5 Essential Resident Evil Titles You Must Play

With the recent release of Resident Evil 3, Capcom has surged the series back into full mainstream. Following Resident Evil 7’s revival of the series and Resident Evil 2’s heavily successful remake, we want to promote the five best Resident Evil titles. Whether you’re a newcomer to the series or have played one or two games, this list will help you find the best games to play in the series. And the good news is that all of them are currently available for modern consoles and PC.

#5 Resident Evil 3

Starting with the most recent release, Resident Evil 3 successfully breathes new life into the 1999 classic. Featuring Jill Valentine, you’ll escape from Raccoon City while being pursued by a powerful B.O.W.: Nemesis. This variation of the Tyrant comes armed with heavy weaponry, moves faster than Jill, and will confront you throughout the game.

Utilizing the RE Engine from RE2 and RE7, this title features gorgeous animations using the over-the-shoulder perspective and the survival horror experience. Despite being only 12 hours long, with only one scenario campaign, Resident Evil 3 packs a punch from start to finish. Every element feels incredibly well-polished.

Original vs. Remake

To be honest, though, I struggle to pick a version of the game to recommend here. I have a soft-spot for the 1999 release. I loved the Live Selection and I preferred the structure of Nemesis’ pop-up encounters over him becoming a chase segment in the remake. For impact, I found it to be the best of the original PlayStation trilogy due to adding elements like ammo crafting, dodge step, and 180 turn.

On the flip-side, however, Carlos and several other characters got some amazing redesigns. The gorgeous visuals, sound, and animation really make the remake pop-out and breathe new life into it. If you loved the Resident Evil 2 remake, I can recommend it. If you’re not willing to spend full price on a shorter adventure, though, wait for a price drop.

However, keep in mind that major parts of the story were altered, as well as the level designs. Unlike Resident Evil 2’s remake, this feels like a total re-imagining in every conceivable way. With that said, I recommend the remake for newer players. But if you’re curious and want to see how Resident Evil 3 started, I cannot recommend the original enough. You can pick it up for $5.99 on the PSN Store for PS3 or Vita. It doesn’t have the gorgeous resolution of the Dreamcast or GameCube releases, but it’s the original version of the core game and definitively worth the price and then some.

#4 Resident Evil Remake

When series director, Shinji Mikami, stated that the 1997 Resident Evil hasn’t aged well, he set out to remake the title. Rebuilt from the ground up, Resident Evil (dubbed REmake) featured a new mansion layout, dialogue, voice acting, and boss battles. While it was largely the same game, it became a massive improvement over the original in every conceivable way. The gorgeous visuals stood out well enough to still be considered among the best on the GameCube even today. This definitive classic set the precedent for survival horror and what a proper remake should be built like.

In the past decade, REmake was released for HD consoles as well. Scaling up the resolution made a pretty game even prettier. On PS4, the title also runs at 60 FPS. And on the HD version, you gain access to new costumes as well as the ability to move much easier. You can choose to keep the infamous tank controls, but you also gain the option to run freely for smoother control.

Perhaps the best way to play this game is to purchase Resident Evil Origins Collection. You’ll pick up REmake as well as Resident Evil Zero in one fell swoop. But you can also purchase REmake standalone digitally. It’s all up to you if you want the main game or to take a dive on the series prequel as well. In addition to PS4, Xbox One, and PC, Resident Evil: Origins Collection is also available for Nintendo Switch.

#3 Resident Evil 7

Go tell Aunt Rhody.”

The chilling song in the opening tells the story. It tells the story of a man trying to rescue the wife he thought dead. As he enters the Baker Household, he finds grisly sights, dead bodies, and his wife, now turned by some kind of mind control.

Resident Evil 7 tells the story of the revival of survival horror. Bringing back tight corridors, monsters around the corner, and limited ammo, your attempt to escape this madhouse brings horror to a new level. Not only are you fighting zombies and members of the household, but you’ll come across grisly sights that will test your nerves. In a way, it’s RE’s foray into psychological horror as well, disturbing the player with gory sights wherever you turn.

I would argue Resident Evil 7 has the best narrative in the series. Even though it originally seems disconnected from the rest of the series, you’ll eventually read documents that help tie in with the rest of the series. Some lore alludes to the Raccoon City incident. Meanwhile, you’ll also discover involvement with Chris Redfield, who even has his own DLC campaign. It will also delve further into the mind of a psychopath featured in the main story.

Resident Evil 7 offers multiple modes and mini-games as well as two DLC campaigns. If you buy the Gold Edition, these come with the game for free. They’re several hours long each and worth the purchase to bring the story full circle.

As a whole, Resident Evil 7 revitalized the genre in the best way possible. Resident Evil 7 isn’t just a numbered title in the series, but a revolution. If you want the true meaning of horror, disgust, intrigue, and tragedy, I cannot recommend this one enough. Finally, be sure to check out some of the accolades befitting this title.

