Nintendo officially started the next generation of games with the Nintendo 3DS two years ago. Indeed; it has been two years. Still, the revolutionary 3D technology available without glasses didn’t start as strongly as one would think. Despite being mostly well-received, a lack of titles and a high price caused for low sales in the launch window of the handheld. It was such an issue that Nintendo was forced to lower the price drastically, not long after launching the device. This in turn slapped early adopters in the face, which forced the big N to hand out a series of free games through their Ambassador Program.
Since then, both titles and sales have picked up, with iconic Mario titles leading the pack by some distance. Backwards compatibility for Nintendo DS games sure hasn’t hurt sales, especially given their latest Pokémon title is still being sold as a DS version, with a 3DS app to accompany it. A digital eShop also provides a catalogue of older games to revisit, some of them adapted to provide 3D strength, for those that can see it. A device even includes a series of augmented reality games as a standard, which bring the real world to life with game content, thanks to a series of cards.
The 3DS has a ton of potential and Japan certainly seems to prefer the device over its competitor, the PS Vita. Still, what do our editors think of the story so far? Read and find out.
Nintendo holds the throne as the king of the handheld and with the 3DS doing the route of its second year they have not failed to disappoint.
The 3DS started with one of Nintendo’s biggest and most epic titles Zelda The Ocarina of Time, soon after release. Once you enter the opening main menu screen, you’re instantly hit with the sweet nostalgia of the Nintendo 64. Playing through the game in a 3D format just adds a little freshness to the lost memories in Hyrule. Adventuring your way through the kingdom as Link 13 years later after its original release is a great experience for the hardcore retro gamer and for the new casual gamer.
The future holds great things for the 3DS. Fire Emblem, one of Nintendo’s most successful SRPG’s, is reborn on the 3D screen, bringing new gamers to the already massive franchise. It has been a while since a good turn-based strategy game has hit the consoles. Fire Emblem can keep any RPG gamer busy. So far, the game has got nothing but praise from press and reviewers. A recent huge title that has hit the handle is Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, although this game has been previously released for other handheld consoles. This time, the 3DS sweeps the floor with them. The 3D visuals whilst battling beasts blows the mind. Not to mention the fact that you can also team up with people on 3DS and the Wii U.
Games set for release for the 3DS this year are nothing but brilliant: Pokemon X/Y, Animal crossing and Rune Factory 4. With such huge titles coming in thick and fast, the 3DS is the console to look out for this year.
I can hardly call the 3DS a success right now. I’ve bought mine in shady circumstances and have since only used it for the free games it got me and the off review title played on the go, here and there. Yet, more so than alluding to a lack of quality titles, Nintendo’s biggest issue here is its gap in connectivity.
Sure, we have StreetPass and SpotPass, both of which are not exactly frequently used to stay in touch. The eShop, however, is an absolute disaster. Both convoluted and inaccessible, it would be the prime outlet for me to purchase games, yet two full years after release, Nintendo still hasn’t released eCards, despite the promise since launch. This became most apparent to me this week, as both HarmoKnight and Code of Princess, full games with digital releases only, sparked my interest yet are fully out of my reach. In doing so, Nintendo is holding itself back and playing a dangerous game with consumers. Arguments about eCards being accessible in your respective countries are irrelevant at this point, as the eShop is also bound to a certain location. Why, Nintendo? It’s the 21st century. This isn’t new territory. Get it done.
Still, it isn’t all bad. This is a celebration, after all. The item I use most on my device is still Colors! 3D. This drawing tool makes designing fun and incorporates all functions of this handheld perfectly. It’s effectively the cheapest alternative for a solid design tool out there.
Not everyone is cut out to talk history and prospects. Instead, some of our staff chose to just chat about their favourite title so far.
The Miracle Mask, the most recent entry in the Professor Layton’s series, is one of those 3DS games that I’ve really enjoyed playing, and stays as my favorite 3DS game to date. Professor Layton takes his adventure to the city of Monte d’Or to stop a mysterious man from wreaking havoc. The intensity of its mysterious and engaging story and challenging, rewarding puzzles make this game truly exciting. Three dimensional character models are wonderfully designed and charming as ever; witty dialog making them all the more endearing. And the 3D is dazzling, which is obviously the most noticeable upgrade. Delightful 3D characters, splendid hand-paint environment along with cheerful animation the presentation couldn’t have been any better.
Unlike the previous entries of this series, it’s the engaging puzzles full of variety make The Miracle Mask interesting. With over 100 puzzles to solve, this entry takes puzzle-adventure to a superior level. And it’s not just solving puzzles one after another; the story is just as rewarding. Even after hours of cracking puzzles, you'll still crave more. There is plenty of dialog to read throughout, but never does it feel dull. Level-5 continues to do outdo themselves with Professor Layton. Even being a sequel to The Last Specter, The Miracle Mask stands out on its own. Nintendo releasing a brand new puzzle every single day for an entire year makes it even more worthwhile. So, for those who take puzzles for pleasure, there can’t be any better game than this remarkable 3DS title.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been released multiple times on various Nintendo platforms. Ocarina of Time 3D is the definitive version of this legendary classic.
The aesthetic update is incredible – the textures and character models look much more akin to the official concept art, and the animation is beautifully smooth. The 3DS features are put to good use. The 3D gives a unique visual feel to the cutscenes, and the touch screen bumps up the number of item slots from three to five. This gameplay tweak effectively streamlines the process of venturing through Hyrule’s locales (namely, the Water Temple).
If you missed out on the GameCube version of Master Quest, you have another chance to play it; the Master Quest mode is unlocked upon completion of the regular quest. Another addition that adds some extra replay value is the Boss Challenge mode. This new mode grants players the ability to fight against bosses they’ve already defeated, and it even keeps a record of the player’s best times and number of victories. The unlockable Boss Gauntlet sub-mode requires players to fight each boss in order. In Master Quest, these modes present extra challenges; the player is given less health and can’t recover any of it with healing items, and bosses do more damage.
Although it has one or two irksome flaws (Navi sometimes butts in to tell the player to take a break), it’s still a great experience for new Zelda fans and Ocarina of Time diehards alike.
After twenty years, the third game in the Kid Icarus series was released on the Nintendo 3DS: Kid Icarus: Uprising. It allowed players to once again take control of the flightless angel Pit, who attempted to defeat the Goddess of Darkness, Medusa. The story was full of fantastic humor, complemented with retro animations and clever twists that ensured Pit’s adventure never went stale. But as great as the story and graphics were, it was gameplay mechanics that made Kid Icarus: Uprising my current favorite game for the Nintendo 3DS.
The on-rail segments, which only lasted five minutes, were straight forward but the land combat opened new possibilities, because of the array of weapons available to the player. Equipping your character with different weapons allowed for new forms of range and melee combat, such as quicker beams or heavier blows, ensuring that each portion of the game required careful planning. What truly shocked me was the addition of a multiplayer mode. These latency free fights exceeded my expectations, because of the intense battles, intricate gear system and solid controls that played similar to the campaign. They allowed me to earn rewards between the single and multiplayer modes. It’s heart-breaking knowing no sequel is planned, but Kid Icarus: Uprising is an enjoyable and teeming with content that shows, even after twenty years, Pit can soar with best of Nintendo’s figures.