Manga

Fire Emblem Heroes: Heroes’ Everyday Lives

FEH_comic_title_page
It’s been a little while since I read an anthology manga. The 4 Koma chapters seem reasonably entertaining and certainly better than other gag titles like Rock Lee. I’ll review it when they stop coming out with the chapters, but since each installment is only 1 page I get the feeling that this could last for quite a while. I’m waiting for Roy to show up at this point.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Fire Emblem Warriors Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 7h 22m
Badges 8/36
Character Stats

Rowan Level 50
Marth Level 50
Lucina Level 41
Cordelia Level 29
Lianna Level 27
Xander Level 27
Caeda Level 26
Corrin Level 21
Robin Level 21
Ryoma Level 20
Tiki Level 20
Leo Level 19
Camilla Level 16
Chrom Level 15
Hinoka Level 14
Takumi Level 14
Sakura Level 13
Elise Level 13
Lissa Level 13
Frederick Level 13

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Fire Emblem Warriors Review


After all these months I finally went and got the Nintendo Switch. Now I’m playing with power! I’m still not a big fan of the console, but it’s not bad or anything. I do like the fact that it’s essentially a portable console that you can stream to the tv. It’s one of those brilliant ideas where you can barely believe that nobody has thought of it before. Mark my words, if Sony ever makes another portable console they are going to borrow this concept. Let’s take a look at my first Switch game.

I became a big Fire Emblem fan pretty recently after downloading Heroes. Its a franchise with a lot of potential and has a fan of sword fighters in general it was right up my alley. The plot focuses on a prince and a princess. Their kingdom is attacked by an army of monsters and everyone is imprisoned within its walls. Only the two main characters and their reliable friend manage to escape. Before they return, the heroes will need to uncover the 5 legendary Hero Gems. Since dimensional rifts are opening up everywhere, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them, but time is of the essence.

It’s a really fun story. I probably would have preferred the game to have focused on characters from the older games since I know the modern characters pretty well, but the crossover aspect still makes it all a blast. There’s also a lot of room for a sequel as a result since they could explore the rest of the universe. The original characters made up for the game may have been rather generic, but they weren’t bad. Monster fans will love the Chaos Dragon and I didn’t mind the guardian of the main characters until he basically cracked. Not much to say about the blond heroes, they’re super heroic and that is their personality in a nutshell. Even with 20+ chapters, the story never feels like it’s stalling for time or going nowhere. It’s pretty well paced.

There is also a History/Legend mode. I forgot the exact name, but essentially the overworld looks like an old 8 bit Fire Emblem game. You have to move across the field and whenever you bump into an enemy it triggers a level. There are challenges like beating 500 enemies in 20 minutes. It seems like a decent mode, but I can’t say it’s too appealing compared to the main story mode. I’d probably use it for grinding level ups and at least it does help the overall replay value.

As expected of a new Switch game, the graphics are quite good. The interface is also cutting edge so everything feels very smooth and streamlined. There’s a lot on the menu at any given time but the game does a good job of not letting it get overwhelming. The final smash attacks are also very satisfying to unleash. The soundtrack is also really good. Longtime fans will remember most of the sound effects. In fact, they are the same as in Heroes so I wonder if it’s just a Fire Emblem staple or they’re aiming for a lot of synergy with the new games. Either way it can feel nice and nostalgic at times.

One of the aspects of the game that was promoted before the game came out was how it was a beat em up, but it was going to incorporate Fire Emblem mechanics. The game does this by bringing in the weapons triangle where Sword Fighters beat Axes, Axes beat Spears, and Spears beat Swords. Unless you play on hard mode though, it won’t make much of a difference. You will have the enemies begging for mercy very quickly regardless. You can also give orders to your allies for retreats, advancing, or just ditching them in the middle of nowhere so they won’t get hurt. It’s definitely useful if you think they are just going to hurt themselves. They typically can’t hold their own against opponent fighters after all.

If you’re familiar with the genre then you’ll definitely know what the gameplay is like. If not, essentially it is a 3D fighter where you destroy hundreds of opponents in each level as you head for a boss somewhere in the map or secure a retreat route. You have quick attacks, power attacks, special moves, a grab, final smash, and an awakening mode. As a result you can see how you have a bunch of options. This means you can have fun mixing up your attacks. Sometimes I even forget to use my awakening since I’m waiting for the right moment and just end up beating the level before it occurs.

