Review by GabrielConroy

"A questionable and poor offering from the 3D Classics series."

Unfortunately, Nintendo's third entry into the 3D Classics series is a couple steps back. With a free, 3D version of Excitebike at the launch of the 3DS eShop and a respectable 3D Xevious to follow it up, 3D Classics: Urban Champion fails to meet the reasonable expectations of 3DS owners, even at a slightly discounted price of $4.99.

This version of Urban Champion is inferior to the other two 3D Classics games that preceded it in just about every way. Unlike in the other two, Urban Champion's new 3D effect is close to pointless. Considering the fact that the 3D effect is supposed to be the selling point of these classics, it's impossible to recommend this game on graphics alone. The recycled, bland backgrounds aren't made more appealing with added depth, partially because of how static they are. With the 3D version of Xevious, players could help distinguish between different types of enemies. However, in this version of Urban Champion, the 3D distracts you more than it helps. The one unique feature, which has to be turned on in the options menu, is a different camera angle when brawling. With this option in effect, the camera will alternate between the normal view and one that is positioned behind your character at an angle where you can see all the "action." However, this is less of a saving grace than it is just a different feature.

But that's not to say that there is a great game that you're being distracted by. It's puzzling that Nintendo would choose to make the effort to release this game when it has such a large library of classics to choose from. Urban Champion is, bluntly, a boring brawler. You move horizontally from one screen to another hitting an opponent with either a heavy or weak punch. You can also dodge and block, but there is little skill required to advance to the next stage. Walk up, punch your opponent, repeat. Heavy attacks, which knock your opponent further back, take longer to strike and are easier to block, but the game does little to make you want to plan them accordingly. You can easily win by just spamming heavy attacks on your opponent. Occasionally, pots will be dropped from windows and the police will come and interrupt your brawling, but your stamina (essentially your life bar, which decreases with thrown punches) and time limit are almost never an issue. It takes no time at all to find a "strategy" that works for you, but even when you do figure it out, there's hardly any incentive to continue playing until you earn the title of Urban Champion, because the game is so repetitive and unrewarding.

The sound effects, music and controls are all decent, but don't provide anything to make the game more appealing. You'll just as quickly get bored of hearing your opponent fall down or get knocked back as you do with advancing from stage to stage.

One thing that separates this title from the first two 3D Classics in a good way is a multiplayer option, though it's limited to local play. If you have a friend who owns a 3DS and downloaded this title, brawling against her/him may relieve some of the tedium of playing the game.

3D Classics: Excitebike, while not the most engaging game on the eShop, was at least pick-up-and-playable. 3D Classics: Xevious was even better, providing legitimate fun for the right type of player. 3D Classics: Urban Champion, on the other hand, has nothing noticeable to recommend it. If the stages and opponents were more varied, then the brawling may have been more exciting. But as it stands, this "classic" game is just as repetitive as it always has been. And considering the selection of fighters that have already been released for the 3DS, there isn't really a reason to buy this game aside from the novelty of having it.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 08/19/11


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