePad itself.

Image for Feature | Tech Up! – Nintendo 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro


What really determines the worth of an accessory is, of course, the games it can work with, and although there isn't a great deal of games in the pipeline known of, the top titles on 3DS that already support the Pro are definitely worth trying it with. Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater, in particular, is incredibly difficult to adjust to without the attachment, and Kid Icarus: Uprising's left hand mode and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance's greater camera control are welcome additions.

Tech Up! Final Thoughts

This version of the Circle Pad Pro has not yet been confirmed for overseas markets, but with Monster Hunter's 3DS debut looming this coming March, it would be an easy opportunity for Nintendo to bundle the two together, like Capcom did with Resident Evil Revelations. At the very least the attachment is region free for anyone wanting greater control for their XL.

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Dan (guest) 14.01.2013#1

Looks good to me but the second analog stick should have been included in the XL in the first place..

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