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!

Rango’s Smash Column – The Fascination of Spirits and Trophies.

Hello and welcome to Rango’s Smash Column! In this edition, I want to step back from the competitive scene and talk about one of the most fun aspects of Smash: Spirits and Trophies. The lore behind spirits and trophies details some of the finest aspects of the history of the series represented in Smash. Each Trophy and Spirit has a story to tell and invites you to their world.

Trophies gave you brief history lessons on games exclusive to Japan.

With that being said, I’ve been doing a little bit of research into the Spirits and Spirit Battles of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. By connecting the dots, I wanted to compare the Spirits represented by other characters. To my surprise, I found some fascinating parallels among several of my favorites.

Resident Evil once had a Spirit Board event.

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of collecting Spirits. Honestly, I buzzed through World of Light in a few days, cleared it 100%, and that was it for me. However, I still can’t help but appreciate the work it took to get thousands of characters into the game. Although the Spirits replaced the fully rendered Trophies from games before, I still appreciate the representation that went into them.

The Allure of Trophies

Trophies became a thing in Super Smash Bros. Melee in 2001. Originating from the character bios in Super Smash Bros. for N64, Trophies featured fully-rendered models of characters, stages, and items in Smash.

Donkey Kong’s bio in Super Smash Bros. for N64.

These not only included in-game references but those outside of Smash as well. That is to say, a multitude of characters and other references from Nintendo’s history appeared as unlockable trophies.

Famicom Detective Club, released for Nintendo Switch, debuted in the west only recently.

Players could decorate their collection, add background filters, or just spend minutes reading up on Nintendo lore. To be absolutely honest, the appeal of Trophies had me wanting to play dozens of Nintendo games. Metroid was among the many titles I badly wanted to play from reading Trophy lore.

Look at that detail. How could you not want to try Metroid after that?

While Melee offered several third-party trophies, such as the Proximity Mine from Rare’s Perfect Dark, Brawl began to take more cues from outside of Nintendo’s universe. Trophies from Sonic the Hedgehog and Metal Gear Solid debuted in Smash. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was the first title to offer HD Trophies and brought some of the most beautifully rendered designs in Smash history.

The Appeal of Spirits

Unlike previous Smash titles, Ultimate does not include Trophies. The absolute multitude of having to design thousands of characters into fully-rendered Trophies sounds absolutely maddening. However, the Smash team still opted to give multiple characters representation detailed as images with custom passive abilities or stat boosts. The World of Light mode harbored Spirits across different worlds.

How about an entire area dedicated to Street Fighter II?

Despite the scaling back to Spirits, one of the most interesting facets is how many non-Nintendo franchises are included even in spite of previous third-party representations. Rayman, Shantae, Shovel Knight, Resident Evil, Octopath Traveler, Bravely Second, and the Mana series number among the many titles which received representation within Smash in some capacity.

Persona 5 Strikers and Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection save data netted you these Spirits.

One of the best things to happen to the Spirit Board came from Sephiroth’s inclusion in Smash Ultimate. Unlike Cloud’s inclusion in Smash 4,  Square-Enix decided to compliment Sephiroth’s release with several new remixed songs and open the door for Final Fantasy VII Spirits as well.

Spirit Representation

I still think Ike should have represented Olberic.

Another interesting facet is how the Spirit correlates with its respective fighter. For instance, they represent Ike with other heavyweight swordfighters including Magnus from Kid Icarus, Sigurd from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Hendrik from Dragon Quest XI, and Ephraim from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. Ike shares traits with these Spirits including their similar tank stats for HP, Attack, and Defense. Plus they all have something in common with their never-back-down personalities.

Meanwhile, Spirits represented by Chrom largely include Swordmasters from Fire Emblem titles.

Another favorite, Cloud, represents two characters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and one from Astral Chain. While I already liked Kyle from Astral Chain, his intrinsic connection to Cloud only resonated with me further. Plus, I noticed Cloud was represented by Zeke even before meeting him in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Despite this, Cloud and Zeke contrast heavily in personality!

Despite his recent inclusion to the roster, Sephiroth would represent Jin better at this point.

