Nintendo 3DS Games Roundup - Japanese Launch

We offer up our thoughts on the eight launch titles arriving alongside the 3DS in Japan.

Nintendo's 3DS Japanese launch on February 26 has seen the highly anticipated handheld hit the streets of Tokyo with a suite of eight titles. While the Japanese launch lineup is 10 titles short of the 18 slated for release at the US launch on March 27, it offers a diverse set of experiences. We picked up the whole launch lineup to see how it has come together and how it showcases Nintendo’s new handheld.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Capcom’s portable brawler is one of the highest profile titles available for the new 3D platform. The game has made a smooth transition to Nintendo’s handheld, offering the full suite of content seen in the console game, right down to the online multiplayer, as well as new modes and features exclusive to the 3DS. The game’s visuals are impressive, carrying over almost all of its console cousin’s fidelity, but they lack the animated backgrounds and some effects. In addition, the game’s frame rate does take a hit when 3D is enabled, but thankfully, gameplay isn’t really affected too noticeably. The 3D effect works well and the controls are responsive, although, as we noticed previously, it’s possible to shift the 3DS out of the optimal 3D viewing angle during gameplay. The touch-panel control shortcuts work well and aren’t too disruptive if you choose to rely on them. In terms of exclusive 3DS modes, Super Street Fighter IV features a 3D battle mode that moves the viewing angle to just behind your fighter’s shoulder and a figurine battle that ties in with the Nintendo 3DS’s Street Pass online feature that allows you to connect to other 3DSs while on the go. Overall, we’re pleased with how Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition has turned out; it offers a solid portable Street Fighter experience and a strong showcase for the Nintendo 3DS’s capabilities.

Professor Layton and the Mask of the Miracle

Layton and Luke have gone 3D in more ways than one here, as the pair of puzzle-solvers has moved from 2D sprites to fully cel-shaded 3D models to take advantage of the hardware's new visual effects--and it's a transition that looks really good. Beyond that, you can also go into a sort of first-person mode while sniffing out potential puzzles in each village. You're still tapping on static backdrops looking for a red exclamation mark to appear, though now it's a more visually extravagant process. The audio seems substantially improved as well, with less of a repetitive MIDI jingle from previous games and more of a rich soundtrack to set the stage for the mystery that's sure to unfold.

Puzzle Bobble 3D

Square Enix’s single-player puzzler brings everyone’s favorite bubble-popping dinos Bub and Bob to the 3DS in a retro puzzler with 3D flourishes. The game is a single-player experience that lacks any online connectivity, including Street Pass. The game features two modes, Puzzle and Challenge, which focus on the Puzzle Bobble fundamentals of matching three bubbles of the same color to clear a board before time runs out. The new wrinkle on the formula in Puzzle Bobble 3D is that you’ll need to collect keys to free your dino buddies from captivity. The game’s graphics don’t tax the hardware with their clean and simple designs. The 3D elements to the visuals are subtle with elements of the main playfield and background giving a sense of depth, but we haven’t come across anything too flashy. As launch titles go, Puzzle Bobble is one of the more modest offerings for the 3DS at launch; the game is certainly fun, but it doesn’t do much to showcase what the hardware can do.

Nintendogs and Cats

We put our 3DS into sleep mode and tested out the game's pedometer function. After strolling around Tokyo for a bit, we came back to our hotel to find a happy dog who looked thoroughly pleased to have just gone for a walk. The dogs themselves look pretty nice, as well. The 3D effect isn't terribly pronounced in this game, though your puppy is shown in much better detail than in the original Nintendogs, which immediately helps to form a closer bond with the virtual pup.

Winning Eleven 3D Soccer

Here's a game that's pretty madly in love with its own visuals because when you start up a match, you're treated to several minutes' worth of shots of the players taking to the field and getting ready for the game. But it's not without reason: Winning Eleven for the 3DS looks great, with detailed player models that are instantly recognizable to their real-life counterparts. Playing a game from the standard camera angle produces a very subtle 3D effect, and it's not until you jump into the extensive instant replay option and zoom in on the players that you can really get a sense of people popping off the grass field. As for how the game plays, you'll find a pretty good game of soccer here, and the analog slider helps you move about the pitch with much more ease than the D pad.