I feel like there are 3 kinds of beat em ups. There is the Dynasty Warriors style where you beat a lot of enemies, but it’s not an insanely large amount. It’s slightly more realistic and also the worst of the 3. Next there is the Sengoku Basara/Anime titles like Bleach or One Piece which have a lot of enemies and you take them down. They are essentially the beat em games that come to mind. Finally there are the crazy good beat em ups like Hyrule Warriors and this game. Somehow Nintendo really gets the company to take it to the next level. The amount of enemies around at one time is crazy. I thought Hyrule Warriors was just about perfect and this game manages to improve on it even further. One incredible feature that this game brought to the table is that you can now switch between allies instantly. This makes it much easier to attack and defend. For example, you can order Lucina to attack a base, Marth to stay and guard yours, and you go after the boss. If your ally starts to lose the battle, you can quickly become the ally and fight back while the character you were controlling earlier will continue the mission. It’s brilliant since one of the only annoying aspects of the genre is that protecting all of your bases can be difficult since your A.I. compatriots just hold you back. Now you can really feel like you have complete control of the battlefield. It’s also perfect for when I go maverick and just disobey direct orders. They want me to retreat or protect the base? Nonsense, I’m heading straight for the big boss!

The game also did think up more ways to prevent you from essentially cheesing the level like that though. Sometimes the areas can’t be accessed without using a flying ally to go past the pits and activate portals. Other times the base is simply locked down until you beat all of the bases. I do think it’d be nice to have more levels where you were just able to rush up the middle but I can kind of get why the developers wouldn’t want you to just rush through everything. As it is, I went through the story at a normal pace and I still didn’t get to explore most of the customizing options. It can all seem rather overwhelming since you have crests to level up and actual level ups to buy. I’d definitely be content with the game sticking with Level 100 as the cap and not raising it. It would be quite the grind, but at least I can actually imagine getting everyone to level 100 at this point.

Overall, There is a lot to love here. This game is basically a masterpiece and I’d consider it to be the greatest beat em up out there. It would be very hard to improve on the gameplay at this point. The patch that the Switch got even allowed me to play the game with the greatest controller on Earth, the Gamecube controller. The story was impressively long for a beat em up and a lot happened along the way. Lucina got to look really cool in her debut appearance and the other heroes had their moments as well. There’s a ton of replay value here as you can tell like beating all of the levels on all difficulties and getting everyone to the max level. I think there is actually one possible way that you can top this game within the genre. Imagine this game, but multiplayer where the 2nd player plays as the opposing army. That would be a blast as you both try to take over the map. I do think it’d work best online so that you wouldn’t know who each player is playing as. That would add to the depth as you wonder which base to protect. I can’t imagine that would be an easy game to product since it would probably take a lot of memory and be tough on the A.I., but it’d be awesome. Well, with LoZ and FE done, I’d like a Metroid beat em up next. It’d be cool blasting through waves of Metroids, but the developers will have to get creative about which other heroes to have playable.

Overall 9/10

Game Records

Fire Emblem Heroes Stats and Records

Stats time!
Heroes 129/278
Feathers 24710
Castle Level = Max
Story (Normal) 13/13 Complete
Story (Hard) 12/13 Complete
Story (Lunatic) 8/13 Complete
Paralogue (Normal) 13/13 Complete
Paralogue (Hard) 13/13 Complete
Paralogue (Lunatic) 3/13 Complete

