It wasn’t long after the list was originally posted that some of the highest-profile Nintendo 3DS games of 2013 finally launched. The task of picking and choosing the best titles became far more challenging toward the end of the year, when I started thinking about revising my original Top 10 list.
Admittedly, 2014 has been slightly less consistent for 3DS games, but there have still been a few excellent new releases. Indeed, the library of “must-own” 3DS titles continues to expand.
With all of that in mind, check out the ‘revised’ Top 10 list after the break – there are several newer titles that earned a rightful place among the elites of the Nintendo 3DS.
This November, Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire will revisit the Hoenn region and the Third Generation Pokemon games, Ruby & Sapphire.
We already know that there will be new Mega Evolutions; specifically new forms of Sceptile, Swampert, and Diancie have been revealed. There will also be some kind of “Ancient Devolution” form of the legendary monsters Groudon and Kyogre, but further details are unknown.
Granted, there were several “Megas” for Hoenn-based Pokemon introduced in Pokemon X & Y - Manectric, Mawile, and Blaziken to name a few – but I would like to see more in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
Keep reading after the jump for my short list of most-wanted Mega Evolutions based in the Hoenn area, complete with some nifty / hilarious “Fakemon” results, courtesy of Google Image Search. Continue reading →
The worldwide launch of Pokemon X & Pokemon Y is upon us; at midnight tonight I will finally be getting my hands on my very own copy of Pokemon Y and jumping right into the sixth generation of the series. I do not plan on sleeping much over the next few days, as there are greater things to do – like playing my most-anticipated game of 2013, bar none.
Just before we all get into our individual adventures in the Kalos Region, I would like to share some of the Pokemon I am the most excited to catch and use in battle in X & Y – these are not necessarily the creatures that I think will be the strongest for competitive play, but they are definitely personal favorites that I am thrilled to see in the game. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! If you do not want to spoil any of the new Pokemon for yourself, do not continue reading after the break!
With the upcoming release of Pokemon X & Pokemon Y, fans of the series will experience a brand-new feature called “Mega Evolution”, which powers up specific Pokemon in the middle of battle and grants them new Abilities, new Type combinations, and more.
There are already several Mega Evolutions we know about – MegaMewtwo, MegaLucario, MegaBlaziken, MegaMawhile, MegaAbsol, MegaAmpharos, and MegaKangaskhan – but the full extent of the new feature has yet to be revealed.
How many Mega Evolutions will we find in Pokemon X & Y? We can only guess until the release on October 12; that being said, here are five of the first-generation Pokemon I’d most like to see with a new Mega Evolution in the upcoming games:
3DStination.com discusses how the role-playing genre has flourished and become one of the stronger points for the Nintendo 3DS; particularly in 2013, where the latest RPGs have arguably established themselves as some of the best 3DS games to date. Continue reading →
Now that E3 and the big Nintendo Direct presentations are behind us, so many details about what’s ahead of us have been revealed: information about the upcoming Link to the Past sequel (A Link Between Worlds), big games for 2014 such as Yoshi’s New Island and Super Smash Bros., and more about the next generation of Pokemon - Pokemon X & Y. It was an exciting time for us all, as 3DS owners – no doubt.
With the exception of the 2014 releases, I would like to go over some of the Nintendo 3DS games that I am looking forward to the most this year. Continue reading →
Over the span of time I’ve been posting on 3DStination.com, I have compiled two different lists of the five best Nintendo eShop games to date (which you can see here and here), but I have said nothing about my ten favorite retail releases. I’d like to change that now.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy to narrow my “best of” selections to just ten. In the two years the 3DS has been available, there have been more than two dozen games that I’d personally recommend purchasing to almost any player.
Regardless, here are my ten favorites – keep in mind, many of these are personal picks/based on my 3DStination review scores, but others have been selected for different reasons:
Last June – roughly one year after the Nintendo eShop was launched – I published a list article called “Top 5 Nintendo eShop Downloads”, picking the five digital titles I enjoyed the most in the service’s first full year.
Now, not quite a year later, the Nintendo eShop has evolved into a whole new beast – dozens of great games are available, from the all-new 3D-enhanced titles to the Virtual Console library and more.
To be honest, I don’t even think Xbox Live Arcade experienced such quick success. Though it hasn’t been two full years since the eShop launched, I would like to go ahead and publish my follow-up list; “Top 5 Nintendo eShop Downloads (Part 2)”. Continue reading →
I was discussing Pokemon with my roommate and some buddies, as I often find myself doing. We got to comparing the five past generations, and I thought it would be a great idea to break down my favorites in terms of the “starter” Pokemon.