#2. Resident Evil 2 Remake

Using the aforementioned RE Engine, Resident Evil 2 successfully delivered a remake of the classic 1998 title. Featuring the over-the-shoulder camera from past Resident Evil titles, the engine allowed for fantastic animations, controls, and lighting. Dimly lit rooms of the RPD obscured enemies with all but a flashlight. Despite facing even tougher enemies than before, the ability to aim, craft ammo, and save without ribbons gave players much more control and freedom in the survival horror world. Note that if you played on Hard Mode, you would need to procure ink ribbons to save. In doing so, it offered a challenge for everyone.

Featuring two campaigns to get the true ending, the game would take roughly 20 hours to finish, if not a little more. Even after you clear the game, you could play some of the extra modes. These served as sort of escape missions where you fight off hordes of zombies to make it to your goal. They offered a score attack element almost akin to The Mercenaries from past titles. If you died, you would do a little better next time.

Resident Evil 2 excelled past expectations and brought forth a new definitive chapter in survival horror experience. It would later go on to be nominated for 2019 Game of the Year at The Game Awards and win the GotY award for the Golden Joysticks.

#1. Resident Evil 4

It goes without saying Resident Evil 4 tops this list. This revolutionary title introduced a camera angle that not only standardized modern Resident Evil, but many other popular games as well. Titles like God of War 4, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Horizon: Zero Dawn all use this angle as well. While loyal fans saw the direction of survival horror drift towards fighting off hordes of undead, the gameplay offered perhaps the single most polished experience in the series.

While fighting off impressive enemies and using various close-combat mechanics, Leon was given many ways to defend himself. Along with vaulting over rails and hopping out of windows, this gave the player tons of freedom over control. In doing so, it optimized the gameplay and set a new series standard. Even after you beat the game, you could play a New Game+ and carry over your goods and unlocked costumes. Those seeking a challenge could also try their hand at Professional difficulty.

Even after you beat the game, you could play through The Mercenaries mode. You could play as 5 characters in 4 different maps. This score attack mode pre-loaded you with an inventory, arming you to take down as many B.O.W.s as you could while extending the time. 5-star rewards would unlock weapons.

All-in-all, Resident Evil 4 is the defining gameplay experience with some memorable dialogue and narrative. The extras it offers remains unparalleled to this day. Plus, every release after the original GameCube version featured Assignment Ada – an extra story mode – as well as new costumes. Resident Evil 4 is currently available on all modern consoles, in full HD, including on Nintendo Switch. If you’re looking for one of the single greatest games of all time, I cannot recommend this one enough.

Final Thoughts

Resident Evil’s best games range from quality survival horror to groundbreaking titles that were heralded among the best of all time. They all feature impressive enemies, boss battles, exploration, and music. If you want to try the series, these are the best ones to start with. Depending on your experience, you may want to start with Origins Collection to play the story in order. Otherwise, you can jump into RE4 to play the best game, 7 for the new start, or 2 and 3 if you want to try the latest remakes. It really doesn’t matter because which one you start with. Each title sets itself apart well from the others, offering their own experience. Go with the one your heart tells you to because you’re in for a treat if you enjoy survival horror.

Do you have a favorite? Which one appeals to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.

Momocon Officially Canceled.

Momocon 2020

Earlier today, Momocon’s officials have canceled this year’s event. The annual cosplay convention, which celebrates gaming, anime, and other nerd culture, will miss its first event since its conception in 2005. Held in Atlanta, GA, Momocon takes place every year at the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Hotel.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the convention will be canceled until next year. While Momocon previously announced the event would be postponed, this update outlines the full cancellation. If you signed up for the event or registered for anything, please refer to it for any refunds.

Momocon has brought forth a wide-variety of events, including panels and gaming tournaments. The convention also hosts a massive game room. Among its tournaments include various competitive titles, like fighting games, but perhaps its most prominent claim to fame is its series of Super Smash Bros. tournaments. Beginning in 2015, the Super Smash Bros. Wii U tournament, won by Fatality, would eventually bring in more players. Each year, Momocon would pay out pot bonuses for the Top 8 players. From 2016 onward, Momocon would be attended regularly by top players, such as Nairo. This year, Momocon would have hosted a $10k pot bonus.

Smash Tournaments

In particular, Momocon has a history of hosting iconic moments in the Smash community. In 2017, Nairo faced Fatality in grand finals as both players won in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Nairo would win and become double-champion. Fatality, prior to the match, also defeated ranked #1 player ZeRo in bracket.

Nairo and Fatality would face each other once more at Momocon 2018.

Momocon 2019 also became the first S-Tier tournament in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With over 1,000 entrants, Momocon would receive the largest turnout in their own Smash history as well. The tournament would be won by MKLeo, the currently ranked #1 player, showcasing his Joker and continuing his reign of dominance.

