3DS Exclusive Highlights (Part 2)

This is the follow up to my first 3DS Exclusive Highlights posts – because the 3DS eShop is closing for good next month and we’re going to lose a lot of great games into the void 😦

As mentioned, I’m really not a huge fan of how this is going to force a lot of games into the status of needing to either be emulated or having to search through overpriced used copies. Unfortunately, it seems like they won’t be backpedaling on this so I guess it is what it is.


I’m including this section here in the beginning because I think this is a massive downside of the closing of the eShop that hasn’t been talked about much, but I’m definitely feeling some FOMO in regards to games that I had on my wishlist at one point but never got around to, specifically with the Devil Survivor games. Physical copies of those games are super expensive and sure I could just emulate them, but I’m personally not a fan of doing that these days. I feel vaguely compelled to get them just in case I want to play them “one day” even though I feel like I won’t. Is this just a me problem? Surely it can’t be…right?

Anyway, here a couple 3DS exclusives that I played for the first time last year that I think are worth highlighting, some of which I already discussed in my Top 5 Games of 2022, so some of this post is going to be repeating myself but that’s okay. I’m also reusing some of the images that are just logos of said games.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I enjoyed A Link Between Worlds a lot to the point where I binged it within the span of a few days and had a blast.

As mentioned, I enjoyed how much freedom there was in this game. Once you hit the “act two” of the game, you can access the dungeons in any order. I liked this because it let me run around and stumble across things without feeling like I’m being gated. It seems like a good entry way into 2D Zelda games if you’ve entered the series via Breath of the Wild because of that. It is also a sequel to A Link to the Past, but I found this game much more accessible and modernized. It’s certainly more nostalgic if you’ve played A Link to the Past because it takes place in the same world, but it’s not necessary by any means in my opinion. It stands alone by itself just fine.

It’s a bit of a shame that this is the newest 2D Zelda game and it’s from 2013 and an even bigger shame that it’s been stuck on the 3DS because it’s an excellent member of the Zelda library.

Every Zelda game has a little “gimmick” to it. The gimmick of A Link Between Worlds combines the dark world/light world traversal with a mechanic that lets Link merge into walls and walk on walls. It leads to a lot of interesting puzzles. However, despite the mechanic looking like a 2D side-scroller, there’s not actually much of that.

(Image from Zelda Dungeon)

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Also as mentioned in my other post, I bought the original DS Radiant Historia way back when I was in high school on release (2011) and absolutely loved it, so now all these years later with the closing of the eShop as my motivator, I’ve finally decided to give the 3DS re-release, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, a try.

One of the biggest addition to the 3DS version of the game is the inclusion of voice acting and new and more expressive character portraits. I’m not a fan of the redesign of one of the characters (Eruca), but the rest of the updated art and the dynamic character portraits put a lot more emotional weight on the plot and characters. They also added a new sub-plot and series of side-quests, which were alright and all leads up to a new epilogue chapter and new “true” ending. I don’t think it’s entirely necessary but there were some cool bits to it and quite a lot of world-building. I think it’s definitely worth checking out over the DS release though if you have neither.

Radiant Historia has some fun time travel mechanics. I think time travel stories are hard to do well but Radiant Historia does a pretty decent job at it and also makes it an interesting gameplay mechanic. A lot of quests and tasks involve going to the right place at the right time. In practice, some of them tend to be pretty tricky to figure out without a guide, but I’m still a fan of it conceptually. The plot does feel very JRPG and has a lot of those tropes, but I think it’s one of the better ones out there. The combat is also pretty typical JRPG but adds in a grid and positional mechanics to make it more interesting than just hitting enemies.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Finally, we end the 3DS posts with this game: a game in which Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright to solve the mystery of Labyrinthia and their witch trials.

This game is a bit of a hard sell but I’m including it here anyway. I would not recommend this game for any one that isn’t into either Professor Layton or Ace Attorney, but for any one that is a fan of either of the two series, I think this one is solid enough to try. It’s nowhere near my favorite Ace Attorney game, but it’s one that gets thrown under the radar due to being a non-canon spinoff. And unfortunately, it might now fall even farther off the radar. I’ve only played one other Layton game so I can’t comment much on how I like it as a Layton game, but I found the Layton bits a lot of fun.

I enjoyed playing through it and unraveling the mystery, even though the plot got pretty messy and just plain weird by the end of it. The pacing was a bit strange at times because of how they merged the gameplay of the two series, but all things considered it wasn’t too bad.

Honorable mention to the fifth and sixth mainline Ace Attorney games: Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice. Both of them started as 3DS exclusives but have since then been ported to mobile, so they won’t completely disappear into the void just yet.

Final honorable mention – Metroid 2: Return of Samus

I think the Metroid 2 remake for 3DS is a really good remake, I just think that Metroid 2 is a weak game. A lot of the game is pretty repetitive and the bosses and mini-bosses are just the same thing over and over again. I think the biggest highlight of this game is the fact that they were able to take the mechanics and make Metroid Dread out of it several years later, and Metroid Dread is a fantastic game.

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