This E3 was a dismal showing all round for Nintendo. Their much anticipated unveil of their upcoming console, the Wii U, was horribly unfocused and underwhelming overall, and it led to some massive disappointment everywhere. The fact that Nintendo decided to not focus on the 3DS during their E3 showing just to focus on the Wii U, and that the Wii U managed to disappoint after all that, added salt to the wound.
The five minutes that Nintendo did spend on the 3DS were probably the highlight of their conference. Their 3DS Software Showcase held the next day further served to reinforce a suspicion everybody’s been having ever since the 3DS’s meteoric resurgence last year- Nintendo might not have a clue in the handheld market, but in the console market, it goes for the jugular. Even as Sony squandered all this potential to justify the PS Vita’s existence, Nintendo decided to show off a spate of some incredibly strong games due for the 3DS, all this year. And seeing that incredible mix of first and third parties confirmed an assertion that I’ve felt has been correct for quite a while now: the 3DS is now the system to own. With its tumultuous past behind it, and a very bright future ahead of it, here are five reasons why the 3DS is a system you absolutely must own right now.
5. It’s Got a Great Library of Games Already
The 3DS started out with a dismal launch lineup, and it took it months to get going, but as of right now, it has an enviable library, especially for a system as young as it really is right now. Not even counting the remakes such as The Legend of Zeld: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, and Tales of the Abyss 3D, or the console ports like FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer, Super Street Fighter IV, and Sonic Generations, there is still a slew of some absolutely great titles that you should not at any cost miss. From the more low key games like Dead or Alive: Dimensions and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars to the more big name games like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Resident Evil: Revelations, and Kid Icarus: Uprising, the 3DS has no shortage of games right now.
And that’s by just limiting ourselves to retail! On the digital side, Nintendo has abolutely hit it out of the park with the eShop. Games like Colors 3D, Pushmo, Sakura Samurai, Might Switch Force, Mutant Mudds, Ketzal’s Corridors, and Dillon’s Rolling Western to name a few are all some excellent games that are among the best digital games ever created. Some of them, like Pushmo, wouldn’t be out of place as a full priced retail release.
The point is, the 3DS’s massive library right now ensures an overwhelming amount of content for the consumer. At this point, the 3DS literally bombards you with quality content continuously. There is no way it can fall into disuse.
4. Nintendo is Doing Online Gaming Right
With the exception of requiring both people to add each other before they appear in each other’s friends lists, Nintendo has absolutely nailed it with the 3DS’s online offerings. The newly branded Nintendo Network is a great step up from Nintendo’s previous online gaming services, and Nintendo is making a push to incorporate online support in every game it ships right now.
Not only that, Nintendo is also trailblazing with some really innovative features when it comes to online gaming: the communities feature introduced first in Mario Kart 7 (and then also utilized in Mario Tennis) is probably the closest a console game has ever come to PC servers and dedicated lobbies.
In fact, as of right now, Nintendo is probably making for a bigger push of online gaming on the 3DS than Sony is on the Vita. Every major Nintendo game, from Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Mario Tennis, and Resident Evil: Revelations, shipped with Nintendo Network support, and future games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 are also confirmed to support the functionality. Contrast this with Sony, which seems to be actively axing online modes from its big PS Vita games- Uncharted: Golden Abyss and ModNation Racers come to mind immediately- and it’s apparent that if online gaming on the go is what you want, the 3DS is your ticket. Kind of ironic, really, all things considered.
3. The eShop Is Awesome (And Getting Better)
We already touched on this in the first point, but the eShop is absolutely awesome. Nintendo has learned from the dismal failures of DSiWare and WiiWare, and the eShop is absolutely incredible, at least where it matters- content. There is a wide variety of content already listed up there as 3DS exclusive games available only on the eShop that you absolutely need to own. And that’s not even half the story told.
The eShop is also hope exclusively to Virtual Console content (meaning all Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Game Gear, NES, and- exclusively for Ambassadors- Gameboy Advance games, are available only via the eShop), the 3D Classics range of games, which includes old greats like Kirby’s Adventure and Kid Icarus remastered in stereoscopic 3D, the complete range of DSiWare games (which are mostly crap, but feature a few gems), and not to mention, demos, apps and media functionality, such as exclusive trailers and videos, and Netflix, Hulu, SwapNote, and more.
The eShop’s utility doesn’t just end there. Nintendo has announced a plan to go fully digital with all its games in the future Starting with the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. 2, every single first party game will be released simultaneously on the eShop in full, alongside retail. One has to imagine that old Nintendo 3DS games will also be put on the eShop in time, and that third parties will quickly follow suit. If going fully digital is your thing, then the 3DS has you covered there too.
2. Nintendo’s Own Support For It Is Incredible
Nintendo’s extent of support for the Wii U is iffy at best- Pikmin 3 and New Super Mario Bros U are great and all, but when your headlining titles are Wii Fit U and Nintendo Land, you’ve gotta wonder why you are buying the thing at all. The 3DS, on the other hand, is flooded with quality Nintendo content already, with more on its way. Almost every classic Nintendo franchise has either made its way to the 3DS, or will be there soon enough.
I mean, in the coming months, we’re due for Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Animal Crossing, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Fire Emblem Awakening, and this is to say nothing of the inevitable Zelda and Metroid games, in addition to the often rumored F-Zero and Donkey Kong games as well. Nintendo has thrown the weight of all the world’s greatest development studios into making the 3DS an absolute success.
Of course, this is to say nothing of the inevitable Pokemon 3DS game. You know it’s coming, I know it’s coming, we all know it’s coming. In our hearts, I suspect it is probably the primary reason we all bought the 3DS in the first place.
1. Third Parties Are On Board Fully
The 3DS’s unveiling at E3 2010 took the world by storm. Nintendo’s successor to the DS impressed everybody not only because of its impressive tech wizardry and the quality of upcoming Nintendo games, but also because of the sheer extent of third pary support that was announced for the thing. Everyone seemed to be on board, and franchises ranging from Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and Assassin’s Creed were all due to get 3DS exclusive games. Some of those games, like Saint’s Row and Assassin’s Creed, were ultimately canceled, but no matter- the ones that did make it, like Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Dead or Alive, Tom Clancy, Street Fighter, Professor Layton, or Kingdom Hearts, were all great. And with more games in popular franchises, like Castlevania, Epic Mickey, Scribblenauts, Heroes of Ruin, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, and more, all due for the plucky little handheld, it’s clear the 3DS will never have a shortage of games to play, and that, even if you don’t care for Nintendo games all that much, it’s still a system to own.
And that’s the thing- more than ever before, third parties seem to be on board with Nintendo for the 3DS. Nintendo’s handhelds have always had a history of some incredible third party support, especially the GBA and the DS, but the 3DS seems set to surpass them all already. The fact that there are more third parties expressing interest in, and showing games in development for, the 3DS than either the Vita or the Wii U, speaks wonders. Third parties are fully confident in the prospects of the system, and they are going to back it fully. You should too, because otherwise, you’re gonna be missing one hell of a party.