Lots of gaming companies have tried a lot of different ideas to revolutionize gaming. Dance pads, plastic guitars, and even plush baby peripherals (no joke; Babysitting Mama) have made appearances, to different degrees of success. Motion controllers, voice control, and controller-free gaming are trying to make waves at the moment, and, likewise, some ideas are having more success than others. 3D gaming is another one of these ideas. For home consoles, 3D gaming never really took off, mainly because of the price barrier, I think. On the other hand, 3D gaming on the go has done pretty well, if 3DS sales are any indication. What could have been a terrible marketing gimmick has actually become a feature I’m enjoying, even when I thought I would never use the 3D feature of my 3DS upon purchase.
From a financial standpoint, it cannot be denied that 3D is selling systems. In fact, for quite a few months last year, the 3DS was the top selling system. Yes, this is somewhat an unfair statement because the only other handheld competitor (Vita) has a crappy game selection, and the home consoles at the time (360 and PS3) were as old as a primary school kid… but the point is that a lot of people want a 3DS. If I had to choose three reasons why I think the 3DS is selling so well, I would cite the great selection of games, the lower price than a Vita, and the inclusion of 3D gaming. In the end, however, the reasons why the 3DS is selling don’t really matter; the fact is that it’s selling.
Honestly, I thought the 3D feature would simply be a gimmick. I thought it would be used like in 3D movies; I can’t stand 3D movies because they’re incredibly gimmicky. The only time they use the 3D is when something is popping at you; a thrown baseball, a leaping animal, or something similar. The 3D is rarely used in movies simply to give a sense of depth and scale. The technology isn’t utilized so that the environment pops and details become as clear as they could be. It’s a shame, because I firmly believe that 3D could change movies, but that’s another topic entirely.
My point is, I’m pleasantly surprised by the way the 3DS uses 3D. I don’t feel like the 3D feature was just tacked on; in the games I’ve played thus far, I’ve been impressed by the technology, and it doesn’t feel like I’m playing a gimmicky version of an original DS game. In Street Fighter IV, the 3D makes the backdrop pop. The environment becomes dynamic, and I feel more like I’m a part of the game. In Rayman Origins, (as much as I loathe the game itself) the backgrounds stand out, Lums pop out at me, and moving items on the screen actually seem to grow larger or smaller depending on their location. Even though both of these games are side-scrolling ones in which the 3D can only be used to a certain extent, I’m still very impressed.
Fire Emblem Awakening, however, fully embraces and utilizes the 3D technology that Nintendo’s handheld offers.The great thing about the game is that there are many different ways to enjoy the 3D. There are 3D conversational moments, 2D animated cutscenes, (which are greatly enhanced through 3D) top-down views of a battlefield, and fighting animations that can be viewed from several angles.
I really love the way the terrain is detailed when viewed in 3D. Whereas drawn bumps and crags try to demonstrate depth in 2D, the ground actually caves in and rises to touch you in 3D; cliffs look like steep drops, mountain ranges look climbable, and walls look as though they truly hinder your progress. When two soldiers engage in battle, you can view the fight from a first-person perspective or the perspective an audience member may see with front row seats, assuming the battle were a sporting event. Both of these views truly allow for remarkable displays of 3D greatness, and I actually enjoy watching the battles because they come to life and excite me with their realism.
Arguably better than that is during the 2D cutscenes where the camera isn’t fixed; it’s like watching TV, but in 3D. The buildings are pushed back to show depth, nearby grasses spring up in your vision, clothing sways and demonstrates depth, people who should appear behind others actually look as though they are behind the others, and so on. During one of these animations, Chrom, one of the lead characters, is sword fighting with another individual. As both warriors are dueling, their swords swoop toward my face and away from my view with incredible realism; when the swords lock together in battle and the camera is angled so that the weapons’ lengths are exemplified, the tip of Chrom’s sword truly seems to poke my eye. I’m continually stunned by the layer of enjoyment and worth the 3D adds.
The 3D is worth paying for, simply put. I feel as though I’m more enveloped and involved in Fire Emblem due to the enhanced realism, and I’m enjoying the experience more than I otherwise may; I’m truly enchanted by the simple beauty, and my attention is fully focused on the events of the game. Everything from more enjoyable cutscenes to better understanding of terrain make the 3D feature of Fire Emblem and the 3DS worth my every penny.
How about you? Do you buy into the 3D “gimmick?” Let me know in the comment section! Leave a like or a follow if you’ve enjoyed, and thanks for reading. If you want, hit the “Links” tab for Let’s Play channels, as well.