If you’re interested in checking who represents who as Spirits, I recommend checking SSBWiki and searching for your favorite characters. The connections might surprise you and might even lead you to discover a new favorite character.

Final Thoughts

Spirits and Trophies always fascinated me. Even today, I’m discovering series I’ve never played before and learning new things about them. Trophies helped get me into tons of Smash series through their fascinating descriptions and Spirits continued the tradition.

Remember when Pyra wasn’t playable?

I always found it fascinating how Sakurai would determine who goes with who. Like why Roy represents Garet from Golden Sun or why Chrom represents Matthew from the same series.

Smash has always been a museum of sorts for Nintendo history. It later gained its status as a massive library for gaming history with its addition of many third-party universes. It’s astounding to see how far it’s come and how many players discovered new franchises just because of a Trophy or a Spirit.

Until Pyra/Mythra came to Smash, Pneuma from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 never had official art.

Do you have a favorite Trophy or Spirit? If these influenced your decision to try a new game series, share your story in the replies. As always, be sure to Like our page and follow our social media channels. Keep up with our quality gaming content 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

Game Corner May 2021: What Are You Playing This Month?

Hello and welcome to the Game Corner. These entries will feature site editor Rango’s gaming backlog. If you enjoy Nintendo, JRPGs, and fighting games, you’ve come to the right place!

I’ll be covering a bit of my gaming blog each month and include my thoughts on each game as well as a bit of progress I’ve made. If you’re a fan of Nintendo games or Japanese titles on PlayStation, then you’ll surely enjoy what’s to come! By all means, feel free to post your play log in the comments as well.

This month, I’ve been covering a smaller selection of games thanks to my recent Pokémon addiction. Since the Game Corner was named after the slot machine mini-game areas of the Pokémon titles, perhaps it’s apropos that I finally add a Pokémon game to the lineup.

Unfortunately, I need to get a move on with filling out my Pokedex. Resident Evil Village is right around the corner, Famicom Detective Club comes out next month, and Capcom recently announced The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles coming out later this year.

Well, with that being said, let’s get to the games!

Pokémon Sword

I haven’t been this addicted to Pokémon since the first two gens. While my love for Pokémon Silver could not be topped for the longest time, I hate to admit that I also found Gen III underwhelming and skipped both Gen IV and V on the DS. People tell me I picked a fine chapter to omit since Platinum and HeartGold/SoulSilver are community favorites while the Black and White titles are said to have some of the best stories in the series.

Feel free to add my League Card: 0000-0005-F6DG-P1

While I found myself returning to the series with Pokémon X and Y, I had a passing interest in the 6th and the 7th gen titles, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Good games to play and beat, but for some reason, I never felt compelled to fill my Pokedex. This might be due to their limited postgame campaigns.

However, Pokémon Sword hooked me since I started playing it. While I’m more than aware of the many complaints regarding the National Dex and other minor issues, I found myself loving it far more than I expected to. But most importantly, perhaps the timing to which I played the game – after the DLC released – might have played a factor in my favoritism.

This good boy helped me catch many Pokémon. Teach Boltund Nuzzle and it will paralyze your opponents for minimal damage.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass

The Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra both provide lengthy campaigns across new regions in Galar. The dozens upon dozens of Pokémon to collect, the interesting characters you meet, and the more challenging battles you face not only add more to the game but make the overall experience more enjoyable. While you could get by with the limited postgame campaign and Pokedex adventure in the base game, the DLC more than supplements the title. Crown Tundra alone adds Dynamax Adventure allowing you to catch rare and legendary Pokémon with friends or online players.

Legendary Pokémon appear at the end of these 4-battle campaigns. However, they will not appear on your Pokedex.

I’ve already caught all the major legendaries from both campaigns and finished their storylines. With 76 hours in and 244 Pokémon captured, I’m spending most of my time now in Dynamax Adventures. In addition, I finally tried out the Battle Tower for the first time. I missed these in past generations and already know it will be quite the challenge.

