The Game Corner: March 2021. What are you playing featuring Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Welcome to the Game Corner! This month, I’ll cover a bit of my backlog featuring Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and a few other quality titles. If you like JRPGs and Fighting Games, you’ll surely find a favorite here!

Thanks to Pyra and Mythra’s inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Fighter Pass 2, I hopped back onto the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 hype train. Having played them a bit, I gotta say I enjoy their playstyle. They may have what it takes to become my new secondaries. But in addition to trying them out on Smash online, I figured it would be worth exploring the stories they’re from as well.

In the meantime, I also managed to beat a Zelda title after a 10-year span and even jumped back into an old fighting favorite: Dragon Ball FighterZ. In the meantime, I continue my playthrough of Final Fantasy XV. Though to be fair, I haven’t touched it in a week so I’ll be omitting it from this list. Rest assured, I will have it beat before Final Fantasy XVI comes out.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, I postponed my playthrough of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Since I’m less than halfway through the game and Square-Enix announced the Intergrade and PS5 version enhancements, I’ve decided to wait until its release to resume my playthrough.

For those of you Final Fantasy fans looking to bite into a classic type experience, though, I recommend checking out Bravely Default II for Nintendo Switch. I watched my girlfriend beat this game and it really strikes the right chord for classic Final Fantasy fans. If you love the Job system of Final Fantasy V, you’ll surely want to sink your fangs right into this one.

With that being said, let’s get into this week’s Game Corner, shall we?

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

While I’ve been regularly playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 since the beginning of the year, the Pyra/Mythra Smash release hype bug bit me. I’ve only just now reached Mor Ardain, however, and am about 30 hours in.

Can I just stop to say how much I love this official artwork by Matsusugu Saito?

When Shulk was announced for Super Smash Bros. 4, it prompted me to finish my long-delayed playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii. I guess you could say history repeats itself here. Speaking of which, my girlfriend also started her playthrough of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition for Nintendo Switch. While I’ve beaten the original game and don’t intend to play it, I look forward to watching her discover the worlds of Bionis and Mechonis for the first time!

While I intend to finish the storyline of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, however, I don’t see myself finishing the side-quests. I’ve heard they become quite repetitive and to the point that it would lose my interest. However, since I purchased it pre-emptively, I have a mind to do the Torna – The Golden Country DLC episode once I beat the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Beating Spirit Tracks was an adventure 11 years in the making. Having gotten this game in 2010, I never beat this game on my DS. I ended up losing it in late 2011 and never found it until recently. Or rather, my girlfriend found my lost copy several months ago. With that said, I finally got to beat the one Zelda game that I never finished. Despite my last entry being in the Fire Temple, I picked the game back up relatively quickly.

Spirit Tracks really brought me back to another era. The blocky, low-resolution character models still charmed me with their glorious facial expressions and animations. The dated touch-screen controls were fairly gratuitous with Link being able to tap-and-hit enemies. I do recall it being a quality improvement over its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and it held up even a decade later.

Overall, I wouldn’t say it was the most special or must-play Zelda title by a long margin. Despite the long train rides and some annoying padding, though, Spirit Tracks can win over any Zelda fan.

The beautiful soundtrack harmonized perfectly with the unique story and writing in the final chapter of the Wind Waker era. However, in spite of the good dungeon design, boss battles, and funny moments, I would be okay with Nintendo never releasing another Zelda game with touch controls.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

What’s this? I’m playing another fighting game? Since several of my friends are doing it, I figured I may as well join in. Dragon Ball FighterZ resonates with largely balanced gameplay, long-strung combos, and entertainment to all player levels without ever being BS. Though if you follow the competitive scene, you might disagree after the release of the latest DLC character: Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta.

While I’m playing online in worldwide matchmaking, I’m  rather upset that casual battles aren’t sorted by rank. This makes fighting people on my level more difficult outside of friend battles. In other words, either I get bodied by players well above my level or I fight a player who ragequits after losing one character.

I’ve been experimenting with a number of characters and team choices. But to make it short, basically any variation of Goku, Vegeta, Gogeta, Vegito, Gohan, and Trunks are on my team along with the occasional Piccolo. While I said I would main Vegito or Gogeta at one point, I’ve been chugging along at my own pace. I’m trying out Blue Vegeta right now and some of his combos make me feel like I might have a future in this game after all. On top of that, I’m also only 4,000,000 zeni away from unlocking the final trophy!

Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection

Speaking of challenging titles, this one brings me back. You love 2D platformers and Capcom games, Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection sends the perfect love letter on Nintendo Switch. It brings me right back to Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts on SNES albeit without a double-jump ability.

Despite that, it’s way more forgiving than most of the past games. You have no lives or continues and multiple checkpoints. You can adjust the difficulty between deaths and use a skill tree to learn new magic spells.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m playing on Squire and enjoying it just fine. I don’t even play this series for getting destroyed repeatedly. I love the art style, music, and overall gameplay. Dying a dozen times per stage is just a side-effect to me.

Speaking of art, this has some of the creepiest yet most charming artwork, monster design, and backgrounds you will ever see in a side-scroller. And despite what I’ve seen from some reviews, this game isn’t really any cheaper than past entries and, like I said, a bit more forgiving. More like Contra than Castlevania, it does rely greatly on pattern-recognition and memorization. But if you’re fine with that, I think you will like this game.

Pokemon Sword

Finally, after all these years, I’m back on Pokemon once again. I think the 25th-anniversary presentation struck a chord with me to get back into Pokemon. I loved this series as a kid, grew out of it as a teen and came back into it as an adult. Granted, I was never as obsessed and hype about it as I was back then. Still, I like to keep up.

The upcoming releases of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as the Pokemon Legends Arceus, got me wanting to finally start my run of Pokemon Sword. Well, I’m in Galar with my Raboot, Stufful, Corvisquire, and a few others. I’m on Route 4 and about ready to enter my first gym battle.

I’m not saying I’m partial to Fire-type starters, but…

As it stands, I’m not sure when I’m going to transfer my Pokemon to Sword. Part of me wants to finish my Pokedex in past entries while the other says to just transfer my favorites to the game, like Sylveon and Pangoro. Not like I would be able to use them until I get gym badges but I still want to build a team around my favorites.

Anyway, the game is quite fun so far and I like the open-world landscapes of each route. It’s structured much better than the samey, minimal paths between major areas like in other JRPGs such as Tales of Xillia. Battling moves fast, character design remains strong as always, and I’m looking forward to my next Pokemon adventure!

Final Thoughts

Believe it or not, I also started a playthrough of Yakuza 3, Last Window: Secret of Cape West, and Persona 5 Strikers. I also started up The Champion’s Ballad DLC in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Since I finished Twilight Princess HD and Spirit Tracks, I figured it was time. But I suppose discussion on those will have to wait till next time.

Right now, I want to focus on clearing a number of backlog titles. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Final Fantasy XV top my list of games I want to finish before moving onto others. Plus I want to keep my skills in Smash polished. Since I got my first COVID vaccine, I’ll be getting my second one next month. I would love for tournaments to return around May or June.

Until my next entry, feel free to share your journal in the comments. Whether you’re playing a new hit or an older classic, or you’re keeping your skills ahead of the curve in a competitive game, share your current play log in the replies!

Also, be sure to follow our social media links and stay up to date with our gaming and anime features. Until next time!

The Game Corner: February 2021. Featuring Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

Since I recently finished Sega’s Yakuza spin-off, Judgment, I immediately found myself going in to finish the next game I was closest to beating: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U. While I was around 20 hours in some weeks ago, I can happily say that I’ve finished the game!

In the midst, I’ve also been playing my fair share of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Nintendo’s latest hit for the Switch brought forth quite possibly the best Mario game in existence as well as an expansion to the title. Though Super Mario 3D World, originally released for Wii U, was good enough to release standalone, the Bowser’s Fury expansion definitely sweetened the deal.

As always, I’m still playing Smash, Fire Emblem Heroes, and even finally picked back up my copy of Final Fantasy XV after three months of neglect. With that said, what are you playing this month?

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Finishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gave me clarity on an old favorite. Though I beat the original Wii release in 2006, I revisited the game on GameCube several years later. While I found the latter marginally better due to the controls, both releases of Twilight Princess featured a few glaring issues. Perhaps the biggest was that enemies barely damaged Link which trivialized combat throughout the game.

The HD remaster not only condenses these fetch quests immensely but gives you the option to bolster the enemy difficulty. Using the Ganondorf amiibo will double enemy damage. Playing on Hero Mode will not only boost enemy damage but also keep Hearts from spawning in the field. You could even quadruple the enemy damage by stacking the two if you like.

In one fell swoop, Nintendo not only managed to restore a classic in HD but fixed the most glaring problems the original title suffered from. Plus they even added the Cave of Shadows which is a new enemy gauntlet that you can tackle in Wolf form. You can view a list of changes here.

