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  Gateway 3DS Official review
Posted by blastermak on Fri, August 9th, 2013 at 15:53 - 34 Comments
 
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blastermak Netherlands

 
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Gateway 3DS: The first 3DS flashcart!

The Gateway 3DS is the first commercial 3DS flashcart released since the launch of the 3DS. It caused quite the commotion when the team first released their video demonstrating what they achieved. Since then they haven't updated us much on their progress, except for the save functionality video. But now they have the released the cart and people are getting their cart to finally be able to play 3DS backups.

Packaging

The Gateway 3DS comes in a plastic box bearing the red Gateway logo. The cards themselves come in their own plastic bed.

[User Posted Image]

Features of the Gateway 3DS

These are the features you have with the Gateway 3DS.
  • Play 3DS backups on both 3DS and 3DS XL
  • Play NDS backups with the blue Gateway card.
  • Saves are stored on the SD card of the 3DS

Software

Out of the box only the blue cart works with the correct firmware. The blue cart is essentially an R4i cart, and as such needs firmware files. The cart pops up as Deep Labyrinth and works up until 3DS firmware 6.1
The red cart is a special case as this one requires no firmware, only that the microSD card is loaded with a game. To enable the red cart, you must first use an exploit based hack. This is done by first preparing the system with a .nds file on the blue cart. After that you must copy the exploit to the SD card you use in your 3DS and go the NDS profile settings on your 3DS. After this process has completed and you are returned to the main screen you can use the red cart to play your games.

[User Posted Image]  [User Posted Image]

When starting the blue cart you will be greeted with a somewhat familiar firmware, that of an R4i. As such not much explanation is needed about the workings of the blue cart. When you have prepared your system for the red cart it will pop up as the game you have loaded on the microSD card.

Gateway v1.1a

As of firmware version v1.1a you can bypass the region lock and thus play games from other regions. Another feature of this update is that games no longer ask you to update the 3DS firmware with the update that comes bundled with the cart. With this you can play games released after June 2013, which is basically everything. As for compatibility, I have updated the 3DS Game Back Up Compatibility section of this review.

Saving games

Since you need to write a rom to the entire microSD card, there is no room left for save files. The workaround for this is that the saves are stored on the 3DS SD card, which means you have to backup a different SD card for your saves. Saves are named with, I suppose, a logical name for the system. This does have the downside of not knowing which save is for what game. I have also tried to exchange the created savefile for Fire Emblem with the one on my original cart, but that didn't work. The savegame came up as corrupted ingame.

NDS Game Back Up Compatibility

These games where tested on the standard Gateway firmware.

Scribblenauts (E): Worked Perfectly
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (E): Worked Perfectly
Pokémon HeartGold (E): Worked Perfectly
Pokémon Conquest (E): Worked perfectly
Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard (E): Worked Perfectly

3DS Game Back Up Compatibility

These games were tested with the red Gateway cart. All titles are now tested with v1.1a, thus no firmware updating has taken place. I also tested the online connection of several games. In all instances the SpotPass functions of the games worked without any problem. As for online multiplayer, as far as I've tested, is non-existent. With Mario Kart 7 you get an error stating that your gamecart isn't suitable for online play. I also added some US and JP games as to test the region free part of the v1.1a update.

Luigi's Mansion 2 (E): Worked perfectly
Bit.Trip Saga (E): Worked perfectly
Naruto Shippuden 3D: The New Era (E): Worked perfectly
Star Fox 64 3D (E): Worked perfectly
Kid Icarus: Uprising (E): Worked perfectly
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (E): Worked perfectly
Fire Emblem: Awakening (E): Worked perfectly
Paper Mario Sticker Star (E): Worked perfectly
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (E): Not working because of saving method
Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins (E): Worked perfectly
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (E): Worked perfectly
Mario Kart 7 (JP): Worked perfectly, but no online
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (US): Worked perfectly, but daily puzzles don't work
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (JP): Worked perfectly
Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry no Wonderland (JP): Worked perfectly
Gyakutan Saiban 5 (JP): Worked perfectly
Ocarina of Time 3D (JP): Worked perfectly


Demonstration of setup process



Build quality

The build quality of both carts is good, they feel quite solid. The blue is a NDS cartridge while the red one is a 3DS cartridge complete with the bit that sticks out at the top. On the red cart however you can feel the microSD card slot under the sticker because the case is removed there. I suspect this is because of the alignment of the components on the PCB board.
Only the red cart has as springloaded microSD slot.

