Bravely Default II: Demo Overview and Preview.

With February around the corner, Square-Enix is primed to release their latest JRPG, Bravely Default II. With the visuals and gameplay of an older Final Fantasy title, Bravely Default II features the Job system allowing players to change the classes of their party members. The newest demo offers you up to 5 hours to clear two bosses in the game’s Chapter 1.

Last year, Square-Enix offered players a brief demo for Bravely Default II. The first build also came with a feedback survey. The newest demo incorporates much of that feedback along with a bit more gameplay to enjoy.

What to Expect from the Bravely Default II Demo.

If you have yet to try it, Bravely Default II will take place in Chapter 1. The game will offer you the four protagonists off the bat: Seth, Gloria, Elvis, and Adelle. Each one comes pre-equipped with one of the early-game classes, such as Vanguard, Black Mage, White Mage, and Monk.

Adelle’s name sounds like the name of a sorceress from Final Fantasy VIII, Adel. Bravely Default’s Edea was also named after a sorceress from the same game.

You’ll garner one new Asterisk, or class-change, before the end of the demo: Bard. This performing art will be used to buff your allies’ stats. You can also make it your default class, thus leveling it up, or as a sub-class. It’s entirely up to you on how you want to approach it.

In my experience, I found the demo to be fairly challenging. The new weight system means I can’t stack defense equipment on my party members and need to balance out what to give them. I ended up losing several times to the second boss, Anihal, the Beastmaster asterisk, before preparing once again in the shop with more items and better equips. Thankfully, this forgiving title gives you Teleport stones to warp out of dungeons and even warp points to move closer to the boss fight when you return.

For Newcomers to Bravely.

Bravely Default II comes from the titles that predated it on Nintendo 3DS: Bravely Default and Bravely Second. The first title came out in 2014 and offered one of the greatest soundtracks on the system’s library. If you’re familiar with composer, REVO, he composed the opening theme songs of Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon Crystal.

Bravely Second came out on 3DS in 2016. The direct sequel to Bravely Default followed the tales of the four heroes with two of them being main party members alongside new characters. Unfortunately, Bravely Second had both cast another writer and a different composer, Ryo, who’s known for the second opening theme of the anime, Fire Force.

Despite these changes, I found Bravely Second to be superior to its predecessor in a number of ways. While the title never quite became as successful overall, the gameplay quality-of-life improvements included stacking battles for EXP, balancing several classes, and removing a dreaded time loop of sorts that plagued the second half of Bravely Default.

Even with its glorious references to Puella Magi: Madoka Magica and Fullmetal Alchemist, Bravely Second was a standalone JRPG that could rank among the best on the 3DS. It astonished me to see the developer of the game apologizing for his past work due to its lackluster success. It explains my confusion for why this title wasn’t called “Bravely Third” and as such, I stand with fans when I say Bravely Second doesn’t warrant an apology.

However, after Bravely Second, the development team created Octopath Traveler on Nintendo Switch. This highly successful sprite-based HD-2D JRPG became an instant hit and one of the console’s best games. Following this act, it’s also great to see Tomoya Asano’s team working on the Bravely series once more.

Final Thoughts

I’m excited to try the final version of the game. While Bravely Default had its heart in the right place, I was a huge fan of Team Asano’s later works. Bravely Default II will join up the Nintendo Switch’s stellar lineup of JRPGs. Among them include Dragon Quest XI S, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Xenoblade Chronicles, Pokemon Sword and Shield, and the studio’s past work, Octopath Traveler.

Bravely Default II will come out for Nintendo Switch on February 26, 2021. Be sure to try the demo if you haven’t already. Finally, be sure to follow us on our social media channels below for our next batch of gaming content.

Until next time!

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review: Don’t Miss This One.

ACT Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Nintendo released Super Mario 3D All-Stars, for Nintendo Switch, on September 18th, 2020. This compilation title features three Mario titles: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Notably, the title and the concept both echo the SNES compilation title, Super Mario All-Stars, which featured the NES Super Mario Bros. titles.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars managed to upscale three Mario titles into HD. While they might not qualify as full remasters, these upscaled ports offer the same classic gameplay that you’ll likely remember from the 90s and 2000s. With that being said, if you have not played these titles, then I strongly suggest getting it.

Bear in mind I only recommend playing two of these games. Super Mario 64 is a defining classic that marked the standard for 3D gaming. Super Mario Galaxy is a top-tier quality adventure that excels in every single point. However, Super Mario Sunshine is, at best, middling, and I would strongly advise reading a review before deciding to jump in and try it. However, just for 64 and Galaxy alone, you’re definitely in for some of the best experiences ever.

Story

Given that these are Mario titles, it goes without saying that all three involve Princess Peach getting kidnapped by Bowser. As such, Mario adventures out to rescue the princess once more. Each one has its own take on the story, however.

Super Mario 64 features Bowser abducting Peach in her own castle and taking away the Power Stars. Super Mario Sunshine involves Mario and Peach going on vacation before a shadowy fiend frames Mario for spreading toxic graffiti and later abducting Peach. Finally, Super Mario Galaxy has Bowser kidnapping Peach and taking her to his own empire at the center of the universe!

ACT Mama Peach
He won’t let you take Mama Peach away!

Each game has its charm and introduced new characters and left a lasting legacy on the Mario series. Super Mario Sunshine introduced Bowser’s son, Bowser Jr., as well as the Pianta and Noki races. Super Mario Galaxy introduced Princess Rosalina and the Lumas. Both Bowser Jr. and Rosalina have since debuted in the Super Smash Bros. series along with the stages from their respective games!

Audiovisual

Super Mario 3D All-Stars features a visual upgrade to each released title. But more than that, it speaks echoes for Super Mario Galaxy’s 1080p upgrade. While I have seen the title played on the Dolphin emulator years ago, I cannot stress enough that Nintendo should have developed the Wii as an HD console. Super Mario Galaxy was an absolutely beautiful work of art, from its animations to its backgrounds, and still managed to impress even despite its home console’s limitations at the time.