Known as a Smash major tournament and Georgia’s largest Smash tournament, Momocon adds to a growing list of canceled tournaments. Due to its handling of multiple events, Momocon’s cancellation deals a blow to competitive gamers as well as anime fans and cosplayers looking forward to panels. Its unique focus on esports, anime, and cosplay focus brought in a record attendance of nearly 40,000 people last year. Unfortunately, as with many others, Momocon followed suit and canceled this year’s event.

Please make sure you follow procedures, stay indoors, and stay safe from possible contagions. In the meantime, continue following our news for updates on upcoming Smash tournaments, southeast cons, and updates on the Coronavirus. We’ll update you once gaming events are up and running again. We look forward to returning to conventions as much as all of you.

We’d like to hear your thoughts. If you’ve attended Momocon in the past, when did you start going? What brings you to Momocon and did you have plans to attend this year?

Rango’s Smash Column – Everyone Plays Wi-Fi Tournaments Now.

Wi-Fi Replaces Real Life Tournaments

Notice: We will be moving to a biweekly format after this edition of Rango’s Smash Column. Stay tuned for more tips and Smash news on AllCoolThings and be sure to follow our social media channels!

Hello and welcome to our weekly Smash column. This week, we’ll discuss the growing surge of online tournaments in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate community. While the last offline tournament, CEO Dreamland, brought in over 600 competitors, it left many players wanting more. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, many quarantines line the nation. As a result, these regions have all canceled their offline tournaments to avoid spreading the disease. This also includes major events, such as Momocon, which notably brought over 1,000 players to register at last year’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament.

Thus, the seeming “bane” of Smash – online play – now receives a second lease on life. Despite its notorious lag and netcode issues, competitive players still want to play Smash Bros. While online ladders and tournaments have always maintained a presence in the Smash community, only now have top competitive players garnered interest in the scene.

Nairo, noted player and streamer, has hosted the “Naifu Wars” WiFi series since Ultimate’s release. With the prevalence of online play, his latest tournament has already capped its maximum entrants. Notable commentators, such as EE and Hazmatt, will participate in the event as well.

The tournament begins on March 28th. You can check out the details here.

Local Scenes

Additionally, local tournament scenes have also begun hosting online tournaments. Some of them require players, of the tournament’s respective state, to enter. 4o4 Esports will continue hosting online tournaments in Georgia. Until the Coronavirus begins to clear up around the world, expect more online tournaments to appear over the next few weeks. In the meantime, we will keep you posted with news regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on gaming events. Stay up to date on AllCoolThings for more news every week in Rango’s Smash Column!

What does the future hold?

As it stands, there are no plans to host offline tournaments in the U.S. With the nation under quarantine, players will continue using online as a means to enter tournaments and win money. Most recently, YouTube star Alpharad hosted the Quarantine Series. This appears to be the first of a series of Smash tournaments. Note that Kola, who won Soaked Series and placed 2nd at CEO Dreamland, won this inaugural event.

Perhaps this serves as a successor to the Smash World Tour, which was put on hold due to the Coronavirus. However, please note the names in the chart. All of these players are currently on the fall PGR. With offline tournaments on hiatus, the top stars of Smash’s tournaments now use online to continue building their resume. Until the quarantine lifts for Coronavirus, expect to see more top talent rise up to online play while we see more online tournaments hosting big names and big prizes. As always, remember to check smash.gg to see the list of upcoming online tournaments which you can enter!

Do you plan on entering online tournaments? If you’re entering or watching, let us know if you see any worth checking out!

How Animal Crossing: New Horizons Affects the Gaming Community During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Animal Crossing and the Coronavirus

With the COVID-19 affecting many public gatherings and gaming events, people in the U.S. have been instructed to stay at home to avoid spreading the disease. While much of the internet has shown the most serious effects and repercussions of the Coronavirus, others have tried to lighten up the severity a little. In fact, some gaming websites have already taken their jab at the virus.

However, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release on Nintendo Switch this past week, one can’t deny the impact it’s had across the country. While players are cooped up in their houses playing games, one of Nintendo’s single-most anticipated titles have swept the globe’s attention. Already reaching the #1 Best Seller status on Amazon, Twitter has also added several hashtags featuring emotes to celebrate the game’s release. Meanwhile, top gaming personalities have begun streaming the game. Among these include top competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players who have been unable to attend tournaments due to multiple events being canceled.

Perhaps the most fitting thing about Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ release is its  timing. For those quarantined in their house during this pandemic, many consider it to be a silver lining to the crisis.

All in all, this might be one of the single-most unifying events in gaming culture since the release of Pokemon Go. For anyone who remembers Pokemon Go’s release in 2016, the phenomenon involved bringing players together to venture outside, attend public events, and catch Pokemon together. In a similar vein, Animal Crossing unifies the gaming community, inviting players to join each other’s islands.

Online Features

One primary feature of online play allows you to visit other people’s islands and vice-versa. You can set up online codes or invite friends to play together, on your island, as well as visit theirs. You can also use text chat to send each other messages.

