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Looking Ahead: 3DS Launch Lineup

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Posted by: David Sanchez

The Nintendo 3DS launch is but a mere two months away here in North America. After plenty of rumors and speculation, the handheld was unveiled at E3 2010 and gamers got a glimpse of the system and its 3D capabilities. Since then, Nintendo has revealed details regarding various releases for the platform including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, and Paper Mario. How is the launch lineup looking so far, though? While we may not know what releases will accompany the 3DS here in the states on day one, Japan's launch lineup has officially been announced.

Unfortunately, much like the Wii and DS before it, the list of games set for launch with the 3DS aren't all winners. While Street Fighter and Professor Layton titles are certainly splendid launch titles, the rest of the games don't look as promising. Sure, Nintendogs had a massive following, and Nintendogs + Cats may very likely have a huge fan base as well, but is it really launch game material? I personally doubt if there are any serious gamers out there thinking, "Nintendogs + Cats is a 3DS launch title in Japan? Oh, I hope it's out on the first day here in North America too!"

Then there are titles that seem like hit-or-miss additions to the 3DS launch library. Soccer fans may be looking forward to Pro Evolution Soccer 3DS, but will it really be a stellar soccer sim like its home console brethren? Will it be worth checking out by soccer fans on day one? Combat of Giants: Dinosaur Strike is another questionable release. This brawler/RPG sounds like a weak attempt at cashing in on childrens' love of dinosaurs right from the get-go. The game originally released on the Wii and DS to mixed reviews. This doesn't really sound like the type of legacy a launch title should have: "Combat of Giants: Dinosaur Strike--a 3D port of the semi-average Wii and DS games of the same name--is headed to the 3DS on launch day!"

Even more ludicrous than the release of Combat of Giants is the fact that Samurai Warriors: Chronicle will also be one of the 3DS launch titles in Japan. Samurai Warriors, a spin-off series of the slightly more successful Dynasty Warriors, has yet to really take off as a reputable franchise. Snazzy 3D visuals are one thing; but is the game really a viable launch title when all of its predecessors have floundered due to poor gameplay mechanics? Samurai Warriors: Chronicle will likely be in the bargain bin within a few months of its release.

Thankfully, there are at least a few interesting titles set to launch alongside the 3DS aside from Street Fighter, Professor Layton, and even Nintendogs. Tobidasu! 3D Puzzle, or Puzzle Bobble 3D, may very well be the sleeper hit in the 3DS launch lineup. Arguably one of the most memorable arcade puzzlers around, Puzzle Bobble has a successful legacy of games behind it. And while it may not exactly scream "launch title", it certainly has a lot more potential than some of the other games. Similarly, Ridge Racer 3D looks fairly promising as well. With excellent releases on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PSP, Ridge Racer might find a new home on the 3DS if it successfully combines high speed, tight controls, and rewarding gameplay.

It seems as if the Nintendo 3DS launch is depending entirely on Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, and possibly Nintendogs + Cats. Nintendo has made a huge mistake by allowing so few big name games to launch alongside the 3DS. What we're essentially getting is a mixed bag of releases, a few of which can already be considered shovelware. The 3DS has sparked interest in many a gamer, from the casual crowd to more dedicated video game enthusiasts. But realistically, no one is going to be even remotely intrigued by games such as Combat of Giants: Dinosaur Strike and Samurai Warriors: Chronicle. These games just don't have the following or even successful predecessors to warrant any kind of interest from gamers, and they're certainly not system sellers.

Super Mario 64, Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. These are all launch titles for past Nintendo consoles that had people talking. These titles made people want the Nintendo Entertainment System all the way down to the Wii on day one. Sadly, the 3DS doesn't seem to have the big exclusives ready for its launch. Where is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D? Where is Paper Mario? Where is Resident Evil: Revelations? Where the heck is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D? Nintendo's 3DS has a great amount of hype behind it, and rightfully so. The system can show off impressive 3D graphics without the use of glasses. But while the technology may be worth getting excited over, the majority of these launch titles certainly are not.

Looks like we're going to have to wait and see if Nintendo has bigger plans for the system's North American launch. If not, we'll have to wait for the second or third wave of releases to give us exactly what we want. Maybe.

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