I enjoyed the various sound effects of each game and I feel Mario games always have the most memorable jingles. All games feature memorable and catchy soundtracks that perfectly fit the theme of their respective worlds.

While we’re on the subject of sound, let’s not talk about Sunshine’s voice acting.

With that being said, all three Mario titles feature compositions by veteran Nintendo composer, Koji Kondo as well as Shinobu Nagata in Super Mario Sunshine. However, Kondo composed along with Mahito Yokota and the Mario Galaxy Orchestra in the Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack. Featuring a full orchestral soundtrack, Galaxy pushed the limits of both Nintendo and the Mario series to deliver an epic, unforgettable soundtrack.

Gameplay

All three titles feature glorious 3D platforming action. However, there’s something to say about all of them. For better or for worse, each one has something notable to offer.

Super Mario 64 was the first to feature full-on 3D platforming action. Granted, this means some of the movement and camera control is a bit stiff. I’m not fond of Tick Tock Clock at all. And I found several Stars to be annoying, like 100 Coins in Rainbow Ride or the work elevator in Hazy Maze Cave.

Fun Fact: Tick Tock Clock was completely redone in the Super Mario 64 DS remake.

Super Mario Sunshine was the black sheep, however, While the controls felt smoother, Nintendo added the new FLUDD mechanic to wash away slime and give Mario new abilities. Unfortunately, the title fell flat on its face thanks to a terrible camera, poor physics on slopes, and numerous tedious stage designs. All of these culminated into Super Mario Sunshine becoming a less-than-stellar title that ended up much more frustrating than enjoyable.

These stages are no bueno.

Finally, Super Mario Galaxy offered a complete 180 from Sunshine. In doing so, Nintendo created a fantastic and polished adventure. Smooth controls, great controls, and new concepts featured Mario defying gravity in numerous stages. Galaxy’s creative stage designs went above-and-beyond anything Nintendo had accomplished since and created an enjoyable masterpiece that’s smooth and easy to control. Plus it offered a solid challenge for players of all skill levels.

Galaxy offered challenges such as Daredevil Comets which made you clear the stage without getting hit.

Overview

First off, Super Mario 64 remains a defining classic 25 years after its release. It’s still an upper-level Mario title that brings forth some creative exploration elements. It’s funny to note how some elements, like riding Koopa Shells underwater, were only briefly touched on but never fully developed until Super Mario Galaxy. Even in spite of a few hazardous camera angles or the wall-jumping for Blue Coins to get 100 Coins in Rainbow Ride, Super Mario 64’s problems were few and far in between. I’d give it a 9/10 overall.

Super Mario Sunshine, unfortunately, created more despair than joy. The happy memories I had playing this at age 14-15 were clouded by the pretty visuals, easy controls, great music, and charming character design. Unfortunately, the Secret Stages aren’t just challenging but incredibly faulty as well. Whether you’re falling through platforms or the camera angle screws you over, they weren’t implemented with polish thanks to the title being rushed.

On the bright side, the open-world concept did give rise to an indeed stellar Mario title: Super Mario Odyssey. Unlike Odyssey, however, I have to give Super Mario Sunshine a 5/10. I wouldn’t play this title unless you were cautioned about what you were getting into first.

ACT Super Mario Sunshine Chuckster
No.

Finally, Super Mario Galaxy is a title I cannot say enough good things about. It’s such a beautiful little masterpiece that I remember how much fun I had with it in 2007 when it first came out. Whether you’re playing handheld or on TV, it controls surprisingly well. Even the motion controls for catching Star Bits aren’t a problem. While it might not be as easy as the Wii remote at first, on the bright side, you don’t have to worry about anything obscuring the sensor anymore either. Moreover, it’s just an inherently fun game.

I think my only real gripe with Galaxy is how they add Luigi after you beat the game with 120 Stars. You’re basically playing the exact same game again. Your only reward, once you collect all the stars, is honestly minimal and not really worth it. Unless you’re really eager to replay the game, I would say one run is enough to satisfy completion.

Can’t say I really care.

As much as I loved Galaxy, I honestly believe Galaxy 2 managed to surpass it in several ways. If I could, I would replace Sunshine and add Galaxy 2 to this collection instead. I give Galaxy a 10/10 for being one of the most enjoyable experiences that I forgot how much I loved 14 years later.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that Super Mario 3D All-Stars will only be available for retail and digital purchase until March 31st. However, don’t fret! You will almost certainly find used copies in GameStop as well as on eBay and other websites. After all, it’s not much different than what Nintendo used to do with promotional releases like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda Collection’s Edition for GameCube. While these promo titles should be available for as long as any other, it’s a shame Nintendo will discontinue them like some Disney Vault property instead.

These are great games well worth their place on the Switch and I would be remiss if I said to skip them just because you played them before. I would only say this if you already have the consoles to play these titles on and the handheld adaptability does not interest you. Otherwise, I recommend picking up Super Mario 3D All-Stars if you seek a quality title like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.

Be sure to follow us on our social media links below for our upcoming reviews and features at AllCoolThings. Until next time!

Rango’s Smash Column: Has Ike Become My Weakest Character?

Welcome to Rango’s Smash Column! This week I want to discuss the competitive meta regarding my main, Ike.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve continued to play online to keep my skills honed. While I prepare for tournaments to return, I go back and forth trying out which characters I like most. In essence, I’ve largely filtered out which characters I plan to use in the competitive long run over those I enjoy but might not fit me.

My Top 10.

For example, I love using Mario and Wolf. They’re also both high-tier characters. However, I don’t find certain parts of their top-level play to comfortably fit my style. Even though they cover certain matchups, I feel like I’m more comfortable limiting my roster to six.

ACT Current SSBU Roster
My competitive characters.

