Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Q1 2011 gaming report – Nintendo DS, 3DS and PSP

Three months of gaming in the books, how is 2011 shaping up for Nintendo DS, 3DS and the PSP?

While the console market had a strong title showing in the first quarter of 2011 the handheld space is in an odd position. Smartphone’s and tablets are becoming more dominant and available while receiving many of the same types of games that traditionally show up on Nintendo DS and even PSP. The one differentiator this quarter is the new Nintendo 3DS but even the unique gameplay is still not established enough. Handhelds are at a crossroads but that’s the future, let’s focus on the past that is Q1 2011.

Nintendo DS – Role playing games are strong on the DS, really? The great thing is these titles are playable on the 3DS also so get to trading in and support the new systems. 
  • Okamiden – Not a dummied down version of the excellent Okami but a great portable take on the franchise that fits the DS younger angle. 
  • Pokémon White Version – New colored version, it’s great, and it’s Pokémon, what’s not to love. This formula gets tweaked and enhanced but never really changes. Love it.
  •  Pokémon Black Version – As it is for White, so too shall it be for Black. 
  • Radiant Historia – Changing the game, literally, if events don’t suite the gamer’s desire. An RPG gem on a system full of them.
  •  Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation – Why did gamers have to wait to get all these great Dragon Quest titles in such quick order and not when they were released? Same with Y’s on PSP but older gamers need to drool over the chance to finally play localized versions and VI is no different. 
  • Plants vs. Zombies – Addictive and ported over from phones!!!! PvZ is a fun original puzzle adventure with easy to see graphics, bright visual and simple mechanics that gradually get more complicated. Well done gaming.
  •  Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective – Point and click, beautiful 2D graphics and just a fun linear adventure await. 
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded – First, Re:coded is a fun engaging game but how many times can the original story be re-told before Part 3 finally hits? Sora is not a program cleaning up Jimminey’s records for Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 with a look towards the future (3?)
Nintendo 3DS – A new system and games that highlight the new features, 3D, but don’t truly utilize it in gameplay. These titles look good, are not wholly new gaming experiences, but show much promise.
  • Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition – It’s Street Fighter yet it feels so fresh and new, a great launch title, truly fun and should be purchased with any 3DS. 
  • Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog & New Friends – Now with cat flavor … 
  • Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends – And poodle flavor … 
  • Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & New Friends – And, well you get it. 
  • Ridge Racer 3D – Console launch; Ridge Racer is there. Feels the same in so many solid ways but thank the lord the 3D can be turned down if not off. Still fun to race around. 
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars – A new perspective on an established franchise. Not the prettiest looking title but fun to play.
PlayStation Portable (PSP) – Is the PSP getting stronger as it fades or is this setting the stage for something new and more? Nah, the PSP is the un-official RPG gamer on the go, Square Enix gaming system. 
  • The 3rd Birthday – Aya is back in a third person shooting action RPG hybrid. Hey, it works and works very well but don’t expect Parasite Eve mobile here, just some solid gaming action.
  • Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy – A continuation of the original Dissidia with more characters but no resolution to the blurry action, I mean fast paced excellence that fast characters battling brings. Nah, it just gets too fast and blurry (still fun and comes with the first game unlockable).
  • Gods Eater Burst – The anime opening is awesome and screams for a series, please! The game offers amazing levels of customization and hours, days, months of gameplay that feels like an MMO but isn’t and feels like Monster Hunter, but isn’t’. Stylish and well done.
  • Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! – More Prinny 2D platforming action. The humor alone is worth the purchase.
  • Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – Mature and engaging, no spiky haired heroes on high horses here, just hours of strategic gameplay in a world wrapped in war where choices of nation and friendship will conflict. Gamers have to make tough choices but going back to key points to take another path is a great addition for the S-RPG genre.
  • Ys I & II Chronicles – Two games, one package, both updated to an extend and not to be missed. Said it about Dragon Quest above, really, it’s about freaking time we get these.
  • Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle – Mention needed as there is a following and while Phantom Brave is not the most original or great title it’s still damn fun.
  • MLB 11: The Show – An RPG with sports thrown in. It’s baseball folks but in keeping with the PSP theme it’s a baseball RPG where gamers level up and manage their party of players over an epic season. A stretch to call this an RPG for sports, not really.
Overall the DS and 3DS clock in with a solid B+ thanks to titles that all work on 3DS and some great RPG titles. The only thing lacking is a variety of titles but this is the usual song and dance for DS at this stage of the game.

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