New to the series is NookLink. While used as an in-game smartphone app, you can use NookLink on your own smartphone as well. Download the Nintendo Switch App and you’ll find connectivity to Animal Crossing: New Horizons within the app! Once you connect, you can check your friends’ statuses, access voice chat, and even download outfits and designs online! This features scannable QR codes where you can share outfits you designed or download those from others. You can find social media groups where you can share designs.

Be sure to check out Animal Crossing: New Horizons which is now available for Nintendo Switch!

Rango’s Smash Column – Post-CEO Dreamland, Roy, and New Matchups.

Smash Column 3/19/20 – Using New Characters

Welcome to this week’s Smash Column on All Cool Things™! In this entry, I’ll be going over my time at CEO Dreamland and what I’ve learned involving character matchups. You can read about CEO Dreamland here.

Long story short, I lost to a Pichu and a Palutena in my bracket. After that, I challenged multiple players to money matches, which I won several while losing others. Moving forward, this helped give me a fresh start on what direction I should approach while picking my characters.

Counterpicking

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a counterpicking game. One character alone will seldom win tournaments at high-level play. It pays to know your options and work on learning other characters. As an Ike main, I’ve made matchup charts looking over his best and worst matchups. This month, however, I learned – the hard way – that he actually has more struggles with more characters than I was willing to admit. Chalk that up largely to online experience. Without playing against high-level players, who use Palutena, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Zero Suit Samus, I was not ready for the top tier character meta.

-2 means heavily losing matchup while +2 means heavily winning matchup.

Always keep in mind that matchup charts are neither gospel nor absolute. The meta evolves and character mains can learn new tech to stay in the game. These matchup charts are merely estimates of a character’s advantages and disadvantages against the roster. With that being said, I’ve used multiple secondary characters to counter Ike’s worse matchups. Most recently, I’ve been using Terry and Wolf. After CEO Dreamland, however, I made a chart on how I approach my matchups using which character.

I’ve used Terry to moderate success over the past few months. Since his release in November of last year, what I initially thought was a low-tier character ended up saving my hide from several of my bracket rivals.  I’ve used him to counter ROB and Daisy while knowing they could seriously damage Ike and put me at a disadvantage.

Here’s an example of counterpicking in action.

However, after my matches at CEO Dreamland, I can’t say for sure that Terry is the right call to use against certain matchups. Even though his neutral game and high damage combos make him incredibly effective, his glaring weaknesses keep him from being up to par with much of the current meta. His lack of range, poor disadvantage state, and poor recovery render him an extreme example double edged sword. Either he wipes out stocks quickly or gets taken apart before he gets a chance to return to stage. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rely on Terry to take down some of my harder matchups after losing a round with Ike.

Roy’s Our Boy?

Meanwhile, Georgia’s #1 ranked player, Kola, has made impressive waves using Roy. Known as a high-tier character, Kola’s performance with Roy has helped him win a number of matches against high level players. His most recent placing includes taking 2nd place at CEO Dreamland, eventually losing to Samsora‘s Peach in grand finals. Going over my counterpick chart once more, Roy seems to cover a number of matchups already listed in Terry’s section, including ROB and Fox.

As I’ve been practicing Roy – and his Echo Fighter, Chrom – I’ve been considering using him as a counterpick choice. Much as I would hate to look like a copycat player, Roy suits my own playstyle well with his approach options, edgeguarding, close and mid-ranged combat, high damage combos, and high KO power. Plus, I can allocate some of those threats, such as Peach and Daisy, to Roy or Wolf if I must. One thing I learned from my opponents is how effective Wolf would be against some of Ike’s tougher matchups.

The Benefit of Counterpicking

My parting notes for players is to not be afraid to counterpick. Sometimes, Smash culture will involve players telling you to solo-main. If you’re losing to someone who knows your character matchup, repeatedly facetanking with that character will not help you improve. Learning new characters will help you improve as a player by opening your mind to new methods and techniques. Not only will this grow your knowledge of playing new character, but you may pick up on new methods which can affect how you play your main as well.

They say “you’ll never be ready” and that couldn’t be more true. If you feel like your first character won’t beat a tough opponent, not allowing yourself to switch to a different character means sticking to your main with a high possibility of losing. While some players feel comfortable solo-maining, the most adaptive and flexible players will surely seek new tools in order to secure their victory.

Learning a secondary character will definitely take hours of play. You’ll have to learn them online and at tournaments. Sometimes you’ll lose matches you could have won with your main. But that’s the price you might pay due to inexperience. Eventually, you’ll master that character and have a new tool to work with against tough opponents by throwing them a swerve. Don’t limit your potential when you can expand it with newfound knowledge.

If you enjoyed reading this article, leave a comment with your main and secondaries. Let us know how you’ve sorted your character choices!

CEO Dreamland: What You Missed at Orlando’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament.

CEO Dreamland

For the first time since 2017, Community Effort Orlando (CEO) hosted its Smash and platform fighter-oriented event in Orlando this past weekend. I had the pleasure of attending the event and competing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate singles. While I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, I can’t deny I had a great time at the event. With the Coronavirus saturating the media, this was a nice excursion from the news, and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!

