3DS Launch Games Hands On Pt 1

So here we are; 3DS launch day. After months of waiting, glasses-less 3D is now in our home, but is it worth the price? Due to a combination of misfortune and (what we suspect to be) voodoo, TSA were unable to obtain a permanent 3DS unit before launch, despite having some shiny review code to dig into. Fear not though, as we have been beavering away most of the morning to provide you with a brief run-down of some of the launch games.

You can expect full reviews in the coming days.


Rayman 3D

Rayman, or rather, Rayman 2 (which this is a port of) has been an evergreen favourite for Ubisoft since, well, the original DS.  Essentially a port of the Dreamcast version, this return trip to one of the most reliable platformers is actually pretty good on the 3DS.  Despite a lack of noise from Ubi’s marketing department, it’s a surprisingly solid adaptation that, although suffers from a frequently up and down frame rate looks nice and sharp with some decent texture work.  Of course, now it’s in 3D you get all manner of floaty things bobbing about using the full depth on offer and whilst the game certainly doesn’t need the extra dimension, it’s no worse for it.

Naturally, Rayman 3D is quite a dated platformer – it’s been around for many years and chances are you’ve already played it at least once.  That said, it’s probably one of the more substantial offerings at the 3DS’ launch – it’s a lengthy game with lots to do – and stands up suprisingly well against the high fidelity of Pilotwings and co.  If you’re wanting something to get your teeth into and haven’t beaten the game a generation or two back, Rayman 3D represents a solid launch title.  There’s nothing new, but what there is works well. [AC]

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

A wild diversion from the usual Ghost Recon fare, Shadow Wars is a top-down turn-based strategy game much like a Ubisoft take on something like Advance Wars.  In fact, in the absence of such a Nintendo published title, Ghost Recon fills the gap nicely.  It’s not hugely tactical, at least not from the first couple of hours we’ve played, but it’s already shaping up to offer a decent amount of depth by way of different weapons, character types and, of course, enemies.  The intro level is a bit of a confusing mess, but after that it starts to pick up.

It looks good, too, with cel-shaded characters played off against detailed, realistic environments, and in 3D it feels like you’re peering into a big cardboard box full of toy soldiers.  We’ll need to spend some time with the game to establish whether the initial thrill of having something quite substantial to play with wears off, but here’s hoping that Ubisoft’s adventurous gamble has resulted in a solid strategic title that will give solo players something worthy of their cash. [AC]

Asphalt 3D

Whilst Ridge Racer may be one of the stars of the show when it comes to the launch line-up, we mustn’t overlook Asphalt 3D. A fusion of real world and arcade, you can earn the keys to over 40 vehicles from manufacturers such as Abarth and Ford and take part in a number of racing events. Rather than use realistic physics Asphalt 3D gives us massive drifts and huge jumps, with nitrous boosts aplenty. Its concept is akin to Xbox 360/PS3 racer ‘Blur’.

From the off you can see the car models look much nicer than the slightly disappointing Ridge Racer. Whilst it won’t blow you away, every car is instantly recognisable and looks much better than videos might suggest. The 3D effect is good too, with snow flakes blowing into your face, and real depth on display when you send your car over a large jump.

From what we have played so far the handling on the basic cars feels slightly over simplified, but it will be interesting to see how the beefier cars control. There also seems to be one or two framerate issues. The biggest question mark is can the game justify a price tag of up to £40 in some retailers? We will give you our full verdict soon. [DL]

PES 2011 3D

Have you played PES before? This is like that if you turn the 3D slider all the way down. It looks roughly the same, graphically, to PES 2011 on the PSP and it controls in an almost identical way too. The Circle Pad is better than the PSP’s fidgety analogue nub by several orders of magnitude though, and PES really shows that.

The 3D implementation is totally superfluous to the actual game play experience but it is a welcome addition simply for the visual aspect. Teams seem mostly to be set on squads from last July (David James is still default England goalkeeper) but there are a couple of notable recent additions (Chicharito appears on Man Utd’s bench).

