The 3DS launch line-up is a funny thing. There’s a lack of an easily indefinable system seller, while the likes of THQ, Take-Two and Activision don’t have a single title ready. On more positive note, however, it’s quite astonishing that Ubisoft has managed to get six games due for launch. Activision would have presumably given us DJ Hero if they hadn’t lost all faith in the franchise. It’s a little disappointing that it was axed – without the need for a peripheral and no music-based 3DS games on the cards it could have found a new audience.
EA also canned MyGarden, but that’s less of a loss – it didn’t appear to resemble a proper game, more of a tech demo or a relaxation tool at the very most. A game for pansies, even.
If you haven’t made your mind up on what to get with your 3DS yet, then maybe our guide can guide you in the right direction. That’s why it’s called a guide, see?
A last minute inclusion into the line-up, reviews have been sadly disappointing claiming that the whole thing can be done and dusted in three hours. NGamer were particularly miffed that the island on which it’s set had already been used in previous games – such as Wii Sports Resort – thus leaving little new to explore. With decent visuals it would appear to be a good way to show off your new handheld, but don’t coming crying to us when you’ve seen it all in an afternoon.
Super Street Fighter IV
It may not be the definitive version but it’s still one to think about taking home on launch day. Nice features are plentiful, including a demo that can be beamed to nearby 3DS owners. StreetPass analyses your save games and fighting styles and will automatically play battles for you with any 3DS owning strangers that you come across on your travels too. A good conversion of a good game it would seem.
Ridge Racer 3D
The fact that this is the first game shipped to the press to review (Eurogamer published theirs on 1st March) shows that Namco are pleased with what they’ve achieved. 3DS features are heavily used – you can take a photo with the camera for your driving license – while the tracks are a mixture of old and new. Worth considering, even though there’s no online play.
Nintendogs + Cats
Available in different flavours, a la the first Nintendogs range, NGamer awarded this glorified Tamagotchi 80%. Features are bountiful, including breeding and gift sharing via StreetPass and use of the 3D camera, pedometer and AR cards. The fur effects have been greatly improved (because that’s important, right?) as has the voice recognition system. The cats can’t be entered in contests, walked or be taught tricks, which may be disappointing for moggie lovers, but it’s likely that this is one of the few launch games you’ll come back to time and time again.
Super Monkey Ball 3D
Sega’s simian sim has the same problem as Pilotwings Resort – it’s good but too short. The core game has 80 levels compared to the original’s 310 and there are just 2 mini-games. The GameCube original had 12; Step and Roll had 21. As such, it’s probably worth waiting for the price to drop.
Splinter Cell 3D
One of two Tom Clancy ’em ups, this isn’t a new game as the title suggests but rather a retelling of Chaos Theory. Features are thin on the ground, such as the lack of co-op and multiplayer, but there are new gadgets that make use of the 3D screen such as a hacking mini-game. There’s a whiff of a rush job about it, so wait for the reviews first.
The Sims 3
It would appear that EA’s biggest brag is that you can send your Sim to other 3DSs via StreetPass. Unimpressed? So were NGamer, who claim that the graphics are “minging” and that it suffers from slowdown even during the character creation screens. Also in their preview they mention the ability to cause an earthquake by shaking the handheld. Will this make it into the retail version? If it has already gone ‘gold’ then it might be too late to remove it.
It’s good to see a platformer in the line-up, but Rayman 2 again? It was a good game back in the day but most gamers worth their salt will have played it before. In fact, Ubisoft released a conversion of this very early in the DS’s life. And it’s available on iOS for literally pence. It would have been a real treat to have seen Rayman 3 instead; that too was a genuinely great game but Ubisoft always acts as if they’re ashamed of it. If you’re desperate for some colourful platforming it’ll probably fit the bill but you’ll only be sending the message to publishers that it’s all right to endlessly recycle old code.
Samurai Warriors: Chronicle
Content-wise, this sounds a lot slicker than some of the aforementioned titles. Weapons can be traded and battles fought with StreetPass while Spotpass will eventually allow for downloadable scenarios. The single-player mode boasts of 400 battle scenarios, RPG-style elements to spice up the hack and slashing and loads of cut-scenes with full voice-overs too. Don’t dismiss it so suddenly; there are far worse 3DS games in the line-up…
Combat of The Giants – Dinosaurs
…like this one, which gained the lowest scores in Famitsu when they reviewed the launch titles. It’s a very basic affair with a ‘paper, sissors, stone’ style combat system. The DS versions were dire; this is no different. NEXT!
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
See: we told you there were two Tom Clancy titles. Memory fails to recall another console that was lucky enough to launch with a tactical turn-based strategy game and although the visuals may be simplistic compared to other titles it’s the only game present that’ll get your grey matter ticking. Playing a lot like Advance Wars, it has quite some heritage behind it having been created by X-COM chap Julian Gallop. Give it a go: you may be surprised.
PES 2011 3D: Pro Evolution Soccer
The Official Nintendo Magazine gave Konami’s soccer sim 78%, championing the smooth difficulty curve and its compulsiveness. But with no online play and rosters that are six months old it may be a better idea to wait until the next football game arrives on the scene.
“Bwaaah!” indeed. Previews were far from positive and both NGamer and Official Nintendo Magazine were missing reviews of this side-scrolling platformer in their launch specials. This should tell you everything you need to know.
Let’s face it – this was always going to be in Ridge Racer’s shadow. There are just 9 tracks compared to Ridge Racer’s 15 and reviewers have moaned about slowdown. The Official Nintendo Magazine were impressed with the visuals, pointing out that you can see the dashboards through the windows, but then went onto say it’s not worth the asking price.
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
We’ve left this to last as you know what you’re going to get here. It might be an idea to wait for LEGO Pirates of The Caribbean instead, which despite being a few months off (ETA: May 2011) already has StreetPass battles confirmed. It’s your call – it’s very unlikely to be any less than average.
Coming soon: Madden NFL Football, Dead or Alive: Dimensions (delayed in Japan, was due 24th March), Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Puzzle Bobble Universe, Thor: The Videogame, James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D, Driver: Renegade 3D, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D, Professor Layton And The Mask Of Miracle, Steel Diver, Paper Mario 3D, Starfox 3D and Combat of The Giants: Mutant Woodlice (maybe).