Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Developer: Nintendo, Next Level Games
How was Nintendo’s performance in the handheld market this year?
The 3DS entered 2012 all guns blazing, having just received a price cut, the result of which was a massive boost in sales, and it’s library finally starting to bolster with the likes of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. And with so many games already announced for the new system in 2012, it looked like Nintendo’s new handheld was going to have a good 12 months ahead of itself.
And it did- it did have a pretty good year, receiving some really, really good titles, with devs also announcing other huge games for the system to be released in the near future.
But what exactly were the highlights of the year for the 3DS? Let’s take a look.
One of the most anticipated games for the system, and maybe ever in Nintendo’s history as a company, started off the 3DS’ strong year in March. Kid Icarus: Uprising had been a long time coming, and by the end, none of us really expected it to be even remotely good. But when it did come out, it blew us all away with its addictive, exciting gameplay and witty, intelligent writing. It became one of the only three games to receive a 10/10 from us this year, and our reviewer even called it the greatest handheld ever, which it arguably is.
Another game that everyone had been really looking forward to for a long time that came a few weeks before Kid Icarus did was Resident Evil: Revelations, an excellent survival horror game that got unjustly swept under the run due to the hype that its console brethren were generating. It’s pretty odd, because Revelations was a hundred times better and scarier than Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6 were put together.
“Sorry to keep you waiting!” It’s quite alright, Pit.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance also impressed early on with its impressive visuals and an excellent and varied combat system. It wasn’t Kingdom Hearts 3, but it was a damn good addition to the franchise nonetheless.
Metal Gear Solid 3D and Tales of the Abyss were two more games that everyone had been looking forward to for some time, and when they came, they did not disappoint. Though both weren’t really new games, rather remakes/re-releases of old classics, we all had an immense amount of fun with them.
There were other notable releases for the system throughout the year than kept the library going- Rayman Origins, Heroes of Ruin, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, Rhythm Thief. And then there were eShop titles such as Mutant Mudds, Crush 3D, Crashmo and others.
Then came the big titles- first, there was New Super Mario Bros. 2. It was a 2D side-scrolling Mario platformer with an excellent premise, and it couldn’t really go wrong. And it did not. While certainly not as good as the DS or Wii NSMB games, it was still a blast to play through, and the perfect Mario dosage for the 3DS. For the time being.
Then there was Pokemon Black/White 2. Sure, it’s actually a DS game, but the system didn’t get enough games to do an entire separate article for it. Black/White 2, while really good games, failed to offer the change up to the formula that we all wanted, and also failed to live up to the excellent titles that were Black and White. We all want a real, 3D Pokemon game, and Black and White 2 just served the purpose of a stopgap.
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward turned out to be a surprisingly good game. None of us was really expecting this game to serve any kind of impact, but it turned out to be one of the better games to have been released on any system in recent memory and one of the best RPGs to have been released in 2012.
Heading into 2013, we’ve got even more stuff to be excited about. Nintendo’s announced games such as Fire Emblem: Awakening, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow- Mirror of Fate heading our way right at the beginning of the year.
Other heavyweights such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, LEGO City Undercover, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon have been confirmed too, and it’s only safe to assume that we’ll also be getting another annual Professor Layton installment.
Nintendo has also confirmed that Pokemon Myster Dungeon: Gates to Infinity will also be releasing in the US next year in March after its 3DS exclusive release in Japan this year. And there’s also been talks of an entirely new Zelda game- that Nintendo has confirmed to be in development- also releasing this year. Or possibly a Majora’s Mask remake, which has been going around the rumour mill for months now. Or maybe both. Hopefully!
All in all, it looks like the 3DS has a bright future, and that it’s getting only stronger and stronger with each new year. 2011 served to be the building year for the 3DS, and we got treated to plenty of great titles this year. And now it looks like this trend will continue for next year too. Let’s see if Nintendo performs as strongly in the handheld market as it always has.
Overall Performance: A-