The Nintendo 3DS just came out and it’s a really impressive piece of hardware. Of course, the feature that is being most heavily marketed is the glasses-free 3D graphics. But its other features, such as street pass, an (eventual) upgraded online presence, and Alternate Reality games are also really cool and will hopefully ignite developers’ imaginations for some cool and imaginative uses. After spending several hours with Pilotwings, Street Fighter IV, and just shooting myself in the face, I can’t help but wonder what games could really take advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities. So I’m going to make a list of the games that I think should be remade/sequeled on the 3DS. I’m avoiding anything that is already announced (Zelda, Paper Mario, Star Fox, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts) as well as Nintendo staples that you know will eventually get made (Wario Ware, Mario Party, Metroid Prime.) I’m also trying to stick to games that could somewhat realistically happen (so no Halo or God of War.)
10. Chrono Cross
This is really just me hoping for another Chrono game (which is why it’s so low), but done right it would be spectacular in 3D. The best thing about both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross is how they create a believable, beautiful world with characters that you feel connected to (well, at least 3 or 4 of Cross’s playable cast). The 3D would only make the world that much more stunning. Create dual and triple techs that are as visually impressive as Final Fantasy’s summons, and you’ll really give people something to talk about. Trigger was immensely successful on the DS (the 2nd best reviewed DS game, according to gamerankings.com) and I think Cross would be equally successful if Square-Enix gave it a similar overhaul to make it more mass-market friendly.
If we do get a re-done Chrono Cross, I hope it would become a “director’s cut” and really hone the experience. Take out some of the more useless playable characters (here’s looking at you Poshul, Pip, Funguy, Mojo, Leah, Neofio, Razzly, ….) and connect the dots that were laid out in Chrono Trigger DS. Show how Dalton is connected to Porre and, for god’s sake, MAKE MAGUS GUILE! If we get a new game I would hope for a story that has elements from both Trigger and Cross, familiar and/or engaging characters, and either time travel or a new, unique way of spanning multiple worlds. Simply getting another Chrono game on any platform would be great, but I think the 3DS is definitely the best place for it to happen.
9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
This is the best goddamn Batman game. Its greatness comes from the creators understanding what it means to be Batman. Batman doesn’t rush into a gang of enemies; he takes them down one by one. The right mixture of action, puzzles, and side quests made the game perfectly balanced. The voice talents from Batman: The Animated Series were the perfect icing on an already perfect cake. Just imagine how the 3D visuals could improve leaping onto thugs, remote control batarangs, and detective mode. The sense of depth that the 3DS provides would make the experience even more impressive to behold.
8. Wave Race 64
I think this should have been an additional launch game for the system, just to really push the N64 nostalgia along with Pilotwings. For a long time this was the racing game for the N64 and still one of the best. It was particularly memorable because at the time a racing game that didn’t have some kind of car was very unique. It also had gorgeous graphics and really demonstrated what the platform was capable of, and I think it could do the same for the 3DS. The game demonstrated the advantage of the N64 control stick (yea, we’ve come that far,) and a 3DS version could do the same for the circle pad. Online competition and tournaments, awesome jet ski tricks, and an easy learning curve but challenging later levels and this would be the best racing game on the 3DS. At least, until Mario Kart comes out.
7. Conker's Bad Fur Day
I know this is never going to actually happen because of the whole Microsoft/Rare thing. But no other character broke the 4th wall as much as Conker. The funniest video game squirrel ever would be so great on the 3DS because he would know he’s 3D. Conker pissing on enemies, Berri exercising, crazed weasels, and giant poo monsters could all make jokes at the player seeing them in 3D. I don’t know if the platform has the capability to know where the 3D slider is set, but I would love to see Conker react when you change the setting. Not to mention the game is infamous for its parodies of pop culture, and there’s been over a decade of movies for them to choose from. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a really solid non-Mario platformer, why not bring back this gem for awesome, crazy 3D platforming.
6. Sonic Adventure 2
I know hoping for another good Sonic game isn’t going to make it happen. But Sonic Adventure 2 was the closest thing we’ve gotten since the Genesis. (Sonic Heroes wasn’t bad either, other than they asked you to do the same levels four times.) The blazing fast speed of the Sonic and Shadow levels would look fantastic in 3D. Give us well designed levels with solid controls and SPEED. Tails and Knuckles were only cool when they were almost as fast as Sonic; if Sega can’t find a way to keep them fast then they don’t belong. Sonic also doesn’t need to be in some mythical setting or saving any princesses. Just give us fast paced Sonic in 3D, it makes sense.
