2013 Has Been a Great Year for the 3DS

2013 Has Been a Great Year for the 3DS

If there’s one bad thing about the launch of the next generation consoles this year (as I live in Europe I can keep saying ‘next gen’ ’til the 29th!), it’s that they’ve overshadowed the fantastic year the 3DS has had. Nintendo’s once-doubted hand-held has had a stellar year thanks to a number of strong titles, but the chances are people wouldn’t have  noticed how good 2013 has been for the 3DS. But that’s fine. In fact, its more than fine.

While the hype train for the Xbox One and PS4 rolled into view, the 3DS put up its feet and began to throw out some truly fantastic games from a range of genres and treasured franchises. Hunting monsters, winning court cases, attending to crops and winning wars were just some of the things possible on the 3DS in 2013. It’s truly been a year of variety and quality, something people demanded of the 3DS not that long ago. It’s just a shame most of those demands were made by people who didn’t stick around.

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The likes of Pokemon X/Y and Animal Crossing: New Leaf brought people into the 3DS’ fold. Both titles enticed people into investing long stretches of time into games that didn’t ask too much of their players. An innocence sense of fun, something that most modern games tend to neglect, is what helped both Pokemon and Animal Crossing flourish. Both titles made good use of the 3DS and its online capabilities by creating a social element, resulting in both games encouraging and rewarding players for using online features. Nintendo doesn’t normally get much praise for their online features in their games, but 2013 proved to be the year things started to come together.

The 3DS welcomed a number of classic franchises back into the fold during 2013. Konami’s Castlevania: Lords of Shadow proved to be a well-crafted 2D (or 2.5D, as described by Konami) action title. Its blend of familiar Castlevaina themes and gameplay elements worked well with the fantastic art style and soundtrack present in the game. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D proved to be an utter treat, with its blend of fluid controls and silky smooth gameplay, partnered with a fantastic use of 3D effects, which allowed the game’s exploits to be nothing short of great. Luigi also managed to outshine even his brother with the brilliant Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon. While its controls were a little tricky to get used to, the core game was a well crafted and utterly joyous experience, and remains one of the system’s strongest titles released in 2013.

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While the 3DS had a number of quality games in 2013, the jewel in its crown was undoubtedly Fire Emblem: Awakening. Its depth puts most modern RPGs to shame, and the player’s impact on the game’s events is breath taking. Also, the core gameplay is near flawless. Simply put, Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of 2013′s–and this generation’s–must-play titles. The permanent death feature forced the player into thinking out every move on the battlefield, with there being no such thing as a trivial decision. The interactions between characters created genuine investment into them and their traits both in terms of story and gameplay. The story, the characters, their lives–they’re all what keeps the player compelled to play well,  and there’s no greater motivation.

The 3DS deserves more credit for the strong year it’s had, even more so given the amount of flak it took during its early days. Nintendo’s  3DS looks set to end 2013 on a high note thanks to The legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It’s natural that people’s attention has been captured by the upcoming (or released, depending where you live) next-gen systems. It’s just unfortunate for the 3DS to miss out on some much-deserved praise.

 

Sean Halliday


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