The Tournament

We arrived Friday night around the time Smash Ultimate doubles ended. Having only signed up for singles, I eagerly anticipated my singles pools (brackets) on noon of the following day. As I showed up, I got a few matches in with players before calling it a night.

Upon entering the venue, on Saturday, to begin my tournament rounds, I managed to win my first two matches. However, I lost to Rideae (2-1) and Geez (2-1), a Pichu and Palutena respectively. I’ve known Rideae for a few years now and I’ve known he’s been quite a capable player. But what caught me off-guard was the Palutena waiting for me in the loser’s round of our double-elimination bracket.

I hadn’t heard of Geez and ended up getting crushed in a matchup – which I was not familiar with – at high level play. I quickly learned why this character generally sits at the top of the tier list. Even after a recent balance update, the character still proved to be quite a threat. Overall, I took 97th. Not my best performance, but one I took as a lesson to learn more about the game. Even after my loss, my journey continued.

Outside of the Tournament

The time I spent throughout the weekend included “money matches,” or matches played with $5 on the line – winner take all. I challenged myself against many players, most of whom were, of course, from Florida. Among my matches, I fought tough players including LingLing, Shine, CPU, CD, and others. I learned I struggle against Palutena, Zero Suit Samus, Shulk, Donkey Kong, and Wii Fit Trainer, all of which were played by capable opponents. After each loss, I took the time to ask them about what went wrong and what I could learn from it. One of the best parts about this community is that players are always willing to instruct and educate. We’re all seeking to improve and our ability to help others grow means both as people and as competitors. Likewise, I happily explained my knowledge to willing opponents after my wins.

Many players said my ledgetrapping was one of my finest assets. I strongly suggest watching Poppt’s video on ledgetrapping and using that to improve your methods if you’re seeking to compete in Smash tournaments. Plus, I’ve begun sorting out my characters even further to compete in matchups more wisely. I’ll be training my Wolf, Roy, and Chrom along with my Ike for the future.

The Venue

Held at the Wyndham in Orlando, FL, this venue holds a history of hosting CEO for the past decade. While the last two years were spent in Daytona Beach, returning to the Wyndham felt like a homecoming. The resort hotel is located right by Disney World, Universal Studios, and a plethora of restaurants in-between. Among those include a Red Robin and a BJ’s. Getting to go to the latter twice, I strongly recommend their Italian Market Pizza. I was quite convinced that was some of the best I ever had. We also stopped by Pollo Tropical, which blew me away with its amazing wings and chicken soup.

Overall

Days before the event, CEO Dreamland faced closure. In under a night, 600 attendees dropped out of the event due to the Coronavirus scares. Event organizer, Alex Jebailey, however, continued to run the event despite the looming threat of cancellation. During this time, he sent out his plea on social media and asked attendees for donations.

Players from all over the scene chipped in with what they could afford. For those who love CEO and feel at home within this community, the players responded with the type of love that you could only be proud of in the Smash and Fighting Game Communities.

Sunday, the Super Smash Bros. Melee and Ultimate tournaments, won by Hungrybox and Samsora respectively, concluded. After the event, Jebailey sent out one last video thanking the fans and attendees.

When it’s all said and done, I couldn’t be more proud of my scene. I love watching our players come together and boost our scene up. Even in spite of this crisis, we will stand together. And when that time comes, we will be back when CEO and CEO Dreamland return. #CEOStrong

The Coronavirus Cancels E3, Smash World Tour, May Affect Other Gaming Events.

Coronavirus at E3

Due to the spread of COVID-19, also known as the Novel Coronavirus, E3’s event planners have canceled the annual, international gaming conference. Serving as a yearly bastion providing upcoming game previews, the fabled holy grail of gaming fans worldwide will miss its first event since its conception in 1995.

While Sony had already planned to not attend E3 for a second year in a row, they have been showcasing their State of Play to feature their upcoming games. Given the recent crisis, Sony’s contingency plan may have saved the company from a serious dilemma.

However, more than just E3 are being affected by the Coronavirus. With recent diagnosis affecting the U.S. as well, there has been cause for major concern regarding other international gaming events. While major national programs, such as the NBA, suspend their upcoming season indefinitely, gaming events are also in high concern for cancellation.

One event includes the upcoming fighting game tournament, CEO, which has run for over 11 years in Florida. Due to the Coronavirus, however, the annual fighting game event in June may face lower attendance or even a cancellation. While nothing has been said of the main event, this weekend features CEO Dreamland, a spin-off event of CEO, exclusively featuring Super Smash Bros. titles and other platform fighters, such as Rivals of Aether and Brawlhalla. This weekend’s Orlando tournament comes in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis as tournament owner, Alex Jebailey, has already issued refunds in regards to cancellations. Despite attendees canceling, however, Jebailey still plans to run CEO Dreamland in Orlando.