Final Fantasy XV: Comrades

Unlike Pokémon, I can’t say I’ve spent much time in Comrades yet. Over the last couple of weeks, I managed to clear both the main storyline as well as the DLC episodes. Like Pokémon Sword and Shield, I’ve found XV to have a concerning number of complaints from players only to end up enjoying the game far more than expected.

Comrades offers a multiplayer campaign and allows you to customize an avatar character before starting your adventure. It takes place after the party lands in Altissia but before the timeskip.

I hate to admit that I’ve been a bit slow in entering this adventure. Part of me feels burned out from playing Final Fantasy XV and all of its campaigns. Worse yet is that NieR Replicant, another Action/RPG by Square-Enix and prequel to one of my favorite games of all time, NieR Automata, just came out. Hopefully, I get to it sooner than later. On the bright side, by the time I finish this campaign, Final Fantasy VII: Intergrade will come out for PS5. I’ll be playing that, finishing the playthrough I started, and hopefully will be ready for Final Fantasy XVI to come out whenever it does.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Hooray! I finally got 20 million Zeni and the last trophy! After owning this game since launch, it took a bonus event with a daily 200,000 Zeni bonus and a few romps through the Tournament of Power mode to finally grind out that last trophy. That’s quite possibly the dumbest and most time-consuming trophy requirement I have seen in a fighting game since My Kung-Fu is Stronger in Mortal Kombat.

As far as the game itself goes, I’ve been off-and-on playing it as a hobby title. While I doubt I will end up going to tournaments in FighterZ, I will say I’ve found myself favoring it over Tekken 7. Previously, I’d been dabbling in other fighting games to play alongside Smash Bros. FighterZ has not only held my attention long enough for me to play at least weekly but I also have several friends who also enjoy the game regularly.

Since we’re all playing together, I might end up showing a bit more action and playing it a bit more. I finally found a team I can get behind as well. Since Goku and Vegeta are my obvious favorite characters, and I can’t pick between the two, I figured I should learn them on the same team. Even though I love Vegito and Gogeta, I want to start with these guys, plus Adult Gohan, before I move onto other fighters. Playing FighterZ has also got me wanting to try Street Fighter V again down the road.

Fire Emblem Heroes

I can’t believe I actually hit Tier 26 in Aether Raids last season. I didn’t even understand how to boost my score until recently. I’d just been fighting with my base team, a bonus unit, and hoping for the best. But now I think I’m finally understanding how to build a proper team and get a move on to climb up the ranks. Sadly, I can’t say I’ve had as much luck this week. On the bright side, we got a new legendary banner.

The recent banner released features child units of the major characters from Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones including a duo unit of Eirika and Ephraim. While I thought last year’s child units, based on Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, was a one-time deal, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes an annual banner now.

I think my new favorite unit of the week is my Brave Hector as well. I’m now using him for Arena Offense and might even try him in some Aether Raids Offense and Defense as well. Time to try and see if that works.

Borrowed from the Gamepress build with a little help from r/FireEmblemHeroes.

I also managed to conquer another Abyssal map. Seiros’ map was giving me some serious trouble. But with a quick tweak to my main all-purpose team, we got the job done. A defense tanking Claude who can take out flyers really makes the difference.

I’m looking forward to how the story advances. We’ll have new units coming out likely next week. Any suspects on who might be showing up? Your guess is as good as mine!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Even in spite of its bad netcode made even worse with the recent patch, I can’t peel myself away from Smash. Since Georgia’s 404 local offline tournaments are coming back, it’s only a matter of time before offline events in general return. I need to continue training and stay ahead of the curve.

I think I’ve finally narrowed down my characters.

While I continue to master matchups and my secondary characters, especially Roy, I’ve also found myself using Cloud a ton again. Arguably a high-tier character at this point, Cloud has a toolkit for nearly any matchup out there. His Blade Beam projectile, Climhazzard out-of-shield option, Limit Charge to force approaches, and his overall reach, damage building, and KO power still make him an excellent choice for players at any level.

I can’t say he covers any matchups that aren’t already covered by the Top 3 characters I use. However, he’s definitely one of the most favorite recent choices along with Roy.