Hero stats

Ike Level max Grade max
Roy Level max Grade max
Tharja Level max Grade max
Eliwood Level max Grade 4
Anna Level max Grade 2
Eirika Level max Grade max
Mathilda Level 36+3 Grade 4
Olivia Level 30 Grade 4
Peri Level 29 Grade Max
Roy Level 31 Grade Max
“Marth” Level 28 Grade Max
Caeda Level 25+2 Grade 4
Selena Level 22+1 Grade 4
Bartre Level 21+1 Grade 4
Roderick Level 21+1 Grade 4
Hinata Level 20 Grade 4
Stahl Level 18+1 Grade 4
Camilla Level 23 Grade 4
Niles Level 1+3 Grade 3
Donnel Level 14+1 Grade 4
Clair Level 1+1 Grade 4
Beruka Level 28+1 Grade 4
Leon Level 28+1 Grade 4
Clarine Level 1+1 Grade 4
Seliph Level 14 Grade 4
Henry Level 1 Grade 4
Lukas Level 17 Grade 4
Oboro Level 1 Grade 4
Est Level 1 Grade 4
Subaki Level 1 Grade 4
Mae Level 1 Grade 4
Arthur Level 1 Grade 4
Frederick Level 1 Grade 4
Merric Level 1 Grade 4
Rebecca Level 1 Grade 4
Felicia Level 1 Grade 4
Jakob Level 1 Grade 4
Kagero Level 1 Grade 4
Maria Level 1 Grade 4
Serra Level 1 Grade 4
Sakura Level 1 Grade 4
Priscilla Level 1 Grade 4
Fir Level 1 Grade 3
Lon’qu Level 1 Grade 3
Hana Level 1 Grade 3
Laslow Level 1 Grade 3
Sophia Level 1 Grade 3
Jagen Level 1 Grade 3
Sully Level 1 Grade 3
Shanna Level 1 Grade 3
Odin Level 1 Grade 3
Barst Level 1 Grade 3
Cherche Level 1 Grade 3
Nino Level 1 Grade 3
Robin Level 1 Grade 3
Cecilla Level 1 Grade 3
Virion Level 1 Grade 3
Setsuna Level 1 Grade 3
Matthew Level 4 Grade 3
Gaius Level 1 Grade 3
Azama Level 1 Grade 3
Alfonse Level 1 Grade 2
Raigh Level 1 Grade 2
Gunter Level 1 Grade 2
Narcian Level 1 Grade 2
Lissa Level 1 Grade 2
Jeorge Level 1 Grade 1
Olwen Level 1 Grade 1

8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Fire Emblem Heroes Review


It’s time for a new App game! Since I got to Level 40 in Pokemon Go I figured it would be fine to finally check out another free game. This one got a lot of hype back in the day, but I think I got on the gravy train before it completely passed me by. After playing it for a few days I can definitely see why everyone loves it so much. The game is incredibly polished for a free game and it has helped make me a much bigger Fire Emblem fan than I was before. There’s so much to do here that if I took it seriously I would be here a while. It’s going to be more of a side project as new levels come in I’ll complete them and all but I won’t bother going for the more competitive goals.

The game actually has a plot which is already cool. Terry (Your original character protagonist) is summoned into the World of Fire Emblem. The realm is under attack by an evil sorceress with immeasurable power. She has enslaved whole worlds and almost the whole cast is under her power. Terry can tip the balance because he can summon heroes of his own to combat her and he is immune to mind control. You have to team up with the ones who summoned you to stop this foe and rescue everyone who has been enslaved. It’ll be tough though as you’ll have to defeat tough combatants like Lucina, Roy, Ike, and many others. Also, there are so many worlds that as soon as you leave one, the sorceress goes back to reclaim it.

It seems like new levels are added every once in a while, but I don’t expect the game plans to end the campaign anytime soon. The most recent level did end with a big plot twist though. It was one that was certainly expected, but it still counts as progression. There are 12 Story chapters I believe and 10 Protologues, with 2 Xenologues. It’s a pretty good amount of content. I beat the story part of the game in about 2 days, but there is a lot of other content to explore. There are online Arena Battles where you fight other players, Training Stadiums to level up and collect gems, Special Battles where you can fight new matches every day to get more characters and items, Voting Gauntlets, and several other modes.

This game is not lacking in content in the slightest and I probably didn’t even get to try all of the modes for about a week or so. It’s actually very overwhelming at first, but you gradually get used to it as you play more and more. Too much content is never a bad thing after all. If I don’t want to play a mode, then nothing is forcing me to do so. The main currency in the game are Orbs. You get around 5-8 every day for logging in. You can use 20 to purchase a full set of 5 characters. You can also use 1 to replenish your energy each time you run out and you can use 1 during a fight to restore all of your characters and they all get an extra turn. You don’t want to be too frivolous with the Orbs when you start because they get more scarce as you go on.

I mentioned the energy earlier and that determined what you can do every day. Each action costs energy and when you run out you have to use an orb or just stop playing for the day. That’s how they get you as you can purchase extra orbs. I know quite a few people online who’ve spent hundreds on orbs so they could get their favorite character. I definitely won’t be spending any money on this game though. In part it’s because Pokemon Go was my only exception to that rule and also because the game is quite generous with the orbs. I have never been in a spot where I was out of orbs and needed energy or even been in a situation where I was close to that. You would also need to play quite a lot in a single day to approach that limit. It should be a non factor for most players.

