Feature Article

Why You Should Buy a 3DS in 2014

So many games, so little time.

by

Join us over the next few days as we look at all of the leading games consoles and platforms out right now and try to convince you why you should spend your hard-earned cash. Today we're looking at the 3DS, with Peter Brown taking you through the highlights of Nintendo's portable system.

It may have launched with a whimper, but after a brief post release lull, the 3DS has turned the corner, and Nintendo isn't looking back. There are currently 35 million 3DS owners worldwide, and if you can't count yourself among the 3DS-equipped, there's no better time to join the party than 2014. There are a handful of great-looking games coming in the near future, and a massive selection of readily available 3DS, DS, and Virtual Console games to keep you busy while you wait.

The Library

If you love Nintendo's classic franchises, you'll find plenty of excuses to pick up a 3DS. In 2013 alone, we got Fire Emblem: Awakening, an unforgiving yet rewarding strategy role-playing game that's built on a system of relationships and mortality; an adorable town simulator in Animal Crossing New Leaf; Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D from Retro Studios, of Metroid Prime fame; and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, GameSpot's game of the year for 2013.

Those games are reason enough to justify a 3DS, but the list of Nintendo hits keeps going: Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and a large selection of downloadable classics from the 8-bit Game Boy and Nintendo Entertainment System. There's also a little something called Pokemon X/Y, which may not be for everyone, but it's a veritable gold mine for anyone with the itch to catch 'em all.

Third-party publishers have proven they know how to make great 3DS games as well. Atlus has a formidable lot of Japanese RPGs on the 3DS, having released two Shin Megami Tensei and two Etrian Odyssey games in 2013 alone. Capcom's series manage to thrive here too, in a surprisingly great port of Street Fighter IV, another charmingly entertaining Phoenix Wright game, and Monster Hunter 3, a punishing co-op action RPG with lots of monsters to slay and gear to collect. It's not just major publishers that are flocking to the 3DS either; indies have found a home on the 3DS, releasing the games Steamworld Dig, Cave Story, and not least of all, Gunman Clive, an Old West-themed action platformer with a distinctly Mega Man-esque feel.

Upcoming Games

There are great Nintendo franchises making their way to the 3DS in the near future, starting with Yoshi's New Island. It's unabashedly reminiscent of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with charmingly rendered characters and clever platforming. While it doesn't deviate too much from the original, Yoshi's New Island builds on the existing formula by adding new controls schemes designed for the 3DS hardware, and an increased emphasis on secrets and hidden collectibles. It's derivative of past Yoshi's Island games, for sure, but that's also the point.

Super Smash Bros. is also coming sometime this year, bringing characters from every corner of the Nintendo universe together for four-player slugfests. It's the series' first appearance on a portable platform, and if it's anywhere near as good as the previous games in the series, it's sure to attract a rabid and dedicated fan base, and potentially set a new standard for portable multiplayer fighting games.

As if there weren't enough great Japanese RPGs on the system, there's a fantastic one on the horizon that has already attracted huge amounts of attention, and earned a sequel that's currently in development. I'm referring to Bravely Default. It's a game with a confusing name, but it's cut from the same cloth as classic Final Fantasy games like Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics, and designed around a robust job system that allows you to customize your party in countless ways. If you fondly recall the Final Fantasy games of old, you absolutely have to play Bravely Default. It won't wow you with its story, but its world, art style, and combat system are great enough to warm the heart of even the most cynical old-school RPG fan. If that sounds like you, I promise that Bravely Default will provide a much-needed respite from the current, waffling state of the Final Fantasy series.

Hardware

The 3DS is special in that it's one of the first devices on the market, gaming or otherwise, to feature a stereoscopic 3D display. By design, it projects two video streams at different angles for each eye, letting you experience 3D gaming without the need for glasses. While it isn't a consistently great feature, hinging on developers using it properly, there are games such as Super Mario 3D Land that are far better experiences on a 3D display than they would be otherwise. This screen is paired with a smaller, 2D touchscreen, adding up to an unusual mix of technologies that allow for unorthodox gaming experiences that could live almost nowhere else.

