We’ve been all over the map with the 3DS’s Circle Pad Pro. We doubted its existence, ridiculed it, wondered if it would be released outside Japan, waited for US and UK release dates, and now we’ve actually played with it long enough to really judge it. The Circle Pad Pro is available in Europe right now, and next week it will be a GameStop exclusive in the US. So we’re left asking ourselves, “Is an extra stick on the side actually worth the cash?”
That answer really depends on a multitude of factors and how you feel about them. We’ll guide you as best we can, and by the end you should know if the $20/£15 add-on is something you actually want. Are you a bad enough dude to let us know in the comments if you’ll be buying it?
1. Resident Evil’s camera controls work just like on a PS3/360 controller. Do you care?
Though we played through the first quarter or so of our Resident Evil Revelations review using the standard controls, once we popped on our Circle Pad Pro and adjusted to it, we couldn’t go back. After experiencing RE5 and countless other third person action titles over the last six or so years, twin stick controls just feel natural to us. You walk with the left stick, you look around with the right, line up your shots with the second left trigger, fire your gun with the second right trigger. For millions of gamers that’s “normal” now, and if that’s at all important to you, then the Pad is the option to go with for Revelations.
However, this by no means implies RER is otherwise unplayable. Without the attachment, stopping to aim with the right shoulder button and shooting with the face buttons works great. And the controls are surprisingly customizable for a portable game, so you can probably find an adjustment that fits you well enough. Revelations is fine without it, but it’s very positively enhanced by the Circle Pad Pro. Perhaps not enough to make it worth $20 for use in a single game, which is why it’s fortunate there’s more than one game the CPP works with.
2. Planning to buy any of the other compatible games like Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, and Ace Combat?
As has been proven in the past with add-ons like 32X and the DS Rumble Pak, their worth is defined by the number of games they support. Even if Resident Evil Revelations is improved, what comes after that? Currently only a handful of games have been announced that use it, and even fewer are coming out in the US any time soon. But at least most of the games are high profile enough to be warrant your attention.
Not counting the Japanese-exclusive Monster Hunter 3G, only two games currently available use the CPP: Resident Evil Revelations and Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy (which we thought was pretty good). If those two aren’t enough for you, February 21 brings Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D, which features 3D camera controls that could work great with the add-on, and on March 23 there’s Kid Icarus: Uprising, though it’s only intended use is to make the interesting controls work for the left-handed.
After that the number of compatible releases gets a tad nebulous, with upcoming Japanese launches for games like Kingdom Hearts 3D and Dynasty Warriors VS that currently lack any real international release date. If the CPP really takes off, more titles could appear down the line, but at the moment it’s just those six that will be available to Circle Pad owners this year. Are you planning to buy at least a couple of those games to make it worth it?