The lights are on
The Nintendo 3DS shook off its shaky launch with the help of a price drop and some high-profile games. The once-troubled handheld is now riding high at retail, with Nintendo announcing worldwide sales of more than 15 million units at the end of 2011. Recently, the 3DS became the fastest selling video game console in Japanese history, eclipsing the 5 million units old mark in only 52 weeks since launch – a milestone it passed earlier in its life than both the Nintendo DS or Game Boy Advance.Given its continued brisk sales, we decided to present this brief primer on the essential 3DS games for readers who have recently purchased or are considering purchasing one. Read on to find out which 3DS games are worth your time and hard-earned dollars. Come back tomorrow for a preview of some of 2012’s most notable upcoming 3DS titles.
Note: There are many downloadable versions of classic Nintendo games available on the 3DS’ eShop. In the interest of brevity, we have not included classic games unless they were significantly retooled for the 3DS.
Super Mario 3D LandAs Nintendo’s flagship franchise, Mario games often define the company’s consoles. Super Mario 3D Land is more than up to the task. It’s not only the best 3DS game to date; it’s a great Mario game.Super Mario 3D Land has a unique place in the Mario canon. It harks back to the original NES games with the classic flagpole-jumping end to each level. However, it has a unique blend of gameplay, from 2D to freeroaming 3D levels. In addition, some novel top-down and isometric sections add a new dimension to the classic Mario gameplay. In many ways, it’s a “greatest hits” of elements from the entire series. It’s also one of the few games to take advantage of the system’s 3D display in a way that’s fundamental to gameplay. You shouldn't play 3D Land with the 3D slider turned all the way down. If you’re thinking of buying a 3DS, this is the first game you should buy.Super Mario 3D Land Review
Resident Evil: RevelationsResident Evil: Revelations is a testament to the fact that many have underestimated the technical power of the system. This Capcom game not only matches the standards set by the recent console iterations in the series, it even surpasses them in some respects.Set between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and starring stalwarts Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, Revelations tells one of the best stories in the series in the style of an episodic television show, complete with cliffhangers between episodes and plot recaps.The gameplay is drawn largely from the well of 4 and 5, but makes some improvements – especially if you have the Circle Pad Pro attachment for the 3DS. With the use of the second analog stick, you can finally move and shoot at the same time! Revelations has a ton of great content, including a deep system of weapon perks and two-player local co-op. This is definitely one of the stars of the 3DS software library.Resident Evil: Revelations Review
Ghost Recon: Shadow WarsUbisoft’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars was virtually ignored during the launch of the 3DS, which is a shame. The game is still one of the best original titles for the system. Instead of doing a butchered version of the usual Ghost Recon gameplay (as it did with Splinter Cell 3D), Ubi wisely created a well-designed real-time strategy title akin to Square’s Front Mission series. Designed by industry veteran Julian Gollop, the creator of the X-COM series, his experience shows in the game's well-made mechanics.While it doesn’t make much of the system’s 3D capabilities, it’s an enjoyable strategy title that balances accessibility and depth. If you’re looking beyond the 3DS blockbusters for a sleeper hit, Shadow Wars should serve you well.Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars Review
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