The year 2016 may possibly be the final year that the Nintendo 3DS is in the spotlight as 2017 will see the release of the mysterious new hardware by Nintendo, codenamed NX. Even though we do not have guaranteed information that NX is the successor to the Nintendo 3DS, it is safe to assume that it is time for the Nintendo 3DS to be set off to pasture; however, it will not go gentle into that good night without making one last case for itself being one of the best video game platforms ever created.
Even though the Nintendo Wii U has had an extremely lackluster year, Nintendo, and third parties, seem to be firing on all cylinders to give the Nintendo 3DS one of the best yearly line-ups in recent memory. As a quick recap, we have already seen the following major releases: Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam, Fire Emblem Birthright/Conquest, Bravely Second: End Layer, Kirby: Planet Robobot, and Monster Hunter Generations. There are many more releases coming this year that I will not be touching upon because I wanted to highlight how the Nintendo 3DS will be put to rest with a huge line-up of Japanese role playing games that will fill the rest of calendar year 2016. I will not go in to big details on each game because I have no hands-on experience and I am remaining in the dark on most of the titles much like other fans. This list is simply to provide you with a glimpse at what is to come.
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past – September 16, 2016
First up to bat as we enter the fall gaming season is Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. This particular title is a full remake of the original Playstation classic that was released on August 26, 2000. The Nintendo 3DS remake was originally released in Japan on February 7, 2013 and fans in the west have been clamoring for it for over three years. Over the past three years Square-Enix seemed to be toying with fans by making them feel as if it will never receive a localization due to monetary and popularity issues. Without going into details on the suffering us fans have endured, I will just say that I am very happy to finally get a chance to play this game. The game features a classic turn-based battle system with immense amounts of depth as well as a stellar art direction and soundtrack. This famed Yuji Horii story developed by franchise veterans ArtePiazza worked together to create a massive role-playing adventure that will easily tie fans up for at least seventy hours.
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse – September 20, 2016
The Shin Megami Tensei series, developed by Atlus, is secretly gaining popularity in the west under the guise of Persona, which is a highly successful spin-off series from the original Shin Megami Tensei games. I personally have remained on a media black-out regarding the story for this particular title. Because of this, I am unable to tell you how Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse relates to the original Shin Megami Tensei IV, which saw its western release on the Nintendo 3DS in the summer of 2013. I can tell you, however, that this series features an unforgiving turn-based battle system, unique thought provoking environments, a chilling soundtrack, and an engaging story that will keep you guessing until the very end. If you are unsure about whether or not this game is your cup of tea, Shin Megami Tensei IV regularly goes on sale on the eShop for anywhere between $10 and $15 U.S. dollars. This is definitely a game that hardcore fans will not want to miss.
Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls and Yo-kai Watch 2: Boney Spirits – September 30, 2016
Yo-kai Watch was this mysterious brand that was only recently introduced to western audiences. Despite its massive success in Japan, the series is starting off rather slowly in North America. The original game released in the fall of 2015 and was not a huge sales success; however, this is not stopping Nintendo from yet again publishing this amazing role-playing series developed by Level 5. This series takes a lot of cues from the Pokémon series in which it involves children collecting a vast number of spirits to deploy in battle. The game is so heavily inspired by Pokémon that they are releasing it in two different versions so that you catch them all... I mean so that you can befriend all the Yo-kai. The game shows the adventures of a young girl or boy as they befriend spirits, or Yo-Kai, in their small town and solve various problems. The series is extremely light hearted and provides dozens of hours of pure role-playing bliss. This game, however, may not be for those who dislike the Pokémon franchise. Chances are if you do not like Pokémon, you will most likely not like this; however, if you are a fan of collecting monsters and using them in battle, this game is right up your alley. I also want to add that these games contain some of the tastiest bass riffs in all of gaming.
Pokémon Sun and Moon – November 18, 2016
Honestly, is there any more to say about this game that you already do not know? Pokémon Sun and Moon are primed to be the biggest Pokémon adventures yet. With its overhauled graphics, twist to the original Pokémon types, addition of advanced gameplay features, and its mysterious connectivity to Pokémon GO, you would be foolish not to consider this one of the biggest games of the year, and I do not mean only for the Nintendo 3DS. I for one look forward to going on one more Pokémon adventure before moving on to Nintendo’s next round of hardware.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King – Fall 2016 (Most Likely Early 2017)
In my personal opinion, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is the greatest game ever created and I am excited to see it in portable form on one of the best systems ever created. Written by Yuji Horii and developed by Level 5, who later went on to develop games such as Ni No Kuni and the Yo-Kai Watch series as well as Dragon Quest IX, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was the series' first step into the third dimension of gaming and it could not have turned out better. Unlike other JRPG series that sacrificed a lot of what the games were when jumping into full 3D, I am looking at you Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest VIII took the already not-broke-so-don’t-fix-it style of gameplay and placed it in a massive world full of colorful characters and immersive locations. This is one of the few role-playing experiences that placed you in a fully realized world that provided you with complete access to every corner. Nothing was out of bounds in this game, which helped in making it feel like the most immersive role-playing experience I have ever had. In my opinion, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King still has yet to be dethroned as the king of Japanese role playing games, which is quite impressive for a Playstation 2 game released originally over ten years ago. This is a game that all Nintendo 3DS owners should experience, as it is primed to be one of the systems best games.
This was not a complete list of role-playing games releasing on the Nintendo 3DS. There are still some games awaiting release in 2017, such as Ever Oasis, and some games that are still in question regarding localization, such as Etrian Odyssey V and Dragon Quest XI (which I feel will not release in the west on Nintendo 3DS).
Before we all pack away the Nintendo 3DS next year upon the release of Nintendo NX, be sure to give it the attention it deserves by experiencing what is one of the best final year line-ups I have seen on any system.