subrosian / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
14215 79 666

Shadow Wars - The Only 3DS Launch Title You Need

As Kanye put it, "Life can sometimes be ridiculous".

-

When I first saw the 3DS at E3, it struck me that the launch titles of the system would inevitably be garbage. Pick a franchise, insert over-wrought 3D effects, crap into box. It's sad but it's true. The original DS was plagued by the same launch problem, developers focused on the gimmick of the touchscreen rather than on simply making solid games. A year later, as the talent started learning how to use the system, launch titles like Spiderman were left in the dust.

So, queue up the DS launch, the 3DS launch won't be any different... or will it? In playing through the 3DS launch lineup (thanks for the carts boys... keep sending 'em, yes?) I stumbled across something surprising: an actually good SRPG. We're talking Valkryie Chronicles good... we're talking something in the line of X-Com thinking, the kind of game that gives you pause.

-

Go figure.

-

I promptly threw every other game in the garbage and started doing a little more research. How, exactly, had Ubisoft, king of the generic, pumped out something with actual substance for launch? Didn't they get the memo? In looking at the credits I found my answer: Julian Gollop.

Gamers born after the 1980s may not know the name, but think of him as being the Cliffy B of strategy games. Julian G has a resume so solid that many hardcore PC gamers consider him amongst (if not the) best strategy designers of all time. Additional Kanye references aside (imma let you finish...) I might as well show you the game I'm discussing:

-

-

Boom. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars.

-

Suffering horribly from Ubisoft's "don't let a franchise go" syndrome, Shadow Wars has nothing to do with Tom Clancy, little to do with previous Ghost Recon games (other than using the word "ghosts" arbitrarily to refer to what is essentially a SWAT team) and unlike every other title in the series is a straight-up turn-based strategy RPG. Utilizing a cover / fire-back system similar to Valkyrie Chronicles, and gameplay so tight you'll need a diet just to try it, it plows through multiple level-encounters (think MGS: Ghost Walker) that perfectly pair hardcore strategy with a scaling difficulty slider.

Turn down the difficulty, and you have approachable gameplay for those new to the genre. Crank up the difficulty and you have bristly challenge, and the ability to collect additional "stars" (does that make this the Mario title of the launch lineup?) which are used to level up your characters and unlock new abilities.

-

"But Subrosian, what about the 3D?".

-

The visuals in Shadow Wars are essentially an afterthought. For those of you looking to get a "show off" title for your 3DS (and let's be realistic here, who isn't? If you're buying the system at launch you want something to make your friends "jelly") pick up Street Fighter IV 3D or Nintendogs - the visuals on both titles are phenomenial. But, if you're looking for the game that's actually going to keep you hooked to your 3DS, staying up long past when you should, draining the batteries day-after-day when you should be working?

-

Shadow Wars.

-

I know, I'm surprised too. Somehow a generic gaming company producing a ported DS to 3DS launch title managed to drop not only the most (gameplay-wise) enjoyable title of the 3DS launch, but they've actually put out a game so good that you need to get a 3DS *now* and play it. I'm not one to put my name to a game, but given that it has no advertising budget, is rarely mentioned in launch-lineup discussions, and will undoubtly rely on fan support to continue as a franchise (see Valkyrie Chronicles) it's worth mentioning that this is out there. On launch day when you're facing the option of picking up yet another racing game (hint - Gran Turismo on the 3DS is just as boring as it is on every other system) or something with some genuine substance, give this a try: you won't regret it.

And that, my friends, is ridiculous.