With that being said, I’ve picked up Roy and Chrom since they’re both incredibly fun. Roy predominately since he’s quite possibly a top tier character, insanely fun to use, and covers several detrimental matchups for Ike. Among these include ROB, Zero Suit Samus, Fox, and Palutena.

In particular, Ike is my main and always will be. I’ll save you the story of how this came to be. However, what I will address is that he might actually be my lowest-tiered character right now.

What happened to Ike?

Please keep in mind these are personal experiences from me and should not represent the competitive meta as a whole. This includes online play which, due to COVID, has eclipsed offline play without the availability of tournaments.

Ike initially started as a high-tier character in the Ultimate meta. He won an early wave of success when MKLeo won the Smash Conference United tournament, the first major, in January 2019. Ever since that win, however, Ike began to slip from the meta as more people learned his matchup and found stronger characters. As such, MKLeo dropped him in favor of superior top tiers such as Lucina and Joker.

However, last year, Ike received several prominent buffs in Version 8.0.0. While losing part of his important Neutral Air combo, he gained strengths in his Aether (Up B) and Forward Aerial as a prominent KO move. You can read the full patch notes here.

Unfortunately, one thing we’ve learned from buffs in Smash is that they only take a character so far. Without proper mobility fixes, buffed characters will still remain in their place. Incineroar and King K. Rool number among two who received buffs yet still play in the lower tiers. However, Cloud’s buffs may have pushed him to the high tier thanks to several key buffs to an already agile character.

Ike’s Strengths

Ike benefits from tremendous early KO power and reach. With his weight at 107, he can also survive vicious blows which can wipe out most of the roster. He also has recovery mixups to make up for his mediocre air speed. This allows him to recovery horizontally, vertically, as well as onto a platform and autocancel.

His range allows him to play keep-away using Neutral Aerials as well as heavily punish would-be approaches. Ike also does a surprisingly good job against a number of troublesome top and high tiers. Most notably includes Pikachu who many agree is among the best characters in the game.

Finally, Ike’s grab game is marginally more robust than that of most sword characters. His Down Throw can combo into Forward Aerial and Up Aerial. These combos work well until 80% on most of the roster.

Ike’s Weaknesses

Unfortunately, due to Ike’s slower mobility, he lacks proper approach options against faster characters as well as those who particularly specialize with projectiles. I’ve always found Roy and ROB to especially be among Ike’s worst matchups. You can look up my match history with HyperKirby and Benny on YouTube if you want to see how bad they can be.

Against Roy, he loses aerial exchanges to Roy’s own faster disjoints and can get juggled heavily in disadvantage state. Offstage, Roy can cripple Ike for free with Counter or easily punish his other recovery options. ROB, on the other hand, is a master of zoning and forces Ike’s approach. While Ike can win these matchups, they can become quite difficult and even more so against someone who knows the matchup.

I’ve also found Ike to struggle particularly against Marth and Lucina as well as Palutena, Pac-Man, Zero Suit Samus, Fox, and Peach. The latter are what I call the “-1” or “slightly losing” matchups. But the most recent threat comes from the latest DLC character, Sephiroth. This fighter not only cleanly outranges Ike with his Masamune blade but also excels at zoning using his two projectiles, Flare and Shadow Flare.

Moreover, his edgeguarding can bring Ike to his knees and Scintilla will act as a Counter against Aether while recovering. Finally, Sephiroth’s recovery, especially in One-Winged Form, makes Aether spike much more difficult to bring him down with.

How the Smash Team Could Buff Ike.

One thing I wish is that Ike had a bit more range on his sword, Ragnell. In the Fire Emblem series, this two-handed weapon is one of the largest swords. Yet I’ve found myself losing range battles against the likes of Marth who uses a one-handed Falchion. I don’t understand why a greatsword would lose a ranged battle to a smaller weapon. This would be like Cloud, who wields the Buster Sword, losing in exchanges against Roy for instance.

In theory, along with Cloud, the only fighters who should challenge Ike’s disjointed hitbox range are Shulk, Byleth, and Sephiroth.

I feel unless Ike gets mobility buffs, he may find himself dangling in the mid-tier of the game again. His buffs helped remedy several issues but not the more pressing matters which come from his slower mobility against projectiles. Proper counterplay can practically cripple him when using a more effective matchup. As it stands, I place Ike in B-Tier or the upper-mid tier.

For the record, the S-Tier (top) and A-Tier (high) fighters tend to have only a small handful of losing matchups. A-Tier characters are borderline top tier characters, such as Wolf, who have a few weaknesses holding them back from dominating the meta. Wolf, Mario, Link, and Pac-Man sit in A-Tier while Peach, Joker, Pikachu, and Snake sit in S-Tier.

Note that all tier placements are unofficial and based heavily around theory, hearsay. Smash Ultimate is the first title to not have an official tier list from the Smash Back Room. As such, the roster’s high tiers, such as Chrom, Snake, and Wario, tend to dance around A-Tier and S-Tier depending on who lists them.

Matchups

I once found Ike to be one of my best characters. However, I feel that he might be just a tier beneath the rest of the fighters I tend to use. Chrom, Roy, Bowser, Terry, and Cloud sit around A-Tier but I firmly believe Ike places slightly below their level now. Despite that, he’s my favorite character by a mile and there’s no way I’m dropping him. He was a low tier in Brawl and Smash 4 and completely unviable in top-level tournament play despite my persistence using him.

+2 Ike wins heavily. -2 Ike loses soundly.

Keep in mind, however, that he can win any matchup in Ultimate. He isn’t the victim of -3 matchups like Diddy, Sheik, Cloud, or Bayonetta as he was in Smash 4 or against Meta-Knight in Brawl. His chances of winning stem from proper matchup knowledge, strong fundamentals, patience, and adaptability. Ike still outplaces the likes of Little Mac, Jigglypuff, Isabelle, and K.Rool in the current metagame.

Having Trouble With Your Main? Find a Counterpick.

