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Inazuma Eleven 3: Bomb Blast / Lightning Bolt (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for Inazuma Eleven 3: Bomb Blast / Lightning Bolt on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

At long last, the third entry in Level-5's engaging football role-playing game series slide tackles its way to Europe. Three years after its original Nintendo DS release in Japan, Inazuma Eleven 3 has sensibly been updated for the Nintendo 3DS on these shores - a wise decision that may have meant it not gaining the attention it deserves if left as a DS title. Once again a dual release in the form of Lightning Bolt and Bomb Blast, does Inazuma Eleven 3 keep up the high consistency the series has set itself, or slice its shot wide?

What can definitely be said for Inazuma Eleven 3 is that not too much has changed as far as gameplay mechanics go. It will be very familiar territory for series fans, as they explore various regions of Japan, recruiting players to build the ultimate football team (of which there are now over 2,000 distinctive players) and progressing the very light-hearted story that perhaps doesn't stick out as over-the-top as the one in Inazuma Eleven 2.

The same can be said for the mini four-a-side football battles that play out in random encounters as players wander each screen, and of course the 11 vs. 11 full-scale story matches, where the Touch Screen is put to full use to deliver fast-paced and tactical action, where characters can pull off all kinds of crazy special moves. For newcomers, getting the most practical use out of every available option during battles can be a little overwhelming, and it can often be a fiddly affair when characters don't always seem to do what is asked, but the numerous tutorials help to make it as simple as possible. As with playing the sport in real life, practice makes perfect, and so long as the time is put in, Inazuma Eleven 3 continues to offer one of the most original battle systems in an RPG.

The star of the show is, as usual, expert goalkeeper Mark Evans, captain of Inazuma Japan, whose team now has the task of becoming world champions. Naturally, there's more to the story than is initially presented, as it begins to take a whacky twist right out of the Japanese RPG textbook, and despite not being as ridiculous as the invading aliens of the second game, this is still an adventure that will keep fans occupied until the end.

Screenshot for Inazuma Eleven 3: Bomb Blast / Lightning Bolt on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Although the game is rather light on the voice acting, the written localisation is handled impressively well, where all manner of British regional dialects are portrayed by the characters. Even though it makes little sense when these are Japanese players living in Japan and playing for the Japanese national team, it is refreshing to see the translation team offering a degree of personality to each character by using various accents that many players of the game will be able to relate to.

As with the previous game, Inazuma Eleven 3 is split into two versions - Bomb Blast and Lightning Bolt - which, like the Pokémon series, feature subtle differences between the games, but offer the ability to recruit players unique to each one. Between friends that own the varying titles, players are able to trade with each other in order to improve their squads, and of course battle in matches to see whose team is best.

Disappointingly, Inazuma Eleven 3 makes extremely little use of the enhanced power and capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. It was absolutely the correct choice to bring the title to this system in Europe, but there's no denying that it looks and sounds like a DS game. It can be forgiven, if only to say that fans of the series can now enjoy this title over here, but it is unfortunate all the same. Hopefully the next game will be able to really push the series forward and, at the same time, try to bring something different to the pitch to save it from growing too predictable.

Screenshot for Inazuma Eleven 3: Bomb Blast / Lightning Bolt on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Very familiar for series fans, as they run around the top-down world recruiting players and building the ultimate football team, competing in battles to develop characters with experience points, levels and special abilities. Battle mechanics can take some getting used to but it provides a highly entertaining way to play football for newcomers.

Graphics

Unfortunately, the game has received no upgrade in terms of its visual appearance, being a straight port of the original DS game. The 3D effect has been put to minimal use, as well, with only special moves getting more out of it. Short animated cut-scenes neatly break up the gameplay on occasion, which make for enjoyable watching for the younger audience.

Sound

Again, it is clear the quality is very DS-standard, but the soundtrack gives that positive light-hearted tone when exploring the various regions of Japan and the rest of the world, and offers up some more adrenaline rush-like tunes during battle matches. While the voice acting will likely rub older players the wrong way sometimes, it works for the audience it is aimed at, acting like an amusing cartoon show.

Value

As with the previous two titles in the series, there's a good 20 hours or so to complete the story, and plenty more to do afterwards, with the opportunity to continue to build the strongest team possible to take on extra teams and competitions.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

There's no question that Inazuma Eleven 3 is aimed at younger fans of football, and it is both a fantastic alternate option to the numerous realistic footie sims out there today, and a good starting point into the world of role-playing games that doesn't require playing the previous entries to get to grips with it or to enjoy the story. For those that have been with the series for a while, this game does very little to advance the series in any dramatic ways, and they should be warned to expect more of the same. If such fans simply cannot get enough of these games, however, Inazuma Eleven 3 will definitely hit the back of the net.

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02.11.2013

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Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Nintendo

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Superb series on the whole, but a shame that IE3 didn't progress as much as hoped. I also feel that it didn't benefit from being released on 3DS. Considering how well some recent DS games have still been selling, it's obvious that certain games should stick to that format due to the large userbase. IE3 is one of those, I believe. It barely scraped the 3DS Top 10 in the UK and disappeared the following week, never to be seen again.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Adam Riley said:
Superb series on the whole, but a shame that IE3 didn't progress as much as hoped. I also feel that it didn't benefit from being released on 3DS. Considering how well some recent DS games have still been selling, it's obvious that certain games should stick to that format due to the large userbase. IE3 is one of those, I believe. It barely scraped the 3DS Top 10 in the UK and disappeared the following week, never to be seen again.

That's a fair point. Haven't been looking into DS game sales myself, and it's true that as a DS title it would have been playable for both DS and 3DS users. Would be a solid game to pick up for 2DS buyers this Christmas, if buying for a footie mad kid. Hopefully Level-5 do get the feedback they need in order to advance this series for IE4 now, though.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
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Sebastian-Jr (guest) 03.11.2013 11:29#3

  I agree Adam,If Its just a straight port of Inazuma 3; no point in switching to 3DS if you are not gonna use the 3DS abilities.
  Hope they bring the Inazuma GO titles to Europe.  What comes after inazuma 3 in Japan ?  Is it Inazuma GO or is that a breakoff series from Inazuma Eleven ?? 
Anyway I have the other two Inazuma Eleven titles and I will buy Lightning as well.

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