Sengoku Musou Chronicle

Tecmo Koei Games’ 3DS launch offering is another entry in its long-running Sengoku Musou series, which is Dynasty Warriors to the US. The third-person historical brawler mixes up the franchise formula a bit and lets you import yourself into the adventure. You’ll be able to choose a male or female character you can customize by entering a name and answering a variety of different questions. The game is big on narrative and has a lengthy, voiced buildup before handing control over to players. Once you get control, the game plays like a Dynasty Warriors game and has you hacking and slashing at mobs of enemies. You’ll have regular and special attacks that you can combo together to take out the enemies that come rushing at you. The visuals are close to par with the console games, with a subtle 3D effect that translates into a sense of depth as opposed to anything more dramatic than random elements flying at your face. The end result is pretty subtle, especially in the many wide open areas we’ve seen in the early levels of the game. While Sengoku Musou Chronicle looks and feels familiar, the 3D effect and Street Pass connectivity support allow the game to showcase some key features of the new hardware.

Ridge Racer 3D

Namco’s 3DS entry in its venerable racing franchise serves up a dense offering of content that appears to be on par with its console efforts. The game features a robust single-player mode that offers a variety of modes, ranging from Time Attack to Grand Prix, as well as multiplayer modes and Street Pass support. The game lets you personalize your experience by using a Mii or a photo of yourself for a virtual license that will track your progress in the game. The multiplayer options are interesting and have the potential to keep players coming back to the game; we just haven’t tried them enough yet. The visuals aren’t as sharp as we were hoping, especially in light of the graphical muscle displayed in some of the other launch titles, but the game moves well most of the time. The frame rate is a little twitchy in places, and the level of detail isn’t where we were hoping to see it. The 3D effect is mostly subtle throughout the game, although you’ll hit points on the track where confetti will fly at the screen, which is enhanced by the system’s 3D capabilities. Ridge Racer 3D appears to be a solid launch title that’s a decent showcase for the 3DS hardware, even though it’s a little rough around the edges.

Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D

Dinosaurs 3D is a game that forms an odd first impression, as the keyboard you use to enter your gladiator dino's name does not support touch input; you have to use the D pad to enter letters. That misstep aside, what follows seems like a pretty authentic look into the nasty, brutish, and short life of a dinosaur. Like a real dino, you have a light attack and a heavy attack, and you just sort of spend your time pounding the crap out of other dinosaurs. Also, you collect sticks from the ground and try not to get killed by a meteor. As for how the game looks, it's actually a rather impressive game. Highly detailed environments and believably detailed dinosaurs really stand out from the backdrop. There tend to be a lot of visual flourishes during fights, though, and that led to us getting pretty dizzy after a short while with the 3D slider turned all the way up.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

40 comments
Magic_Panda92
Magic_Panda92

I'm waiting til mid April to hopefully have more game bundles :D

Skithien
Skithien

Omg, only 5 days, and 3 minuets to go!!

UNDEADxSPARTAN
UNDEADxSPARTAN

@taddia Yeah im waiting for ocarina of time too and also resident evil but im still getting the 3ds on the release date

taddia
taddia

im getting streetfighter 4 at day one with blue 3ds, and then maybe nintendogs, but im rlly waiting and looking forward to ocarina of time and kid icarus :Q_

VirtualTofu
VirtualTofu

Man, the lineup is so lackluster. Only 4 titles interest me (Madden, SSFIV, Asphalt, and Ridge Racer), but I only ordered SSFIV (which I already bought twice before), as I know it will be a good title and offers more playablility than the other games. Frankly, I want to see the following: TurboGrafx titles compatible with VC without a second purchase, Space Ace 2, Virtual Boy titles in 3D, Panzer Dragoon 3D, Nights 3D, Sonic R 3D, Metroid Prime: Hunters 2, Doom 3D, Wolfenstein 3D 3D, Duke Nukem 3D 3D, some kind of Star Wars game, Tetrisphere 2, and Contra Legacy 3D.

Zelseisdabest
Zelseisdabest

FYI I HOPE THEY DECIDE TO MAKE DONKEY KONG64 A 3DS TITLE!!!! epic

Zelseisdabest
Zelseisdabest

i Prefer to get a 3ds now instead of later...i have a feeling its going to be like the wii was when it came out...sold out especially toward this holiday, not really a dynasty warriors fan but ill probably grab that and SF4 until Zelda comes out

BirdofTokyo
BirdofTokyo

@7rooper Actually, according to Official Nintendo Magazine UK, they are changing the Water Temple. Not sure of exactly what they are doing, but they're doing something.

renji4eva
renji4eva

Caliburn1989 your kind of right, when i heard that the 3ds was coming out, i was hoping kid icrus or mario kart would be one of the 3ds launch titles. but sadly those games are coming out later in the year.

jemwilli
jemwilli

Personally, aside from Zelda I don't think I'm excited for any of the new 3DS games coming out. However, I think 3D versions of old point and click games like Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Brain Dead 13, or Full Throttle could be pretty sweet. I'll keep my fingers crossed in the hopes that someone makes it happen.

mariosunshineds
mariosunshineds

Winning Eleven 3d (Pro Evolution Soccerr 3d) should be really great. But what I'm really loioking forward to is: Super Street Fighter 4 3D!

