The Game Corner – What Are You Playing in June 2021? – AllCoolThings Sendoff Edition!

Hello and welcome to this month’s Game Corner! This monthly column is dedicated to our gaming backlogs and how we’re progressing through them. Whether we’re in the first half of a 60+ hour RPG or on our way to finishing up our Pokedexes, the Game Corner covers any topics revolving around finishing your backlog!

I suck because I still have games like Yakuza 3 on my backlog which I’ve barely started.

All Cool Things will be taking a hiatus after this article. We hope you’ve enjoyed the content we’ve shared with you over the past year and a half. Once con season begins rolling in around the middle of fall, we hope to be back in full form and better than ever! I’ll keep posting Smash content on my personal gaming blog, however.

Art of my OC by JageRage7.

With that being said, I just want to take the time to go over some of the games I’ve been playing. Truth be told, it’s been an ordeal to get these games lately. I’ve been so bent on practicing for Smash tournaments that I barely give myself the time to play anything else. With the return of Georgia tournaments and even the recent major at InfinityCon, I can’t afford to let my competition get the best of me! But likewise, I can’t let my backlog keep growing either! With that being said, take a look at what’s on the selection this month!

NieR Replicant

This quirky little Action/RPG serves as the precursor to 2017’s hit title, NieR: Automata. Originally released as NIER in 2010, this remaster features the younger protagonist set in the release exclusive to Japan. The hack-and-slash combat feels like something straight out of Devil May Cry while incorporating RPG elements such as leveling up, taking on side-quests, and even forming a small party of sorts.

Known for its convoluted storylines and dark storytelling, NieR Replicant grasps the player by the feelings after taking on the first few set of side-quests. Finding a lost dog in the field only starts the natural process of empty, sad outcomes for the player. If you’ve played NieR: Automata before, you might know what to expect.

I don’t know what’s better. Hearing Liam O’Brien’s accent or Laura Bailey swear profusely.

As a remaster, it does little to hide the fact that it’s a title from the Xbox 360 and PS3 era. Despite that, it runs wonderfully at 60 FPS and looks much prettier than the original, mixed-received release. I’m glad to see Square-Enix continuing to pursue the NieR series. I hope they’ll consider remastering Yoko Taro’s related work, the Drakengard series, down the road.

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir

It’s visual novel season and by season I mean it’s been years. While I’ve unfortunately let Ai: The Somnum Files and several Danganronpa titles pass me by, I finally found a visual novel that’s grabbed my attention. A full remake of the 80s Famicom Detective Club series, once exclusive to Japan, this tale features redrawn art, redesigned characters, and plenty of story to go through. If you’re familiar with games like Snatcher or Ace Attorney, you’ll be talking to people about different subjects. However, as an amnesiac protagonist, you’ll work through the story by recalling events slowly over time.

One thing I absolutely love is just the fact that Nintendo came out of the left field to revive a title that has never seen the west before. It’s like releasing a new IP except it’s an old IP formerly exclusive to Japan. Seeing as how popular titles like Zero Escape are, I’m glad Nintendo finally jumped to releasing their own brand of visual novels. This opens the door to many possibilities such as continuing the series with new games after this release. However, I’ll need to get through this series before The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles comes out later this month!

Resident Evil Village

Mommy Dimitrescu. That’s what we’re calling her, right? I’m still early on in Resident Evil Village but I’m really liking the gameplay so far. Honestly, it truly feels like a culmination of Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 4’s inventory, crafting, merchant, and puzzle systems. Now I only wish there was a button to kick or suplex stunned enemies.

Truth be told, I watched my girlfriend beat the game already so I know how it all ends. I want to enjoy the game for myself since I love this series’s gameplay, music, and mood. I’m interested in seeing how the story moves on after Village. However, I still want to see the characters I know and love return. At least we’re getting Netflix series based around Leon and Claire.

Honestly, I hate to admit that I’m not remotely terrified of Lady Dimitrescu or her daughters. It’s nothing like the terror I felt when being stalked by Tyrant or surprised by Nemesis. In fact, I like it when they chase me around and I will leave it at that!

Fire Emblem Heroes

Meet the new face of the meta.

How did I finally place Tier 32 in Aether Raids? I’ve spent the last 2 or 3 years around Tier 20! Once I finally decided to start looking up how to build good teams, I finally started making progress with some help from r/FireEmblemHeroes. I don’t think I ever bothered caring about these builds until I subscribed to Feh Pass. Now that I pay for some better units and extra orbs, I may as well make it count.

I don’t see how myself making it to Tier 20 in Arena any time soon. Not unless I get lucky. Of course, I never expected my Aether Raids score to suddenly jump past 24 from last season. Honestly, though, I’m starting to like making multiple builds. I feel a little bit more variety than just letting Team Ike carry everything.

I have no business being up here.

Pokemon Sword

400 Pokemon in the Pokedex and Battle Tower cleared. What else is there besides online battling? Exactly, online battling. I finally stuck my nose into the competitive scene in Pokemon. Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve ever actually battled people in the Pokemon series. I never even really did it except maybe a small handful of times as a kid in Yellow at my daycare.

Meet my best friend!

Incineroar and Charizard serve as my powerhouses but Sylveon remains a staple in all my teams. I really want to get more use out of Pangoro but I haven’t been successful yet. I will say that single battle 3v3 feels faster-paced than 6v6 and I think I’m starting to prefer it. However, I think it might be time to start up 2v2.

He may not be Dragon-type Mega Charizard X but he still carries my team.

Thanks largely to one of my friends for supplying me with some good breeds, Egg moves, and Ability Patches, I finally decided to delve into the competitive rabbit hole. I just hope it doesn’t take too much time away from my Smash practice.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Earlier, I mentioned that InfinityCon was a major. Tallahassee, FL, hosted a 512 player tournament featuring competitors from FL, GA, IL, and other sectors. In the end, Georgia’s own Kola took grand finals and won it all ahead of skilled competitors like Myran, Ned, Fatality, and more. As a Roy and Cloud player, I was quite impressed with Kola’s performance.

Seeing this tournament has me really gearing up for my return to tournaments. I’ve already booked an event at our local World of Beer for our first return back to tournaments on June 24th. Plus, several days before that, 4o4 esports is hosting their monthly series near Atlanta. I’m incredibly excited to return to the competition if not a little nervous since it’s been over a year since I’ve competed.

My current characters in Smash. I honestly can’t stop using Cloud.

I should also mention that I coach players on Metafy.gg. Be sure to check it out and book a session with me if you’re seeking to improve your gameplay!

Final Thoughts

Fellas, it’s been fun. I could spend more time talking about how I’m trying to play more King of Fighters XIII on my PC or finally starting Xenoblade Chronicles 2 back up for the first time in several months. But I think this covers this month’s column well enough.

