3DS Third Party Report Cards
Nintendo's 3DS has been available for almost nine months, and with the year nearly over (and releases slowing to a trickle), we decided to grade some of the third party publishers that released titles for the system.
Each letter grade was assigned based on the quality of software as a whole, and not the number of games on the shelf. In other words, Ubisoft doesn't receive an A for just bringing five plus games to the table.
On that note, we present the grades. All third parties must get their report cards signed by their parents, then return them to us before holiday break.
The house that Street Fighter built earned high marks for, well, delivering Street Fighter. Capcom shoved the console edition of Super Street Fighter IV onto the 3DS without much sacrifice. Even better, the developers included wireless StreetPass battles, a new over the shoulder perspective and online play.
Then we have Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, a game that received both praise and criticism. While the visuals look great for a first generation 3DS game, players felt this title was light on content, while a save file fiasco created plenty of confused (and angry) 3DS owners.
We also cannot forget about Capcom's decision to cancel Mega Man Legends 3.
Ubisoft had a chance to dominate the 3DS launch, and subsequently the year, with a variety of games based on popular franchises like Splinter Cell, Rayman and the Rabbids, where investing more effort would have produced some of the best titles. Instead, the publisher dropped the ball. Aside from Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, all of its launch games received poor marks, and subsequent releases (Driver: Renegade 3D, James Noir's Hollywood Crimes) followed suit.
With a glut of poorly designed games crowding shelves, Nintendo should consider restricting Ubi's 3DS privileges.
Sega kicked off the 3DS launch with the disappointing Super Monkey Ball 3D, then released two superhero stinkers (Thor, Captain America) long after the console and DS versions had shipped. Shinobi renewed our faith in the company, but then things became somewhat awkward with Sonic Generations, a game that doesn't come close to matching its Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 counterpart in terms of features. A fairly average showing from a publisher with so many beloved franchises.
Have to admit, Samurai Warriors Chronicles (while repetitive) provides a few hours of hack and slash fun. Tecmo Koei's big achievement, though, was Dead or Alive Dimensions, a huge fighter with a plethora of characters, different modes, online play and StreetPass support.
EA thrilled us with FIFA Soccer 12, by far the best portable soccer game to appear on a Nintendo handheld, complete with an exclusive Street Mode that takes advantage of glasses free 3D.
At the same time, the publisher made us sleepy with the solid but overexposed The Sims 3 and The Sims 3: Pets, and Madden NFL was dreadful. Can do without those, and Need For Speed: The Run was full of cheesy gimmicks instead of thrilling races.
Ah, but if only those games were good. The company went on to release one critically panned dud after the other, including Cooking Mama 4 and the Mario Kart inspired Face Racers: Photo Finish. At least there's Nano Assault, but one game isn't enough to significantly affect this outcome.
Not a terrible showing for Namco Bandai. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy is a great aerial combat game. We also have plenty of love for Ridge Racer 3D, which is still the best 3DS racing game so far.
Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, on the other hand, is a mixed bag, with outdated versions of Pac-Man Championship Edition and Galaga Legions (both highly enjoyable), mixed with some weird gyroscope controlled Pac-Man and first person Galaga. As for Pac-Man Party, we prefer to believe that abomination was never released.
Konami filled the sports void at launch with the solid Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, a game heavy on features but plagued by an awkward camera. That was followed by the lackluster Frogger 3D, which failed to capture the magic of the 80s original. There's one more game left, Dr. Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, but three early reviews make it look mediocre at best.