In the event that your main becomes nerf or the meta evolves to the point that they become weaker, one of the smartest things you can do is find a secondary. While the most important thing you can do with your main is to learn their bad matchups, sometimes you might not want to climb that uphill battle against someone with a clear advantage.

Smash players have argued before that solo-maining is important. There is some truth to this. S-Tiers and most A-Tiers, like Pikachu and Roy, can generally get by without a secondary. Even Roy’s weakness against Pikachu can be circumvented with the right counterplay and matchup mastery.

Melee pro Armada explains an argument on solo-maining. You can watch it here.

There’s a nugget of truth here. If you’re growing as a player and still grasping the fundamentals, I cannot stress enough that learning one character competitively is incredibly important. Learning new characters best comes when you’re feeling more confident with your main but you still have a couple of struggling matchups that don’t get easier anytime you play them.

However, counterpicking has saved my bacon several times both in competitive tournament matches and money matches out of bracket. It’s every bit as important to know your main as it is to sort out your tools and find what works best for you.

Importance of Counterpicking

With that being said, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, I strongly recommend learning a new fighter. At the end of the day, your approach to the game is what counts. If you feel like your main isn’t cutting it and you could do better with another character, you’re better off learning what you’re capable of than to continue doing what isn’t working.

It’s worth noting that several prominent fighting games require you to learn more than one character.

In my case, I’ll go to Smashcords, find a character I’m struggling with, and look up their matchup charts. If I see consistently that my main is losing to that character, then I have reason to believe it’s better to find a counterpick. In such a case, I’ll see who wins against them and pick which character I like the most out of those selections.

No one I use counters Greninja. Therefore, my best bet is to learn the matchup as Ike.

In one more example, I hate fighting Samus as Ike as well as just in general. But if I sort out my winning options against Samus, maybe Roy and Chrom will do better.

Final Thoughts

However, I feel much more comfortable picking up other fighters. Not just to cover bad matchups but honestly because I no longer want to solo-main as I did in the past. I feel it’s wiser to sort out your bad matchups and find the tools that counter them. Smash is inherently a counterpicking game. Without any sole-dominating force in the meta to invalidate fighters like in past games, it’s worth picking up more than one character to fight against your bad matchups and cover your bases.

In Ike’s case, he does well against most of the roster. As an upper-tier character, I’ve seen him argued as an A-Tier fighter despite his weaknesses. He can KO incredibly fast thanks not just to his powerful launching strikes but his Aether spikes which KO at 0 and allow him to survive the fall first in most scenarios.

Ike is among the best at mounting comebacks from a stock deficit. While he works wonders against Pikachu, fights like Sephiroth, Marth, Lucina, Roy, and ROB put a damper on his potential. It’s up to you to find out what works and who you want to use to cover him if you choose to use Ike as well.

That’s all I have for this Smash Column. Be sure to follow our social media links below and stay up to date for the next Rango’s Smash Column.

Also, if you would like to learn more about my competitive history, please refer to my Smash Wiki page.

Until next time!

Resident Evil Village Preview: New Details on Trailer, Demo, and Alluring Antagonists.

Earlier this month, Capcom unveiled their Resident Evil Showcase. This presentation featured several new ways to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Resident Evil survival horror series. But moreover, they showcased a new trailer for Resident Evil Village as well as a PS5-exclusive demo. Prior to the game’s release, Capcom will release a new demo for all platforms featuring the title.

One of the biggest eyecatchers involves the new villains featured in the demo. Among them include Lady Alcina Dimitrescu, an 8 ft. tall voluptuous woman with a vampire complex. Aiding her are three girls, dressed in black, which are presumed to be her daughters. Needless to say, the internet quickly became smitten with her.

“Welcome to the family, son.”

What we know about the trailer features a castle similarly to Resident Evil 4. Moreover, much of the setup features a sort of gothic atmosphere as the women chasing you around seek your blood. As such, you will find pools of blood within the catacombs.

What to Expect from Resident Evil Village.

Resident Evil Village is romanized as “VIII,” indicating this is also Resident Evil 8. As such, it is the direct sequel to Resident Evil 7. Featuring RE7’s protagonist, Ethan Winters, his wife Mia Winters goes missing once more. He must also rescue their newborn daughter, Rosemary, from their kidnappers.

The first-person view returns from Resident Evil 7. It will also feature an inventory setup akin to Resident Evil 4. Additionally, a merchant will appear to sell you wares.

Capcom released a PlayStation 5-exclusive demo called Maiden. This roughly 20-minute demo features you playing as an unknown protagonist attempting to escape the jail beneath the castle. It will introduce you to the basic mechanics of the game.

Additionally, Capcom revealed a new multiplayer title. Tiled RE: Verse, this will feature major characters from across the series duking it out in free-for-all gunfire. While Capcom received lukewarm reception for releasing Resistance alongside the Resident Evil 3 remake, this title will also be released alongside Village.

Final Thoughts

I can’t say I’m not excited for Resident Evil Village. I adored Resident Evil 7 and found it to be one of the best games I ever played. I strongly recommend it to everyone reading this article right now. I hope Capcom will polish Resident Evil Village just as finely as they did with 7.

I honestly cannot take my eyes off the new antagonists either. Resident Evil scarcely features an antagonist as attractive as Lady Dimistrescu. She’s easily my favorite new female villain design in the series.

Resident Evil Village comes out on May 7, 2021. It will release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. Be sure to keep up with us and follow our social media links to get the latest coverage on the title!

Until next time!

Preview: Nintendo Switch to Release with Multiple Hit Titles in 2021.

Nintendo’s 2020 helped define the year as one of the worst to go down in history. After the release of Animal Crossing, much of their first-party focus scattered itself among Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. While the console did acquire the hit Steam title, Hades, original first-party releases were in short supply but heavy demand.