I would play The King of Fighters XIII if it was active.

Remember that E3 begins on Saturday, June 12, and lasts till June 15th. If you’re as excited about it as I am, make sure you stay tuned for the news and all the upcoming releases. As always, I know better than to expect Metroid Prime 4, Super Mario RPG’s return, or a Legend of Dragoon remake. However, I can always hope for something really good and out of left-field, like Zelda Oracle remakes to celebrate the series’ 35th anniversary. Here’s hoping Nintendo doesn’t let us down!

I’ve enjoyed writing this column and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much. I won’t be able to discuss releases with you for a while except on my own personal blog. Feel free to follow me there!

But make sure to leave a Like on our main page and follow the social media channels to get a reminder on when we’ll be back! We’re hoping for October if not a little later so be sure to stay tuned for our grand return!

What does the future hold for 2D side-scrolling revivals?

As I recently completed my first playthroughs of Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection and Shantae and the Seven Sirens, a thought occurred to me. Games like this have suddenly started appearing left and right over the course of the last few years. While indie devs began to fill the gap of side-scrollers with games like Shovel Knight and Freedom Planet, Nintendo, Capcom, and even Konami have begun stepping up with revivals of their own.

Developed by fans and published by Sega, Sonic Mania Plus sets the example of an ideal revival for 2D side-scrollers.

And yet, before you knew it, they were gone. Just fizzled back out into obscurity after a few years without a peep since. E3’s coming up next month and it’s given us hope that we’ll get to see more of what we love.

Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010). Developed by Metroid Prime team, Retro Studios, this was a prime example of how to do a revival.

However, that’s not to dismiss the claim that a number of these revival titles could be more than what they are. After all, that’s one of the main reasons they develop sequels, right? I would love to see more of our familiar favorites coming out from our favorite developers. And I can think of a few games that come to mind.

Mega Man 11

One of the predominant side-scrolling series across the past 35 years, Mega Man deserves a place in every gaming generation. Returning for the first time since 2010, the Blue Bomber geared up for a new adventure to take on his nemesis, Dr. Wily. Featuring new fusion abilities, Mega Man 11 set a new standard for trademark copy abilities and gave you new ways to progress through levels.

Unfortunately, Capcom’s mascot took an unwarranted leave of absence after the release of Mega Man 10. Shortly after its release, series producer Keiji Inafune left. Ambitiously attempting to replicate the success of Mega Man at his new studio, Comcept, his next game left disastrous results to say the least.

Mighty No. 9 (2016) featuring pizza explosions.

Meanwhile, Capcom finally decided to cave under the pressure of demand and, after a seven-year absence, developed Mega Man 11. The very notion that Mega Man had returned had people leaping for joy. This new title brought Mega Man into HD and looked much better than Mighty No. 9 could ever hope to be. The Nintendo Switch release even featured an exclusive amiibo.

Future of Mega Man

However, it comes with a few issues that could be tackled. It’s a good Mega Man title but one that could always use more. While I feel the soundtrack wasn’t as much of a hit as past games, it still did its job. But where are the extra playable characters akin to Mega Man 9 and 10?

Mega Man 10 featured Protoman and Bass as playable characters. But the real question is when will Roll become playable in Mega Man?

In addition to Mega Man 12, fans continue to demand Mega Man X9 as X8 came out on PS2 in 2004! While Capcom has been on fire with its recent Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Monster Hunter releases, here’s hoping they haven’t forgotten their beloved mascot either.

Metroid: Samus Returns

When Nintendo announced Metroid Prime 4 at E3 2017, they announced a side-scrolling 3DS title alongside it: the reimagining of Metroid II: Return of Samus for Game Boy. Metroid: Samus Returns is the first 2D Metroid title to come out since 2004’s Metroid: Zero Mission for Game Boy Advance. Developer Mercury Steam took the reigns and gave Samus Returns a 2.5D remake playing similar to the hit title Super Metroid. Adding a map, new abilities, and some mighty battles, the developer took cues from past Metroid titles, including Prime, and delivered a hit Metroidvania on the 3DS.

Now, I can’t vouch that Metroid: Samus Returns was the prettiest looking game on the system. While its animations looked great, I feel its character models and backgrounds looked rather bland. Call me spoiled by the 2D sprite work used in Metroid: Zero Mission but I feel the art could have used a bit more polish. However, it’s at least passable and the game itself still delivers a solid experience. I should also mention, however, that Samus Returns looks gorgeous on the Citra emulator.

Metroid: Samus Returns is a remake of 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus.

Samus Returns added the new Aeion abilities which allowed Samus to use powerful rapid-fire abilities or stop time. The final boss fight also took a massive swerve from the original Game Boy title in the best possible way. However, unlockable images in the gallery showed the potential for a sequel. Despite being released in 2017, this has yet to surface. It goes without saying Nintendo is long overdue for releasing another Metroid title.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection

When I beat this game, I can’t say I was as satisfied as I’d hoped to be. Instead of taking the balanced level design and double-jump options from Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, it was more of an enemy mob rush akin to the original arcade and NES Ghosts ‘n Goblins title. As such, I found myself unsatisfied with several design choices.

This comes despite its awe-inspiring artistic work. The animations, colors, and gorgeous level backgrounds spoke of an epic fantasy adventure worth your eyes and ears. The new skill tree system gave Arthur new abilities and spells to help him survive using skills like Doppelganger to double or triple his attacks.

Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins (2006). Before Resurrection, Capcom waited 15 years to release a new title in the series.

However, even despite my critique, that doesn’t mean I want the series to go away. If anything, I want Capcom to continue digging back into their vault and reimagining their franchises for the modern era. Ghosts ‘n Goblins already took a decade and a half before coming back to the forefront. I would love to see it since there’s another certain demon fighting game series by Capcom which has yet to see a new game.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained is interesting in that it’s essentially an indie title but one by a former well-known producer from Konami. The former producer of the Castlevania titles from Symphony of the Night onwards, Koji Igarashi, created Bloodstained as a spiritual successor to his titles. The game included much of the same gameplay as his Metroidvania titles and even featured his game’s composer, Michiru Yamane, at the helm.

Through and through, Bloodstained is heavily inspired by Koji Igarashi’s last mainline Castlevania title, Order of Ecclesia, which was released in 2008 for Nintendo DS. The 1800s setting consists of demon attacks on villages while the female protagonist enters a castle and absorbs enemy shards to gain their powers.

Sometimes it feels a little too close to Order of Ecclesia, but that’s also not bad. However, it leaves less of an impact than Symphony of the Night, which practically defined its own genre. It also doesn’t feel like a polished refinement or evolution, like Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, but rather serves as a love letter to the series’ fans.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (2008). This title featured a female protagonist named Shanoa who could absorb glyphs for enemy powers.

