Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is a spectacular game, though you better play it on the Nintendo Wii U if you want to get the most out of it. The high definition graphics available on the console version are preferable over the cramped, fuzzy presentation on the Nintendo 3DS, but that isn’t the 3DS version’s big problem. It’s the controls! Who wants to manage the game’s camera (an essential task when devoting half an hour to tumbling some massive dinosaur that’s constantly running away) when you have to use the touch screen? It’s a chore unless you have the Circle Pad Pro for dual stick support, but that’s only for original 3DS owners. Good news for Nintendo 3DS XL owners that have felt left out in the cold: Nintendo is finally bringing the Nintendo 3DS XL’s clunky add-on to the US.
Nintendo started taking orders for the Circle Pad Pro XL in the US for the first time this week. The add-on has been available in Japan and Europe for ages, but Nintendo has been slow to confirm its availability here at home. The new version costs just $20, the same price as the original Circle Pad Pro that released in February 2012. It is only available through Nintendo’s official online shop.
The success of the original Circle Pad Pro came as a shock to Nintendo. The device was available at GameStop as well as through its own online store, and early shipments sold out quickly. Games released at the time like Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D practically required the add-on to play. Prior to the reveal of the Nintendo 3DS XL, many thought Nintendo was guaranteed to add a second analog stick when it inevitably redesigned the handheld, but instead it simply made a bigger Circle Pad Pro.
With the exception of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate though, the second analog stick hasn’t been missed in the 3DS’ most recent releases. Few developers choose to leverage the Circle Pad Pro at all, let alone Nintendo. The scarce few first party games to use the add-on do so sparingly, as with Kid Icarus: Uprising, which uses the pad to accommodate those who want to use a stylus with their left hand.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo to ask which, if any, of its expansive slate of upcoming Nintendo 3DS games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf and The Legend of Zelda: A link to the Past 2 will use it. As of this writing, we haven’t heard back.