2013 ends with Zelda, Pokemon, and more.
The end of 2013 wasn’t exactly stacked for 3DS, but it was certainly impactful. October kicked off with a brand new form factor: the Nintendo 2DS. The peculiar and slightly baffling “door wedge” design that removed the eponymous stereoscopic 3D came out alongside Pokemon X and Y, the first new mainline Pokemon games on the system. Even as we’re on the verge of the New 2DS XL maybe being the perfect system for the future of 3DS games, the 2DS is still a weird oddity.
The final three months of 2013 feel more like the last gasps of a masterful year for the system, filled with a consistent stream of quality games kicking off with Fire Emblem Awakening. Those gasps were great, though, as Pokemon X and Y were fun and bold new entries in the Pokemon series and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds managed to make a somewhat direct sequel to Link to the Past that mostly lived up to the SNES classic’s mastery. Even the 3DS guide to the Louvre was awesome for what it was. Sure - maybe that Mario Party game was subpar, but our reviewer loved it so different strokes, ya know?
Sega might be the strongest publisher next to Nintendo in this focused era, mostly on the strength of the debut of Sega’s lovingly crafted 3D classic releases. These kicked off in late November with Space Harrier and Super Hang-On, continuing into December with the first Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin, Streets of Rage, and more. These fabulous works of emulation by the wizards at M2 offered a variety of ways to play with a mixture of arcade and Genesis classics.
Other Japanese third parties continued to bring the thunder as well, with Atlus releasing their second Etrian game of the year with the remake Etrian Odyssey Untold. XSEED brought the acclaimed Rune Factory 4 as well as the scantily clad beat-’em-up Senran Kagura Burst. Phoenix Wright even returned, to the eShop only, with the long-awaited fifth main entry, subtitled Dual Destinies.
The lone Western third-party releases were of mixed quality, though it’s always welcome to see some of the remnants of the team that made Metroid Prime revisit Metroid-style gameplay, even if the result was the just-simply-okay Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate.
And that’s basically the end of 2013, the end of a solid year for the 3DS. The future seemed bright, but the sales of the system started to dip beginning in 2014, which could have been partially because of the general Nintendo malaise in the wake of the repeated swings-and-misses with the Wii U.
While some have come down hard on A Link Between Worlds over the years, it’s one of my personal favorite Zelda games. It’s totally worth going back to for a replay or a first play.
I can’t speak personally to the quality of Rune Factory 4 and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, but I have heard good things from fans of the series. I actually own Dual Destinies but have yet to play it. I replayed the Ace Attorney Trilogy on 3DS instead. Etrian Odyssey Untold is likely my least favorite entry in the series on 3DS, but across the board, the Etrian games rule, so maybe check it out still.
Pokemon X and Y were, in my eyes, thoroughly bested by Pokemon Sun and Moon. I enjoyed X and Y at that time, but upon reflection, I think it might be one of my least favorite Pokemon generations and duos.
From the batch of Sega 3D classics, I recommend all of them because the emulation is good, but if I had to pick some exemplary ones, I’d go with 3D Streets of Rage (that soundtrack!), 3D Shinobi III (a late Genesis gem), and 3D Galaxy Force II (awesome Star Fox-esque space shooter).
Lastly, I actually think the Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre is super novel, especially if you find yourself going to the Louvre.
Neal’s Top 15 3DS Games
- Fire Emblem Awakening (February 2013)
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf (June 2013)
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (November 2013)
- Super Mario 3D Land (November 2011)
- Kid Icarus: Uprising (March 2012)
- Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (March 2013)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (June 2011)
- Pushmo (December 2011)
- Mutant Mudds (January 2012)
- Shin Megami Tensei IV (July 2013)
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (July 2012)
- Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (February 2013)
- SteamWorld Dig (August 2013)
- Pokemon X and Y (October 2013)
- Crashmo (November 2012)