You earn this statue for clearing the Cave of Shadows.

This remaster makes Twilight Princess HD the definitive version of the game and one that will hopefully come to Nintendo Switch later this year.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I might have said this before, but Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Mario platformer. Not counting the RPGs like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, it’s my favorite Mario game thanks to its incredible level of polished design. I honestly believe it’s on the same tier as Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, all of which were designed by the same team.

You can play around with filters.

Nintendo not only ported 3D World to the Switch but even added a few quality-of-life improvements. Perhaps the most stunning is that you now move at 1.5x speed which streamlines the levels even more than before. Plus you can now play online with friends!

But let’s talk for a moment about the expansion, Bowser’s Fury. This new mode marries Super Mario Odyssey’s open-world gameplay with Super Mario 3D World’s controls and powerups. This new quest introduces an awesome, powerful version of the titular villain known as Fury Bowser.

With 100 Shines to collect, Bowser’s Fury offers between 5-10 hours of gameplay in this fun little campaign on Lapcat Island. It also includes offline co-op allowing a friend to play as Bowser Jr. to aide you. Whether you enjoy the Super Mario Sunshine references, the new music, or Odyssey’s gameplay, you’ll have plenty of reasons to try this lovable new expansion mode!

Final Fantasy XV

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve owned this game. I bought it in 2017 and have still only just cleared the first few chapters. Even worse is when I shelved it in November 2020 and only just started playing it again. Thankfully, re-learning combat wasn’t the rude awakening I was afraid it might be.

Sadly, the Naga was nowhere near as attractive as I was hoping for.

Right now, I’m about to storm an Imperial base to get the Regalia back. I finished the Ramuh trials and I’m looking forward to finishing this chapter as well. I’m honestly hoping to finish Final Fantasy XV before XVI comes out.

Super Mario Galaxy

Welcome to my guilty pleasure. I have already cleared 120 Stars on all three games of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. So why am I playing Luigi mode in Super Mario Galaxy? Either because I hate myself or because I love the game that much.

As I mentioned earlier, Super Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games of all time. At the time of its 2007 release, one could argue that it was the greatest game Nintendo has ever released. Its Metacritic score speaks volumes about not just its quality but how well it has lasted throughout 14 years. 3D All-Stars remastered the title in glorious HD and it still looks and plays like a charm.

Wii version.

However, while I already enjoyed my run-through as Mario, Luigi mode is literally just the same game over again except you jump higher and skid on surfaces; a tribute to Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. In the end, you get 120 Stars and unlock the opening level once more to collect one more star each: once as Mario, once as Luigi, for a total of 242 stars. No Grandmaster Galaxy or any such reward exists for doing so, either.

I literally did this years ago. Not once, but twice.

Fire Emblem Heroes

I subscribed to Feh Pass. I’ve continuously apologized to myself for the past week for doing this. After a year of resisting, I finally caved. With the amount of time I spend on this game, despite being F2P, I figured I might as well treat myself to some of the quality improvements. I already love continuously auto-battling through Tempest Trials+ without having to check my phone every minute as well.

Brave Ike made me do it.

Onto other modes, though, as usual, I know nothing of what I’m doing. I still teeter on Aether Raids Tier 19-20 and Arena Rank 17-19. I seldom play a number of modes, like Hall of Forms and Pawns of Loki. I figure since I’m finally subscribing to Feh Pass for $10 a month, I may as well try to get a little better at the game, right?

My current main team for general purpose and Abyssal maps.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

My on-and-off relationship with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 began since getting it in 2017 when it first came out. Unfortunately, I’ve just left this one largely on the backburner. It’s not a bad game and I even beat and enjoyed the first Xenoblade on the Wii. But when it comes to prioritizing my backlog, this one has scarcely been on my radar.

If you think I can’t juggle Xenoblade and Final Fantasy XV, you’re sorely underestimating me.

Thankfully, I decided to pick it up and play it for real. After a quick romp of re-learning some of the mechanics, I think I got a handle on everything for the most part. Blades, Cores, and all that complicated mess you don’t get in your standard JRPG really add to the learning curve. After 20+ hours I finally finished Chapter 3 and you know what that means!

I literally could not have picked a better time to get her.

I’ll be starting Chapter 4 soon. I enjoy watching the plot pick up from here. Hopefully, I can get Zeke soon and add him to my party. He’s my favorite character so far.

