With Pokémon X and Y approaching on the horizon, 3DS owning RPG fans can expect themselves to be busy for a while. There is certainly more to the 3DS on the RPG front than just Pokémon though. Only a bit over two years old, the 3DS has already begun to sprout a library of role-playing games that will one day hopefully rival that of its older brother, the original DS. Here’s a short list of games every RPG enthusiast should consider adding to their 3DS library.
- 1. Tales of the Abyss
While it is a port of an older PlayStation 2 game, Tales of the Abyss is an excellent addition to the 3DS line up. The real draw of the Tales series is its real time combat system. Unlike a lot of Japanese RPGs, Abyss does not revolve around taking turns to fight but instead actively making decisions all throughout the battle. You can mix and match up special moves called “artes” to chain combos together with other characters in your party. Abyss’ story will take about 20 to 30 hours to finish, and there’s a lot of side content to do as well. It ran with a limited print in stores, so you might have to search online for a copy.
- 2. Shin Megami Tensei IV
Nintendo pushed Shin Megami Tensei IV pretty hard when it launched. It was featured on the front page of their e-shop, and if registered at Club Nintendo’s website along with Fire Emblem: Awakening you could get a $30 rebate. The game is really good, but really difficult. In order to advance through SMT4 you have to learn how to use the battle system to your advantage. It is based around weaknesses and resistances, and hitting an enemy with what they are weak against will net you an extra turn; likewise, if they hit you with something you are weak to then they get an extra turn. In order to build a team to fight with you, you have to negotiate with demons and other mythical deities to convince them to join you. The unique and fun battle system is what makes SMT4 enjoyable despite its unforgiving difficulty.
- 3. Etrain Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
The Etrian games are a bit of an acquired taste. Taking elements from early dungeon crawlers and retro role-playing games, Etrian IV tasks you with exploring a series of dungeons and charting your own map along the way. The story is very minimal, but several different plotlines will unfold as you get further into the game. You have to make your own party of characters, each represented by a specified role and a portrait. The main focus is on exploring the dungeons, fighting monsters, and leveling up. The game has beautiful visuals and a stunning soundtrack. The hours you can end up clocking into Etrian IV make it a very worthwhile purchase if you enjoy games about exploration and discovery.
- 4. Mario and Luigi: Dream Team
The Mario and Luigi games are always a good investment. By combining the jumping and platforming of the Super Mario bros. with a turn-based combat system you get something a lot more enjoyable than it sounds. While the battles are turn based they still actively draw you in with a rewarding battle system. Whenever Mario or Luigi attack you have the option to do bonus damage if you can time pressing the action button with the moment that they hit an enemy. This also works defensively, as you can jump or projectile attacks, and catch enemies that charge at you off guard. The game is quirky by nature, and its subject matter reflects this. Scenes like Mario and Luigi talking with each other are not spoken clearly but instead use exaggerated animations to get their message across. Overall, it is an easy going and fun game with a difficulty curve that keeps you actively involved.