Pros and Cons of Bloodstained

My gripes with Bloodstained came from its visual style and some pacing issues. Even though they fixed the game’s lighting and backgrounds, something about the game still looks rather stiff in comparison to past Metroidvania titles. Another problem stemmed from its disastrously long loading times should you get killed.

In one instance, you also have to kill an aquatic enemy to gain the power to swim. Yet you’re given no hint to this and in past games underwater travel was unlocked through a nigh-unmissable item you could obtain after a boss fight for instance. Plus, while previous Castlevania games unlocked Boss Rush and extra character modes after clearing, these were free DLC pieces that came months after the main game came out.

Speaking of extra character modes, I feel Julius Mode in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow did it best for having actual dialogue and an alternate final boss battle. I feel IGAvania titles rely too much on the “swap character but have no storyline” formula that they’ve done since Richter Mode in Symphony of the Night. In addition to a game rounded out with unlockables from the start, I would love to see the next Bloodstained title look prettier and offer more to the extra character story.

Getsu Fuma Den

Finally, on the subject of Konami and Castlevania, the developer actually unveiled a trailer featuring the remake of a title never released in the U.S. While Nintendo delved deep into their vault to remake the NES title, Famicom Detective Club, Konami figured they would do the same. In a time where the aforementioned titles gained success from longtime fans and newcomers, Konami decided instead of releasing a new Castlevania to dig into their own NES vault to release this mystery title.

Konami initially showcased Getsu Fuma Den: Undying Moon was initially via DLC in 2011’s Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. The multiplayer dungeon crawler’s final level featured a metal remix of one of the game’s themes, an 8-bit level from the game, and a new character: Getsu Fuma. The game’s theme also came to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

As such, Konami has hopped onto the retro remake bandwagon to capitalize on a franchise previously unreleased to the west. While Konami has been under heavy scrutiny for the past decade, their release of Super Bomberman R has at least shown some promise that they might begin developing actual console games. The announcement of Getsu Fuma Den certainly does not disappoint!

Final Thoughts

I could go on about games we would love to see. By no means am I disappointed to see how many 2D side-scrollers we’ve received since the latter half of the past decade. Even if Capcom keeps releasing Resident Evil 4 HD and Okami HD, that doesn’t mean we might not get Viewtiful Joe HD someday.

Viewtiful Joe (2003). A stellar platformer and beat ’em up hybrid.

But it also goes to show the progress that fan demand has made in getting developers to release these long-standing series with a glorious HD makeover. Whether it’s through their art styles, new music, creative game mechanics, or just a nice throwback to the past, these quality gaming experiences prove they can last as well now as they did in the 80s and 90s.

Before a cease and desist order from Nintendo, fans created their own remake of Metroid II titled AM2R.

With E3 coming up, I really hope to see what else developers will throw at us. 2D side-scrollers deliver some of the most enjoyable experiences gaming has to offer.

What’s your favorite 2D platformer or Metroidvania revival of the past decade and what do you hope to see? Let us know in the replies below. As always, be sure to Like our main page and follow our social media accounts for more quality gaming content.

Until next time!

Castlevania: A History of Boss Fights and Their Best Era on Nintendo DS.

Konami’s illustrious Castlevania series is one of the most well-known and beloved side-scrolling series in gaming history. Starting with the NES Castlevania, the series evolved from a difficult 2D platformer into a Metroidvania which invited exploration and RPG elements. Not only is Castlevania known for its stellar soundtrack and gameplay but features a remarkable history of boss battles as well.

However, it’s worth noting that the series’ boss battles evolved over the course of decades. While Castlevania was always known for its difficulty, the boss fights themselves only offered a simplistic variety of attack patterns. Rather, once the series debuted on the Nintendo DS, Castlevania boss fights quickly became tougher.

Note that this list will cover the 2D Castlevania titles from the NES (1986) to Harmony of Despair (2011). This list is meant to cover the evolution of the boss fight creativity within the Castlevania series over the years. With that being said, please be mindful of the Castlevania series spoilers below.

Traditional Platformers – NES

1986’s Castlevania featured boss fights from horror novels, movies, and even the Christian Bible. Among them included Vampire Bat, Medusa, The Creature, the Mummy, Death, and Count Dracula himself. Each boss featured considerably simplistic patterns. However, Simon Belmont’s limited movement made evading their attacks difficult.

Without Holy Water or Cross, you were screwed.

Castlevania III featured several characters including Grant Danasti. This agile pirate could freely control his jump movement in midair. In the Japanese version, he could also throw Knives while also equipping another sub-weapon. Grant could trivialize most boss fights including Dracula.

Haunted Castle’s Dracula featured a sinister yet contrasting visual style to the rest of the game.

Traditional Platformers – 16-bit era

Super Castlevania IV gave Simon free movement control. However, unlike Grant, Simon was considerably larger and thus not quite as agile. Boss fights still played as they did in past games with large health bars but limited movements and simplistic patterns. Despite some bosses being tougher, they could still be trivialized with proper methodology.

Castlevania Bloodlines featured two characters – John and Eric – while Rondo of Blood also featured two characters – Richter and Maria. In Bloodlines, the final boss fight was blocked with a major gauntlet of boss battles including Death, Elizabeth, and Dracula himself. Rondo of Blood also featured a boss gauntlet against the original four bosses from Castlevania before fighting the dark priest, Shaft.

Metroidvania Era – Symphony of the Night

When Symphony of the Night came to PlayStation in 1997, players gained control of a new character: Alucard. Son of Dracula, who originally appeared in Castlevania III for NES, this revamped design of Alucard could equip swords, magic spells, and summon familiars. The Metroidvania era meant the game progressed akin to titles like Super Metroid which featured a map and free exploration. However, you needed to gain certain powerups or keys to gain access to another part of the castle.

Alucard’s free movement, his equipment, the item inventory, and RPG leveling mechanics gave the player new ways to conquer bosses. While some could pose a challenge to the player, proper equips and well-timed dodges could trivialize most of them. Particularly, weapons such as the Valmanway (aka Crissaegrim) or the Alucard Shield + Shield Rod combo effectively rendered all challenge null.

Granted, it took a bit of time and work to even access these items. Symphony of the Night allowed the player a bit of a challenge up until a little past the first half of the game. But with such equips, even the game’s superboss, Galamoth, could fall within seconds.

Metroidvania Era – Game Boy Advance

I found the Dragon Zombies to be among the hardest fights in the game.

Years later, Circle of the Moon, which came to Game Boy Advance in 2001, offered a bit harder of a challenge. I daresay you needed to grind levels in order to take out Adrammelch, Zombie Dragon, Camilla, and Dracula. Nathan needed to find DSS cards in order to cast magic and summon creatures. In my case, I just used a DSS glitch to summon Cockatrice to level the playing field against the bosses.