Zeke is represented by Cloud as a Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I’m still kicking around online. In addition to tormenting myself on Elite Smash, I’m also playing in Best 3 out of 5 sets against noteworthy players. For starters, I managed to beat a notable DK player from North Carolina and one of my longtime rivals, KDK, in a set 3-2 using Terry. I also battled Deluxemenu and won 3-2 against his Bowser, but I’ve also lost to his Min-Min in two sets. Mr. E won 5-3 in a First to 5 and I fought a close set with NickRiddle which he took 3-2.

On the bright side, I’m feeling pretty good about this win. I lost to his Sephiroth hard with Roy but Terry gave me three wins. Can’t be mad about that.

I’ve been doing well with The Legendary Hungry Wolf online lately.

While I still don’t intend to enter online tournaments yet, I’ll still keep it in the back of my mind just in case. Right now, I enjoy playing with my friends and other high-level players in competitive sets. As long as I get to do that, I’m happy.

Oh, and before I forget, here are some clips I can finally share with you!

Punch, Punch!

Here’s MY Falcon Punch!

I’ll follow you to your grave.

Finally, here’s an Ike mini-montage I made last year with Aether spike finishes. It’s the one thing keeping Ike viable in this meta!

That’s all for this week’s Game Corner! What are you playing lately? Share in the replies below!

As always, don’t forget to follow our social media links below. Stay tuned for next time’s Game Corner as I’ll surely, hopefully, have made some more progress and maybe a new game or two added in there.

Until next time!

The Game Corner – What Are You Playing? Week of 1/4/21

ACT Game Corner 1/1/21

Welcome to the new year! Now that we finally left 2020 behind, we’re looking forward to a much brighter and better year! With that being said, welcome to the Game Corner!

ACT Pokemon Game Corner

What is the Game Corner?

Named after the Pokemon series’ casino, the Game Corner is a column where I cover my gaming backlog. I’ll also include activities in the games I regularly play, such as Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you’re fond of JRPGs, Nintendo series, PlayStation hits, and a hint of fighting games, you came to the right place!

We encourage you to share your backlogs with us in the replies as well. Hopefully, this column will give you some ideas on what to add to your backlog. If you’re looking for new games to play, you might find something you like!

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

ACT Super Mario 64

Yep, I did it. I cleared Super Mario 64 with 120 Stars. I’m no stranger to this game and I got into it when it came out on the Nintendo 64 back in 1996! I’ve cleared through this game many times to include on the DS with 150 Stars! Despite being many years since I’ve last played through this game, though, it’s a blast to play no matter how many times I replay it.

Surprisingly, as well as it’s held up, it’s become easier to identify some of the design flaws in the game. Perhaps it’s because Super Mario Galaxy spoiled us. But when it comes to finding 100 coins, redoing a long mission because of a death and no checkpoint, or clearing Tick-Tock Clock, some of the missions were actually frustrating! It’s one thing for Mario to be challenging but when you have to go all the way back through the Hazy-Maze Elevator because you feel once, it admittedly becomes tedious.

ACT Super Mario 64 Tick Tock Clock
Tick Tock Clock was heavily redesigned in the DS remake. The level design was much more tolerable.

Still, I gotta say it was hard to put down even today. As long as my backlog is, I’m honestly surprised I decided to stick with 64 till the end and clear it over the last week. Believe it or not, going over some of the 3D platformers I’ve played in my life, I can’t say I’ve played one better from a series that wasn’t Mario. 64 isn’t just revolutionary but a polished monument to some of the best and most enjoyable gaming experiences imaginable.

ACT Super Mario 64 low-poly
Did you know that Mario’s model becomes low-polygon when the camera zooms away from him?

Judgment

ACT Judgment Yagami Kaito

Ah, good old Yakuza. The franchise that received a huge boom in the mid-late 2010s thanks to Yakuza 0, Sega’s been a master at marketing this title. The Yakuza series is known for its hilarious, serious, and clever writing, combining strong storytelling with over-the-top humor. Any fan of shonen anime and Japanese culture will fall in love with Yakuza. It’s got those Fist of the North Star and Jojo vibes in combat with just a hint of pro wrestling.

The beat ’em up gameplay in Judgment is just as smooth and fluid as the Yakuza series could possibly deliver. This spin-off, however, also features a murder mystery. You’ll be solving puzzles, searching for clues, and even defending people in court just like in Ace Attorney. I also like the streamlined sub-quests which are now featured on corkboards for you to pick at.

Look. No touch!

