Go figure – the first $20GOTW of the New Year (even if I am a bit late) just so happens to be the first 3DS game (that’s not available as a download), and it’s the first Nintendo 3DS launch title that’s not a port or remake, and is actually worth buying, and it’s the first Ghost Recon on a portable system (rather than cell phone platforms such as NGage). Without further ado, lets get into it.

While traditionally the Ghost Recon games have been shooters, Shadow Wars is instead a tactical RPG, a’la Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s cast of characters has more in common with Gi-Joe than Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six. The group’s leader is even named Duke. It’s your typical plot about Russians trying to take over the world. However, the gameplay is solid enough to carry the game where the plot is lacking. Each class has their own special skills, and they level up after each mission. The graphics are nicely detailed, and activating 3D on your system is a nice touch, even if it adds little to the gameplay. There is no real multiplayer, instead you pass the system back and forth during matches. After you beat the campaign, there are several challenge missions you can play. Even with its generic plot and nonexistent multiplayer, Shadow Wars manages to be one of the few gems in the 3DS’ early lineup, and is a must-buy for anyone with the system.