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Top 5 Nintendo 3DS games of 2013

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5. Pokemon X and Pokemon Y

Pokemon X and Pokemon Y were the series first steps into the third dimension on a handheld device. Yet as the franchise took one step forward with new technology, it took a bit of a step back with it’s overall presentation.

The main flaw of X and Y was that the games lacked an identity of their own. The first Pokemon you encounter in the wild is not one of the over 70 new Pokemon, but it is a Pidgey. Not even an hour into the game you are given the chance to replace your new, Generation VI starting Pokemon, with one from the original Red and Blue games.

Things continue you on as could expect; you collect eight badges, defeat the villainous team, and then battle the elite four. The post game content is lacking, offering little more than a few new battle facilities.

But with all that said it’s still fun enough to make it a worthwhile pickup. Seeing your Pokemon battle in 3D is fun and never stops being enjoyable. The region of Kalos is vast with everything from a coastal, sunny area, to a snow filled mountainside.

Some of the new features introduced were also pretty cool, if not incredibly handy. The ever complicated EV training system has been streamlined to be more accessible to fans. The new Amie app lets you play with any of your Pokemon and even throws in a few little mini games.

While not straying too far from the formula, and spending almost too much time pandering to fans of the early years, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y were still endearing enough to crack the top 3DS games of 2013.

4. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

In a year that saw the most disappointing game I have ever purchased (Paper Mario Sticker Star,) it is quite an odd coincidence that one of the best games of the year is also a Mario RPG, and that would be Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

Dream Team was your typical Mario & Luigi game in the best way. It had all the humor you have come to expect to go along with crazy new characters. And of course it introduced some awesome new gameplay mechanics.

One of my favorite new additions to game was the big boss fights with Luigi. And by big, I mean colossal. You played as a giant sized Luigi that took up both screens of the 3DS and fought an equally large boss. It was a fun break from your classic style RPG fights of the game and experiment with a new way to play.

A prominent section of the game is the 2D side-scrolling Dream World. In this Dream World is where Luigi really got his chance to shine.

The Dream World allowed you to do so many crazy things with Luigi; you could multiply into a countless number of Luigi characters to make a ball, a tower, and even a tornado. You could also control Luigi from outside the Dream World to do thinks like tickling his mustache to make him sneeze. The Dream World was certainly wacky and memorable, making it the most unique part of the game.

Of course the game wasn’t perfect. The main villain was, as you could guess, Bowser and there were hours upon hours of pointless tutorials. But those flaws are definitely no reason to stay away from the game, and as a result it sits as one of the best of the year.

3. Animal Crossing New Leaf

Animal Crossing: New Leaf as a whole probably wasn’t a top tier game, but after sinking countless hours into it, it was only fair to make its way this high onto the list.

Conceptually Animal Crossing is a simple game. Move into a new village, meet some eccentric animal friends, get extorted by a raccoon. Yet for some reason that concept is incredibly addictive.

New Leaf lets you take control of things by throwing you into the role of mayor as soon as you move into town. There’s no election because Animal Crossing is in a world of tyranny. As the tyrannical mayor you get to choose what gets built and where it goes. You can build a coffee house right near the train station or put a bench right along the beach. The only problem is that your animal neighbors barely help pay for anything, meaning you do all the heavy lifting.

Aside from that there is some new furniture, new animals, and new places. There is an island where you can play some mini games and catch exotic bugs and fishes. Other than that the formula is the same as the other three games. And as elementary as that all may seem, it is somehow incredibly amusing and comes in as the best installment of the series.

2. Fire Emblem Awakening

According to video game website Destructoid, the future of the Fire Emblem series depended solely on the success of Fire Emblem Awakening. The game was a massive triumph, and fans of the strategy game can thankfully expect to see more.

Awakening was just such an in depth game. There was an incredible plethora of character development and the marriage system was the best that the series has ever produced. Relationships actually mattered as they determined the strengths and weaknesses of other characters. It really felt like each decision you made had at least a tiny bit of impact.

The character interaction was just a small piece of what made this game great though. The cut scenes were gorgeous and the story was oddly engaging. Being able to create your own character and putting them right at the center of the narrative was also a nice bonus and it really did a good job of dragging you into their world.

If there was one thing wrong with the game it would be that it had far too much paid downloadable content. You could spent an extra $60 dollars alone trying to play through some other scenarios. But even without the DLC the game was still able to suck the player into countless hours of gameplay.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Finally we come to what I believe was not only the best 3DS games of the year, but one of the best Zelda games of all time. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was a masterpiece, and anybody with a 3DS should have this game on top of their wish list.

Recent Zelda games have had long, tedious prologues that kept the player from finding out about the game for themselves. They have had annoying partners that tell you exactly where to go, making the game feel incredibly linear.

What made this game so spectacular was how cryptic it was. You’re dropped right into the world and within minutes you are allowed to explore. The story is simple and doesn't really need much of an explanation. You can do most of the dungeons in any order you want, and the item rental system is a useful new twist on the old formula.

When I first saw the trailer for the game I thought the wall merging ability would be just another exasperating forced gimmick. It was quite the opposite however, and I found myself using it often to try to solve the many puzzles of the game. When the game was finally over I now felt upset knowing there would most likely not be another Zelda game to use this feature.

Could the game have been a bit longer? Probably, but that isn’t reason enough to call this game anything other than spectacular. Right after beating it I immediately started a new file, this time on Hero Mode, and I was just as into it as I was the first play-through. A Link Between Worlds was truly the game of the year.

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