Editor’s Note: Just before the start of each month, I will “look ahead” at the upcoming games that are slated for release; then, taking into account the general level of anticipation and the “buzz” within the media, I will select a handful of titles (two to four) that could be worth checking out when launch day finally comes around. Every month, this column will pinpoint the “cream of the crop”, so to speak – just keep your eyes peeled for the games mentioned here!
For whatever reason, each year it seems the major publishers in the gaming industry are more and more hell-bent on bringing forth an onslaught of blockbusters in a two-week time span. This insane rush of “AAA” titles and unexpected surprises generally comes between the start and middle of November.
To say the least, 2012 isn’t playing by special rules…so I hope your wallet is prepared.
If you’re a console player, big stuff like Halo 4, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale & the Wii U launch are probably on your mind. If you’re a 3DS owner, this is well and good, because the November release calendar was gutted like a fish over the past few weeks. “AAA” titles such as Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate and Animal Crossing: Jump Out were all set back to “2013″, along with Fire Emblem: Awakening.
There are still some pretty sweet new titles headed to both the eShop and retailers over the next few weeks, and as always, 3DStination would like to focus your attention on the following games as we look ahead at November 2012:
Paper Mario: Sticker Star (11/11)
I hate to sound like a “Daisy Downer” (har har), but Mario Tennis Open and New Super Mario Bros. 2 left me wanting more from my favorite Italian plumber, and I’ve ultimately spent most of the year looking forward to Paper Mario: Sticker Star, hoping for better results. After all, the Paper Mario franchise has always been held to a high standard, and Sticker Star has managed to impress with its apparently brilliant use of the 3D effects and the various gimmicks of the handheld.
I think Sticker Star will prove to be one of the 3DS’s top games of 2012, introducing some of the most clever mechanics seen on the handheld to date. I could be wrong, but if the following footage has anything to prove, Paper Mario will be in top shape when it launches in a few weeks:
Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion (11/18)
The 3DS installment of Epic Mickey, Power of Illusion, has been another highly-anticipated game since its appearance at this summer’s E3 showcase. Where Paper Mario looks to use the 3D effects of the system to go in new directions with its gameplay, Epic Mickey looks like a throwback to the Genesis era of platformers. Its lush 2D visuals and detailed sprites are just part of the charm; apparently the game design is brutally tough and reminiscent of classic side-scrollers.
I hope this one ends up being a big success when it launches in the middle of November; until then, I look forward to playing the upcoming demo version whenever it finally appears on the Nintendo eShop. Check out the footage below to see how this one looks for yourself:
Scribblenauts Unlimited (11/18)
Over the past month or so I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more intrigued by Scribblenauts Unlimited; I can’t really put my finger on a reason, but I can say that I think it looks gorgeous, and I am hoping to see the controls perform better than the original Scribblenauts on the NDS. That’s my only experience with the series, but there is a pretty good chance that I’ll cave in and check out Unlimited when it launches on the 18th – too bad 3DS owners don’t get a chance to play with the characters from Super Mario Bros. or Legend of Zelda, recently revealed as exclusives for the Wii U version. Bummer! Check out the trailer below to see the game for yourself:
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (11/20)
So, this one’s a bit of a bummer: not including Sega’s original confirmation about the 3DS port of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, there doesn’t seem to be a single trace of information, any screenshots, gameplay footage (trailers or off-screen) or otherwise…anywhere on the Internet. Believe me, I’ve looked for anything I could find over the past several months – I’m not even really sure why I am so intrigued by this kart racer, but I’ve followed it as closely as I followed Mario Kart 7 in 2011. I admit that I don’t exactly expect Sonic to out-pace MK7, but I would at least hope that Sega could keep up the pace.
With that in mind: I want a solid roster of characters, a nice selection of tracks, local & online multiplayer features, and most importantly…the fewest possible shortcuts in order to make it all happen on the hardware, just as well as the console versions. That might be a lofty expectation, but I really don’t think it’s completely unfair. The 3D effect is a natural fit for the racing genre, so if done well, I really feel like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed could be optimized on the 3DS, rather than slipping behind as a “lesser port” of the big console version.
For now, I’m looking forward to the demo version that was promised during one of the recent Nintendo Direct broadcasts. Unfortunately, there’s no trailer featuring the 3DS version, so I’ll skip to the last of November’s notable releases:
Crashmo [*eShop] (11/22)
I was definitely charmed by Pushmo, one of the eShop’s earliest games to draw in a lot of positive remarks from a majority of critics. The sequel, Crashmo, looks to expand a great deal on the gameplay from the original: now players can move around in full 3D, combining the push/pull mechanics and 3D effect to solve the dozens (possibly hundreds) of puzzles found in the game.