Neither Harmony of Dissonance nor Aria of Sorrow presented much boss challenge in their Normal difficulty modes. Bosses still moved with their stiff movements. Rather, only the rival battles against Maxim and Julius, respectively, could really be considered challenging for the player. Julius in particular dealt out harsh damage and could use multiple sub-weapons in his boss battle.

Metroidvania Era – Nintendo DS

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow continued the Game Boy Advance titles onto the stronger hardware of the Nintendo DS. Dawn of Sorrow was in fact a direct sequel to Aria of Sorrow. However, the spritework and use of 3D backgrounds, thanks to the stronger processor of the latter handheld, ran more in line with Symphony of the Night on PlayStation.

Portrait of Ruin featured Dracula and Death in the final battle.

However, what stands out here is the particular design of boss battles. Players who failed to read and memorize its pattern would end up punished and lose tons of health compared to past games. Whereas it might be easy to be a bit overleveled in the GBA titles, the DS games knew how to punish the player’s mistakes and give them the right challenge for their approximate level in line with their location.

Flying Armor, the first boss in the game, could pose a serious challenge to the newcomers. It set a standard for much tougher bosses like Abaddon.

Order of Ecclesia took it a step further. Released in 2008, the final true Castlevania title by series producer, Koji Igarashi, offered an even more difficult challenge than its predecessors. In addition to bosses that dealt hard damage to the player, hoarding items was scarcely an option.

Eligor was a colossal boss which had several phases.

Players needed to rescue the villagers of Wygol Village and complete side-quests in order to unlock shops and items from them. In addition to the challenge, you could kill bosses using unique methods as well. Climbing an elevator to kill a giant enemy crab or fighting several phases of a powerful mech golem painted Castlevania’s noteworthy boss fights in a new light.

Extra Modes and Other Titles

The result of the bad ending included a fight with Dracula in Dawn of Sorrow’s Julius Mode.

While players may debate on the difficulty of Symphony of the Night, Harmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow, keep in mind it offered unlockable character modes. Richter, Maxim, and Julius could all be unlocked from these respective games. Moreover, they could not take advantage of the RPG elements such as inventory and equipment. While they could dish out powerful attacks, they were also subject to greater limitations than their respective game’s main protagonist.

Harmony of Despair

Finally, Koji Igarashi’s last game for Konami was Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. Playing as an online multiplayer dungeon crawler, the 2011 title featured a series crossover involving protagonists and stages across multiple games in the series.

Largely taking cues from the DS titles and Symphony of the Night, these bosses required proper strategizing among teammates thanks to their high HP count which could take minutes of dealing damage to finally slay. Furthermore, certain bosses, such as Galamoth and R.Count (from the retro Castlevania stage) could even send out projectiles to attack players outside of the boss room!

Final Thoughts on Castlevania

Castlevania and its boss fights evolved with the times. Throughout the years, it went from bosses with fairly predictable and stiff movements to boss fights against powerful demons and even mechas. Their ever-changing patterns and high damage punishment made games in the latter titles even greater than their predecessors. Furthermore, the boss battles against rival characters, such as the Belmonts themselves, usually ended up being among the hardest.

No matter if Death was facing Richter or Maria, he would yell out, “face me, boy!”

Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained Series

Koji Igarashi formed his own studio, ArtPlay, after leaving Konami. Having developed Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, you can find more of his genius designs in this game. Additionally, Inti Creates developed two 8-bit retro spinoffs, the Curse of the Moon series, to accompany Ritual of the Night.

These games offer their own twist on the Castlevania boss formula with a more elaborate pattern akin to something like Shovel Knight. WayForward also developed the Classic Mode in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night which featured a major throwback to the original NES Castlevania.

There’s nothing bad to take away from the original boss fights. However, after the fairly easier titles in the original Metroidvania (or IGAvania) titles, the DS titles easily had some of the best boss fights in the series. I daresay they set a new standard for boss fights in platformers thanks to their challenging, yet balanced, level of difficulty. Their quality spritework, animations, and creative ways of defeating them left DS fans some of the best boss fights in gaming history. But until Konami ever revives the series I recommend investing time into IGA’s Bloodstained titles.

Which Castlevania game do you believe had the best boss fights overall? Let us know in the replies below. Finally, be sure to Like our main page and follow our social media channels for more quality gaming content!

Until next time!

It’s a Fine Time to Play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champions’ Ballad.

It’s 2021 and the gradual decline of the COVID pandemic has incentivized Nintendo back to releasing titles on a regular basis. The first Nintendo Direct in over a year was followed by the announcement that Nintendo would be at E3 in mid-June. With Nintendo preparing to release some quality first-party titles, I took a step back to finish what I started. The Champions’ Ballad.

Although I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on its 2017 launch, I managed to clear all 120 Shrines shortly after I beat the story. I gave the Master Trials a quick attempt before putting it down for the next four years.

In that span of those four years, however, I’ve come across an interesting game that captured the essence of Breath of the Wild. I’m talking especially about Genshin Impact, the free-to-play Action/RPG by Chinese developer MiHoYo. Borrowing heavily from Breath of the Wild’s visual aesthetic, exploration, combat gameplay, loot, and cooking system, Genshin Impact became a worldwide smash hit over the course of several months. In just under the year, Genshin Impact has grossed over $1 billion in revenue.

Playing Genshin Impact

I’ve enjoyed my fair share of the game despite how short of the time I’ve played it. However, my busy backlog has kept me from investing in it as much as my friends who have long soared past my progress. Yet I appreciate the obvious combat similarities such as the continuous spin attack of the Greatsword weapons. Unlike Breath of the Wild, Genshin Impact lacks a lock-on mechanic, feels decisively easier, and focuses more on character stat-building than procuring survival weapons and timing dodges and parries.

Genshin Impact (2017)

Now with that being said, I appreciate Genshin for what it’s done. I’m not remotely upset at how much it borrowed from Breath of the Wild. Seeing people protest the game just looked ridiculous. This does not mark the first time another developer used Zelda as an inspiration. For instance, compare the aesthetic of Secret of Mana to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on SNES.

Secret of Mana (1993)

Square-Enix borrowed the art style of A Link to the Past using Secret of Mana as a basis before carrying the style over to Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, and Trials of Mana. With that being said, Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series sets a perennial example that continuously inspires other game developers.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992)

Playing the Champions’ Ballad.

Now, having gone back to Breath of the Wild for the first time in over four years, it took some time to remember the controls. Well, more like a few minutes really. I don’t really know what came over me to finish this quest besides a bug telling me to finish this part of my backlog. Perhaps the release of Age of Calamity made me want to see the rest of the tale of the Champions of Hyrule.