I look forward to returning to the competitive scene once more. I can’t say I’ve had an interest in entering WiFi tournaments or streaming and becoming a content creator. However, I still regularly play Smash online and find the occasional strong opponent in Elite Smash. Sometimes when you find a strong opponent on random matchmaking, you end up building bonds on Twitter. You never know who you’ll find next.

That’s a wrap!

That’s all for this week’s Game Corner. I can’t say I’ve had much variety outside of my usual suspects and a heavy abundance of Pokémon. I’ll continue catchingPokémon and try to fill up my Pokedex before the next update. I’m a little over halfway to 400 so it might not take much longer. In the interim, I will continue to farm Dynite Ore and hit up the Battle Tower.

What are you playing this month? Share your play log in the replies below! As always, be sure to follow our social media account for the latest and greatest from All Cool Things!

Until next time!

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!

Rango’s Smash Column – Why Are You Not Using Wolf?

Welcome to the Smash Column! Last time, I pondered the idea that Ike might be the weakest character I use. Despite being the most skilled with him, the realization that he might be a B-Tier character with more than a handful of losing matchups dawned on me. However, he works so well against the likes of Pikachu and Bowser that even if he wasn’t already my main, I wouldn’t drop him.

This week, I want to cover the opposite side of the spectrum. Whereas many tournament players swear by Wolf being one of the best characters in the game, I’m on the verge of dropping him. While I cannot deny Wolf’s results in tournaments, thanks especially to Zackray and Larry Lurr, part of me wonders if he’s for me.

Who suits you?

While this is a topic I’ve discussed extensively in the past, I’ve learned that, naturally, you do better with characters that suit you. Just because players swear that Pikachu, Peach, and Joker are the top characters in the game doesn’t mean you’ll get top results using them. You might be more naturally inclined to use Snake, Palutena, or Wario instead. Even then, who says you need to use a top tier at all?

Ultimate is known for being considerably balanced compared to its predecessors.

With that being said, I love Wolf both in Smash and as a character in Star Fox. He’s a mercenary who answers to nobody but himself. Wolf O’Donnell is a total badass and one of the greatest rivals in gaming history.

In Smash, I love that he’s heavier than Fox and Falco, deals immense damage off his attacks, has one of the single best projectiles in the game, and KOs early off Smash attacks and his back aerial. With that being said, Wolf has been one of my secondaries since Smash Ultimate came out.

Okay, so why not use Wolf?

What’s wrong with me, right? Why not use a borderline top-tier character? Even Larry swears that Wolf is the among best characters in the game.

Truth be told, I’m kinda bad with him. I don’t exactly get Wolf. I’ve spent dozens of hours playing the likes of Roy, Chrom, Terry, and Bowser to know that they’re right for me. Likewise, I’ve spent dozens of hours playing Mario, Cloud, Lucina, and Incineroar to know they’re not right for me.

If Incineroar was a bit higher on the tier list, though, I might change my mind.

Even the few times I played Joker online, I realized that though he feels overpowered at times, I just don’t have as much fun using him as I do the rest of my characters. With that being said, I find Wolf more fun than Joker as well as the rest of the top tiers. Wolf has a fluid and flexible game with an overwhelming selection of options.

However, Wolf is not without his weaknesses. You do so much as miss a confirm and your opponent will survive to 150% or higher every time. Wolf’s approach to killing moves, however, comes from a rather linear and predictable path. You either get the early KO off of his powerful killing moves or suffer while your opponent survives to ridiculous percents and KOs you under 100.

It’s the same reason I stopped using Mario.

He’s not exactly ideal at KOing off the top either as most of his best KOs come from the ledge. In other words, unless you manage to strike a kill move under 100%, don’t be surprised if your opponent survives to ridiculously high percents.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, I feel like I’m doing well enough using my current assortment of characters. I feel Ike, Terry, Roy, and Bowser cover each other’s bad matchups well-enough to handle the roster. Even up against a threat like Greninja or another Bowser, I don’t think it’s remotely out of Ike’s league to handle if they’re his -1 matchups. However, against the likes of Samus, Palutena, ROB, and others, I feel it’s wise to cover your bases.