Another event includes Atlanta, GA’s own Momocon. This international anime and gaming convention, which is held every May, brings in over 30,000 people as of the last few years. With  international guests from the gaming and voice acting industry, Momocon is not only known for its cosplay and panels. It has also become one of the leading Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments in the world. Featuring top level talent and nearly 1,000 players in attendance, the tournament pot bonuses number in the tens of thousands.

Multiple attendees continue to stress their concerns regarding Momocon potentially being canceled due to the Coronavirus. However, Momocon staff currently plans to host the event.

Smash World Tour

The recently announced Smash World Tour, an international tournament circuit, will be postponed due to the Coronavirus. Earlier today, Smash World Tour brought the attention to social media that Pound 2020, a major Smash tournament in Virginia, will be canceled this year. Moreover, several tournaments will also be postponed while others will no longer qualify for Smash World Tour points. Be sure to follow Smash World Tour on Twitter for more updates.

While the virus has largely been compared to the likes of SARS, Birdflu, Swineflu, and other subjects of mass-media scare, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared Coronavirus a pandemic. To better understand the importance of canceling events, please read more about the Coronavirus here.

Remember to practice hygiene and follow procedures set by the CDC and WHO. We will update you on the situation as we learn more.

Rango’s Smash Column – The Status of Ike in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Radiant Hero.

Hello and welcome to our Smash Column. This week, we’ll be discussing the Radiant Hero of Legend, Ike. Known for his huge KO power and his great reach, Ike is arguably the strongest hitter out of any swordsman in the game. Despite having an incredibly strong start in the early meta, however, Ike’s weaknesses have become more apparent, pushing him away from the Smash community’s initial, more favorable impressions. In this column, we’ll be discussing Ike’s rise, his fall, and his current place in the meta.

Not-So-Humble Beginnings

Ike’s tenure in Smash Ultimate kicked off in January 2019 at Smash Conference United. This tournament would serve both as Ike’s first major victory in Smash as well as the start of MKLeo’s illustrious rise. Despite being considered a low-tier character in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Smash 4, Ike’s many buffs from the past game turned him into a monster character.

Some months later, another prominent player would pick up Ike in tournaments. Marss, a Zero Suit Samus main from Smash 4, began using him as a secondary. He would eventually gain success against Esam at Get On My Level 2019 (GOML).

The Fall of Ike.

As the meta progressed, however, Ike began losing status in the community. MKLeo began suffering losses at the hands of players, such as the beast, Light. MKLeo would eventually switch mains, switching Wolf, Lucina, and eventually, Joker.

The growing meta would establish Palutena, Snake, Pikachu, and others climbing over Ike in results. The Radiant Hero’s strengths included out-of-this-world KO power off several moves, including kill confrims. Ultimately, it would not be enough to save him from his poor recovery, fairly slow mobility, disadvantage state, or lack of options against certain zoner characters.

Even Ryuga, a prominent Ike player from the days of Brawl and Smash 4, would fight MKLeo using the latter’s former main. This loss, coupled with Ike’s less prominent appearances at tournaments, made a case that he was no longer relevant in the current meta.

Amidst other tournament results, the Ike main would share his mixed feelings about the character.

Marss would later echo similar sentiments.

A New Beginning

While Ike began facing mid-tier status among the roster, not everyone was convinced that this was the end. One example includes San, a noteworthy Smash 4 and Brawl Ike main. Despite not appearing as much, in tournaments, throughout Ultimate’s lifespan, he would return to Frostbite and secure 65th place out of 1,280 entrants.

Another prominent example includes Ravenking, an Ike main from Illinois, would consistently maintain high placings at Chicago weeklies. Perhaps his most prominent success, so far, was taking 33rd which was also at Frostbite. Prior to the end of his run, he managed to take one game off of Tweek, the #3 ranked Smash player in the world.

A New Lease on Life?

Maister, a player from Mexico, recently made waves through innovating the Mr. Game & Watch meta. Going from a relatively unknown character into the Smash community’s latest pariah, Mr. Game & Watch has helped propel Maister through stardom over the last year. Most recently, this includes his grand finals set with MKLeo at Frostbite. Despite this, however, Maister has insisted that Ike is one of Mr. Game & Watch’s losing matchups. For players who fear the 2D Flat-Zone warrior, and potential top tier character, perhaps a certain mercenary might be their ideal counterpick.

It stands to reason that Ike places around the upper tier placings, or the “B” Tier. In other words, he won’t place among the ranks of Pikachu, Roy, Olimar, or Palutena. On the flip side, he has a reasonable matchup spread good enough to take down most threats. My personal matchup chart can serve for reference. -2 means heavily losing while +2 means heavily winning.

https://www.smashtierlist.com/

In short, while I find Roy and ROB to be on the difficult end of the spectrum, the matchups aren’t guaranteed unwinnable. With that said, Ike does much better against the roster than he did in past Smash titles. Players may argue that Roy, Chrom, Lucina, or Shulk would be better choices for a sword user. But at the end of the day, it comes down to what playstyle is most comfortable with you. If you click better with Ike, forcing yourself to play as Lucina or Cloud won’t net you better results. Furthermore, having the right secondaries to back you up will change the tide in battle when you’re struggling. Smash is not a title where you can main one character and expect them to win all your matchups. As a result, it becomes imperative that every competing player learns more than one character.

