Tag Archives: Action

My Top 10 Favorite Super Smash Bros. Characters

I watched a lot of great top 10 videos during my early days on YouTube.  Since I love ranking things, it wasn’t long before I started making them myself.  I thought it might be fun to start putting some on ScreenLooker.  Why not list my my top 10 favorite characters in my favorite crossover/fighting game ever?  That’s right, it’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

So without further ado, here it is, my top 10 Smash…brothers…I guess?

10 – Mewtwo

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One of Nintendo’s greatest decisions in developing this game was bringing Mewtwo back into Smash Bros., ready for round two.  I remember being super-excited because I’ve always thought Mewtwo was cool, but I never really felt like I got to experience the true extent of his power in the actual Pokemon games.

This was my first taste of Mewtwo in Smash, and it did not disappoint.  Although he’s fairly easy to KO, Mewtwo has some great aerial attacks, amazing mobility, and great mix-up options.  You have to remain firmly in control of the battle to play as Mewtwo, and his play style is unique.  He’s joy to play, and a joy to have back in the game.

9 – Mega Man

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I never grew up with the games, but I still love the Mega Man series – it revolutionized the action platformer and is a massive influence on gaming as a whole, not to mention a super-cool universe in its own right.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when Mega Man was brought into Smash, and was one of my early favorite newcomers.  His projectile game is extremely complex but rewarding, and very faithful to the series.  I’m insanely glad that Mega Man has returned to the spotlight for once, and I hope that he stays there for a while.

8 – Ness

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My attachment to Ness started when I got a Ness amiibo as a gift.  Before that, I mostly ignored Ness.  When I actually started committing to learning the character, though, I discovered that the little guy has a lot of strengths and fun complexities.  His moves are incredibly varied, but come together in a beautifully chaotic harmony.  He may take the title for quirkiest character in Smash for me, keeping his fantastic series, Mother, relevant for years, and I don’t think the game would be the same without him.

7 – Zelda

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I have a tendency to root for underdogs a lot of the time.  I’m well-aware that Zelda is considered the least competitively viable character in this game.  That doesn’t stop me from thinking she’s a good character.  She’s fun to play if you like trapping opponents in complex maneuvers.  Mixing up gameplay between her ranged and close-quarters combat is also a lot of fun.  Zelda is better than ever before, and I prefer her to a lot of high tier characters.

6 – Fox

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Straight-up intense speed in a fighting game really appeals to me. When I was first getting into Super Smash Bros., I liked Fox, but recently, I started getting into the competitive Smash scene.  Like many, I started by watching competitive Melee, in which Fox is considered the best character.

I developed a fascination with the character that I carried into my own experience with the game.  It also helps that, in my opinion, Fox in this most recent version of Smash is the best he’s ever been.  Overall, Fox is one of my favorite characters.  His speed and technicality in high-level play embody what I think the series is all about.

Plus, who wouldn’t love playing as a talking space fox?

5 – Cloud

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I never grew up with Final Fantasy games.  I’ve mostly observed the series from afar, but I always thought Cloud Strife from FF7 was a really cool character, the best representative of the series.  He was also one of my most desired Smash newcomers, but because of the complex licensing deals that would be involved, I never expected him to join the roster.

Needless to say, I was just as jaw-droppingly stunned as the rest of the Smash fanbase when Cloud joined Smash.  I remember seeing his reveal trailer late at night before going to bed.  When I woke up the next day, I wasn’t sure if it was actually real.  But as excited as I was about Cloud, he exceeded expectations.

His unique limit break mechanic not only adds a new layer of strategy to his gameplay, but it adds value to the little pauses in-between attacks during each fight to charge the limit meter.  This unique limit mechanic means that Cloud plays like no other character.  I’m incredibly happy about his inclusion and what it means both for Smash and for gaming as a whole.

4 – Lucina

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Lucina has frequently been written off as a pointless character because she has the same moves as Marth, a three-time Smash Bros. veteran.  Personally, though, I feel like Lucina is actually a better version of Marth.  In fact, despite their identical movesets, I think Lucina is a more accessible character.  She’s less floaty, she’s quicker, and she can do damage more consistently due to her lack of a tipper.  ZeRo (AKA Gonzalo Barrios) has expressed this same opinion.

All of her moves do a consistent amount of damage regardless of where her sword hits the opponent.  This is opposed to Marth, whose attacks do more damage when they make contact near the tip of his blade and less damage when they make contact near the hilt.  On the whole, Lucina is better for players like myself, who like diving into the fray more than being precise.

Above and beyond all this, I have a prior attachment to Lucina.  Her original game, Fire Emblem Awakening, was the first Fire Emblem game I ever owned, and it has since become one of my favorite games.  After playing it, I found Lucina to be an interesting character.  I like that she’s fiercely loyal and kind, but awkward and unsociable because of her lonely upbringing.  A lot of people would have preferred other characters over Lucina,  but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

3 – Sonic

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I’m no longer sure of whether I can still call myself a fan of Sonic games due to its lengthy series of ups and downs, I’m definitely a huge fan of the character himself.  I originally got into Sonic with the release of Sonic Generations in 2011, and since then, I’ve gotten pretty good with Sonic in Smash despite the fact that I used to hate him in the game.

His speedy movements and great recovery make him a serious threat, especially because his moves have gotten stronger since the last game.  Although Sonic as a franchise has gotten a bad reputation recently, I sincerely hope this character doesn’t go anywhere — after all, if anyone deserves to be in Smash Bros., it’s Mario’s greatest rival!

2 – Link

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I have a soft spot for Link because I’ve always been a fan of The Legend of Zelda.  When I first got Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the third game in the series, Link quickly became my favorite character.

