Ones To Watch In 2016: Nintendo 3DS

This year was pretty light on 3DS releases, with only a few noteworthy titles such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D earlier in the year alongside a couple of brilliant games just about hitting the stores before Christmas. 2016 however has a starting line-up that’s currently making me weak at the knees just thinking about it!

You may or may not have noticed that a lot of the RPGs in our Ones to Watch – Role Playing Games article were loose takes on the genre. Well, put simply, the vast majority of them were exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS, so we figured we’d stick them here where it’s safe to say they’re amongst the most anticipated games of next year.



Square Enix originally localised Bravely Default, a turn-based JRPG, due to fan pressure in the West and were pleasantly surprised with the positive response from both press and players. By putting a new spin on the JRPG format, you were able to delay your moves to stack them up for another time or go all out in one turn. On top of that, conveniences such as being able to control random battle frequency made it highly playable on the move.

It was an RPG I was ready to declare a modern classic, until its final section. Yes, the twist was genius, but the grind that came with it was excruciatingly painful to play through. That said, I enjoyed tinkering with the jobs to maximise damage output, the boss fights were superb for the most part, and it felt like a return to form for Square Enix.

Bravely Second: End Layer looks to continue the story, the trailers even including some references to the cast from the first game. While more of the same wouldn’t be a total loss, I’d love to see how Square Enix can refine further the unique combat system. It’s certainly one of many games from the company I’m looking forward to next year.

Now if only they can end it properly this time, rather than have that tedious grind for the ‘good’ ending…


You may have heard the tales that the previous Fire Emblem was going to be the last one if it wasn’t successful. We’re pretty glad it was for two reasons. It gave us perhaps the best tactical RPG on the platform in the form of Fire Emblem Awakening, complete with romancing options, which gave you yet another reason to care about the well-being of your forces. Incidentally if you haven’t played it, I highly recommend you do so now.

The other reason is that we have a rather ambitious new instalment to look forward to. Fire Emblem Fates is actually three scenarios and will come in two different versions: Birthright and Conquest. According to the trailers, you have a stake in both, but will need to choose a side eventually, continuing that army’s storyline.

At the time of writing this article, the main protagonist Corrin has just been announced for Super Smash Bros. as paid for DLC. It’s a great chance to see what kind of fighter he will turn out to be in the main game, harnessing the power of dragons.

If it’s anything like the last one, expect this to be an epic adventure with great characters and compelling mechanics. Whichever version you decide on obtaining, you don’t need to obtain both versions as the other one will be available as DLC, alongside a third scenario called Revelations to tie both stories together.


The sole non-RPG entry is also a port of the Wii U’s Hyrule Warriors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as Blair explained in his review of the game in 2014.

In the 3DS version we get to see even more characters, spanning across a vast spectrum of the Zelda franchise. From Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask, to Tetra in Wind Waker, to even a brand new gender swapped version of the main hero of the franchise, dubbed Linkle.

To have a Warriors style game from Koei Tecmo on a handheld is relatively rare as it is, but to actually have the enhanced version of the game appear on the 3DS is completely unheard of. Hopefully there have been a few refinements to the experience and maybe this will be the definitive version of the game.


A clash between Bandai Namco, Capcom, and SEGA franchises doesn’t always come twice.

Project X Zone was suitably bonkers looking to say the least, fusing many of your favourite franchises into one insane tactical RPG with an equally strange combat system that looked flashy. This is certainly something that is being carried over to the sequel.

That said, this one’s certainly made for the fans and while the first one was fairly accomplished in its own right, it’s difficult to see how this one, at this time, is anything more than “we’ve added more characters”. Hopefully it brings quality as well as quantity.


Level-5 have a great history of making excellent and unique takes on RPGs. Yo-Kai Watch is hugely successful in Japan, spawning an anime series.

As a fan of the Pokémon franchise, the fact this one has a similar premise with regards to catching ghosts in order to build a collection/party of monsters to fight other monsters appeals to me greatly. Combine that with Level-5’s talent with regards to localisations and we should be onto a winner.

American audiences already have this one though, so maybe this is cheating a little putting it on the most anticipated 3DS collection, but there must be a reason why it’s a phenomenon in its native Japan and it does look like a lot of fun.


This one came out of nowhere. We’d heard that Japan got a version of this game years ago, but never expected it to come outside of Japan, let alone all the way to Europe! This release marks the point where Europe finally has all the Dragon Quest games available.

Now, this was one of the few games I imported back when I was young as I was a massive fan of the franchise. In fact, I still own that copy! Yet, it was for its time the black sheep of the Dragon Quest – or Warrior – franchise with its rather slow pace in the beginning. Perhaps this version will improve things dramatically in terms of pacing.

However, this was also the Dragon Quest game that completely nailed the job system to include more off-piste classes, such as the Sheep class. While my memory is shaky in recalling this game, the visuals are a drastic overhaul of the PS1 original.

Of course, that’s not the only Dragon Quest game coming to 3DS this year…


Yes, the PS2 RPG that put Level-5 on the map is also finally seeing a port that might be worth a look at. Sure, the 3DS isn’t exactly a PS2, but the mere chance to play a version of the game that isn’t stripped down too much is alright in my books!

One of the main criticisms of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was the initial difficulty curve. After all, you had to grind several levels just to take on the first boss. Maybe this is streamlined with multiple difficulty settings, but all we can garner is that there will be a new photo mode to create amusing scenes to trade with friends.

I for one would just like a version of the game that is playable, retains the brilliant voice acting that was included with the English localisation, and it will undoubtedly still be a massive amount of fun.



  1. I know it’s been done yo death and released on ever system I can think of, but I heard a rumour of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 gettong the 3ds treatment with updated soundtrack

    • There is a 3D Sonic 2 on the 3DS, but I don’t think it has an updated soundtrack.

  2. so, the 3DS is looking like a great handheld for RPG fans in 2016.

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