7 Best Nintendo 3DS RPG Games, adventures finally on 3D!

The Nintendo 3DS may not be leaps or bounds from the Nintendo DS, but still, its library is one of the best. Of course, the first stop should be the RPGs since they are best played on a platform that allows pick-up and play sessions. Here are seven of the best RPGs on handheld that feature a 3D screen.

Best nintendo 3ds rpg games

7. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a remake of the DS classic. Set in the war-torn continent of Vanquier, players assume the role of Stocke, a Special Intelligence agent caught in a conflict between two nations. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology plot revolves around the classic theme of saving the world through time travel, with players navigating between different periods and versions of history to unravel the grand narrative. Despite the familiarity of the stereotypical JRPG storyline, the game's strength lies in its intricate portrayal of characters and the interplay between alternate timelines.

In terms of gameplay, Perfect Chronology offers a turn-based experience enriched with time travel mechanics. Players alternate between two main timelines, manipulating events and decisions to progress through the story. While exploration is not the game's highlight, the intricate web of side quests and multiple endings adds depth to the gameplay experience. Combat, featuring a 3x3 grid system, offers strategic depth as players aim to position enemies for optimal attacks.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology offers modest improvements with updated animations and artwork. The game offers additional content through DLC, including bonus quests and classic/chibi portraits. While Perfect Chronology falls short of being a pixel perfect update, it remains a solid choice for fans of turn-based RPGs seeking a nostalgic yet familiar experience.

6. Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey resurrects a series known for its controversial themes and out-of-whack gameplay. Following predecessors laden with religious symbolism and complex narratives, the game continues the tradition of player-driven plot decisions and demon pacts. Set in a surreal world spawned from a dimensional disturbance in the South Pole, players embark on a mission to investigate the enigmatic 'Schwarz-verse.' The game balances sci-fi with religious themes, offering players thought-provoking choices that influence gameplay and plot progression.

While toning down the eccentricity of its predecessors, Strange Journey delivers a compelling storyline that challenges players to contemplate the consequences of their actions. The alignment system, reflecting philosophical attitudes, integrates seamlessly into gameplay.  Despite potentially offending religious feelings with its portrayal of major religions and its rather explicit content, the game's narrative depth and philosophical undertones provide a rich and immersive experience.

Gameplay features classic RPG mechanics, with dungeon crawling and demon summoning at its core. The fusion system, allowing players to create new demons. However, difficulty spikes and frustrating dungeon mechanics, as one would expect from Shin  Megami Tensei titles, may deter some players. But for the brave ones, this game is an experience that is more than unique. 

5. Pokémon X/Y

In the sixth generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon X and Y introduce a plethora of new features and improvements that redefine the series. The standout addition is the stunning 3D Pokémon models used in battles. Additionally, the inclusion of the original Kanto starters and the introduction of Mega Evolutions add further excitement and strategic depth to battles. The convenience of online trading and battling is a major highlight.

It is true, subsequent Pokemon games on the 3DS have exceeded X and Y in terms of feature, yet both these games are a giant leap from the DS games across the board. With its captivating 3D models, convenient online features, and strategic depth, the games cater to both longtime fans and newcomers alike. Despite some visual shortcomings, the overall package is immensely enjoyable and worth the investment, marking a promising direction for future Pokémon titles.

4. Shin Megami Tensei IV

Looks like we have another Shin Megami Tensei game with the fourth numbered installment in the renowned JRPG series, known for its cunning demons and mature, dark plots. This game immerses players in a world of conflict between demons, angels, and humans, with the protagonist navigating complex moral dilemmas and unforeseen twists. Choices play a pivotal role, offering a nuanced decision-making system devoid of clear-cut morality, shaping the narrative's direction in profound ways.

Shin Megami Tensei IV retains the series' hallmark "Press Turn System," emphasizing strategic turn-based battles where exploiting enemy weaknesses is paramount. Demon negotiation adds depth, requiring players to engage in dialogue and make compelling offers to recruit demons to their cause. The game's AI assistant, Burroughs, aids in quest management and character progression, ensuring a streamlined experience amid the vast world exploration and myriad side quests.

Boasting a unique art style that complements its dark tone and fully voiced characters, Shin Megami Tensei IV is a truly unique game. The game's soundtrack enhances immersion, with memorable tunes accompanying exploration and battles. With a playtime of 50-70 hours per playthrough and significant replayability driven by diverse choices and difficulty settings.

3. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team 

Featuring Nintendo's iconic duo, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team marks the fourth installment in the Mario and Luigi series, designed exclusively for handheld systems and the first to grace the Nintendo 3DS. It boasts impressive graphics and innovative gameplay.

In terms of gameplay, Dream Team maintains the series' signature turn-based combat mechanics with a twist, requiring players to master action commands for every battle action. The game features a blend of real-world and dream world environments, each presenting its own set of challenges and puzzles. The game's humorous dialogue is a breath of fresh air after all that brooding in Shin Megami Tensei. Additionally, Dream Team introduces Giant Luigi Battles, offering a thrilling departure from traditional RPG battles and showcasing the 3DS' touchscreen capabilities.

With updated graphics and a captivating soundtrack by renowned composer Yoko Shimomura, Dream Team delivers a visually stunning and immersive experience. Dream Team offers hours of entertainment for fans of the Mario and Luigi series, with its challenging gameplay, memorable characters, and heartwarming storyline.

2. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan

Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan marks Atlus' transition to the 3DS, offering a modern take on classic first-person dungeon crawlers akin to the Wizardry series. Known for its challenging gameplay and customizable party compositions, the series emphasizes exploration and battles, with players handcrafting their party members and mapping dungeons using the 3DS touchscreen. The game features engaging mechanics and intricate boss battles.

Gameplay revolves around exploration and combat, with players navigating diverse dungeons filled with Field On Enemies (F.O.E.s) that pose significant threats. Each party member belongs to a specific class, with the ability to subclass, granting access to additional skill trees and fostering diverse character builds. Combat emphasizes status effects, elemental weaknesses, and strategic bindings, enhancing the challenge and depth of battles. Boss fights, in particular, are a focal point, showcasing the game's difficulty and rewarding players with optional missions and content post-game.

1.Bravely Default

Bravely Default is a standout JRPG that seamlessly blends classic elements with innovative features and modern conveniences, earning praise from RPG enthusiasts. Developed by Silicon Studio and Square Enix, the game harkens back to the golden era of JRPGs while introducing new mechanics and enhancements. Set in the fantasy realm of Luxendarc, players embark on a journey to restore balance to a world plagued by the corruption of elemental Crystals and political strife. As the story unfolds, players navigate intricate plot twists and character developments, delving into mysteries that keep them engaged throughout the lengthy adventure.

The game's visuals and overall production rivals Final Fantasy, but obviously, it is much scaled back due to the game being released on the 3DS. In terms of gameplay, Bravely Default excels with its traditional turn-based combat system augmented by the innovative Brave-Default mechanics. Players strategize by managing Brave Points and mastering diverse Jobs, offering endless customization and tactical depth. The subsequent sequels are better games, but first love never dies.