Here's a look at the year's 10 most anticipated games for Nintendo's 3DS gaming handheld, including Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Xenoblade Chronicles.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
One of the first games to highlight the New Nintendo 3DS's view-swivelable C-Stick, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate kicks Capcom's popular creature-stalking sim into vertical mode, allowing you to leap from ledges, climb walls and even grab-attack the new topographically-mindful monsters.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Another New Nintendo 3DS launch title, Majora's Mask 3D follows in Ocarina of Time 3D's footsteps: an enhanced remake of one of--if not the--best Zelda games in the series' history. If Ocarina of Time was design legend Shigeru Miyamoto splicing cutesy storytelling with groundbreaking three-dimensional gameplay, Majora's Mask is director Eiji Aonuma and Yoshiaki Koizumi's edgier followup, pitting players against a leering, runaway celestial object and time itself.
A third-person shooter that zips along at 60 frames per second and support 6-player online matches, Ironfall: Invasion will run on the original 3DS, but it sounds like it'll play best on Nintendo's newer C-Stick-ready handheld, benefitting from the latter's dual-stick controls and extra Z-triggers.
Nintendo's famous gotta-catch-em-all franchise meets free-to-play meets a match-three puzzler in developer GameFreak's newest Pokémon spinoff.
Story of Seasons
A Harvest Moon-like (developer Marvelous Entertainment is known for its work on the long-running Harvest Moon series), Story of Seasons lets players raise ye olde crops and livestock, but in this case you can peddle your wares in an online market composed of various "countries," each with unique trade-related demands.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.
It's a new turn-based strategy game from studio Intelligent Systems (Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Paper Mario), and that's enough to make this list, but Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. adds a steampunk setting, third-person gunnery and a use-or-hedge resource system to heighten its novelty.
Fossil Fighters: Frontier
Pokémon meets Jurassic Park--here you dig up fossils that morph into dinosaurs (called "Vivosaurs")--in the latest Fossil Fighters game, where players sleuth for fossils while cruising around in buggies, carefully cleaning unearthed samples using the 3DS's touchpad and ultimately squaring off in 3 vs. 3 online battles.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon
The dungeon-exploring Etrian Odyssey series meets the roguelike Mystery Dungeon games. It's not clear yet how that mashup's going to distinguish itself, but it presumably involves random-generated dungeons, three-dimensional environments and chess-like (I go, you go) combat.
One of the smartest roleplaying games in the genre's history comes to the New Nintendo 3DS (and only to the New 3DS--it'll be the first that taps the new handheld's souped up processor). This is your chance to play what by all accounts looks to be the definitive version.
The newest Fire Emblem game by the team behind Fire Emblem: Awakening (the most celebrated in the turn-based strategy Fire Emblem series) promises to marry global movement and local battle maps, while making your narrative choices more impactful.