10 Best Nintendo 3DS RPGs, According To Ranker

According Nintendo’s lifeLimited Run Games shared several Switch announcements during a showcase, including Flower Tales II launching on Switch this year. Of course, the Switch has long since established itself in the Japanese publisher’s console and handheld market simultaneously (thanks to the Switch Lite), but the Nintendo 3DS had nevertheless built up an impressive collection of RPGs.

The electoral community at private soldier make their list of what they believe to be system titles in the genre. As expected, these games are dominated by JRPGs, with the usual suspects like fire emblem, dragon quest, Pokemonand Shin Megami Tensei.

Note: Ranking lists are live and continue to accumulate votes, so some rankings may have changed after this posting.


ten Pokemon X and Y

Xerneas and Yveltal in promo art for Pokémon X and Y.

Although the Pokemon the main series of games started to drop in quality once it hit the Nintendo 3DS, it was a milestone in other respects nonetheless. This marked the main games’ first transition to fully 3D assets and brought with it some iconic Gen 6 Pokemon species.

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Likewise, it also introduced what would become a beloved game mechanic in the form of Mega Evolutions. It wasn’t the same golden age of games from the Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS era, but it was a solid first step into that era considering what the 3DS was technologically capable of.

9 Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Protagonists Alm and Celica alternate in Shadows of Valentia key art.

The fire emblem the franchise enjoyed a resurgence after Awakeningwhich paved the way for stronger Intelligent Systems titles. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was a remake of Gaiden Fire Emblem (the second main game), which was not released in Japan until 1992 for the NES.

Shadow of Valentia was well received for the way it applied tactical combat gameplay improvements learned from Awakening, as well as the great high-fantasy story carried by its two main characters. However, it has been criticized for being a bit more punitive than its recent predecessors.

8 Bravely Second: Final Layer

Bravely Second main cast members in key art.

Although he did not reach the same heights as A brave omissionSilicon Studios Bravely Second: Final Layer was always positively received as such. The series recently debuted Bravely Default 2 for the Switch, but End layer was the direct narrative sequel to the 3DS original.

It largely retains the gameplay strengths that made its predecessor so revered, namely turn-based combat using the Brave Points and Default features to strategically extend player turns. In terms of criticism, Bravely Second: Final Layer was mostly anchored from the dots to not stand alone narratively in relation to A brave omission.

seven Xenoblade Chronicles

Artwork from the Xenoblade Chronicles JRPG video game series.

Technically derived from the old one from Square Enix Xeno metaseries, Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles was the first of a new era focused. It was an underrated JRPG classic for the Nintendo Wii in 2010, and was later ported to the New Nintendo 3DS in 2015. The game takes place on the bodies of two massive titans at war with each other. , mixing sci-fi elements with fantasy for its inventive setting and premise.

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Xenoblade Chronicles was critically acclaimed for this creativity. Reviewers praised the engaging real-time combat and party-based mechanics, its ambitious open world, and the crafting of a compelling story from a simple, on-paper premise. It has since been remastered for the Switch.

6 Tales from the Abyss

The protagonist of Tales of the Abyss with the supporting cast behind him.

There has been a resurgence of interest in Bandai Namco Tales series thanks to the particularly strong reception of the 2021 Tales of Arise, but many longtime fans still hold many older titles in high regard. Originally released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Tales from the Abyss was an action-based JRPG ported to the 3DS in 2011.

Both versions of the game were generally well received, though they were criticized for a slow plot and generic anime/JRPG genre tropes. The 3DS version was specifically criticized for not improving the experience beyond the original PS2 version, but Tales from the Abyss has nonetheless been successfully carried by its entertaining combat system.

5 Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked

Key art for the Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 3DS remaster with the main cast.

While the Atlus Character the series took most of the spotlight, the parent Shin Megami Tensei the series has had more than its fair share of classics. Last years Shin Megami Tensei V proved to be one of the best RPGs on Nintendo Switch, but some older spinoffs had also seen some success.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor was Atlus’ tactical RPG spin on their flagship franchise, originally released for the DS. Later remastered for the 3DS as Overclockedthe game retained its warm reception to have a creative aesthetic and gameplay twist on the classic CMS formula. surviving devil was well received for adopting a tastefully unique art style and engaging tactical combat mechanics, as well as superb branching storylines.

4 Dragon Quest VIII: Voyage of the Cursed King

Dragon Quest VIII key art featuring the main cast in action poses.

In a way somewhat similar to what personas 5 and Yakuza 0 have done for their respective franchises internationally, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age gave Square Enix’s other JRPG titan a well-deserved injection of world-renowned fame. However, much of this XI succeeded in doing can be attributed to the foundation which VII laid out, namely in the conception of the world.

Dragon Quest VIII: Voyage of the Cursed King became one of the best RPGs on PlayStation 2, and the 3DS port was also well received. Praise went to the classic turn-based combat, the ambitious open environments complemented by cel-shaded art direction, and the simple yet effective fantasy story punctuated by mostly tasteful humor.

3 A brave omission

The four protagonist heroes of Bravely Default in key art.

The original Silicon Studio series was one of the best Nintendo 3DS JRPGs for fans of the subgenre, and it managed to carve out its own identity among characters like Final Fantasy and dragon quest. The story follows four adventurers as they attempt to recover the crystals that hold the balance of the world in the face of a dark threat.

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A brave omission was critically acclaimed for its streamlined turn-based combat, effectively blending traditional features with more modern and accessible innovations. The story has also been praised for flipping genre tropes on their heads and tackling darker subject matter.

2 Shin Megami Tensei IV

Key of Shin Megami Tensei IV

There was a huge gap and a whole generation of consoles between Shin Megami Tensei IV and Vbecause the first was released on 3DS in 2013. CMS IV follows a samurai destined to protect a kingdom, suddenly finding himself with his companions in a larger battle between angelic and demonic forces.

It continues the turn-based combat system traditionally used in previous entries. Reception was strong thanks to the game’s classic risk-reward combat, with reviewers finding it sufficiently accessible despite its occasional difficulty spikes. Likewise, the demon trading and fusing system was particularly praised as one of the finest in the world. CMS series.

1 Fire Emblem Awakening

Promotional cover of the main cast of Fire Emblem Awakening.

For smart systems, Fire Emblem Awakening might have been the last hurray for the series, but the game turned out to be the deserved, triumphant revitalization it needed. Awakening reinvigorated the series’ tactical-RPG gameplay to the best it’s ever been, along with optional difficulty and classic/casual modes.

This greatly helped the game become accessible to potential new fans and veterans alike, becoming one of the best fire emblem games in the process. And as any fan would expect, Awakening presented another sprawling high-fantasy story with a cast of characters worth investing in.

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