Crashmo apparently features the same QR-based level editor, so fans of the original Pushmo can get straight to creating their own custom stages and puzzles. Check out the trailer below, and stay tuned for this one to appear on the eShop on the 22nd:
There are a few more games coming out in November; these may not be completely outstanding on paper, but you never know what to expect these days:
-Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations Alive! (11/5)
-Pokedex 3D Pro [*eShop] (11/8)
-Ninja Gaiden [*eShop/Virtual Console] (11/8)
-Zelda II: The Adventure of Link [*eShop/Virtual Console] (11/22)
To many of you, waking up this morning was no big deal – just another lazy October Sunday; another perfect excuse to kick back, enjoy some football and drain a few beers. Congrats; you’re the “normal” people, at least on this particular Sunday.
For die-hard Pokemon fans such as myself, this Sunday – October 7 – has been marked on the calendar for months. It’s “Pokemon Sunday” – the only Sunday I ever look forward to, regardless of the occasion, and possibly the most anticipated day of 2012 for countless Pokemaniacs. The reason, of course, is the North American launch of the latest installment(s) – Pokemon Black 2 & Pokemon White 2.
Personally, I already had my copy of White 2 paid off at the local GameStop; I even had a copy of Black 2 on pre-order for my girlfriend, Deanna. On any other normal “Pokemon Sunday”, I would have made the trip to the mall – which opens later than usual – at noon, picked up my game, and spent the rest of the afternoon in nirvana. Unfortunately, due to some other obligations on this very afternoon, picking up my pre-ordered versions was impossible. Therefore, I made a mad dash to the local Walmart at midnight last night just to make sure I got my hands on the games at the first possible chance.
(After all, there was no way in hell I was riding in a car for 2 hours without the brand-new Pokemon game to entertain me.)
So, aside from splitting my attention to the necessary obligations throughout the day, I spent this entire Sunday morning, afternoon & evening exploring the all-new areas, checking out the new game mechanics, and diving into the massively expanded “regional Pokedex” featured in the brand-new Pokemon sequels.
I’ll make my general comments quick, with bullet points and a quick comment about each topic:
The Unova Region, RediscoveredOne of the most exciting parts of the original Black & White versions was exploring the all-new Unova region for the first time, catching the regional monsters that you’d never encountered before, learning new battle strategies, and forming new teams of Pokemon that both forced you to take a newer approach and also build Pokemon with more depth than in previous installments.This time around, you start the adventure in Aspertia City – a new location based in western Unova, in an area that was inaccessible in the original Black & White versions. The new hero & rival characters fill their roles well, but I was surprisingly intrigued by the references to the plotline in the original games – Black 2 & White 2 are definitely sequels, and play the part very well.
In particular, Aspertia City is easily the largest “hometown” in any Pokemon title to date. The lookout scene (pictured above) is simply stunning, speaking in relation to Pokemon series standards. The Virbank City Gym (based on the Poison-Type) is one of the coolest I’ve seen so far; it’s based around a grungy rock/metal music venue, with the Gym’s trailers & leader making up the band playing on-stage. They even sing out “P-O-K-E-M-O-N” as they play. Nice touch! Finally, I’m not too far through the plot – I just found HM01 (Cut) and am approaching my third badge – but already I can see how the series’ exploration factor is fully intact. I have only discovered a handful of areas, but I have spotted secret paths or inaccesible spots to revisit once I’ve found the proper HM/TM abilities.
The Expanded PokedexIf Black 2 & White 2′s sole enhancements were the expanded regional Pokedex, I would still be impressed enough as a dedicated fan of the series – the idea of having more of the unique critters to collect, train & battle is certainly exciting, but with all the new moves and abilities that have been introduced over the last few generations, you’d be surprised how fresh and interesting the classic Pokemon start to feel.In addition to all 150 of the “fifth-gen” Pokemon that were found in the original Black & White versions, the sequels have doubled the number to 300, and boast species from all five generations right from the start of the game. There are some old favorites – Riolu/Lucario, Growlithe/Arcanine, the Magmar & Electabuzz families and even powerful beasts like Tyranitar, Metagross & Slaking.Basically, the result is that each area of the game seems to feature more variety and more unique creatures to capture, leading to a greater sense of reward for…well, “catching ‘em all”. There may be more to worry about from the get-go, but I legitimately feel motivated to complete the entire Pokedex, just as I did with my original Pokemon White version just a few months ago.
