There are a lot of things to like about the 3DS. It's got a motion sensor, it's got a camera, and of course, it makes magic. The ability to take pictures, watch movies, and play games -- all in 3D -- is a pretty big deal, and is sure to spark the attention of gamers and non-gamers alike.
As exciting as that is, it's the 3DS's initial game line-up that really blew my mind. During the E3 Nintendo press briefing, I had to do a double-take when I saw what first- and third-party developers had planned for the system. Actually, I'm still sort of in shock about it. This kind of third-party support hasn't happened on a Nintendo console in a long time, maybe ever.
The news was flying so fast and furious last week that you may have missed some of announcements about what's coming to the 3DS. If you want a recap, or just an excuse to freak out over the news all over again, hit the jump for our list of most anticipated 3DS games.
Nintendogs + Cats
A lot of people take pride in hating on Nintendogs. That's weird to me. Do you like dogs? Like, real-life dogs? Well, then you'll probably like Nintendogs, because it's pretty much the same thing. Teach a dog tricks, rub it down, and take it for a walk. What's not great about that? The game even makes picking up dog crap fun. Touch it with the stylus, and it's gone. If only all of life's shit could be so easily disposed of.
I don't think that there is a game that better shows the power of the touch screen. Nintendogs was the game that first showed me that physically communicating with the characters on the other side of the video game world could be fun. Now with the 3DS, maybe Nintendo will show us what it's like to physically interact with a game character's who have learned to cross over. 3D puppies in my face sounds awesome.
Nintendo 64 Ports (PilotWings, Star Fox, Ocarina of Time, etc.)
I'm rarely excited about anything that has to do with the N64. The console definitely has a handful of great games, but for the most part, it still stands as a disappointment to me. Part of that comes from the way most N64 games look. Nine times out of ten, they reach for a level of visual splendor that they can't quite achieve.
The 3DS could fix that. Not only does the console support better visuals, but the types of low-polygon characters that were commonplace on the N64 look really crisp and vibrant in 3D. Plus, Star Fox and Ocarina of Time are two really incredible games that not every modern gamer has had a chance to play. They're both over ten years old now, so today's 12-year-olds may have never even heard of them before. It's pretty exciting to get the chance to re-experience these games alongside a whole new crowd.
Nintendo's second-tier titles (Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario)
Thus far, I've loved every Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Paper Mario game that has been released. Nintendo just won't let them suck. A lot of them aren't much for innovation (I'm looking at you, Animal Crossing), but they're always well made and true to their original concept.
Call of Duty fans don't need a lot to be happy with the next game in the series; new guns, maps, modes and a fresh coat of paint is all they want. Animal Crossing fans are no different. Give us some new fish to catch, holidays to celebrate, stuff to collect, and we're happy. That's what I'm betting we'll get from Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, and Paper Mario on the 3DS -- predictable, reliable, old-faithful fun.
The Ninja Gaiden series got sort of a false start on the DS. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword was a well-crafted game, but it didn't quite work out. Pre-existing Ninja Gaiden fans thought the game was too different (and too bloodless), and non-fans didn't think it was different enough to take notice of. Plus, the modern Ninja Gaiden games heavily rely on graphics as a selling point. Sadly, the DS just wasn't capable of creating visuals that could do the series justice.
From what I've seen, the 3DS could remedy all that. Nintendo's new machine can definitely push out impressive visuals, and with the analog nub, it could supply some traditional Ninja Gaiden gameplay as well. I just hope they don't shy away from an 'M' rating because the game is on a Nintendo console. There are a lot of 18+ gamers that would love to get some Ninja Gaiden gore in 3D.
We only got a 3D tech demo of something Kingdom Hearts-related running on the 3DS, but that's enough to get fans excited. It makes sense for Square Enix to start with a Kingdom Hearts game on the 3DS first, and wait for the console's install base to grow for a year or two before launching a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game on the console.
I'm expecting a new Kingdom Hearts game on the 3DS not long after launch, and I'm expecting it to have quite a few of Disney's 3D movie representatives in-game. Tron, Alice in Wonderland, and the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 4 are all sure bets. We're also sure to see some characters from Final Fantasy XIII, and maybe even someone from Dragon Quest IX.