Well, the Champions’ Ballad ended up giving me a reasonable challenge starting with draining all but 1/4 heart of health with the required weapon, the One-Hit Obliterator. While this feels daunting at first, keep in mind the Great Plateau isn’t exactly known for flooding you with enemies. Moreover, only one shrine had mini-guardians for you to slay. Once you finish the last shrine, you can put the weapon away and restore all your hearts to normal as you enter the next stretch of the Champions’ Ballad.

The One-Hit Obliterator drains nearly all your health. But you can one-shot enemies as long as the weapon lights up.

Once you’re done with the first half, you can travel once more to Hyrule’s mainland to enter four different quests. Relative to the Champions and their Divine Beasts, each region featured a triangle of monoliths detailing three shrines each. You had to decipher where each shrine was or you could do what I did and use a guide.

The Second Half

More than anything, Kass wants to finish his teacher’s song. Hence the Champions’ Ballad.

Each shrine offered its own puzzle thematic and no two shrines were alike. It brought back fond memories of solving the 120 shrines of the main game and evoked that feeling of wanting a challenge once more. For what it’s worth, the Shrines offered the best part of the Champions’ Ballad.

After each series of shrines, you would enter a Divine Beast to fight an EX version of the Blight Ganon bosses you encountered before. Each one featured a new form and you were limited to the weapons you could use. To be honest, I didn’t find them any harder than before. The new forms offered a puzzle element to figuring out their weakness. But once you learned it, they went down quickly.

Once I finished each boss fight, I was awarded an upgrade to a Champions’ power. Each one could now cool down much faster than before. After which, Kass would play a song that would stir a flashback featuring Zelda recruiting one of the Champions.

 

The Proper Sendoff to Breath of the Wild.

I enjoyed the puzzles and combat throughout the game. To include some extra content, Nintendo included various armor pieces based on the Zelda series’ past, I have next to no interest in collecting them. They’re side-quests for the sake of side-quests. I feel little reward is given for collecting them especially when I already have the fully-upgraded Tunic of the Wild.

The Champions’ Ballad successfully unifies the Zelda timelines by bringing together armor from every era.

Once I finished the Champions’ Ballad, I received the Master Cycle Zero. But I think the real reward was learning more of the backstories of Princess Zelda and her Champions. Getting to experience the world of Hyrule once more sent me back to enjoying Breath of the Wild for the first time four years ago. It was a fun little challenge and excuse to revisit the title once more. This made for a wonderful sendoff until Nintendo finally, and hopefully, showcases the sequel to Breath of the Wild at E3 this year.

Your final reward is literally the successor to a reference from Mario Kart.

It’s not perfect but despite its imperfections, Breath of the Wild still sets the standard as a defining Action/Adventure title of the current gaming generation. I think the dungeons in this game were quite a good challenge even though I prefer the traditional dungeon layout of previous Zelda games. I also found the game’s single-biggest flaw to be the lack of enemy variety especially compared to past Zelda games. I’m hardly fazed about the breakable weapons especially considering the abundance at which you receive new ones.

Final Thoughts

Breath of the Wild proved to be one of the best games in the Zelda series, a top-level title for Nintendo Switch, and a must-play for any fan of the series. Champions’ Ballad provided a cherry on top that gave players one more reason to explore the world once again.

Until the sequel comes out, I’ll be chugging through my backlog and playing a little bit of Genshin Impact here and there. I won’t play anything to fill the void of Breath of the Wild, however, because it’s a wonderful game on its own. While I might finish Age of Calamity to close the circle on the story of Breath of the Wild, that might be a while to come. Given the size of my backlog, I can’t promise I’ll finish it before the sequel to Breath of the Wild comes out.

Give Champions’ Ballad a try if you’re looking for an excuse to jump back into Breath of the Wild. It might seem daunting at first but it comes around as a solid, level challenge for anyone to enjoy.

Have you tried Breath of the Wild or played its DLC? Let us know in the replies! As always, be sure to follow our social media links for our exclusive content and coverage. And be sure to Like our main page!

Until next time!

Rango’s Smash Column: Georgia Smash Tournaments Return!

Disclaimer: If you play competitive Smash in the state of Georgia and want to come to one of these tournaments, 4o4 esports is located at 6035 Peachtree Rd Suite C-220, Atlanta, GA 30360. Every Thursday, 4o4 esports hosts a Smash Ultimate tournament and adheres to the COVID CDC guidelines. Visit their page to learn more.

Welcome to Rango’s Smash Column and what a week it’s been! While I initially planned to write a column on salt, frustration, and how to deal with it, I feel a more pressing matter has come to mind: the return of Georgia Smash local tournaments!

While 4o4 esports has been hosting smaller-level local tournaments in an attempt to bring back the offline competitive Smash Bros. scene, last week’s April 29th tournament brought in 64 entrants and 720 viewers in its Twitch chat. Among those in chat included tournament organizers and talent  across the country, including Benny, 2GG Strides, and Dabuz. Meanwhile, players in attendance included Fatality, LordMix, Kola, and Mugen (formerly known as HyperKirby).

You can watch the full tournament here.

What it Means for Tournaments to Return.

The most pressing part of this tournament comes from two factors. One, the return to offline tournaments in other regions draws nearer. Tournament organizers and players will surely take note of this successful event. Following COVID guidelines, such as wearing masks in the venue, other scenes across the U.S. will surely be able to run tournaments safely before long. Thanks to the rising availability of the COVID vaccinations, players should be allowed to attend and compete in tournaments sooner than later.

However, the more pressing and long-term consequence of this tournament comes from all the eyes on the stream. Years ago, during the Smash 4 era, the most prominent scenes in the country included Tristate (NY, NJ, PA), SoCal (Southern California), and Florida. The Midwest, NorCal, and Texas began to grow in strength over the course of Smash 4’s prominence and into the dawn of Ultimate. However, Georgia was considered a state with limited talent with the outside looking in. Save for the most prominent members of the Georgia’s Power Rankings (PR), Georgia had some talented players but was largely overlooked as one of the major threats in the Smash scene.

Georgia’s Rise to Prominence.

Although Georgia had incredibly daunting players, such as Fatality and ScAtt, the state’s talent quickly began to grow during the beginning of Ultimate. Kola (formerly known as SaltOne) and HyperKirby began to take out the state’s PR players. Among these also included Sonido who quickly rose in the ranks as a top Sonic main. Several of these players were either considered for the Panda Global Rankings or entered Area 51 which heralded the honorable mention section. Before long, numerous players across Georgia began challenging the top players of the state and landing upsets in the process.