Yagami’s truly a likable protagonist and Kaito’s an amazing side-kick, you could say! They differ from the series’ protagonist, Kiryu Kazuma, in many ways with Yagami being a little more coolheaded and Kaito being a little more cocky. Now that I’m on Chapter 9 I feel like I’m just a bit over halfway through the game at 30 hours.

Having beaten Yakuza 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, I look forward to continuing my journey once I clear Judgment. I’ll play through Yakuza Remastered Collection, Yakuza 6, and finally, get to try Like a Dragon once I’m through.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Believe it or not, I’m still on the grind here. Still playing competitively, I find it hard to put Smash down. Even in an era without offline tournaments, I cannot put down my favorite game. I just gotta keep practicing for that time the tournaments return.

I’m still learning new things with Terry, Mario, Cloud, Chrom, Roy, and others. I honestly just love learning multiple characters. Even though in all practicality, you’re supposed to keep a small character pool in tournaments, it’s incredibly hard not to want to play more than a small handful of 78 characters. I even dabbled a bit with Sephiroth when he came out. Unfortunately, his zoning playstyle really isn’t for me and I just found Cloud to be more enjoyable personally.

I found a new YouTube channel, called 1437 Ultimate, with some sick plays by other top players. I’m already getting some inspiration from Zenyou’s Mario. If I find any more goodies, I’ll be sure to include them in my next column!

Fire Emblem Heroes

As always, I’m logging into my only gacha game regularly. I love Fire Emblem Heroes too much not to play it and care too little about other gacha to play anything else. I don’t even follow the meta anymore. I just look up guides on Gamepress, build my characters optimally, and send them out into Abyssal Maps. Don’t get me started on Aether Raids either.

Duma’s Abyssal stage. I still cannot beat this effing map.

Been running Fallen Ike, Brave Dimitri, Peony, and Brave Camilla lately. Unfortunately, I ran into a roadblock trying to conquer Abyssal Duma. Yet one switch from Camilla to Brave Claude and, within two tries, I clobbered that map like it was nothing. You gotta adapt to your changes and when you see a map full of fliers it’s time to get the bow out.

The new year banner is coming so I’m looking forward to that. Much as I would love a summer banner of the Ljosalfheim faeries, this gracious New Year banner gives them beautiful kimonos to wear and fly around in. However, I can’t say I’m ready to commit to the New Year’s banner when I could still possibly get Winter Sothis and Winter Fae. Just maybe!

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

That’s right. I’m back to playing an old favorite Zelda title. Having beaten it on Wii (2006) and the GameCube years later, I had to pick up the HD remaster. One thing that drove me to this release was the addition of a harder difficulty.

Barring A Link Between Worlds, I’ve never been a fan of the Hero Mode difficulty in Wind Waker HD or this one either. However, with the use of the Ganondorf amiibo, I could boost enemy damage x2 and still collect hearts in the field. Unfortunately, I have to use my amiibo every time I load up the game.

I’m at the Lakebed Temple now which is the Water Temple of the game but on steroids. For those unaware, the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time was infamously difficult the first time we played through. Lakebed Temple is that but even bigger and more intimidating. That being said, I’m looking forward to getting this one over with.

Despite how much I enjoy this game, I always thought it fell short of the N64 classics, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. A large part of that reason was due to how easy combat was. Enemies dealt 1/4 heart of damage and you could get by them without even trying.

While the HD version’s difficulty gives me the incentive to beat the game, I have little doubt that Nintendo will release this game for Switch as part of this year’s celebration, Maybe we’ll see Twilight Princess and Wind Waker as part of Zelda 35th Anniversary. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can use the Wolf Link amiibo to help me with the DLC in Breath of the Wild.

Wrap-up

Well, here’s hoping I can clear Judgment before the next Game Corner. It’s probably around 60 hours and I’m doing side-cases like mad. Eventually, I do want to finally start my copies of Nioh 2 and Ghost of Tsushima, both of which I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about. But I’m also trying to be good and not scatter off to too many games at once. I say this as I haven’t touched my half-finished copies of Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII Remake in weeks.

Share with us what you’re playing in the replies below. Stay tuned with us for next time’s Game Corner. And finally, be sure to follow us on our social media links below. Happy New Year, everyone!

AniBlaze Mini-Con 2016

When we had partnered up with AniBlaze we threw our one and only one day convention at the Sheraton Atlanta in October of 2016. We had guests, vendors, and artists, as well as contests with prizes. Road Crew of HERETICPRIME, Jennifer Rossiter Strength, and Stewart Strength Jr.