On the flipside, it’s like I said before. I enjoy using Wolf. He’s incredibly fun and feasible. He’ll do well against the likes of Palutena, Shulk, Zero Suit Samus, and other problem meta characters. He isn’t perfect but he can definitely bring the heat.

Regardless, just as I continue to make the mistake of playing Incineroar online, I still enjoy using my casual characters from time to time. While I love playing Wolf online, as a tourney character, he’s teetering right now. Not because he’s bad but because he might not suit me as well as the others.

That’s all for this Smash Column. I hope you find these entries to be entertaining and informative. Hopefully, you can also glean some material to help step-up your game as well.

Finally, make sure to follow us on our social media links below. I’ll keep you updated on my Smash journey with next month’s column. Until next time!

Nintendo Direct 2/17/21 featuring Pyra from Xenoblade in Smash!

Nintendo recently showcased their first Nintendo Direct in over a year. Featuring 50 minutes of footage, they unveiled several new games as well as the latest character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Pyra and Mythra.

 

With that being said, Nintendo featured 50 minutes of game trailers. You can check out the link to the Nintendo Direct below.

We will also cover a few of the choice announcements featured in the presentation as well!

Pyra and Mythra in Smash

First, the big announcement and quite possibly the most relevant in this Direct. Pyra and Mythra from the Nintendo Switch JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, will come to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!

While people have been fervently asking for the protagonists, Rex and Pyra, to get into Smash, the dream seemed to end since Rex became a Mii Costume in Smash. Furthermore, it seemed unlikely Pyra would get in alone as she’s tethered to Rex in battle.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)

However, Smash broke the script once again adding not only Pyra to the mix but Mythra as well. Revealed as Pyra’s other self at the end of Chapter 3, Mythra can use light magic in battle. Also, while Smash 4 ended the Zelda/Sheik transformation ability, it seems character switching has returned with these characters.

Smash creator Mr. Sakurai will surely reveal a character showcase video in the coming month. Keep up with us as we update you with the Pyra/Mythra showcase in the near future. Look out for Pyra as part of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter Pass 2 DLC next month in March 2021!

Project Triangle Strategy

From the team behind Square-Enix’s Octopath Traveler comes a new Strategy/RPG called Project Triangle Strategy. As with the former title, this one’s starting with “Project” in the title but will likely drop it from the final title.

Just so we’re clear, Octopath is designed largely by the team behind the Bravely Default series. The team was inspired by Final Fantasy V to create Bravely Default and Final Fantasy VI for Octopath Traveler. For longtime Square-Enix fans, it’s a no-brainer to see that Triangle Strategy looks and feels like a successor to Final Fantasy Tactics.

Final Fantasy Tactics (1998)

I’m curious about the name, though. Octopath Traveler not only featured eight protagonists but the word “OCTOPATH” represented their names. O for Olberic and Ophelia, T for Tressa and Therion, and so forth. Triangle Strategy may or may not carry on that tradition.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this one. I love Fire Emblem but I have scarcely played another JRPG not named Final Fantasy Tactics or Shining Force. As usual for Bravely and Octopath titles, I’m also digging the character artwork as well.

On a related note, the team also developed an Octopath mobile title which has yet to release in the west.

Look for Triangle Strategy in 2022. In the meantime, you can download a free demo as well as submit feedback in a survey. Trust me when I say the development team listens. They’ve released feedback videos and changes for Octopath Traveler and Bravely Default II. So don’t be afraid to speak your mind when you’re done playing the demo!

Famicom Detective Club

Nintendo is remaking two murder mystery visual novel titles for Nintendo Switch. The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind are full remakes of two mystery titles developed in the 80s for Nintendo Famicom, hence the name. As such, these titles never came to the U.S. despite receiving several ports in Japan.

It’s worth noting that Ayumi Tachibana, one of the characters, made two brief appearances in America. One of which was as a Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The other was as a Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Nintendo Switch is past overdue for a visual novel title. Titles like Ace Attorney, Hotel Dusk, and Zero Escape found success on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS handheld systems. However, perhaps this will best scratch the itch for visual novel fans looking for their fix on Nintendo Switch. If you enjoy the sense of mystery and dialogue from games like Konami’s Snatcher, then this will definitely be a treat.

