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With the release of Super Smash Bros. Just under two weeks away, Nintendo has taken advantage of the opportunity and released two brand new 3DS XL systems themed around the game.

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Centered around the brand new Smash Bros, these two systems come in either red or blue, and sport several of the game’s fighters on the lid including Link, Mario, and Kirby to name a few.

No, they are not the fabled New 3DS XLs Nintendo has been boasting about overseas, and they don’t come bundled with the game. These units are simply a cosmetic upgrade. They are primarily meant for new 3DS owners who are buying it just for Smash Bros. Realistically, if you already have a 3DS XL, you’d have to be a foolish Nintendo fan boy to buy this one, especially with the newer units inevitably on the horizon.

Well I am just such a fool, so I bought one, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

My first thought is that the packaging is nothing too special. It’s very close to the normal 3DS XL box, except it has the Smash Bros. logo and sports the new design on the front. The inner contents are exactly the same too. It comes with the quick start guide, a big instruction book, the Club Nintendo card, and the AR cards.

The AR cards are the biggest disappointment, as they are the exact same ones packaged with the normal 3DS XLs. This would have been a great opportunity for Nintendo in include new Smash Bros. themed ones. Perhaps they thought that, since they sport characters that are in the game anyway (Mario, Toon Link, Kirby, Samus, and the three Pikmin) that no one would mind. That, or they figured no one would care, which is probably true.

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The real treasure, however, lies in the unit itself. The system is absolutely gorgeous. The characters look great, as the art just seems to jump off the lid. Even if you’re not a Smash Bros. fan it’s worth having this system just for all the characters it boasts. Chances are you own a game with at least ONE of them in it.

It’s worth noting that this 3DS XL actually has a more glossy finish than the regular units do. It feels more like the first generation of the 3DS. It’s smoother, and some people might not like it, but I appreciate it because my hands are just small enough to feel awkward while holding it, and it gives me a better grip. Also, the glossy red paint of the unit contrasts with the silver of the characters, which visually helps them stand out, despite the art lying flush with the unit. I personally would have loved it if the characters’ line art were textured, raising it slightly over the lid, but I’ll bet the unit is much safer from wear and tear this way.

I imagine some people might be disappointed that the shiny Smash Bros. themed system doesn’t actually come with Smash Bros. (Especially when the *same system in Europe will*). There could be several reasons for this, but mostly I think Nintendo learned its lesson with the Link Between Worlds and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team systems. It’s not a good idea to include the game on the system when most people will be doing a system transfer from their older unit. The game would just get erased! Granted, they could stash a physical copy of the game in the box, but Nintendo probably just wants to build up hype for their midnight digital release of the game. From a marketing standpoint, it’s almost as brilliant as releasing the 2DS alongside Pokémon X and Y.

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Overall, I absolutely love this 3DS XL. The art is amazing, and the new finish will keep it safely in my hands while I spaz out playing the brand new Smash Bros. It’s a great buy if you’re grabbing a 3DS for the first time, specifically if you’re planning on getting the game. Is it worth buying for the flashy art if you already have one? I’d honestly say that, for most people, the answer is no, especially with the New 3DS eventually coming our way. Having said that, I’m glad I bought it; even if it will be “obsolete” in six months it will still hold a place of honor in my collection.

The Super Smash Brothers 3DS XL comes in both red and blue, and can be purchased at Best Buy, Toys R Us, Walmart, and Gamestop exclusively.

Not sure whether you want to stick with the current iteration of the 3DS and snag a Smash console or hold out for the New 3DS? Check out our thoughts on the upcoming upgrade both for and against it to assist your decision-making!

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