Nintendo’s Circle Pad Pro brings shooters to the 3DS
I can’t help but think that the Circle Pad Pro (CPP) is a cop-out.
The add-on for the Nintendo 3DS handheld game system costs $25 and is only available at EB Games (it’s US$20 and available at GameStop in the U.S.).
While your 3DS fits snugly into the CPP, so there’s no danger of it falling out, the CPP is bulky and unwieldy, making it difficult for even large, adult hands to hold onto.
It requires batteries and still drains the charge on the 3DS. When your 3DS is in the CPP, you can’t access the SD card slot or the wireless on-off switch. And if you want to change a game cartridge or access the stylus, you have to take the 3DS out of the CPP entirely.
Design issues aside, the CPP is nothing more than a retrofit that either (a) is a tacit acknowledgment that the 3DS wasn’t designed properly in the first place or (b) is an attempt to make different types of games, like shooters, easier to play on the 3DS.
I think the second explanation is more likely. As someone who has always appreciated that Nintendo’s DS handhelds provided a different gaming experience, it’s a confounding rationale.
One of the elements of the DS line that was so refreshing was the great games that were developed to take advantage of its unique control scheme: the touchscreen (some examples: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Okamiden, Pokemon, Super Scribblenauts, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass).
Or those that eschewed the need for multiple buttons and joysticks and kept things simple (consider Super Mario 3D Land and Kirby’s Mass Attack).
Now if you want to play certain games on the 3DS the CPP is essential. It adds a second joystick and extra shoulder buttons. So to really enjoy Resident Evil: Revelations or Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, the CPP is a must.
To my mind, if Nintendo had wanted gamers to play games like these on its 3DS, the handheld system should have been built to accommodate those titles in the first place.