Even with the exotic screens, the 3DS isn't terribly expensive. The high-end, larger-size 3DS XL starts at $200, the same price as a PlayStation Vita, but it also comes with a memory card, unlike the Vita, and is often sold in bundles with limited-edition designs themed around an included game. The more portable, standard 3DS is $30 less at $170, but if you want to get into the 3DS for less money, and you don't care about or don't want to pay for the 3D functionality, the slate-like 2DS is only $130. For a system with such a great catalog of games, with more on the way, and built-in backward compatibility with legacy Nintendo DS games, that's a relative pittance compared to handheld and console alternatives, which command higher prices and offer, in a lot of cases, fewer games to play, worthwhile or otherwise.

Other Stuff

It's unlikely that I can convince you to buy a 3DS if I haven't already, but there's one important detail that hasn't been talked about: StreetPass. StreetPass is a system that lets you passively trade avatars with other 3DS owners. You don't need to know them; you only need to have two 3DS systems in the same vicinity to exchange avatars, and the character will then live on your system, allowing you to use it in various minigames built into the 3DS operating system. It's a simple system with huge implications, and every 3DS owner I know cites it as one of their favorite features of the system.

As long as Nintendo continues to sell millions of 3DS systems, the games will surely follow--not that there aren't plenty of great games already, of course. The hardware may not be as powerful as the PlayStation Vita, but it's less expensive, and hardly disappointing on its own terms. If you haven't jumped on the 3DS train yet, you owe it to yourself to pick up--all things considered--one of the best Nintendo systems of all time.

Discussion

181 comments
chyng85
chyng85

The games, price, game-play are all points for me to buy it~

soulless4now
soulless4now

I'm going to spend some quality time with mine this summer when SSB comes out. /omg

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

Damn it, I want to buy one just to play Bravely Default. If the whole array of existing cool games made me wish I had one, now I feel compelled to buy it to get that true Final Fantasy fix.

GOGOHeadray
GOGOHeadray

I'm not a big fan of nintendo but the 3ds is a awesome system.

fabianoandre
fabianoandre

Fire Emblem Awakening – made me buy a 3DS – SOLID GREAT GAME

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars – fair addicting turned based strategy game.

Pokemon X and Y – Never played Pokemon series before, 3D made me get it, no regrets.

Zelda LBW – BEST and most addicting Zelda since Ocarina and Majoras, Impossible to drop it before the end.

Now I’m spending hours playing the Bravery Default demo, that is amazing.

Would love to see a new Metroid and another advance wars. Getting Yoshi’s Island for sure.

The 3DS is my main videogame between my PSP, 360 and PS3 these days. I’m not jumping into the next generation until 2015. And I really miss Nintendo consoles before Wii and Wii You (Those two together = Wii suck). A new GameCube (with that kind of hardcore titles) would be a great comeback in my opinion.

So, 3DS has a great lineup for players of all ages. Great console indeed.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

I wish I had a 3DS XL instead of an original. The stylus placement on the original sucks. :/

MariJoe007
MariJoe007

The Streetpass stuff is really cool its just I wish I lived in a more 3DS populated area like Japan.

Sikrion
Sikrion

The only thing going against it for me is the stupid region lock, as i Import A LOT.

Blabadon
Blabadon

It's on the route of being the worst handheld ever. But buy it if you hate yourself.

shingui5
shingui5

The question is, why haven't you bought a 3DS yet? 

number004
number004

Don't buy the 3DS! It's a curse that will suck ALL your time and your money!

GasparNolasco
GasparNolasco

Some of these games look awesome. I'd certainly buy one if I commuted or did something like that with some 20+ minutes a day to kill. The small screen just isn't my thing to play at home where I have the big ass TV.