That's something that Kingdom Hearts lovers can get excited for, and certainly enough to pique the interest of non-fans as well.
Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy
People like Assassin's Creed. They like the historical settings, the acrobatic gameplay, the meta concept, and overall polish that the series provides. The games have a decidedly "Western" feel, and are some of the many titles that Japanese developers cite as influences in their attempts to make their games more palatable to the US market.
Assassin's Creed is also the exact type of game that rarely makes its way onto a Nintendo console. Western publishers have thus far put most of their AAA-budget material on the 360/PS3, leaving the Wii and DS with artsy games and on-rails knock-offs. If Assassin's Creed 3DS is any indication, that trend may be coming to an end. The fact that Assassin's Creed is coming to the 3DS is exciting in itself, but if its release also signals a newfound support from Western publishers for Nintendo consoles, that's even more reason to celebrate.
Metal Gear Solid
Here's another one we don't know a lot about. There was a non-playable demo of some Metal Gear Solid 3-style shenanigans available for some hands-on fun at E3 10, but the "real" Metal Gear game coming to the 3DS has yet to be announced.
Kojima is good at keeping things mysterious, and he's even better at taking forever to finish a game, so it may be a long time before we actually see what he's really got in store for the 3DS. My guess is that it will either be a remake of Metal Gear 1 and 2, a new prequel starring Big Boss, or something involving Raiden. Of course, that's just guesswork, though which guess is right barely matters. Hell, even if it's just a port of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, I'll be happy. Sneaking in 3D is going to rule.
Super Street Fighter 4
Here's another game we don't know much about, but the screens alone have been enough to freak me out. It's Super Street Fighter IV, one of the best fighting games ever made, on a portable console (that has buttons and a D-pad). That's pretty incredible.
That's likely enough for most, but for me, there's a little more to it. As much as I love SSFIV, I'm still a little put off by the game's graphics. They just don't look "drawn" enough for me, unless I keep the ink shader on all characters, always. From initial screenshots, that's how Super Street Fighter IV 3D looks all the time; a more painterly take on the game we already know and love. Combine that with the near-360/PS3-quality graphics, and you have what may be the ultimate iteration of the ultimate modern fighting game.
Let's just hope the game has online play and a few new characters. Personally, I'm rooting for Birdie.
Resident Evil Revelations
I really want to know more about this game. I'm not sure if what we've seen of it so far is "real" or pre-rendered graphics (Capcom claims it's not pre-rendered). I'm not sure how the game is going to play (like RE4 or RE2). I'm not sure what Chris did to get Jill so pissed, either. I also don't really care. This is a new Resident Evil game featuring Jill Valentine, a non-steroids Chris Redfield, and puking zombies.
This is what I wanted Resident Evil 5 to be, at least in theory.
Capcom sort of dropped the ball with Resident Evil 5. It's a great game, but after Resident Evil 4, it just felt a bit redundant. So far, I've got plenty of reason to hope that they'll be making up for that with Resident Evil Revelations. As Jim Sterling would say, the game is like "God pissing jelly beans into my mouth," except swap "God" with "Capcom," and "jelly beans" for "Jill Valentine."
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Nintendo fans have been waiting for this game for years, even decades. A new Kid Icarus from a developer who's yet to make a bad game? It's almost too good to be true. The creator of Kirby and Smash Bros. takes on the character that he pulled from the bottom of Nintendo's trash pile with Smash Bros. Brawl and brings him to the forefront yet again. The results could be astounding.
From what we can see of the gameplay, depth-of-field firefights, huge bosses, and fantastic flight sequences are all major parts of the package. While the game is obviously filled with post-NES action, plenty of enemies and other accouterments from the previous Kid Icarus games show up as well. Done right, Kid Icarus: Uprising could do for Kid Icarus what Ocarina of Time did for Zelda: take the essence of a classic NES series and fuse it with modern technology and game design, creating something legendary in the process.
Honorable mention: Bloodrayne: The Shroud, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, Contra, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, Martha Stewart (hopefully prison-related), Sonic 3DS, Dead or Alive 3D, de Blob 2, Marvel Super Hero Squad Infinity Gauntlet, Tom Clancy