Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Favorite Nintendo DS and 3DS Games

 Here's the gist of it, in this world there's only one constant I'm entirely subjected to: Change. I am a person, and right now I'm not the same man that I was when I first began writing, heck, that guy wasn't even the same guy that wanted to write this in the first place! What I want to get to, once I stop digressing, is that this list is how I feel right now, at this very moment, so when and if I feel like making this list again, and knowing myself I probably will, it might change.

 So, what is that list? These are the games I liked the most on each particular system, this time around the DS. These are not necessarily the games I consider best, but the ones I liked the most and the ones I have the fondest memories of. For these lists I tried to stay away from multiplataform games, or from ports. I tried to, but in a few cases it was impossible to.

10) Dungeon Explorer - Warriors of Ancient Arts
 This game was my favorite Nintendo DS game for a while actually, but I don't think it has aged quite so well. As a matter of fact, I'd argue it was pretty dated for its time as well. But, for quite a while, I played the hell out of this cart, decking out multiple characters and making different builds and loving every second of it. It was the closest thing you could get to Diablo at the time on the DS.

9) Golden Sun - Dark Dawn
 It's funny, because I remember arguing over how overrated the original Golden Sun games were with the fanbase, and once this game came out, they despised it... and I defended it. Because this game was everything I expected out of a new Golden Sun game. Heck, characters were more expressive and a teeny bit more depth than the previous cast... well, most of them anyways, there were two or three main characters that were, basically, cardboard boxes, with no depth whatsoever. The game's biggest problem though, is that it ends on a cliffhanger, one that's probably not going to be resolved anytime soon.

8) Final Fantasy IV
 Final Fantasy IV is the Final Fantasy game that's gotten the most ports and remakes in the entire franchise. But the DS version is a very unique beast, until it was eventually ported to iOS devices. The game was entirely remade in 3D, and it looks beautiful, and it also retains the original Japanese difficulty setting, restored skillset(Basically, 'Dark' was quite watered down compared to what it was in the Japanese version) and a new translation. It also features new mechanics with the Augment system, allowing you to get your characters to carry over skills from the few allies that leave the party. If you ask me, this is the best version of Final Fantasy IV out there.

7) Mario Kart DS
 One of the two Mario Kart games I've spent the most time with(Foreshadowing), and it's still a mainstay among the games I regularly take on long trips with me. This Mario Kart has an excellent character and vehicle roster, coupled with 16 courses, most which are total hits. But it's best feature is the Random Offline Vs. As someone who likes variety, playing courses in random order never grows old. Never. Which is something that makes this version widely superior, in my eyes, to some of its future installments(More foreshadowing).

6) Bleach - The Blade of Fate/ Bleach - Dark Souls
 The Blade of Fate is among my favorite 2D fighter ever made, and it's a handheld fighting game, where has the world gone to? The combat is fast and intuitive, which makes it a blast to play even at a casual level. And I even took the fight online and could pull off some nasty Soi Fon combos. The reason both the first and second installments made it here is that I consider the first game a superior competitive fighter, due to the balancing and mechanics... But even though the second game is rather unbalanced(Ishida and Inoue are borderline useless now), even though I don't agree with some of the changes to the mechanics and even though it has a fair amount of bugs... it has more characters, which at a casual level, is what matters the most.

5) The Phoenix Wright series

 While, technically, ports of GBA games, those were never released outside Japan, which means that this is the official console of choice outside Japan.. although they were later rereleased on the Wii, and I believe iOS as well, but I'll pretend those don't exist. The entire Ace Attorney franchise is fantastic, even Apollo Justice has its things. But if I had to pick just one, just one that showcased the creative writing, the original characters and the engrossing storyline, it'd be the third one, Trials and Tribulations. This is franchise I wouldn't mind Capcom milking more.

4) Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin/ Castlevania - Order of Ecclesia
 All three Castlevania games on the DS are fantastic examples of the genre, and outstanding games on their own right. But while it's easy for me to cross Dawn of Sorrow off the list due to it's needless touch mechanics, both Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia have things that make them stand out from each other.
 Portrait of Ruin has a varied slew of weapons and abilities, and a ton of extra characters that make each romp through the game feel different. There's also a ton of variety on the castle and the portraits, it probably has the most varied locales in a Metroidvania ever. But Order of Ecclesia has more interesting characters, both in design and personality, a beautiful art direction and a more consistent overall environment and a very high difficulty level. Both of them are fantastic for different reasons, Potrait of Ruin is the purer Metroivania experience, while Order of Ecclesia is the more challenging one.

