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411 Games Top 5 7.12.14: Top 5 Nintendo DS Games
Posted by Sean Garmer on 07.12.2014



Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. There were many great things about the Nintendo DS.



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In our on and off again series looking back at video game systems, let's honor the Nintendo DS




Daniel Anderson (Games Fact or Fiction Organizer, Co-Host of the Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer")



5. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: This game is really hard to describe to someone who has never played it. Saying it is a courtroom drama series where you interrogate suspects, witnesses, and victims at crime scenes and in courthouses give the basics of the game, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. This was one of the first games I bought for my DS and I played it over and over, even knowing who did it, just because it is a fun ride.



4. Pokemon: Black & White: Really, this could be any of the Pokemon games on the DS, but Black and White was the one that held my interest the longest, so it gets the nod. Everyone knows about Pokemon games, but Black & White was a massive jump over the previous games and, like all Pokemon games, just worked. The addition of online trading Pokemon greatly helped the franchise, and still exists in the releases today.

3. Advance Wars: Dual Strike: This game and the next in the list could be easily flipped, but I stand by the order. Advance Wars was one of my favorite releases for the GBA, and Dual Strike on the DS continued the quality the series was known for. It incorporated the second screen well, and kept the fun and tactics of the GBA games and expanded on them.



2. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon: This game barely edges out Advance Wars on the list due to the difficulty of the game. While Advance Wars is not easy, you have no problem sacrificing a unit to have an overall victory, but in Fire Emblem, it hurts to lose any unit. The game has an excellent story, and the move to the DS added online play. The overall gameplay style with permanent deaths causes Fire Emblem to get the number 2 spot on my list.



1. New Super Mario Bros.: This game was the first new 2D Mario game in years. We had previously been treated to 3D and RPG style Mario games (and remakes of older games), and while they were good, it was nice to see a new side scrolling Mario. Take that nostalgia, and add in that the game was good. Just an overall fun game that showed there is still a place in the world for new old-school Mario.


John Cash (Reader Voice)



5. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: Despite being able to be beaten in two whole minutes thanks to an outrageous glitch (speed run record held by Greenalink on Speed Demos Archive) there is actually quite a lot time to sink into this portable entry in the legendary Grand Theft Auto franchise. Chinatown Wars felt like a return to the familiar (GTA/GTA2) while also holding on to many of the aspects of the fleshed world of GTA III. While I wouldn't recommend it to everyone (there are some parts that are just damn frustrating), if you love GTA then this is definitely worth checking out.



4. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: The only problem with DD is that if you played the previous two games, then you are pretty much able to beat this game from the get-go. There's nothing really surprising nor are there really any daunting enemies for fans of the series. It's still fun and colorful, and the djinn attacks are made all the more epic by having two whole screens to cover. If you've never played any of the Golden Sun games, then I DEFINITELY recommend just reading the plot of the first two and then playing Dark Dawn, so that you'll know what's going on plot-wise but the gameplay will be fresh.



3. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: Time to talk about another Mario series that pretty much defies the "common knowledge" of what a Mario game is, that also sells pretty well and goes under the radar because on the internet if there isn't anything to complain about a game then we don't talk about it! That sums up the Mario & Luigi series in general. A good RPG/Platformer/Puzzle hybrid with plot starring MARIO, with Partners in Time upping the ante to include past versions of pretty much every major player in the Mario universe at the time. If you like Hybrid RPGs and don't mind not having to spend 40 plus hours on it like most other RPGs, than I definitely suggest giving Mario & Luigi a try.



2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All: This series of visual novel/point and click games became popular while I was in college, when using any more credit was pretty much out of the question, so any time I saw one of the games in a Gamestop or other used game store, if I had the cash I picked it up. Due to this, I played Justice For All FIRST, even though it's canonically the second. The comedic writing is top notch, the over-the-top character design is definitely memorable (from Franziska von Karma to Maximillion Galactica), and the "psych-lock" parts are way more intense than you'd think they'd be.

1. Professor Layton and the Unwound Future: I would include the entire first trilogy as number one, but the finale of Unwound Future had such a profound effect on me that I had to make it separate, so just imagine the first two games are here in spirit. The Professor Layton series is one of the few dedicated puzzle games worth playing each iteration, entirely because its worth pushing through the puzzles to see how the plot unfolds. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it previously in Top 5, but the finale to this game had me sobbing for damn near 20 minutes after I finished it. The next day I went into the video gallery and watched it again and again. It was just so well done and wrapped that trilogy up so perfectly. So for moving me so deeply, I can't justify putting this game (and series) any lower than #1.



Robert Cooper (Writer of the Metal Hammer of Doom News Report, Co-Host of the Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer,")


5. Picross DS: Picross is awesome, I don't know if anyone reading has gotten addicted to these little puzzles like I have, but if they have, they'll know why I have this so high. The game is highly addicting and plenty of fun, and I think everyone should give it a shot.



4. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: Yay, a sequel to Castlevania: Bloodlines! This game was different than many of the other Metroidvania entries for of the past because it allows you to control two characters and switch between them as you like. IT was a very fun gameplay mechanic and makes this game unique in the DS entries of Castlevania. The story is also pretty good and got me to play Bloodlines, so it has to be doing something right. As long as you don't mind the yellings of "JONATHAN" and "CHARLOTTE", over and over, you should be fine!