However, 2021 is already lining up to be a prime year for Nintendo. In addition to first-party hits, developers and publishers, like Koei Tecmo, Capcom, Atlus, and Square-Enix will release major titles throughout 2021. For fans of Nintendo’s first-party titles, console exclusives, and everything in between, the first part of the year already looks to be one of promise.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

The upcoming Mario title consists of a port of the 2013 Wii U title, Super Mario 3D World. Developed by the team behind Super Mario Galaxy, it features similarities to 2D Mario, such as the familiar powerups and level design structure, while being played in a 3D space. It also features 4-player co-op which can now be played online.

In addition to releasing one of the greatest Mario games of all-time on Switch, this title will also feature the Bowser’s Fury campaign. Here, Mario will team up with Bowser Jr. to save Bowser from a dark and powerful transformation. This open-world segment takes many cues from Super Mario Odyssey and will feature new goals, stages, and plenty of new elements with 2-player co-op enabled.

Release date: 2/12/21

Bravely Default II

From the developers of the Bravely titles and Octopath Traveler, Bravely Default II will take place in a new world and era from its predecessor. Square-Enix’s upcoming Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) pays homage to their familiar Final Fantasy series with its job system, enemies, and spell names. In doing so, it offers a unique twist to familiar JRPG combat in the form of its Brave and Default battle system.

Fans who enjoy classic JRPGs are in for a thrill with the upcoming Bravely Default II. If you’re a fan of REVO’s music, known for his opening themes in Attack on Titan and Sailor Moon Crystal, you will surely enjoy the title’s soundtrack as well. Bravely Default II also features a 5-hour demo currently available on the Nintendo eShop.

Release date: 2/26/21

Persona 5 Strikers

Atlus and Omega Force’s upcoming title, Persona 5 Strikers, will take place after the hit JRPG, Persona 5. Serving as the storyline sequel to the title, Scramble will feature the Musou (or Warriors) elements familiar with Omega Force’s series of games. Nintendo recently released the Musou title, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, last November.

Much as Age of Calamity incorporates Zelda elements into its gameplay, Persona 5 Strikers will feature Persona 5 elements to include its UI and numerous battle cues such as turn-based combat while summoning Personas.

Release date: 2/22/21

Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection

Capcom’s upcoming 2D platformer will feature the long-awaited return of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series. The beloved side-scroller features some of the most soul-crushing difficulty in the history of gaming. Starring the knight, Arthur, he must rescue the Princess from the hellish demons which have kidnapped her.

Fear not, as more recent Ghosts ‘n Goblins titles include easier difficulties if you enjoy a more leisurely stroll through the horror lands. Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection will be the first title released in the series since 2006’s Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins for PlayStation Portable. If you’re looking to try an entry in the series and have Nintendo Switch Online, I strongly recommend playing Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts from the SNES library.

Release date: 2/25/21

New Pokemon Snap

Nintendo’s upcoming New Pokemon Snap will be the Pokemon spin-off’s first new entry since 1999 for the Nintendo 64. Players will ride in a machine in an on-rails experience while snapping pictures of Pokemon. While adding Pokemon pictures to their library, they can also interact with the creatures through the use of various items.

Pokemon Snap was known for such interaction which created some unique and hilarious animations from the creatures. They could also evolve Pokemon and unlock new areas which ultimately brought them to Mew in a cosmic rainbow finale! New Pokemon Snap will feature Pokemon from the past 8 Generations of the series and offer many new terrains to explore.

Release date: April 30, 2021

Monster Hunter Rise

Capcom’s Monster Hunter series has seen a rise in popularity ever since the release of Monster Hunter World in 2018. While the series has invited new fans over the course of its 3DS, Wii U, and past generation releases, Monster Hunter World took the world by storm with its release on multiple platforms. This series features bounty-hunting missions where players will hunt down massive creatures.

For players seeking online co-op action and want to equip themselves with the mightiest weapons available, Monster Hunter Rise will offer the ideal experience. Partner with the Palicoes and cook up delicious new meals. Monster Hunter Rise will feature a new era of massive weapons and creatures to go after later this year.

Release date: 3/26/21

Shin Megami Tensei V

Atlus’ latest entry in the SMT series featured a strange development cycle. Originally announced in January 2017, Atlus has remained quiet on the series since its original announcement. Likewise, the series has not seen a release since Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse in 2016. However, last year they featured a trailer unveiling the game for a Switch release alongside the remaster of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.

This dark fantasy JRPG series features players summoning demons from hell and other mythological beings from history. You can recruit creatures into their party, level them up, and even fuse them to create new and stronger creatures. Known for its difficulty, SMT fans can look forward to the challenge while newer fans can appreciate the shared enemy designs from the Persona series.

Release date: TBD

What Else Will Come to Switch in 2021?

While these confirmed releases will arrive on the Switch later this year, we also know of confirmed titles, such as Metroid Prime 4 and Genshin Impact coming to Switch. Though we do not know of their release date, Metroid Prime 4 remains in development while Genshin developer, MiHoYo, confirmed the Switch release of their gacha RPG giant last year.

If the past year’s Game Awards taught us anything, it’s entirely possible to have a digital gaming event during a quarantine. While Nintendo’s lack of a full Nintendo Direct left many players disillusioned last year, perhaps a returning E3 might invite the developer to showcase some major hits during the summer.

We will keep you posted on upcoming developments on Nintendo Switch titles over the course of the year. In the meantime, follow our social media links below and keep up with our content! If you’re interested in an upcoming title, be sure to let us know in the replies.

Take care and see you next time!

Rango’s Smash Column: Week of 1/18/21 – Are Roy and Chrom Top Tier?

Welcome to this week’s Smash Column!

Lately, I’ve been sorting around my secondaries in Smash. I love up-close-and-personal brawler combat. As such, I base secondaries to cover the bad matchups of my main, Ike, using similar playstyles.

I main Ike and use the rest online or in tournaments.

However, as I’ve been mulling about it and discussing matchups with users on various Smash Discords, I’ve been reconsidering the use of Roy and his Echo Fighter, Chrom.