Although he’s never been particularly viable in advanced, competitive play, Link has always been one of my go-to characters for his nicely weighted movement, decent capacity to do damage, and variety of powerful projectiles.  He has a lot of potential for technical play, particularly on unusually constructed stages. Watching a skilled Link player in action is an amazing experience.  The amount of planning that goes into an effective Link is staggering.  He’s a character who you can play with easily, but takes extreme skill to truly master, and that makes him one of my favorites.

1 – Shulk

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Before the full roster had been revealed, Shulk was my first choice for a Smash Bros. newcomer.  This was mainly because I owned his original game, Xenoblade Chronicles, and to this day it remains my favorite Japanese RPG, a truly underrated gem.

After I played Xenoblade, I knew Shulk would transition beautifully into Smash Bros.  I was even more right than I thought.  The ingenious designers on Masahiro Sakurai’s team turned him into one of the most complex and interesting characters in the series.

I think Shulk’s greatest strengths are his unique Monado Arts and his incredible range.  His Arts, called Jump, Speed, Shield, Buster, and Smash, are based on his unique abilities from Xenoblade Chronicles.  They allow him to greatly enhance particular attributes for a short time at the expense of giving him temporary weaknesses.  For instance, Buster causes Shulk’s attacks to deal more damage, but while using it, he takes more damage himself.  Arts can be switched out at the drop of a hat as the situation requires, making Shulk a force of nature in the proper hands.

These compliment Shulk’s extreme close quarter range — although most of his moves leave him open when they miss, a clever and patient player can do wonders with him.  To this day, he remains my favorite character to play as in Smash Bros. for Wii U.   It was a tough decision, but Shulk’s great design as a character combined with my love of the Xenoblade series make him my absolute favorite character in Smash to date.

And there we have it!  I hope you all enjoyed my long-considered Smash ramble.  To close, I suppose all I can say is, get the game if you haven’t already.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best games out there.

How Splatoon Revived the Shooter Genre

One of the greatest feelings in the world is when a company wins back your trust.  When a great creator returns to greatness and proves to its fans that they’ve still got it.  There’s nothing like that sense of validation and hope for one of those loyal fans.  I’m happy to say that this is what I felt when I first saw Splatoon.

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Clothing and gear customization are highlights of this game for me!

For those of you who may not know, Nintendo went through something of a creative rough patch around 2010; compared to other companies, it felt like they were falling back on their legacy and their brand.  We saw the same franchises over and over instead of getting something completely different.  This reflected poorly in their coming years.  Their most recent console, the Wii U, is the first console in the company’s history that didn’t turn a profit.  Yet, this console’s games give me the most hope for their future.  Splatoon is one of the games at the top of that list for me.

Ironically, Splatoon was originally meant to be yet another Super Mario spinoff, but according to DidYouKnowGaming, Mario series creator Shigeru Miyamoto advised against this in favor of creating a whole new IP.  Thus, we saw the creation of a brilliant new pun-filled, delightfully colorful universe bursting with interesting possibilities.

Sure enough, I can say without exaggeration that Splatoon reignited my interest in the shooter genre.  I haven’t really been into shooters since games like GoldenEye 007 and the classic Star Wars Battlefront titles; it’s no secret that with a fairly standardized format of design and many, many sequels, the genre has become fairly homogeneous in recent years.   Splatoon, on the other hand, is pretty much impossible to compare to games like Call of Duty, as PeanutButterGamer wisely points out, in that player goals are entirely different.

What sets Splatoon apart in my view is how it uses 3D space unlike any other shooter.  The most commonly played mode in Splatoon is Turf War, where the object is not necessarily to rack up enemy kills, as is the standard in most shooters.  The object is to cover as much horizontal area in your team’s color of ink as possible.  You can also move through ink of your own color, which opens up tons of possibilities.  You can move up walls, across platforms, and around corners to get the drop on opponents.  Not only does this make individual gameplay interesting, it also makes success a function of synergy within each 4-person team.  This means that a player is actually less useful if they focus on inking out opponents instead of dispersing ink over large areas.

This is where the beauty of the game’s design emerges, however.  The skill gap doesn’t affect the balance of this game.   Players with any skill set have some use on any given team, because the basic goal of each game is very simple.  For example, an experienced player particularly skilled at offense will be of use in supporting other less experienced players as they spread ink around.  Since points are mainly based on ink coverage, it’s not unusual to see a new player as the MVP of his team.

Another thing I appreciate about Splatoon is that winning really doesn’t matter much.  Usually an individual player will only win about half the time because teams constantly change members, so the outcome changes.  Granted, this sometimes gets frustrating, but it also motivates you to simply do your best.

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The equipment system in the game underscores this sense of an even playing field.  Although certain gear is high-quality by default, it’s possible to improve gear with play and tailor it to your needs.  In addition, no single piece of weaponry is necessarily better than another.  Each different weapon in a particular category either has different stats,different secondary weapons, or both.  The only advantage afforded by obtaining more weaponry is a wider range of equally viable options to choose from.

 However, I’m not underselling this variety of options, because experimentation is key for all of Splatoon’s ingeniously designed maps.  One map may be built for stealth and sneak attacks, one may be built for range, or another might require straight-up firepower.  In this way, the game stays fresh and interesting by encouraging you to leave your comfort zone.  That is, if the beautiful visuals, cheeky art style, and fun attitude weren’t doing the job already.

Now, one of the major early criticisms of Splatoon was lack of content, but the game has no such issue anymore.  It has tons of maps in circulation, and ranked modes for those seeking intense play.   If you ask me, Splatoon is Nintendo’s next great IP, and now is the best time to try it out.  With this game, Nintendo has shown the world that they still know how to break new ground.  I hope to see it on a lot of wish lists for the holidays.