3. All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation 2: Time for the game that only I have played because I have a slight obsession with Japanese children's shows (aka tokusatsu). This game lets you take control of any Kamen Rider you choose (though they are all not in the game) and progress through the story mode, all the while unlocking new Riders and upgrading old ones. This game features Riders from Kamen Rider Wizard (who can be found with a secret code) to the original Kamen Riders Ichigo and Nigo and it is full of fun! I've played through the game multiple times and it holds up pretty well and it's challenge can come once you hit the later levels with a character you've not trained with. If you have the same obsession that I do, check this game out, I don't think it's very readily available, but you can probably find some way to get your hands on it.



2. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: The sequel to my second favorite Castlevania game of all time. This time we get Soma Cruz and company a year after the events of the first game, and now there is a cult after Soma. This game features a lot of the same elements as the game before it with a few changes, like a drastic art style change to an anime style that I am still getting used to. This is great Metroidvania fun at its' finest, and I recommend that any and everyone go buy this game, because it's definitely in my Top 5 Castlevania games, which is saying a lot, because I have played a lot of them! But if you loved Aria of Sorrow, there is no reason that you wont love this!

1. Pokémon Pearl: Now for the Number 1 that some will love and some will hate. This is the main reason that I went and bought a 3DS, because I knew that I had to catch up on Pokémon sooner or later, and decided now would be the time to do it. So I picked this game up, as well as White version, and grinded and grinded until I got as many evolved Pokémon as I could. This game takes your usual Pokémon elements and did some upgrading of them from Ruby/Sapphire. The touch screen was added in and overall does help make the screen less cramped. There also are A LOT of Pokémon to catch, so you will be spending hours upon hours doing that, like you do, anyways. You also have a very interest rival this time, as he's not a complete asshat and seems just like a generally nice kid, which is a good change! When I start White, it'll probably be tied with this game at the top, because I know that game will be great, but until then, here is Pearl, hear it roar!




Sean Garmer (Games Zone Reviewer, Games Top 5 Organizer, Co-Host of the Official 411 Games Zone Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer," WWE PPV Roundtable Organizer, Co-Host of Wrestling 2 the MAX Podcast)



My fellow comrades have already highlighted some great games to come out on the DS. I'm going to use my list to highlight two outstanding games and three others that are equally as good, but I chose them because each in their own way show why the DS was unique and brought us gaming experiences we had never even thought of before.


Honorable Mention: The World Ends With You: This is one of my favorite games released on the DS, mainly because it was something unique from Square-Enix. The storyline and characters set it apart from anything else on the DS and even though the controls were at times uber complicated, if you could get a grasp on them it together provided something that should have been played more. I wish Square-Enix would give us some sort of spinoff or sequel to this game because it shows off that Square still can be creative when it wants to do so.

Honorable Mention: Brain Age Series: Before Lumosity was around to train your brain on a website, Brain Age was around and inspired a myriad of clones after it. I never thought I would find myself playing a game that directly involved having to do math (which is a subject I hate) or actually reading things as if I was in grade school again. However, I found what it was attempting to do actually worked. I found that I was more alert and responsive during my day after having played Brain Age. On days where I just didn't feel like it, I felt sluggish and not really into what I needed to be doing. These games are a dime a dozen now, but Brain Age was really the first to take advantage of a gaming device, get your mind active, and make it fun too.

5. Kirby's Canvas Curse: I may get some crap for this game being on here, but Canvas Curse in a way is this most innovative and adult version of Kirby we've ever had. Having to use the stylus to draw lines for Kirby to continue onto the next part of the level was genius. You could still have Kirby be Kirby, but now you are more involved in the platforming. The game required you to think about where you wanted to draw the line and how far or short you needed to draw it. I really enjoyed this game and I am glad to see it is getting a sequel very soon.



4. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors : This visual novel surely isn't the first of its kind, but I bet you won't find anything that will stick with you more after playing this. The story is an intense mixture of horror, suspense, and puzzle solving that will scare you into coming back for more. It is certainly one of those games I would deem an "experience" similar to how Last of Us or the Walking Dead Games can be. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to take the time to play it, especially on a DS because it so intimate almost like a book that you hold in your hands.



3. Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2: I dare anyone to tell me that before the first game in this series came out, you wanted to play a game where you performed surgery? The answer is you probably didn't. My dad is an interventional radiologist at a pretty big hospital and even he was intrigued in how this game worked. Although the game's surgical procedures weren't always perfect, what the game truly wanted you to understand is the pressure, the time management, the intensity of what it means to hold someone's life in your hands. This game grew very difficult very quickly and sometimes you'd wonder if it was even possible to beat certain missions. But it was also done in a way that wanted you to keep playing because you wanted to see how much more difficult things could really get.

2. Elite Beat Agents: This was a game that I played everywhere when I first got my DS. People would look at me like I was a mad man moving my stylus around everywhere trying to keep up with all of the stuff happening on screen. I have no idea how they expected you to also pay attention to the story elements happening on the top screen as well, because not only did this game make rhythm gaming a big deal on the DS, it kept you wanting to move on to next song that's how good it was. And it does help a lot that the soundtrack for this game was terrific and the stories that went with it where anywhere from silly to heartwrenching at the same time. This was truly one of the great games for the DS, but maybe not enough people played it to truly grasp that.

1. Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: I had a hard time choosing between this and Phantom Hourglass, but I eventually chose this because of Zelda being involved in the game. This also had a different setting for Link than we are used to, which I also enjoyed. Zelda was alongside Link being able to control various suits and helped with the puzzles that are in the game. Some people also don't like the Wind Waker design of Link, which is also in this game as well, but I love it and it fits well within the context. If you put the adventure all together with the music, the gameplay, the unique setting, it was one of the most enjoyable games that I played on the DS and is a standout that I've gone back to play more than once.





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