3) The World Ends with You.
 The World Ends with You is one of the most original JRPGs you can find on the system. It has a very original story, although it reminded me a bit of the 'Shibuya 15' JDrama, with realistic character development and interesting characters. It also has a very original combat system, it might feel a bit unnatural at first, but after a while you can get the hang of it. And if it still proves too tough, you could always lower the difficulty.

2) Pokemon HeartGold
 Arguably the best Pokemon game ever released. Not only does it feature the storyline from Pokemon Gold, featuring both Kanto and Johto, but it also brings all the innovations two generations forward made to the franchise, as well as Pokemon from subsequent regions as well. There's so much to this game it's not even funny. Pokemon Gold has a lot to do, and I do mean a lot, but this game adds even more to it, and there's a few interesting new mechanics, like more involved contest and a key item that 'unremixes' the new music to make them sound exactly like they did on the Gameboy Color. Funnily enough, most Pokemon games are considered to be very easy, and they are, but Pokemon HeartGold is the other way around. The main story is as easy as it's always been, but if you don't stick to a single team, expect to have a hard time with the Elite 4 rematches!

1) Orcs & Elves
 Will this game ever grow old in my eyes? Every time I play it, I fall in love with it again. This is the perfect on-the-go game, thanks to it's slow pace. And even though it has a slow pace, it feels fast. It's funny, ever since I came across the series on the cellphone with 'Doom RPG' I got addicted to them. Doom RPG, Orcs & Elves, Orcs & Elves 2, Doom RPG 2, all games that I've played thousand upon thousand of times. And Orcs & Elves on the DS is probably the best among them, featuring the best graphics, the best controls, the best interface, and even more sections than the Mobile original. Sadly, the sequel never received a DS port, they could've done wonders with it....

 I find that the 3DS has a rather... lacking videogame library when compared to the DS, so I couldn't for the life of me pick 10 games that I thought were my 'favorite', so I fused that list with this onem and here it is:

5) Mario Kart 7....?
 I guess I can see why someone would consider this game better than the DS one... but if you ask me, the lack of VS CPU on random courses cuts the game longevity's in half. I get bored of playing cups with preset ordered courses, sorry. And the game lacks Wario, my favorite Nintendo character. And I felt like the gliding and underwater driving were gimmicks. And I think it's pretty clear by now that this game is filler so that the list doesn't feel short!

4) Pokemon Y
 I was probably a bit too harsh with it on my review here. Pokemon Omega Ruby only helped make this one look even better after all! Look, even a bad Pokemon game is a good game, at the end of the day, and Pokemon Y is anything but bad. It featured customization, for the first time ever, and it's a blast! The new engine makes everything look beautiful, even if a few animations are a bit lazy. On hindsight, the rollerskates were a great, cute, new addition that made moving around fun, often opting for them instead of the bike!

3) Shinobi
 Shinobi on the 3DS is not a game for everyone. But it's a game for me, being some of the most fun I've had on the system yet. The trial and error gameplay might frustrate some, which is totally understandable, but it encouraged me to keep going and learning enemy layouts and patterns to better dispatch them in order to conserve health and do better for the bosses. I dunno, I just loved this little game.

2) The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time 3D
 While I consider it the most overrated game of all time, there's no denying that it's actually a really good game. And while I don't consider the original dated by any means, Ocarina of Time 3D updated the graphics to today standards, and it looks beautiful, while polishing the item interface to make it more comfortable to go spelunking.

1) Super Smash Bros. 3DS
 Easily the game I like the most on the 3DS, and the one I take away with me the most. While it fell a teeny tiny bit short of my expectations, it still delivered on what matters: Smash on the go. Featuring the most characters the franchise has ever had, and the same tight gameplay, without the annoying tripping, Smash on the 3DS is the only game I'd consider a must-have on the system.

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