Final Thoughts

No character in Smash is solo-viable. Even MKLeo has swapped out from Joker during bracket matches. It stands to reason that every player, including top players, benefit from learning multiple characters. Top and high tiers have a better chance against others due to their advantageous matchup spread. But in the end, even their players will find a time to switch out in order to survive against a capable opponent.

Learning more characters will also help your understanding of the game.

In this case, Ike is no exception. What started as the first character to win a Smash Ultimate major dwindled out of the top leagues. But, still maintaining consistency among his most dedicated players, Ike stands in an upper tier location; lower than high tier, but higher than mid tier. Unlike Marth and Lucina, he plays with a more aggressive combat style. And unlike Roy and Chrom, he has slightly better reach. Ike has plenty of strengths and plenty left in the tank. As the meta continues to develop over time, it’s just going to take the right hands to keep him consistent and continue to make big waves in tournaments.

What Brings Us Back to Fire Emblem: Three Houses?

For the Love of Fire Emblem.

Released nearly one year ago, Fire Emblem: Three Houses quickly became one of Nintendo’s most successful Switch titles. Breaking sales records and even winning Players’ Voice at last year’s Game Awards, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has celebrated a year’s worth of love from its ever-growing fanbase. While the series has maintained ebbs and flows of success since its western debut in 2003, Fire Emblem: Awakening began a massive climb to mainstream success.

Followed by Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo would allow players to choose sides, marketing the choice function that would affect the plot and divide fans over which side they would fight for. Shortly thereafter, Fire Emblem Heroes, the free-to-play mobile game, invited thousands of newcomers to try the series. This in turn would lead them to try other games in the series, such as the final 3DS title, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, in 2017.

 

With Three Houses, developer Intelligent Systems stepped into uncharted territory. Using new gameplay mechanics and exploring the story in a different wind, Three Houses maintains a new level of appeal evolving from the series’ history, but what elements make it so appealing to come back to? Even after 100 hours on one House playthrough, players are coming back to finish the story completely in all four routes.

The Four Routes Include Different Storylines

While the title is “Three Houses,” in truth there are four routes to play. In the Black Eagles route, one decision will change the direction of whom you side with. This in turn will change the timeskip route and your alliances in the process.

In a developer interview, Toshiyuki Kusakihara admitted his surprise that players would go through the game more than once. Despite largely playing through the same exact maps, but with different teams, the story would end with different twists, turns, and antagonists to fight. Theoretically, at least one playthrough should be sufficient to finish a game, such as the case of two highly successful JRPGs of this generation: Persona 5 and Dragon Quest XI. While one playthrough of Three Houses should suffice to clear a full game’s worth of story, you’ve still left many mysteries unsolved. The only way you’re going to unlock the full story is to clear the game three more times.

New Game+

Fire Emblem: Three Houses features a New Game+ feature. This alone encourages a replay. In doing so, you can transfer over certain stats and abilities through the use of Renown. This functions similarly to the Grade Shop system in the Tales games. New Game+ modes allow you to transfer bits and pieces of your last playthrough over to your next one.

Maddening Difficulty

For the players who want a challenge, Maddening Difficulty was added in a post-release update. The Maddening Difficulty functions as the “Lunatic” or “Very Hard” mode of the game. With the New Game+ feature, players are encouraged to beat the game at least once so they can transfer over Renown and buff their characters as needed. Fire Emblem titles have allowed players to unlock more challenging difficulties for many years, dating as far back as Blazing Blade, if not sooner. Note that in Blazing Blade, players were encouraged to beat the game four times to play through every single difficulty level.

Bonding with Characters

Three Houses brims with personality across its entire roster. Typical for a Fire Emblem game, the title features many charming characters spread throughout the game. However, with the game split into four routes, each one will give you a chance to bond with different characters from their respective houses. Additionally, this will allow you to choose your partner over the course of four playthroughs

Final Thoughts

Fire Emblem: Three Houses brims with replay value and delight. It’s not a perfect game, but one that’s heavily enjoyable from start to finish. The gripping storyline and the choices you make will change with each playthrough. In order to uncover the true mystery of Foldan, Sothis, Seiros, Nemesis, and the motivations behind each Lord, you’ll have to play through it more than once. If your first playthrough is close to 100 hours then imagine sinking in roughly 400 hours when it’s all said and done. Plus, with the newly-released Cindered Shadows DLC, you’ll get an additional 8-10 hours worth of story content.