The Current TeamAs a seasoned Pokemon player, it’s pretty boring to stick to the same team of Pokemon throughout each “New Game”, particularly in a brand-new installment of the franchise. Since I picked up Platinum several years ago, I have held myself to a pretty strict personal requirement: think outside of the box, and try new things at every opportunity. This has ultimately given me a whole new enjoyment of the games and exploring the entire Pokedex, from #000 – #649.
In White 2, I decided to choose Oshawott as my starter Pokemon. Basically, I chose Snivy in the original White version, and found that I had never been so disappointed with a starter Pokemon before. Tepig seemed like an interesting choice, but Black 2 & White 2 actually feature more of the best Fire-type Pokemon from the entire franchise…thus negating the need to choose a Fire-type starter. Anyway, I nicknamed the little guy (or, in this case, little girl) “Wotter”, a popular choice for the creature’s original name before Black & White were released.
I quickly picked up every single Pokemon I encountered along the way, just for the sake of filling out that damn Pokedex. As always, the Normal-types barrage you at the beginning of the game (Patrat, Lillipup), but it doesn’t take long for the sequels to mix things up. With the expanded Pokedex, each area is brimming with various types of monsters, so it doesn’t take long to encounter a full team of monsters that cover a wide range of the different elemental types.
Anyway, my second Pokemon was technically Genesect – I received the “Mystery Gift” voucher for free in my copy of White 2 – but I quickly stored it in the PC, and caught myself a Mareep. I enjoy Electric-types, and Ampharos is a personal favorite from the second generation. It wasn’t long before I found a few more creatures (Sunkern, Sewaddle, Pidove), but the third Pokemon on my “team” was Riolu – who turned out to be quite an elusive bastard, at least in my experience.
You see, one of the very early areas in Black 2 & White 2 features wild Riolu, which evolves into the very powerful and very badass Lucario. Unfortunately, I spent hours trying to find a Riolu before realizing that it really only appears during the daytime. After grinding experience for what seemed like a big waste of time, I finally caught a Riolu and trained it to the highest level of any current team member. Unfortunately, it still hasn’t evolved into Lucario – I’m waiting to continue training it until the morning, as it only evolves during the day (and only if its “Friendship” rating is full…shenanigans).
I also plan to train a Growlithe and use a Fire Stone to unleash the Fire-type monster that is Arcanine. Finally, I’ve got an Elekid – I’ll be damned if I don’t end the game with a pretty badass Electivire.
The ‘Lame Little Let-Downs’
First of all, the Pokemon Movie Studio distraction/side-quest is something I was more or less dreading before Black 2 & White 2 came out – and the expectations weren’t far from the results. Out of all the stupid distractions in Pokemon history, making movies isn’t as bad of a concept as the freaking beauty contests from generations past; on the other hand, the introduction to this entire part of the game overstays its welcome and feels like a really big chore, just as you’re moving on from earning your second badge. I don’t totally hate the movie idea – it’s not difficult to figure out, but it doesn’t really make sense. If Castelia City is based on New York City, why not put an emphasis on Broadway-style plays rather than Hollywood-style film productions? Just a thought.
Moving on, this is where my little Pokemon blog might sound dreary…fear not, the sequels are no less entertaining due to their release on the original DS format, but there were more than a dozen instances in my first five or six hours of play that I suddenly wished Black 2 & White 2 were designed for the 3DS. The graphics? The music? Definitely a step up; the tunes are catchy as always, but sound better and seem to be more intricate & complex than the tracks from past games. Additionally, the animations are smoother and feature more frames in general, not to mention the battle scenes have a bit more detail and the environment effects really dazzle compared to past games.
On the other hand, how much better could this entire experience have looked if it were designed for the 3DS? The “what if’s” are merely for speculation, not criticism – I love these games, but even with the passion for Pokemon, I can honestly admit that I would have been at least ten times as impressed with the production values if the sequels were just not featured on the old hardware.
It is likely that these criticisms could be copied and pasted into my final review of Pokemon Black 2 & White 2; whatever the case, these are some of the biggest problems I’ve encountered in almost a dozen hours of gameplay. To be completely honest, I’ve been having nothing but a blast playing the game – my girlfriend feels the same about Black 2, and has even invested herself into the Pokemon Dream Radar app on the Nintendo eShop. In fact, just this evening she captured the “Therian Form” of Tornadus, the legendary Flying-type “genie” Pokemon. I haven’t checked it out yet myself, but I look forward to seeing how it works, and I definitely want to get some of those sweet-looking “Therian” versions of the legendary genie Pokemon.