Numerous players called the 4o4’s tournament stacked. After all, the bracket included 64 players including a number of proficient players. But perhaps even more pressing was the number of times I saw “Georgia is the best scene in the U.S.” While the state’s top-level talent has proven to show effective results in national tournaments, such as Fatality’s #2 placing at 2GG Civil War in Smash 4, these same players are laying it on the line against the new standard of competition within the state.

Long story short, Georgia’s talented players are constantly on the rise. The current PR extends to a Top 15 with an honorable mentions section. However, this only showcases the tip of the iceberg among the Georgia state talent. Previously, it was not uncommon for state scenes to have roughly 5 high-level players ranked before a skill gap separated them from the rest of their state’s talent. However, as time went on, players practiced the game, got better, and continued to enter competitions. Compared to the mid-to-late 2010s, Georgia is brimming with talented, high-level players.

Moving Forward.

Among the notable rising talent in Georgia includes Kevetex, a Chrom main, and Fallen Thunder, who mains Steve. Both of these players successfully eliminated Fatality in Winner’s and Loser’s bracket, respectively. Preem, an Inkling main, also made his way to Top 16 and took a game off of Mugen in Winner’s. Meanwhile, Dusk, a Roy main, brought his way to Top 8 before his elimination by Vivid, a  Toon Link.

Despite the rise of new talent in the scene, both Winner’s Finals and Grand Finals featured Mugen vs. Kola. The two players that dominated the Ultimate tournaments in the first year of Georgia tournaments retained their reputation by making it to the final match in this tournament. Two of the greatest rivals in Georgia’s history, also quite possibly Georgia’s best doubles team, continue to pave the way forward for the rest of the state’s rising talent to follow.

However, Mugen and Kola only number two of the dozens of players rising up the ranks in Georgia. Among the many players that competed, worked their asses off, and achieved the highest results they have in their tournament careers, the crown is up for grabs. It’s anyone’s game and if there’s one thing Georgia players do well, it brings out the best in each other in competition. We love to compete and we hate to lose.

The Key to Victory.

As long as Georgia players continue to foster growth, we can become the greatest Smash scene in history. With the spark ignited by 4o4 esports’ tournament, this state could become a major hub with new eyes set on Georgia’s Smash events. As a competitor myself, I feel excited returning to tournaments as well.

Are you keeping up with Smash Ultimate tournaments during the pandemic? If you keep up with watching tournaments or compete in them, let us know in the replies below. Keep up with All Cool Things on social media to stay updated with the latest content. We’ll keep you posted on the Georgia Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament scene!

Until next time!

 

Please be sure to Like our main page, too.  Just click here.  -HERETICPRIME

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!

Rango’s Smash Column: March 2021. How Are Pyra and Mythra Looking?

Welcome to Rango’s Smash Column!

Earlier this month, Nintendo released Pyra and Mythra to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As part of Fighter Pass 2, this duo-unit can swap on a dime akin to Zelda and Sheik in past Zelda titles. However, more in line with the Echo Fighters of Smash, Pyra and Mythra share a similar moveset albeit with major differences in frame data, properties, and their Special moves.

After a week to try them out, how do Pyra and Mythra fare in the competition? I’ve been playing them online against a number of players and I gotta say they handle incredibly well. As someone who generally favors swordfighters and melee-type battlers, I think this is one of the best DLC characters I’ve played as!

I’ve given myself a few days to work out their mechanics and understand the fundamental differences between the two. Overall, Pyra hits harder and launches much sooner. Meanwhile, Mythra moves faster, can combo off of nearly anything, and her recovery is marginally better. This is thanks both to her Side B, Photon Edge, moving across wide gaps while her Up B recovery moves can briefly launch her upwards.

Together, with her faster air speed, she’s the better choice when moving back to the stage from a disadvantage. But take note not to get launched as her weight is 92 compared to Pyra’s 98, making her easier to KO as a result. With that said, I want to take the time to cover my findings with you and show you a bit of what the latest Smash DLC fighters are capable of.

Mythra, the damage dealer.

The Aegis’ true form wields a light-elemental blade. Mythra boasts minuscule damage and KO power for an incredible combo game and her ability to get away with nearly every button press. Imagine Marth without a sweetspot but moves with Meta-Knight’s speed. Plus she has Foresight, a dodge-counter ability similar to Bayonetta’s Bat Within.

Mythra is most fond of staying up in the enemy’s face to rack up as much damage as possible. Her frame data all but ensures that she will get away with whiffs while stuffing most offense attempts with her priority. However, she won’t get a KO with anything but FSmash which, at best, kills around 90% on the ledge. While you can hit a Forward Throw tech-chase mixup into this, her KO ability feels quite limited.

In the early Mythra meta, players have found a way to use her Neutral B move, Lightning Buster, into mixups. She can use it to ledgetrap as well as followup from a platform hit. While this will boast her damage dealing a little more, Mythra is best suited to building up damage until she switches out to Pyra.

Pyra, the killer.

Whereas Mythra plays more akin to Marth and Meta-Knight, Pyra feels more comfortable to the Roy and Ike player. Her heavier weight, slower speed,and flame sword attacks will feel right at home to any players of Roy and Ike. It also goes without saying that her impactful KO game contends among them as well.

Pyra has better range on her flame sword and multiple ways to KO an opponent. Her Up Aerial can KO off the top while Forward Aerial is better suited to edgeguarding. Back Aerial can also KO off the top, as well as auto-cancel, while Down Aerial can spike opponents using a large sweetspot.

In neutral, Pyra can end matches with Foward Smash within 70%. Up Smash and Prominence Revolt, her Up B, can also end matches under 100%. Dash attack can punish landings at a distance and a charged Flame Nova will not only end stocks but break shields.  In short, Pyra will end matches with among the most reliable KO ability in the game.

And that’s not to say her combo game isn’t without strength either. Pyra’s best starters come from Down Tilt and Down Throw. Plus her Side B, Blazing End, makes for a fantastic projectile. It starts relatively quickly and lingers for over a second making it ideal for camping and ledge-trapping. In the air, it will also KO around the 130% mark to punish landings.

Final Thoughts

Until I see their meta continue, I don’t think I’m going to switch over to them as secondaries, or at least not yet. They definitely give me everything I could ask for in a fighter, or pair of fighters rather. However, given that I have most of my bases covered with Pyra’s strength, Mythra’s speed, and a little of both with my current swordsmen, they’ll largely be my casual fighters to use online.

Make your own here.

However, that’s not at all to discount their ability in competitive Smash. All DLC characters from Fighter Pass 2 have proven to be relevant choices in the meta. Pyra and Mythra, right now, I would place in A-Tier. The only things really barring them from S-Tier are their lackluster recovery. Now, while bad recovery hasn’t impeded strong characters in the past, such as Wolf or Smash 4 Cloud, Pyra and Mythra don’t have a Limit mechanic to improve their recovery either.