Portable game just isn't for me, I admit.

rainheart16
rainheart16

I sold my vita 2 months ago , I had it for 7 months , maybe more, with ps plus , that means 1 free game ea 2 months , maybe more. I had it with 2 more games , vita games , and 5 more classics (PSP and PS2) I sold it for 1 reason , I almost never use it, that means 14 games and no more than 1 hr of game time a week , and that's really few for a gamer like me. With the money I got + 50$, I got my 3ds xl with 2 games (Pokemon Y and Zelda ALBW) just those 2 games , and my available free time I can say , for sure , that I have spent more time , and enjoyed more , my two months with the 3ds, than my 7 mothns with the vita , It may be a case of personal taste for certain types of games, if you don't like the games nintendo is releasing for the 3ds then that's not your portable console , but for the people that are saying that the 3ds game library is for kids , that they don't have games for mature audience let me tell you that,THAT IS THE MOST IMMATURE THING YOU CAN SAY , if you are a person that calls him/herself a gamer then you should at least try out games like Zelda ALBW, no matter how old  you are.

klonoa53
klonoa53

What would make me just overall jump on the 3DS train fully would be the addition of Gamecube games since it boasts borderline the same power as a wii so it shouldn't be hard for it to run them. 


If they do this all I ask for is Starfox Assault or the Metroids and I'll be set.

klonoa53
klonoa53

I like both my 3DS and Vita, but I have to give it to my Vita for being more entertaining in the same and more aspects.


Also you forgot to mention that the Vita comes with an 8 Gig memory card, just sayin on that note.

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

I'd say 2014 will be a great year to own a 3DS! Bravely Default, Kirby's Triple Deluxe, Yoshi's New Island, Super Smash Bros 3DS, Dragon Quest VII *if it is localized* and hopefully Golden Sun IV! That is IF we get news of it first!

deafwing
deafwing

sorry but this article did not provide much for me to go on to buy this thing (if that was your intent) ... to me nintendo started ignoring a gamer like me years ago ... f em and at the same time I'm glad for whatever success they have now ... to pull me back, they will have to pull a "NEW" magic trick out their a$$ that would rival the unwavering brightness of the sun in the sky 

Kos1c
Kos1c

I will finally get a 3DS XL. Had the 3DS when it first released and sold it after Resident Evil Rev released. But been wanting to get it for the Legend of Zelda title. But will go up to the XL version when I find a cheap enough unit.

jeff_t97
jeff_t97

why buy a 3ds in 2014?? one game smash bros!!

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I actually had one, before I blew the inch of dust from it and sold it on ebay.

Then bought a Vita. I've played more on my Vita since I got it over the summer than I had the entire time I owned the 3DS. Love it.

Might consider re-buying later if the price drops some more. I just don't get any enjoyment from their games any more.

heznave
heznave

I just got a 3DS a couple weeks ago and I haven't been able to put it down. I'm a huge Zelda fan and so I got the limited edition Zelda 3DS XL. Just beat Ocarina of Time for the 20th time and now I'm playing Fire Emblem and A Link Between Worlds. It is an awesome system that I hesitated on purchasing for a few years. It allows me to play all my favorite Nintendo franchises without buying a WiiU. I recommend the XL if an extra $30 isn't a big deal to you.

crognalsen
crognalsen

I haven't brought a handheld system since gameboy, but I like this one a lot so far.  It lets me relive old games like Legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, and Final Fantasy that I played in the days of Nintendo and Super Nintendo.  I'm not quite sure how games like Animal Crossing and Pokemon are classics though.  I guess they are classics if you grew up in the post NES/SNES area.

twisted_sith
twisted_sith

Finally someone is talking sense. I bought my 3DS when the price dropped to $170. No regrets. I recently upgraded to an XL and it's even better than before!!! I also love my Vita, but the Vita game library has some serious catching up to do...

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

Youve been a bad girl GS, no cookies for you. How much did nintendo pay you?