Conclusion

The Gateway 3DS certainly lives up to the expectation of playing 3DS backups. However, as of writing the cart only works up to firmware 4.5.x of the 3DS, as it is exploit-based. After updating the firmware to v1.1a, every game works because of the ability to skip the update section on the gamecart. If you exit the game on the correct way the savefile will be stored on the 3DS SD card, which makes having multiple saves and exchanging them quite easy.
The bundled NDS cart is a necessary but certainly not unwelcome addition to the package. It is not only meant for preparing the system for the exploit, but it can also play most if not all NDS games.

Pro's:
  • Plays 3DS backups.
  • External saving.
  • Comes with good NDS flashcart.
  • Regionlock bypass firmware
  • Skips update sections of games
Cons:

  • Not being able to have multiple 3DS games on the microSD card.
  • Expensive, ‚ā¨75/$80
  • Useable on select 3DS firmwares only
  • Limited online play
  • Profile settings exploit must be used again when you turn the 3DS off.
Since the 1.1a update the game compatibility has greatly increased and with the regionlock bypassed, the Gateway 3DS has become a fine first 3DS flashcart. As for 3DS firmware compatibility, the Gateway team is hard at work to find a new exploit to support 5.x and possibly 6.0 firmwares so more compatibility will be seen in the near future. And as this is the first 3DS flashcart the price will be high.


Final Score: 72%

DS-Scene would like to thank the Gateway team for sending us the review sample.
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This post has been edited by blastermak, Thu, August 29th, 2013 at 15:38

Reason: Update 29/08


 
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 » Comment on: Gateway 3DS Official review
#1
 
Jhon591 United Kingdom

  Fri, August 9th, 2013 at 16:08
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Wow this is very nice proof, thanks for the video blastermak ;) good job.

Shame a bout the one game with saving issue, but it has to happen now and then nothing's perfect really with flash are emulation xd.
 
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#2
 
Tibia821 Germany

  Fri, August 9th, 2013 at 19:10
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too bad it just works with an old firmware.
Let's see if this speeds up the hacking progress of the Console.
 
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#3
 
Necr0mancer Australia

  Fri, August 9th, 2013 at 23:07
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Thanks blastermark.
Looks great :)
 
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#4
 
Kiekoes Netherlands

  Sat, August 10th, 2013 at 01:05
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Awesome review blastermak!
 
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#5
 
8256614 United States

  Sat, August 10th, 2013 at 06:40
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70%? Really? Considering those cons are some serious blunders, I wouldn't even consider buying this hunk of junk unless you're especially desperate to pirate 3DS games.
 
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#6
 
blastermak Netherlands

  Sat, August 10th, 2013 at 08:32
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I think that's a fair score, as the team said beforehand the cart had some limitations. And this is the first cart to come out, so circumstantial I think the cart does what it said it does.
Also, I will update the review when the team brings out an update for the 5.x firmware versions.
 
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#7
 
Ryukouki United States

  Sun, August 11th, 2013 at 17:48
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Did you also test any of the online features? I have heard from numerous people that the online functions of some games will yield an error code or something of the sorts, and some of the games you tested you DID mention they were "working perfectly."
 
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#8
 
koniam United States

  Tue, August 13th, 2013 at 07:02
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thanks blastermark, very informative
just bought my gateway cart from http://www.thegamerdepot.com/buy-gateway-3ds-first-working-3ds-flashcart-supports-all-3ds-rom-p-167.html  they are reliable and actually located in the US. very pleased with them and my brand new gateway 3ds cart

This post has been edited by koniam, Sun, May 4th, 2014 at 08:02
 
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#9
 
Ryukouki United States

  Wed, August 14th, 2013 at 17:43
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Hey man, your review was copy pasted from another site word for word, the only difference was that they taped their name on the end of it to make it look like theres.

Here's the URL in question. http://blog.3ds-flashcart.com/3ds-flashcart-gateway-3ds-reviews/
 
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