As genres go, the RPG is by far our favourite, and in terms of consoles that house them well, it’s hard to beat the Nintendo 3DS in our eyes. It’s the perfect combination of deep, exp bar filling goodness and dual screen portability that keeps us coming back for more, even now in 2020. So, we’re back again to write about 5 more Nintendo 3DS RPG games that we love!
These RPG games might be listed in the form of a Top 5, but that’s just because it’s the done thing these days, after all it doesn’t make sense to have two articles does it? So these are basically 5 more Nintendo 3DS RPG games that really like ok? You can check out part one here! The Nintendo 3DS is filled to brimming point with RPG games that we couldn’t keep it to one list.
5. Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem Fates is a series of ‘tactical’ RPG games, often called ‘TRPG’, ‘SRPG’ or ‘Strategy RPG’. No matter the genre distinction, this essentially means that you’re playing a turn based RPG game, in which battles take place on a grid, much like a chess board. You’ll take turns to move your units into advantageous positions before attacking and, in most cases, wiping out their units to win the stage. In the case of each Fire Emblem Fates game – Conquest, Birthright and Revelations, each sold separately – these stages are all interspersed with some world building, dating sim and pithy story line beats, though these are almost entirely nonsensical.
Well alright, the story is so insane that sometimes we have to peel it away from the windows we catch it licking.
Thankfully the game play remains tight as a nut, and it retains that chunky responsive feeling during battle that Awakening coined on the Nintendo 3DS. Each of your units look, feel and perform differently enough to keep things interesting, and the intermingled weapon triangle system keeps the battles feeling tense. If we had to pick one of the three titles to place on this list it would be Conquest. It probably reaches the apex of Fates’ insanity in terms of writing and story, but it also features the best map design and unit variation, which we tend to value higher in these games. We’d certainly recommend experiencing all three however. Combined they form an essential experience and should certainly be considered some of the best RPG games on the Nintendo 3DS.
4. Bravely Default
From one RPG with a nonsensical story to another. Bravely Default is Square Enix title, which probably explains our previous statement somewhat. At first glance it seems like a game well and truly stuck in the past; you’re a small team of acquaintances, each young and abandoned in some way and you’ve all been thrust into a situation requiring the saving of some crystals via a long series of turn based battles – so far so Final Fantasy then. In does eventually crawl out from under that shadow, at least in terms of story line, though we’d still argue it approaches some monumental levels of insanity, especially in the final chapter(s). None of this matters at all however. Not even slightly.
What makes Bravely Default such a wonderful game is the battle and job system combined. In each battle you can choose to take up to four turns at once by activating Brave, or to defend and save up your turns (‘Default’). This, combined with a plethora of jobs designed to take advantage of it, makes for a thoroughly innovative take on the turn based formula. It’s testament to these systems’ quality that they manage to remain fresh throughout the 30 – 40 hour play time, and surely without these the title wouldn’t get close to being on our list. As it is however, it’s an essential RPG experience and one of the best available on the Nintendo 3DS.
3. Persona Q2
To those unfamiliar with the Persona series, well firstly have you been living under a rock? It’s a JRPG series of titles that has been slowly encroaching on the greater gaming consciousness in recent times, reaching it’s latest peak with Persona 5 and it’s subsequent update, Persona 5 Royal. What then, is Persona Q2, and why didn’t we pick the prequel?
Well, it’s essentially an Etrian Odyssey game, which is a series of titles focused on dungeon crawling, exploration, turn based battling and party building. Eagle eyed readers may note that this series in particular appeared on our first 3DS RPG list. What these games do it dump you down in a dungeon with a party of your choice and tasks you with charting it’s many routes and variances on a map, situated on the bottom screen of the 3DS. This is all viewed in the first person, and is often punctuated by quests, elite level opponents and teeth gratingly difficult environmental puzzles.
To Persona-fy this formula, Atlus have draped a huge helping of style over the top, pulled in the cast of three Persona titles and added a variation of the press turn battle system. These, combined with the Fusion system familiar to fans of the series, all serve to bolster the already addictive and compulsive systems of the Etrian franchise. This mash up of titles has created an almost moreish experience, one that fans of the series should surely experience, and one that even fans of the RPG genre alone will enjoy.
2. Fantasy Life
Finally a title without a wilfully insane story line. Though we suppose it would actually need to possess a story line at all to quality for that to start with. Anyway, Fantasy Life is best described as a ‘Slice of Life’ RPG game, though again we’d dispute that claim, since for this to be the case you’d need to work twelve different jobs at once. Look, it’s hard to explain alright.
Fantasy Life is a game where you can take on different lives (read: Jobs), each with their own series of quests and NPCs, as you work towards the goal of bettering yourself. One day you’ll find yourself mining some ores for a blacksmith, the next you’ll be hunting down monsters for a new friend you’ve just met, then perhaps you’ll become a wizard and learn some new spells. All of this is completed for the one true purpose of the game: Filling experience bars.
Ok look, there is a story of sorts, but it’s papered over the top of the systems so thinly that we’re pretty sure we can still see the experience bars protruding. We seem to remember something about Doomstones and feeding hearts to a butterfly. Maybe.
Looks it’s just a really good game alright? It’s like the love child of Stardew Valley and Runescape, in your hands, on your Nintendo 3DS! If that sentence doesn’t give you some form of nerd chills you should probably hand your ID back in at the front desk and get out.
Nobuo Uematsu is the composer by the way… Still nothing? Maybe a Battle Royale is more your type of thing.
1. Ever Oasis
We’ve already featured Ever Oasis in our Hidden Gems series for the Nintendo 3DS, and whilst it’s certainly less well known than other titles on this list, it’s in no way lacking in quality. The game itself is a third person action adventure that plays much like a 3D Zelda title, which is no surprise given the staff that helped to develop the title. These similarities continue as the game begins to unfold, though they’re not always that clear cut: Combat feels almost identical to The Ocarina of Time, though now you’ll have a party of up to three characters that you can switch between, each with their own different weapons and abilities. These abilities essentially replace the varied inventory of a Zelda game – where you’d previously rely on a new piece of equipment to solve a puzzle, Ever Oasis gives you a new party member.
But how does it manage these varied party members and styles? Well this is where the story kicks in: you’re tasked with overseeing the growth of an Oasis by installing shops and attracting new visitors, some of which you’ll be able to take out with you to do battle, and as such the basic cycle of the game is revealed. You’ll build more, explore further and gradually expand your home base. All of this is gently nudged forward by a whimsical story, though at least this one unashamedly focuses on fairies and evil demons, it’s premise basically entirely explained at the outset.
It’s an unusual mix of systems for sure, and it’s one that certainly takes a few hours to get going, yet throughout it all Ever Oasis manages to be an intoxicating blend of village management, z-target battling and light puzzle solving. It’s the perfect game for the 3DS and one that certainly belongs in any RPG fans library.