Roy and Chrom

These two Fire Emblem lords fight similarly to Marth and Lucina. Roy, much like Marth, was introduced in Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, from Smash 4 and Ultimate, Roy’s fighting style deviated more from Marth’s and became its own identity. Likewise, Chrom became an offshoot of Roy in which, like Lucina, his sword damage is based evenly around his blade.

In the competitive meta, Roy and Chrom both garner dominant results in tournaments. HyperKirby and Kola (formerly known as SaltOne) were two of the pioneers of the Roy meta in Georgia. Meanwhile, Rivers, from New Jersey, is considered the premiere Chrom in the U.S.

Long story short, from my experiences and from viewing various tier lists, Chrom and Roy are commonly viewed as high tier characters. I’ve also seen tier lists that arrange them into the top tier.

How Roy and Chrom Fit Into my Gameplan.

Full disclosure: While I love using both, I feel Roy fits me slightly better. His extra damage on sweetspot and better recovery really win it for me. On the flipside, my girlfriend enjoys watching me play and especially prefers Chrom. That being said, I can’t let her down.

Since they both play fundamentally similar, it’s good practice to learn both characters. As an Ike main, however, I feel like my character struggles heavily against the likes of Roy and ROB. In terms of matchups, I would also say he loses to Palutena, Fox, Zero Suit Samus, Pac-Man, and Mega Man. They’re all winnable matchups but they must be played with great respect to the opponent’s character due to some competitive advantages such as zoning or advantage state.

I learned my lesson from Smash 4 not to solo-main a character that isn’t top tier. While I will never not main Ike, I’ve learned to cover my bases with characters that can take on his weaker matchups. As such, I’ve proven my case: counterpicking wins sets.

Now, let’s say I need a counter against Mega Man, Palutena, or Pac-Man. Roy and Chrom are considerably even or winning in these matchups. I can use their superior mobility and KO power to my advantage to turn the tides using tools that Ike is lacking. Why fight an uphill battle when you can learn to use new tools? Plus, if I’m being honest, Roy and Chrom are just fun as hell to play.

Fun Trivia About Roy

Believe it or not, Roy was always considered poor in the earlier games he was in. He was a low-tier in Melee, a low tier in Smash 4, and both of these performances stemmed from his home game, Fire Emblem: Binding Blade. In Binding Blade, Roy was seen as one of the worst Lords in the series, in terms of stats, and only became viable near the end of the game. Once he promoted and could wield the Binding Blade, he was fairly viable, but not before spending 20 chapters being carried by stronger units like Lilina.

Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (2002)

Fire Emblem Heroes gave Roy promise, however, in the form of several units. Among these include both a Brave and Legendary variant which made him a considerably tough Sword unit. Meanwhile, as mentioned previously, Roy maintains strong results in tournaments thanks to several talented players. As a Roy fan myself, I’m finally glad to see him doing well in both Smash and Fire Emblem.

Is it Time to Use a New Secondary?

Since I will always main Ike, there’s no debating on whether I would drop him. Not only that, but he’s one of the few characters who does well against the infamous duo, Pikachu and Pichu, with the latter being argued as the best fighter in the game.

I’ve been moving among secondaries. With the graphic I posted above, there’s no way I wouldn’t use these characters. I’ve been warned about “spreading myself thin” and I’m aware that some people still prefer to solo-main. However, I don’t think I would enjoy the game if I could only play one character.

Despite my grievances with Terry, such as botching my inputs, SDing, and landing from his godawful disadvantage state, there’s no way I can stop using him. He’s too fun not to use and has won me big matches in the past.

Sorting My Secondary Fighters

With that said, Cloud, Incineroar, and Lucina are more or less my hobby characters. I don’t plan to bring them out in tournaments save for the few times I’ve done so in the past. I’ve also been using Mario less online since I’m not sure if I want to keep using him for competitive play.

Therefore, that leaves me with Roy/Chrom, Bowser, and Wolf. I’ve been told Wolf does well against Palutena and, if I’m fighting a Roy, I have Bowser at the ready to take them on as well. Counterpicking is a viable strategy that can save sets and win matches.

Does that mean I will use Chrom and Roy as my official secondaries? Right now, I’m not sure. I enjoy playing as them online and I’m definitely learning new things each time I play. But as of this moment, I can’t say for sure if this means I will bring them out in a bracket set. If had to pick 3 characters to use, and two of them were Ike and Terry, their chances of being 3rd would be on par with Wolf and Bowser right now.

As much as I would love to save some clips and post them here, I’ve been having problems with my Switch. It will not read my MicroSD for recording matches and hasn’t been able to do so in months. However, if I do happen to get replays uploaded again, I’ll happily post them here.

I’ll be following up with another Smash Column next week. Be sure to follow our social media links below. Stay well and see you next time!

Demo Reel: Persona 3: Dancing in Moon Light and Persona 5: Dancing in Star Light.

Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are two rhythm games developed by AtlusP-Studio, published by Sega, released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Following Persona 4: Dancing All Night, these titles are spin-offs of their mainline JRPG series, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona. Featuring the characters of each respective title, you’ll play as the characters in a rhythm game setting.

Fans familiar with Dance Dance Revolution, Taiko no Tatsujin, or Project Diva will feel right at home with the gameplay. To put it simply, you time your button presses to the rhythm of the song. You’ll watch the characters dance with snazzy moves and can even customize their appearance. The soundtracks include remixes of songs from their respective Persona title.

With that said, I went ahead and played the demo for Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight. Since they’re both more or less the same game, barring characters and aesthetics, I want to cover them both in a single article and share my thoughts with you. If you’re a fan of Persona or Japanese rhythm games, then you will likely be interested.

What to Expect

The Persona Dancing titles feature a six-button scheme. Corresponding to the screen, you will hit one of three directions or one of three face buttons. Use the analog sticks to do a record scratch effect on certain waves while you match the buttons to the rhythm.