Pyra falls like a stone with a single vertical option which you can punish. Mythra, speaking of Cloud, does not auto-snap the ledge off of her Side B. Overshoot the ledge and you’ll land on the stage and die to a ledge-trap. Undershoot it and you’ll fall just shy of the ledge-snapping point.

Their strengths, collectively, come from their range and their incredibly useful Special move options. Their Side B moves, in particular, cover various options. Photon Edge can punish nearly anything while Blazing End functions as one of the strongest projectile damage-dealers in the game. Even though Pyra becomes unable to attack during Blazing End, she can evade enemy attacks and move freely.

I see them hitting Ike and Roy’s level being not-quite top tiers but good enough to contend with most of the roster. They might lack recovery and edgeguarding options but while Mythra deals damage without punishment, Pyra will put the competitive meta on notice with her ridiculous KO power.

Keep up with All Cool Things for our latest Smash coverage. If you enjoyed this article, consider following our social media accounts!

Until next time!

Pyra and Mythra enter Smash Bros. Could they redefine the competitive meta?

Earlier this week, Nintendo dropped the latest DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Pyra and Mythra. Hailing from the Nintendo Switch JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, these two can transform into each other akin to Zelda and Sheik from previous Smash Bros. titles. Utilizing a similar moveset, however, Pyra and Mythra feature notable differences in their abilities.

The latest release also features the 11.0.0 patch. This includes an update that allows you to disconnect stray wireless controllers. For players who participated in offline tournaments, this will be a godsend once the pandemic ends. Furthermore, the latest update included a number of character balance changes. You can read the full patch notes here.

Pyra and Mythra feature a new stage as well as numerous tracks from their home game. This includes 3 new remixes for Smash. You can also find some new Spirits from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as well as spirits from two recent Nintendo Switch releases: Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection and Persona 5 Strikers.

With that being said, let’s discuss the new fighters, shall we?

Pyra and Mythra

Showcased in February’s Nintendo Direct, this duo-fighter enters with a plethora of fast and powerful sword techniques. While the two largely share the same moveset, Mythra focuses more on speed while Pyra focuses more on damage and KO launch power. While this approach is akin to an Echo Fighter, they share a single slot!

Mythra focuses on speed sword techniques similar to Roy and Marth. Her Photon Edge is a fantastic horizontal punisher that sweeps across much of the stage. Mythra can also use Forward Throw to tech-chase into multiple options including a killer Foward Smash near the ledge at just under 100%.

Pyra, on the other hand, focuses more on powerful single strikes akin to Roy and Ike. While she’s far less mobile than Mythra, she’s effective at KOing at early percents. All of her Smash attacks can KO under 100% as well as her dash attack, Flame Nova, and Prominence Revolt. Finally, Pyra’s Blazing End serves as an effective projectile that deals tremendous damage.

How Mythra and Pyra Could Affect the Meta.

Mythra boasts incredible speed in the air and on the ground. She’s quite effective for dealing damage at early percents, punishing landings and whiffs with Photon Edge. I tend to use her at the start of the round to rack up damage while keeping a mobility advantage. She can soften up the foe a bit while avoiding damage and striking combos.

Pyra, on the other hand, comes out around the 60% mark, on average, to finish the job. To even consider KOing around such a mid-percent sounds insane at first. But when you use Pyra’s Forward Smash you’ll quickly see why she’s incredible. Take Roy’s Forward Smash, double the range, and lose the sourspot. While’s it’s a bit slower than the former, it makes up with its incredible range.

I’ve also found Pyra’s Down Smash to effectively break partially-weakened shields. Flame Nova, with a full charge, can also penetrate shields. Another thing is that, if you want to use Pyra throughout the match, throwing out Blazing End makes for an effective zoning tool that will force the enemy to approach. This makes up for Pyra’s lack of speed on the ground.

Mythra is overall great at approaching and her speedy attacks can often get the first hit on opponents. Her Up Moves, which include Ray of Punishment and Chroma Dust, can also edgeguard opponents. Try launching a foe, snapping the ledge, and using one of the two as your opponent attempts to recover.

On that note, I would now like to touch upon the most recent update.

Nerfs

Four of the top tiers, Palutena, Joker, Wario, and Zero Suit Samus. Palutena received nerfs to her dash attack, forward aerial, and standing grab. Joker also received endlag nerfs on both Eiha and Tetrakarn/Makarakarn, thus leaving him more susceptible to punishment on whiff. Meanwhile, Wario received shorter duration on his Up Tilt and several charge levels of his Waft ability. For players struggling with these characters in battle, surely this will come as a breath of fresh air. Finally, Zero Suit Samus is now more vulnerable when landing on Neutral Aerial, and Boost Kick starts slower than before.

Buffs

On the flipside, several characters received buffs. Captain Falcon and Ganondorf can now act after using their respective Up B moves. Until recently, if they used their Up B against opponents offstage, they could tech the move and edgeguard Falcon/Ganondorf before they could react. Known as “rockcrocking” or “tech-checking,” this left them at a disadvantage. This recent patch will allow them to act faster to avoid the counterattack.

Furthermore, Pichu received minor buffs. He got intangibility on his ears for Neutral Aerial which will give him more attack range without getting punished up close. Plus his recoil damage was lessened considerably on several of its moves. While Pichu was initially seen as a top tier in the early meta, several nerfs brought him down a bit while Pikachu climbed to the top tier. However, perhaps these new buffs might close the gap between the two Pokemon once more.

But perhaps the most startling change involved Byleth. After a year since their release in Fighter Pass 1, Byleth’s Down Aerial and Down Smash, both of which use the axe Aymr, will launch opponents to the blast zone sooner. Down Aerial will also break shields sooner. These slow moves now feel less like “high risk, low reward” moves and will prove to be major tools thanks to their superior launching power. Byleth’s Up B, Sword of the Creator, will also KO sooner and starts up faster. You can use it to chain into Areadbhar.

Final Thoughts

Pyra and Mythra look like dangerous characters. They’re fast, strong, and when used in harmony, might turn the tide in the meta. As a fan of sword and melee characters, I’m looking forward to using them in battle more. I would love to see how they change up the current meta.

The nerfs to the top tiers were, as always, greatly appreciated. Anything to level the playing field for Ike is welcome in my book. Meanwhile, buffs for Byleth also make my day. I was using Byleth when he first came out and wanted to use him as a potential secondary. Sad to say he ended up being a lower-end character on the tier list. But these powerful buffs to Byleth’s toolkit might make the difference in his tournament performance and future tier placement.