5. Marble Madness
This classic would make a great AR game. Your desk/table warps into the puzzle terrains that you navigate the marble through. It would also be great as a normal game too, giving the 3DS a solid puzzle game that takes advantage of the 3D. It doesn’t need to be complicated or have a ton of extra mini-games, just simple, challenging and fun. The circle pad would control the game similarly to the track ball of the original arcade machine. Innovative level design and challenging gameplay would be all the game needs, but they could expand the game by allowing the player to customize their own marbles that get shared via street pass. Just don’t put any monkeys in any balls.
4. Dead Space
Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are the most atmospheric games of the current generation. The Necromorphs (alien/zombie things) really seem to pop out of nowhere and you truly feel like you are alone on a space station. This is the only franchise that still feels like survival horror to me and the 3DS would be perfect for a survival horror game. (Silent Hill has gone too horror and not enough game and Resident Evil is too action) The Necromorphs would appear more real and aiming to sever limbs would feel more satisfying. The awesome Zero-G sections of the game would also be a lot of fun in 3D. But, honestly, I just want to stare at a beautifully rendered 3D outer space.
It would also be cool to get a more original game like Dead Space Extraction. Imagine game mechanics similar to Face Raiders, but on an isolated space station. I can’t imagine anything more frightening than playing this with headphones on and hearing something sneaking up from behind, and actually having to turn around and shoot it. Amazing.
3. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
It’s probably clear from my review of Dead Space that I think the 3DS will be great at rendering outer space, and nothing says space like Star Wars. Rogue Squadron and Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader are the best Star Wars games that focus on ship to ship combat. (That I’ve played. I never played X-Wing, Tie Fighter, or Rogue Squadron 3. Blasphemy, I know.) These games are a lot of fun, a good challenge, and really felt like piloting an X-Wing (or A-Wing, or Y-Wing, …) They were also graphical achievements - Rogue Squadron used the Expansion Pack to really push the capabilities of the N64 and Rogue Leader had better graphics than anything else available despite being a Gamecube launch title. These games also had tons of extras, the first one even managed to hide the Naboo Starfighter for over six months until Episode 1 was released in theatres.
So why should this happen on the 3DS as opposed to more graphically or motion control powerful systems? Besides the fact that it would look gorgeous in 3D, a combination of button, touch screen, and motion control could be the most interactive Star Wars game ever. During normal flight A, B, X, Y could be weapons, use touch screen for commanding wingmen, and R and L for alternate flight modes (locking S-Foils.) The motion control would be great for a level similar to Death Star Escape in Rogue Leader. (The scene from A New Hope with Luke and Han manning turrets.) Not to mention, a 3D Star Wars game would tie in perfectly to the 3D Star Wars movies Lucas is planning on releasing. (Hey George! I want my cut for this brilliant idea!)
Talk about speed! The original F-Zero invented the futuristic racing genre that’s been copied so many times since. It had sharp turns, a real sense of speed, and unique, fantastic graphics. Its sequels F-Zero X and F-Zero GX refined and perfected the formula to near perfect racing games. You need to pay attention, have quick reflexes, and time your collisions with your opponents perfectly to knock them out. This game is a no brainer for the 3DS: online races, a course and cart editor that can trade custom content via street pass, and, of course, fantastic 3D visuals.
1. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
A game where the core concept was FUCKING WITH YOUR MIND. The sanity meter was the greatest video game invention ever. As more crazy stuff happened to your character they slowly went insane. Insanity produced the expected effects: blood on the walls, hearing screams from nowhere, and deleting your memory card. Yes, the game actually makes you believe that your card has been erased, or your system corrupted, or the sound randomly muted. And just when you think you’re going crazy, the character will wake up screaming “This can’t be happening!”
Now imagine what could be done with this mechanic on the 3DS. Again, I don’t know if a game can manually adjust the 3D settings but that’s one way to fuck with your head. The 3D camera, street pass, and motion sensor all have possibilities for sanity effects. As you go crazy you look into a mirror and see your face. Not the character’s face, you the player’s face. If you tilt the machine to a certain angle the character stumbles. The possibilities for mind-fucks are endless.
I haven’t even mentioned how Eternal Darkness has an excellent story, complicated but satisfying puzzles, a unique magic system, and interesting characters. If done right, this would go down in history as the best game for the 3DS.
So I hope that as developers continue to make games for the 3DS, they try to use the system’s features to be original and innovative. I know a lot of games are going to try to cash in on the “OMG! WOW! IT’S 3D!!” Especially because 3D is such a marketing buzz word right now. But one third of the launch titles are actually decent games and, if that trend continues, that’s pretty good. Better than the Wii did at any rate.