Normally, I clear games after one playthrough. If it has multiple endings or compelling extra content, like NieR: Automata, I’ll try and clear it 100%. As a longtime Fire Emblem fan, though, it’s hard for me not to clear this title and learn all of its lore. I’ve cleared multiple playthroughs of many games in the series, including all three routes of Fire Emblem Fates. Granted, this will take much longer than Fates ever did. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it.

How many times have you beaten Three Houses and what’s your favorite route? Let us know in the comments below.

Rango’s Smash Column – 3/2/20

Smash Column

Hello and welcome to my Smash Column. This week I’ll be discussing tips that can help you improve your Smash game! Whether you’re playing online or training for a tournament, you’ll want to make sure your strategy and tactics align with your methods. Here’s a few things you can do to step your game up and put the edge over your opponent!

Force Their Approach

One thing that separates characters on the roster is their ability to approach. The key to note here is their mobility and special moves. Some characters are quick on the ground and in the air. Others might have a special move that helps them gain ground quickly. Still others might not have either. And finally, you’ll have projectile characters who play defensive. They’re trying to force your approach instead. Against a Dedede I fought online, I realized that he has no approach options. Due to his slow mobility on the ground, and in the air, I could keep distance and force his other options. Once he realized his projectiles, Gordo, were no longer working, I could keep my space and play neutral how I wanted to. Around 2:50, I decided to quit approaching for punishes and let him come to me. The best time to force your opponent’s approach is when you have a stock advantage. Because of course that’s when they have to come to you. Otherwise they risk losing via time-out.

Being at Stock Disadvantage

If you’re behind, but want to play smart, the key here isn’t to force approaching your opponent. Rather, start cornering them. Take up the ground near them where they try and bait you out. Keep a safe distance and mind their burst options, or attack range. If they can’t hit you, you’re safe. Get space between the middle of the stage and the edge, perhaps cornering them and forcing them to pull out an option. If it’s unsafe, punish it. This is one way you can begin making a comeback even if you’re struggling.

Breathe

The most important thing you can do, during a match, is to breathe. Remain in control and never feel overwhelmed by your opponent. If you feel your shoulders slinking or your eyes bulging, you may be losing control to your opponent. Remember to take deep breaths and remain focused. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Remaining calm and not getting heated means you maintain control through the end of your set.

Apply Methods to Your Strategy

Know the difference between strategies and tactics. Your strategy is “what” you’re trying to accomplish. Your tactics are “how” you’re going to do it or what method you’re choosing. In this match, I know what I want to do: desync the Ice Climbers. In doing so, I force the player to chase and rescue his Nana in order to perform his combos. However, if he cannot get Nana in time, I can KO her. Likewise, the energy he spends trying to rescue her leaves him almost defenseless. But my tactics and methods vary. For instance, if my goal is to desync the Climbers, I’ll grab one of them. If I grab Popo, Nana is too dumb to punish. If I accidentally grab Nana, Popo, controlled by the player, can smack me in retaliation. In turn, he’ll chase after Nana and gain the advantage. Anytime they’re not syncing properly, and I notice their movement is off, I can go in. Nana doesn’t know what to do when the player flubs an input. Use a dash attack or something fast just to throw them off. This will force the player to make a choice: chase after Nana or defend themselves until she returns. In this case, the strategy is desync. The tactic is to use dash attack, grab, or another fast move that generates decent knockback. Wait for your opportunity, and then strike. Charging headfirst into Blizzard or their disjointed aerials can end up costing you a stock. Make sure you breathe and stay mindful of your opportunities so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Disadvantage State

The last thing I want to mention is being in disadvantage state. When you’re attacked by an opponent, you may fly away or you may fly upwards. If you fly away, you’re offstage and have to recover sideways. If you’re launched upwards, you’ll need to find a way to come back to the ground. Many players struggle with this for several reasons. For one, some characters have a bad disadvantage state. Remember how I said some characters have good approach options while others don’t? The same applies to the disadvantage state. If you’re trying to land, some characters have speed moves, Down Aerials that come down quickly, or even teleports. Others are heavy, slow, and get juggled easily. That’s where you learn to save your airhop, airdodge at an appropriate time, and cross-up, or land opposite of your opponent’s direction. If you’re launched offstage, you’ll have to recover to the ledge. Failure to do so means certain death. Getting edgeguarded means your opponent KO’d you offstage. Getting gimped means they used an attack that didn’t launch you, but stopped your recovery and all of your options. In both cases, it becomes vital that you do not lose your mind over it. Everyone gets knocked into disadvantage state, even top players. It’s a natural process of getting hit. What you do to capitalize and return depends largely on your mentality, sense of control, and ability to adapt. One video that helped me is from Poppt. Here’s a video explaining methods to get back to stage easier. If you like his content, be sure to subscribe to him for more helpful tips! That’s all I have for this week’s Smash column. Be sure to stay tuned and follow AllCoolThings on Twitter for more updates on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tips! Did you learn anything from this column? What do you apply mentally when you’re struggling against an opponent? Let us know in the comments below!