I also cannot get over how great it is that we can now turn off Pro Controllers that aren’t being used. Anyone who hosted a tournament, or even participated, knows the frustration this would bring. The previous player’s Pro Controller, on a tournament setup, still being active yet could not be disconnected was a major inconvenience at events. Once the COVID pandemic ends and we can enter tournaments again, this will be one of the most appreciated changes in the patch.

I’ll be keeping the Smash Column updated and may get to add some of my Pyra/Mythra matches to the feature. Be sure to stay tuned for our updates. In the meantime, follow our social media links. Keep up with AllCoolThings as we follow Smash Ultimate into the last 2 entries in Fighter Pass 2.

Until next time!

Fire Emblem Heroes: What’s new for March 2021 featuring A Hero Rises!

Welcome to our first monthly entry for Fire Emblem Heroes! Nintendo’s mobile gacha RPG took the world by storm when it released in February 2017. Celebrating its 4th anniversary, Fire Emblem Heroes features a plethora of units and skills coming out this month. Among these include the 5.3.0 update.

As an avid player myself, I’ve been keeping up with the releases! As a recent subscriber to Feh Pass, I already got my monthly unit, Tana. Coming off the recent Voting Gauntlet, we got a new Forging Bonds event as well. You can see all the current and upcoming details below.

A Hero Rises Results for 2021

Congratulations to the winner of A Hero Rises, Lyn: Ninja-Friend Duo. The duo-unit came through in the Final Round of the recent Voting Gauntlet. While Seiros was initially the chosen favorite and ranked the highest in the early voting stages of A Hero Rises, the ever-popular protagonist from Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade snuck the win in classic ninja style. As such, all players will be awarded a free Lyn + Florina unit!

New Units and Forging Bonds

This month introduces a new banner featuring four characters from Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Dedue, Marianne, Linhardt, and Ingrid. These four characters also come with a new Forging Bonds campaign.

I feel bad for Linhardt, though. He got the short end of the stick and received no new abilities. He’s a copy-pasted mage unit who will serve as a fodder 4-star unit. However, Dedue’s defensive ability reflects similarly to Gustav who appeared in last month’s Day of Devotion banner. He can swap places to take close-ranged damage. We’ll also be getting another free unit to go with them.

If you don’t remember this old bastard, he was causing major problems through the first arc of Three Houses.

Final Thoughts

The Three Houses banner follows up with the Legendary Claude banner so I’m always happy to see this game get represented. However, I feel that the Ashen Wolves banner cannot come soon enough. The DLC of Fire Emblem: Three Houses featured four prominent characters who quickly became favorites. I would love to add them to my team.

In other news, I can’t lie about my feelings for A Hero Rises. I was really hoping to get Seiros in my army. Granted, she is best girl in Three Houses. As such, I can’t help but vote for the Hero who kept peace in Fodlan for nearly a millennium. However, since I don’t have Lyn: Ninja Friend Duo in my army yet, I suppose I can take solace knowing I get a new unit.

As far as Book V goes, I’m enjoying the story right now. I love Norse Mythology and seeing the contrast between Nidavellir’s dvegar (dwarves) and Jotunheimr’s giants. With that said, perhaps we will get to add the Jotunheimr princesses to our army in the next year or so.

I look forward to playing through this month’s story chapter and meeting the Jotunheimr princess, Nott.

Finally, we’ll be updating you with Fire Emblem Heroes monthly so be sure to keep an eye out. As always, follow our social media links and stay tuned for our quality gaming content. Also, be sure to keep up with Fire Emblem Heroes on Twitter or whichever social media platform you prefer.

Until next time!

New Pokemon Snap, Diamond and Pearl Remakes, and Legends coming to Nintendo Switch!

Nintendo and The Pokemon Company recently showcased a new presentation featuring three upcoming titles for Nintendo Switch. This showcase was presented in February 2021 which marks the 25th anniversary of Nintendo and Game Freak’s illustrious monster-catching RPG!

Among the featured titles, the first game showcased New Pokemon Snap while the other two were new announcements. Nintendo has finally confirmed the remakes of Diamond and Pearl! But perhaps even more intriguing is the announcement of a brand new Pokemon game: Pokemon Legends Arceus.

New Pokemon Snap

In the recent presentation, New Pokemon Snap received a new trailer going further in-depth with the title. Taking place in the Lental region, you’ll get to snap pictures of wild Pokemon across various landscapes!

This successor to the 1999 N64 hit, Pokemon Snap, will feature the same on-rails gameplay. You’ll use various items to goad Pokemon into posing for your pictures and send them to the professor. Better pictures mean a higher score!

New Pokemon Snap will also come with modern-day features like filters and stickers to add to your photos. You can also post them online and get ratings from other players. The game is set to launch for Nintendo Switch on April 30, 2021!

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Originally released for the Nintendo DS in 2006, the fourth generation of Pokemon games introduced online play to the series. This included both online battling and trading as well. Newly titled “Brilliant” and “Shining,” these remakes will retell the Pokemon story in the Sinnoh region.

As opposed to remaking these titles in full 3D, like Sword and Shield, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will retain the original 2D look. This art style will reflect much closer to the original DS releases.

Nintendo previously used this approach for their remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

While past Pokemon remakes included elements of the “third” game, such as HeartGold and SoulSilver borrowing elements from Pokemon Crystal, we cannot say if this will take cues from Pokemon Platinum in the same vein. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will be released in late 2021 for Nintendo Switch.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

Finally, on top of remaking Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Game Freak and Nintendo are creating an original storyline set within the same region of Sinnoh. This will tell a story around the “God” of the Pokemon universe, Arceus.

By appearance alone, it differs vastly from the traditional Pokemon storylines and settings. There’s no telling if there will be a goal to fill up a Pokedex, or the past-era equivalent, or how much it will deviate. However, this story not only features prototype Poke Balls but also an open-world setting!

Pokemon Legends Arceus is expected to release for Nintendo Switch in 2022.

Final Thoughts

As a Pokemon Snap fan from the N64 era, I can definitely say I’m looking forward to the new release! It will feel good to revisit the photo-catching gameplay once more. While I previously downloaded Pokemon Snap to my Wii U Virtual Console, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Believe it or not, I never played Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum. I started moving away from the series after Gen III and, as such, feel like I skipped out on an important chapter in the series. After watching this presentation, I finally started my Pokemon Sword playthrough. With that said, these remakes couldn’t come at a better time.

Finally, the big announcement came from Pokemon Legends Arceus. Revisiting Sinnoh in an era set in an ancient eastern world, this original storyline looks a bit darker and more focused on a fantasy storyline. This looks to be one of the biggest spin-offs in the Pokemon series’ history. As opposed to the typical catch Pokemon and become League Champion story, this original storyline will tell its own tale.

Be sure to keep up with us for future updates on the upcoming Pokemon titles. And visit our social media links to stay tuned with us for the latest on quality gaming content. Till next time!