You know what you’re getting with PES, it’s as solid as the 2011 version was on any format and if you want a football/soccer game (Madden is also available for those who don’t scream “handball!” at the TV) then this is your only option until the much anticipated release of FIFA 3D later this year. [PC]


Ah, this is familiar territory. WuHu Island, the setting for the Wii Sports Resort, serves as a backdrop for this rather gentle aerial assault course. Your own Miis are the stars of this, dressing up in flight suits and taking three different aircraft for a reasonably relaxed (so far) jaunt above the resort island.

You can fly a ‘plane, a hang-glider or a rocket belt (yes, that’s a jet-pack) and each controls differently and has a unique little quirk. For example, the rocket belt can hover while the ‘plane has a speed boost and the glider needs to ride thermals.

It’s all very basic stuff so far, the missions seem to revolve around flying through hoops and making good landings, but it’s strangely entertaining. The 3D is more striking in this that anywhere else I have personally noticed. I assume that’s because of the wider viewpoint of surveying a whole landscape rather than a relatively limited location. [PC]

The Sims 3

Is there a platform that doesn’t play host to a Sims game? This seems to be the standard version of the game with a closer look at your Sim in the top screen (in 3D, naturally) and stylus control in the bottom screen. Fans of The Sims will know exactly what they’re getting.

For those who aren’t sold on the idea of nurturing their own humans, the extra incentive offered by the 3D gimmick is probably not enough to warrant a purchase. However, if you like the game and haven’t already got it in a handy, portable format then it’s certainly worth considering.

The Sims 3 was never going to be the flagship launch title to show off the 3D to your friends and family but it could potentially be the sleeper hit that keeps people playing their shiny new 3DSs until the second wave of releases arrive. [PC]

Samurai Warriors Chronicles

Chances are, if you haven’t enjoyed any of the previous iterations of the Samurai Warriors franchise, Chronicles certainly won’t be able to win you over, even with its 3D functionality. For long-time fans however, it’s a must-have; new features including a revamped story driven-campaign and character-switching combat add a surprising amount of variety to the somewhat ancient Warriors formula.

For players who want to get everything out of their new hardware, Chronicles also has a Streetpass mode in which you can assemble squads of warriors who automatically fight opponents on-the-go, unlocking numerous weapons and increasing character friendship levels. [JH]



  1. I picked up Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars as part of a bundle deal, where I got my 3DS. Seems like a really solid game, so far it’s been pretty good.

    Ridge Racer and PilotWings has also spiked my interest, but let’s get some Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Ikarus loving big N!

  2. Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars actually looks pretty good. It is after all developed by Julian Gollop who was the man responsible for many turn-based strategy classics like Chaos, the Rebelstar series, Laser Squad, X-COM etc…

  3. Needs a game that I badly need maybe Kid Icarus… some of the launch games would make me feel as if I’ve been there…
    eh.. and Fifa 3D will be nothing but a horrible game if anything similar to the PSP games.

  4. Not getting Rayman again… what I’ve played of Street Fighter is good and Splinter Cell isn’t bad…

  5. Im currently deciding what to get so this lil feature may come in handy. I won lego starwars 3 on twitter today so looking for something else to go with it

  6. I have the 3DS pre-ordered with Street Fighter, I wan’t to wait for Zelda and Mario.

  7. Cor, bloody hell, Dan. That’s one massively average selection of games. :-\

  8. There’s not a game there that would tempt me into buying a 3DS.

  9. A very strange line up of quite a lot of old games and ideas.

  10. I’m glad I didn’t get an iPad 2 or a 3DS, waste of money especially since there’s no Mario or Pokemon 3D and when there is I’ll get the 3DSi with better battery life!

    • Yeah because the games at launch, are the only 3DS games forever….

      Mario, Zelda, Icarus, Resident Evil, Star Fox, MGS, Animal Resort, is expected to launch around the summer and games like Professor Layton and Steel Diver in EU really soon.

      • Did you read his comment?

      • Not properly, I see that now :P

        But calling it a waste of money, is pretty unfair, considering what it does and if you compare it to the price of PSP and the DS, when they were launched.

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