Background dancing will captivate you. Fortunately, it will not distract you from playing. While they’re available at the beginning, I strongly recommend clearing the tutorial before playing the two songs in each demo. For reference, try playing on Easy mode first to get the hang of it.

ペルソナ5 ダンシング・スターナイト_20180604223122

While the game’s tutorial advertises other modes within the full game, you cannot play them in the demo. Consequently, it never gives you the chance to really explore what the game has to offer. It might be worth checking YouTube to learn more about the extra modes before pouncing on any of them unless you’re sold by the gameplay immediately.

Final Thoughts

Atlus and Sega are masters of marketing. Keep in mind that the Dancing spin-offs follow Persona 4 Arena, the fighting game which served as a storyline sequel to Persona 3 and Persona 4. This fighting game was co-developed by Atlus as well as Arc Systems Works, the latter of which developed BlazBlue and Guilty Gear. For fans of Koei Tecmo’s Musou (Warriors) series, Persona 5 Scramble will likely come out to the west in the next year or so.

Persona 5 Scramble (Japan, 2020)

While Atlus tends to branch off to various genres in order to promote their games, they succeed in the process. In this case, from the demo, Dancing in Moon Light and Dancing in Star Light played like bona fide rhythm games. As a huge fan of Shoji Meguro‘s soundtracks, the music will certainly invite Persona fans to try the games.

I only played a little bit of DDR throughout my life. Some games, like Jubeat and others, appear at southeast gaming and anime conventions.

Until COVID clears up and people can venture out to conventions again, it might not be possible to recreate that experience for a while. With that said, if rhythm games are your thing, I recommend trying the demo (P3D and P5D) first before you leap to buy them.

Do you plan on playing the Persona rhythm titles? Let us know in the comments below. As always, be sure to follow our social media links below to take our latest, entertaining gaming content with you!

Super Mario 3D World: Nintendo introduces Bowser’s Fury in a new trailer for Switch.

Earlier today, Nintendo unveiled their latest trailer for Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. While Super Mario 3D World, a port of the 2013 Nintendo Wii U title, was showcased last year, Nintendo has now featured Bowser’s Fury mode. This new campaign seems to feature an open-world structure and all-new challenges for players while accompanied by Bowser Jr.

Bowser’s Fury seems to show a new, powerful form of Bowser. Fans of past Mario games know of Bowser’s ability to grow into a giant. That also extends to the Smash Bros. series where Bowser can become Giga Bowser. However, this new form is a darker, spikier, and more menacing form of Bowser. Not to mention it’s not often you hear a symphonic metal track playing in a Mario game.

The Bowser’s Fury campaign also features new goals such as collecting Cat icon medals, enemies like Cat Piranha Plants, and even features Bowser Jr’s Magic Paintbrush from Super Mario Sunshine return.

What makes Super Mario 3D World charming?

Super Mario 3D World spawned from its 3DS predecessor, Super Mario 3D Land, while making a number of improvements to the formula. It takes the 4-player co-op of New Super Mario Bros., adds Peach as a playable character, and is designed by the team behind the Super Mario Galaxy titles. Peach’s addition marks the first time she’s been playable in a mainline Mario title since Super Mario Bros. 2.

Another reference to Super Mario Bros. 2.

The stage design in 3D World is nothing short of perfect. There’s a stage dedicated to Super Mario Kart, a snow stage where you can wear a Goomba’s Shoe variant with skates, and even explore a Boo Mansion with a haunting filter. Every stage in the game caters to 1 to 4 players without sacrificing mobility, pacing, or design choices that could compromise the enjoyment based on the player count.

The lush visuals, stellar level design, and enemy variety, awesome soundtrack, boss battles, and powerups offer some of the single best gameplay in a Nintendo title to date. The multiple suits, including Tanooki, Cat, Boomerang, and even Gold Cat, bring back the days of hunting down suits in Super Mario Bros. 3!

The release of this software on Nintendo’s failed Wii U console does not do the software justice. As with past Wii U hits before it, this amazing title finally finds its way home on Nintendo’s Switch. Every attention to detail, from the controls to the secrets, were polished with the finest care and made the game enjoyable from start to finish and beyond.

With that being said, I would daresay that it was the best game on the console. As such, this upcoming release should be missed by absolutely no one. If you were a fan of Super Mario Galaxy, I cannot stress this enough: You will absolutely adore 3D World.

I assure you the soundtrack is just as good as in the Galaxy titles.

Release Date

Super Mario 3D World comes to Nintendo Switch on February 12, 2021. You can preorder the title from retailers as well as the Nintendo eShop. Nintendo is also releasing a specially themed Mario edition Switch releasing on the same day.

Also, be sure to check out these Cat Mario and Cat Peach amiibos coming out on the game’s release date!

Follow us on our social media links below. Be sure to keep up with us as we update you with the latest info on Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury!

Datamine reveals upcoming Nintendo Switch model featuring 4K and OLED display.

Earlier this week, a report surfaced that a datamine revealed an upgraded Nintendo Switch console. The source comes from ResetERA and was leaked by SciresM. While the rumors have spun for months about a “Nintendo Switch Pro” console, this datamine is the most decisive evidence regarding its existence.

I’ve been following Nintendo for decades and have seen my fair share of rumors. I’ve seen dozens of threads regarding leaks for Super Smash Bros. rosters and I’ve also seen roster leaks that were confirmed upon the game’s release. The Smash community is no stranger to fake leaks created for building false hype and trolling the scene. However, datamines are a different story.

What makes a datamine legit?

Unlike the rumors and leaks, which may or may not be legit, datamining comes from a digitized source. These come from game code or even system code. Unlike the hearsay spread through forums, datamining comes with evidence.

One example comes from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U. Back in 2015, Roy from Fire Emblem and Ryu from Street Fighter were found in a datamine. This includes name files as well as voice files. Rather than to assume this was needless hearsay to stir up the community, it was only a matter of time before they came to Smash. Interestingly, what was not known was the inclusion of Lucas, who was released on the same day.