ChristysXmas
ChristysXmas

Don't worry I already have one, and never regret a bit to buy it. It's a dream machine for JRPG lovers like me.

isildor81
isildor81

this is advertising in disguise...they do an article about the wiiU too... 

franzito
franzito

Still have no reason to buy it. If I want to play a bunch of Mario and Zelda games, I just turn on my Wii.

The upcoming games are also nothing to die for IMHO.

Darth_Aloysius
Darth_Aloysius

Lol, so far I haven't StreetPassed with anyone - guess nobody has a 3DS in my neighborhood!

speedrobo
speedrobo

The jerk didn't even MENTION Kid Icarus Uprising in the video! That is an awesome game for the 3DS!!

speedrobo
speedrobo

You guys should do "Why you should buy a Neo Geo X in 2014"

mtappe
mtappe

@DiverseGamer I'm thinking of getting one just to have the bigger screen but the bad resolution is an issue with me.  The games look much better on the original 3DS (if you can actually SEE anything!).  I'm pretty blind and have to wear my reading glasses.

robbiejones
robbiejones

@DiverseGamer the thing i find a lil bit annoying with my 3ds XL is i keep turning up the volume every now and then by mistake. i wish they made the volume control a lil more sturdier 

mtappe
mtappe

@Blabadon I like the Vita system but their game selection pales in comparison to the 3DS, and i've never been a fanboy of anything.  I like all the main gaming systems and own most of them.

crazywolf5150
crazywolf5150

@Blabadon How so? I'm certain there are far worse handhelds out there, like the Atari Jaguar, and the 3DS does have some great games on it. The new Legend of Zelda game alone makes me want to buy one.

mtappe
mtappe

@number004 Yep, got that right!  SMT4 and Etrian Odyssey IV are sucking up all of my free time.

mtappe
mtappe

@klonoa53 yeah, the 2 gig SD card on the orig 3DS was weak but I spent $10 online and got a 32 gigger and life is great.  I like the feel of the Vita as well as the much better resolution but enjoy my 3DS for the abundantly superior games currently on the market.  

fabianoandre
fabianoandre

@Wolflink001Man, Golden Sun IV would be great to have! I still remember the fun I had playing the first one.

mtappe
mtappe

@Wolflink001 I'd love a Dragon Quest for the 3DS.  The DS ones are pretty good but i'd like a brand new one made exclusively for the new hardware.

drufeous
drufeous

@deafwing Don't get this. What kind of gamer are you? Been gaming since the 80's and Nintendo 3ds is the best system the've come out with since Super Nintendo. Great library.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

@deafwing Nintendo started ignoring gamers like you years ago? I think you mean gamers like you started ignoring Nintendo years ago, they tried to appease "gamers" with the N64 and Gamecube but no one bought them, don't get angry with Nintendo for not wanting to go bankrupt. 

mtappe
mtappe

@franzito The DS Castlevania games (Order of Ecclesia, Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin) are as good if not better than most of the Vita games and we're not even talking about Fire Emblem, Etrian Odyssey, Rune Factory, Monster Hunter, etc, etc.  So again, as stated previously, your loss.

deafwing
deafwing

@Darth_Aloysius haha .. .I had this conversation with my friend .. we concluded that people are ashamed to use it lol 

thetravman
thetravman

@speedrobo That game is usually dismissed because of its steep learning curve with the controls. Shame really cause it's one of my favourite 3DS games to date.

speedrobo
speedrobo

@deafwing@speedroboI love the system. I bought one a while ago and I think it's great. Even thought there is a conflict between SNK Playmore and Tommo right now, there is an easily available hack that lets you put more games on the system. I recommend getting one.

Bravely Default More Info

First Release on Feb 07, 2014
  • 3DS
Bravely Default is a traditional Japanese turn-based fantasy RPG with an epic story told via 3D visuals, multiple endings, engaging characters that can be customized with over 20 different job types, and a risk/reward battle mechanic that allows players to skip turns to use later for more powerful attacks, encouraging a deeper level of strategy.