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir and Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind will release on May 14, 2021.

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection

Normally, I wouldn’t cover a compilation title as part of the major announcements of the Nintendo Direct. But when it includes one of the greatest action games in history, included in Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection, I must oblige.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma, the re-release of Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden for Xbox, features some of the cleanest, fastest, and heaviest hitting action in any game in existence. Easily comparable to the likes of Devil May Cry, God of War, and Bayonetta, Team Ninja’s key title features badass ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, out for blood and vengeance against the dark forces of Vigoor who attacked his clan.

Much like the aforementioned titles, you will get to equip a multitude of weapons that will suit various enemies and bosses. Furthermore, you can play this already challenging title on harder difficulties each time you clear the game. If challenging action is your thing, Ninja Gaiden Sigma is for you.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 also offered a quality 3D action experience. Unfortunately, I’ve only heard bad things about Ninja Gaiden III. While I find it doubtful that Team Ninja will restore or “fix” anything wrong with Razor’s Edge, I feel good knowing that a new generation of players will get to try out one of the best action games ever released. The real hope of this news is that we someday might finally get a Ninja Gaiden IV.

With that being said, expect the release of Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection on June 10, 2021.

Splatoon 3

Nintendo’s finale to the Nintendo Direct was Splatoon 3. Despite some novelty Splatfests happening in Splatoon 2, we had a “final Splatfest” over a year ago and, as such, Nintendo would no longer update the game. This was a surefire sign that Splatoon 3 was in development.

This one looks like it takes place in a western scene. Unlike the metropolitan utopia of the first two games, you’ll see a lot of dust and desert everywhere you go.

While I haven’t touched Splatoon online in a while, something about the campaigns always manages to pull me in. I cleared both the Splatoon 2 campaign and the Octo-Expansion, which while challenging, ended with the most devastating and difficult boss I have ever had the displeasure of fighting. Let’s hope that Nintendo never pulls a stunt like that ever again.

No.

Look for Splatoon 3 in 2022. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest game in the series as news turns up.

Final Thoughts

I’m feeling lukewarm about it honestly. Not because it’s by any means bad but I’m not sure I would have saved Splatoon 3 for the final part of the presentation.

Don’t get me wrong. I was hoping for something big like Metroid Prime 4 even though I counted on it still being too early in development to showcase just yet. But I’m still surprised Nintendo didn’t pick another IP to showcase at the end of their presentation. Let alone that Mercury Steam could work on another 2D Metroid game like Samus Returns, we could have had a new F-Zero, Star Fox, or even Kirby title like a sequel to Kirby Air Ride. This definitely ended on a weaker note than past Nintendo Directs.

Furthermore, Zelda series director Eiji Aonuma also shot down the possibility of seeing Breath of the Wild 2. However, he opened the possibility up that we might get to see the game later this year. If E3 happens, we might see it during June. Otherwise, it sounds like Nintendo is at least dedicated to having another big showing later in the year. As it’s Zelda’s 35th anniversary, it’s all but likely that we’ll get much more than Breath of the Wild 2 in a Zelda-themed Direct.

Meanwhile, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is getting a remaster and will retail for $60.

With that being said, I also want to mention Square-Enix’s unbelievable effort for both developing new games, like Triangle Strategy, as well as remastering titles like the visually-ageless Legend of Mana. Speaking of which, enjoy this final trailer of Bravely Default II before the game releases on February 26, 2021.

We will keep you covered on the upcoming releases for Nintendo Switch. Be sure to follow our social media links below!

Till next time!

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

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

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

My Top 10.

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

ACT Current SSBU Roster
My competitive characters.

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

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

What happened to Ike?

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

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

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

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

Ike’s Strengths

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

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

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

Ike’s Weaknesses

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

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

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

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

How the Smash Team Could Buff Ike.

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

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

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

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

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

Matchups

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

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

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

Having Trouble With Your Main? Find a Counterpick.

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

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

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

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

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

Importance of Counterpicking

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

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!