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

I'm holding out of getting a 3DS until MGS, OoT and REM come out.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

So is the hardware almost as good as this console generation, just a little slower? Like the PSP was to PS2? I have yet to see this thing in action. Am I the only one still unsure of exactly what to expect (3D wise or otherwise)?

7rooper
7rooper

I'm seeing that no improvement has been made to Legend of Zelda except the 3D gimmick. It's a shame because I have so good memories about its great gameplay and graphics -on those days-. Now, I'm afraid that people that experience it for first time may look down upon its graphics. The 3DS has the muscle to make Legend of Zelda really shine both in gameplay and looks

HungryLuma
HungryLuma

LOZOoT3DS, PM3DS, AC3DS, SSF4, and others I want! :)

advocacy
advocacy

Will wait for Resident Evil, Zelda, and Kid Icarus.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

@ cashkilla_basic I think that was the problem with DS games... TOO MANY games took advantage of the hardware... and relied upon it to build a game up. There were some good ones, but very few 3rd party games were good.

Kulcan
Kulcan

Wow ..3DS games looks better than Wii . lol

renji4eva
renji4eva

outu of all of these games, super street fighter iv is the best.

Caliburn1989
Caliburn1989

An unimpressive line up in my opinion. Nothing here makes me crave a 3DS. Although I am sure some games will come out that make me want one, I will probably hold off until they release the next inevitable model.

imbusydoctorwho
imbusydoctorwho

SSFIV,Nintendogs,Piolletwings and Ridge Racer are what Id like to get with the 3ds.

wes008
wes008

Guys, It's Samurai Warriors. Not Dynasty Warriors.

Kallw
Kallw

I want to see "how much" 3D is the nintendo 3DS

Tyralyon
Tyralyon

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Tyralyon
Tyralyon

@cashkilla_basic I totally disagree, there was plenty of games that used the stylus. Even if that wasn't true, not all games NEED to take advantage of the systems features. Some ugly examples of that on the Wii. A game I've recently played, Donkey Kong Country Returns for example. The Wii's got the motion sensing so Nintendo feel they HAVE to use it, but in reality it just made the controls worse. Support for classic control would have been much preferred imo, which is true for a lot of games on the Wii.

styrus7
styrus7

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Jordanairs_23
Jordanairs_23

Super Street Fighter IV 3D will be one of the great games together with the Ridge Racer 3D.But, Legend of Zelda:Ocarina of time 3D will dominate all

MrSaturn33
MrSaturn33

Street Fighter IV 3D, Nintendogs and Cats and Ridge Racer 3D look to be the best of the bunch. I also can't wait for Star Fox 3D (Which will hopefully be a remake of the N64 Classic) and Ocarina of Time 3D. After that, I'm really hoping for some brand new, original titles for this thing. Nintendo has been recycling old characters and concepts far too long.

ileadufollow
ileadufollow

@isaacmj , they need to translate the text and audio, so that's probably why

isaacmj
isaacmj

I feel so envious of the Japanese, not because they have the system a month early but because they have Professor Layton and the Mask of the Miracle as a launch title and we don't even have a launch date. I NEED MY PUZZLES

dwight_roxs
dwight_roxs

I think the street fighter looks cool

Gamingclone
Gamingclone

Sweet, if you ask me the future 3DS games are looking promising.

destinhpark
destinhpark

Man, these are the launch titles?? Weak! Still really want a 3DS of course, but these are some lame titles.

cashkilla_basic
cashkilla_basic

Lucas, I feel the same way about the DS. Most games never really took advantage of the hardware, and I doubt the 3DS games will either. I hope I'm wrong though.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

I'm really disappointed to hear the Ridge Racer impressions. As it's one of my most hyped games for the 3DS launch, I was expecting much better. I'll still have fun with it, I'm sure, but I was hoping that it would make better usage of the hardware.

sebetai
sebetai

I can't wait to get my 3DS. I'm planning pre ordering the Aqua Blue when i go get Pokemon Black and White next week.

cayne_phoenix
cayne_phoenix

i truely hope this turns as good or better than i expect.