In an age where pretty much every major console is region-free and most games are localized globally anyway, the allure of importing games is not what it used to be. However, there was a time when Japan would get games years before the rest of the world. At times, notable games would never make it across the shore. Heck, it took decades for the now-massive Fire Emblem franchise to get a chance at international stardom.
Though I remember the days of seeing import order sheets in the back of video game magazines, I didn’t really start importing games until the Nintendo DS era. The advent of online made it not only easier for me to learn about these great Japan-only games, but to buy them as well. Here are a few titles I bought from a faraway land!
Confession: I don’t like the Nintendo 3DS. Heck, I’d go as far as saying I never liked the Nintendo 3DS. Hot off the heels of the phenomenal DS Lite, it failed to capture my interest like its predecessor due to a 3D gimmick that proved pointless and a software library that was sorely underwhelming. Even before the release of the Nintendo Switch, I had largely abandoned the platform.
While Nintendo may say that the Nintendo 3DS will carry on in spite of the upcoming release of the Nintendo Switch Lite, I think that now is a great time for me to close my book on this era of handheld gaming. I may not have liked the hardware or the catalogue as a whole, but there were some incredible games that blessed the Nintendo 3DS with their presence. In no particular order, here are my favourite Nintendo 3DS games!
When one thinks of Nintendo, the mind tends to gravitate towards their A-list games. Titles that have either garnered a level of success and critical acclaim that puts them at the head of the pack. Mainline Super Mario games easily clear this bar. So do the mainline Zelda games. While it’s one of the newest franchises, the massive success of Splatoon would put it up on that pedestal as well. Where you and I draw the line may vary here and there, but I think we can generally agree on which Nintendo games are at the top and which ones aren’t on that same level.
It’s not necessarily because these games are worse. Maybe they just haven’t found their footing. In spite of being great since the start, it took Fire Emblem decades of time and like a dozen releases before finding a wider audience. Some franchises sell well enough to still get multiple sequels, such as WarioWare or BoxBoy. Others are meant to be niche products, such as Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. Though Nintendo probably would like for all of their games to sell in the 10+ million range, I get the sense that they’re willing to make and publish B-tier games so long as they make enough of a profit to justify their creation.
In any case, not every game and franchise in Nintendo’s ecosystem is on the same stratosphere. But with a bit more love, maybe some of them could be. Here are a few of my picks for B-tier Nintendo games and franchises that deserve another shot.
In 2012, Nintendo became the audiovisual guide provider of the Louvre. Using a 3DS, users are able to access dozens of hours of audio commentary, rotate 3D sculptures for a unique look, visually highlight details that the average person would probably miss, and even provide direction through the console’s GPS. Though I remember thinking it was an odd pairing at the time, it didn’t cross my mind again until I saw the 3DS guides at the museum on this recent trip.
From taking players all the way back to Kanto region, to completely reworking the catching mechanics, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee goes a long way towards streamlining the Pokemon experience. Generally speaking, I like the direction the game went with this particular title, though I dearly miss seeing which moves will be super effective/not effective on the menu. However, I’m overjoyed for one particular thing from Sun and Moon that was dramatically changed in Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee. Continue reading →
Previously, Game Freak took us to the island-based Alolan region for Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. Before putting a bow on this era of the franchise, we put on our beachwear one more time explore Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Not having played Sun or Moon prior to this, I can’t really give you a sense of how different this new entry is in comparison.
Over the course of seven games released outside of Japan, only one Fire Emblem title has failed to impress me. That dud is Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Starring Marth, arguably better known now for his appearance in the Smash Bros. series, it was a remake of the first game in the series. Despite featuring updated graphics, its antiquated story and gameplay remained, leaving a lot to be desired for players who jumped on the bandwagon through more refined entries in the franchise.
My concern all along for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was that it would suffer the same fate as Shadow Dragon. As a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the series that was initially released in 1992, its fair to assume at the outset that this also would have aged poorly. Does this remake suffer the same fate as its predecessor? Continue reading →