Another prominent datamine comes from their mobile title, Fire Emblem Heroes. Shortly after the game’s release in February 2017, dataminers found files of a holiday-themed Tharja and Robin in the files. During December, these characters were indeed confirmed in their release.

Case in point, datamines should be taken with more than just a grain of salt.

What’s in Store for the Upcoming Switch Model?

According to the report, this Switch model features 4K display in docked mode. That is to say, it will render graphics at a resolution rivaling the PS4 and Xbox One. Furthermore, it also features an OLED screen. The OLED screen is familiar for anyone with either an Android or PlayStation Vita. Furthermore, the report speculates the enhancements of both cooldown and battery life.

Truly ahead of its time.

The Nintendo Switch is no stranger to the latter issues. The battery on the Switch, depending on the model you own, lasts between 2.5 hours at worst and 9 hours at best. The Switch’s ability to keep up with PS4 and Xbox One multiplatform titles also comes with a noticeable drop in visual quality.

It’s worth noting that, at one point, Nintendo’s console, the GameCube, outperformed the PlayStation 2 during the early 2000s. Ever since the era of the Wii, Nintendo’s visual quality and performance has never quite caught up to the speed of its competitors. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X out, at least the Switch may at last catch up to the PS4 and Xbox One. As releases for last-gen consoles will continue to go strong, this might also invite developers and publishers to release more multiplatform titles on the Switch as well.

While Nintendo consoles have seldom received timely upgrades, their handheld line always featured revisions of some sort. The Game Boy received the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance received the SP, DS got the DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL, and the 3DS received the 3DS XL and New 3DS XL. That’s also not mentioning the budget choice, the 2DS. As Switch is a hybrid portable console and has already received the Switch Lite revision, it’s all too possible that Nintendo is preparing for an upgraded console this year.

We will keep you posted on more info as it becomes available to us. Be sure to follow our social media links below to keep up with our latest updates!

SNK Features Debut Trailer for The King of Fighters XV, Samurai Shodown Season 3, and more!

SNK has finally unveiled their debut trailer for The King of Fighters XV! In a recent presentation, SNK featured their newest game featuring several KOF favorites to include Kyo, Mai, and Leona. Additionally, they’ve showcased the latest Season Pass DLC for Samurai Shodown as well as included a few extra goodies: The King of Fighters XIV Ultimate Edition and The King of Fighters 2002 UM featuring rollback netcode for PS4!

I’m honestly quite stoked for KOF XV. This largely stems from how much I love using Terry in Smash Bros. and dove into the SNK rabbit hole thanks to his inclusion. I got KOF XIV only to run into a barren wasteland online which, in turn, is thanks to its lukewarm reception and poor netcode. I’ve been wanting to get into KOF for a good while now and I’m really hoping SNK will deliver with XV.

Samurai Shodown

Believe it or not, SNK introduced not one, but two, characters for Season Pass 3! The first is Cham-Cham, the cute feral girl from past SamSho titles. The second? None other than Hibiki from The Last Blade.

What I love about this is seeing The Last Blade get some love. Hibiki might be known to some fighting gamers as a character from Capcom vs. SNK 2. But The Last Blade is rarely heard of in conversation. It’s a weapons-based 2D fighting game taking place during the end of the Edo period. Anime and manga fans who might be familiar with this timeframe might associate this with Rurouni Kenshin. In fact, The Last Blade does feature several influences from the famous samurai manga series.

I only became a fan of the Last Blade titles last year when CodeMystics released them on PS4 and PC. Despite being relics from the 90s, they play amazingly well. It’s the kind of game I would love to play in tournaments. I’ve always been a fan of weapons-based fighting games like SoulCalibur. I definitely love the game’s aesthetic and music too. But as SNK likely won’t revive the series anytime soon, I’m more than happy seeing The Last Blade representation in SamSho. Perhaps this will open the gateway for more Last Blade characters to enter SamSho as well.

Truth be told, I wish I could be more hype about this. In fact, I would love to play more Samurai Shodown. Unfortunately, due to the once again terrible netcode, the game was left in a barren state online. In the worst possible time period to have bad netcode in fighting games, SNK will not add rollback and, thus, leaves Samurai Shodown on PS4 to its barren fate.

The King of Fighters XIV Ultimate Edition

Remember what I said about KOF XIV? I practically rushed to go buy it on PS4 once it went on sale and I was riding that SNK high in Smash Bros. After a few trips through Arcade mode and several unsuccessful attempts to play online, that was it.

Sadly, KOF XIV will not introduce rollback netcode to this re-release. This sucks because CodeMystics, who released several of SNK’s classic 90s and 2000s titles on consoles and PC, implemented rollback into these games. KOF XIV, SNK’s last prominent entry in the series, will just have the same delay-based netcode. As such, I don’t expect people to play it online. I’ll just have to wait for KOF XV to come out.

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match

On the flipside, the game that introduced me to the KOF series is getting a re-release on PS4 and will feature rollback netcode. This alone gets me hype because, after Capcom vs. SNK 2, I bought this game on my 360 around 10 years ago. I loved KOF 2002 UM’s music so much! This was the game for me!

However, like with the PS4 releases of Garou, The Last Blade, and KOF ’97, I am a little worried that online will be barren again. Not because of netcode but because it’s the re-release of an older fighting game. If loyal KOF fans flock to the title, however, it might be popping for at least a little bit. I would love to get some matches in and prepare for KOF XV.

That being said, I’m really excited for some reason. Maybe it’s because SNK is picking up the steam and sharing the love for their classic games. I would love to see KOF XV become a mainstream fighting game hit like Street Fighter and Tekken. SNK has been quite busy with their games and new console lately. With that being said, here’s hoping their latest hit delivers!

We’ll keep you posted on upcoming news for KOF XV. Follow up with us on our social media links below! If you have anything to say about SNK’s upcoming releases, leave a note in the replies!