Once you’ve beaten the available story chapters in the game, I’d say that the main focus is now to collect all of the Fire Emblem characters. There are currently 168 and I have about 60. The ultimate final goal would be to get all of them to Grade 5 and max them out to Level 40. Of course that increases your time exponentially as doing that is really a long term goal. As such I won’t really be gunning for that. At most I’ll log in every day for my new fighter and eventually maybe I’ll have them all. Even if they’re grade 2 or 3 that’s fine. To improve their grade you have to level back to Level 1 with that character and spend 20,000 Feathers and 20 Shields which are not easy to come by. It can take weeks to obtain that and I personally can’t say it’s worth it unless you’re super competitive in the game.

The gameplay is extremely smooth and highly customizable. It’s classic Fire Emblem gameplay as you position your pieces on the map and attack. All of the characters have special abilities and there are 3 types, Green, Blue, and Red. Each type is good against another one and week to another. There’s also a blank class, but I’m not sure where they fit into all of this. Different characters have different styles of attack like close range or long which you need to take into account. If you want to fight and know that you’ll win anyway, you can set the game to auto fight and let the computer handle the fight while you get a bite to eat or something. I admit that I started doing this quite a lot after I beat the game to save time. You can also turn off the animations for each attack which saves a bunch of time and I wish more games did that. It would be very useful.

Fire Emblem Heroes really shines when it comes to the graphics. They are exceptionally good and easily the best that I’ve ever seen in a mobile game. It spared no expense with the character portraits and attacks. It’s one of the things that really drew me to the game when I first started. It’ll be really cool if they can grab more animated cutscenes by the end of the game, but even if they don’t I’m still pretty satisfied. The soundtrack is also solid. The themes are limited, but memorable. All in all I’m sure a very large amount of money was put into this game and I’m sure that it has made it all back quite easily.

It’s time to go back and rank all of the mobile games. In 1st is clearly Pokemon Go. The game’s amazing and I’ve put in over 1000 hours by now. You just can’t overestimate just how influential the title is. Truly a legend. 2nd is Fire Emblem Warriors. The immense amount of content and reasons to keep playing speaks for itself. I also like the generous log in bonuses as you really feel like it’s worth it to keep showing up. 3rd is Marvel’s Contest of Champions. It was a fun game, but a big step down from the first two as the gameplay was very repetitive. It also had a very long story mode but it was considerably lower budget and you never felt like you were making any progress. Honestly it’s a very similar style to Fire Emblem Heroes but think of the difference being like Mario Galaxy vs Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. 4th is Ingress. It’s basically just like Pokemon only without the Pokemon and the Gyms. It may go up as some point, but my whole area is owned by the opposing team and I need to reach Level 6-8 in order to actually do anything about it. I dunno, it’s fun enough but I always can’t help but think of how many Pokemon I’d be catching if I had Go open. Finally in 5th is 1010!. It barely counts when placed with the others since it has no plot and it more of a very simple game app. Still, I did play through it so counting it is fair. It’s a lot of fun at first, but actually gets less so the higher your score gets. After all, who wants to spend 30 minutes trying to top your score only to come out short in the end? Definitely not me! That’s 6 App games that I’ve tried out now. It could be a while before another one so we’ll see how that does in the end.

Overall, App games are very addicting. It’s easy to see how this one got so far. For every great title like this one there are probably 100 low budget mobile games that are pretty bad, but I’ve done a good job of avoiding those so far. I hope Nintendo comes out with a Super Smash app at some point as you just know that would be really awesome. I finally got Roy, Ike, and Lucina in this game so I’m definitely very satisfied with my turnout. I’d like to get Marth at some point, but I suppose it could be a while. If you’re interested in the game, I recommend downloading it as soon as possible. Even if you don’t want to play it yet, download the game just so you can start receiving your daily rewards by logging in. That way you’ll be extra prepared with a bunch of extra items and characters by the time you really do start. There are still a bunch of features that I don’t fully understand or have barely scratched the surface of and we’ll see if I ever do. At least it’s nice knowing that they’re there if I ever need them. It may be time to get a real Fire Emblem game, but I’ve heard mixed things on the newer ones and the old ones are so expensive. It’s definitely a tough call.

Overall 8/10

Manga

Fire Emblem If: Invisible Kingdom Comic Anthology


Looks like another anthology is being scanned. I’ll have a review for the series when all of the chapters have been scanned. It’s off to a decent start as the art is good and each story seems like it’ll get a decent amount of pages. Hopefully it can keep it up!

Overall 7/10

Manga

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright Comic Anthology


Fire Emblem definitely has a lot of manga titles. It’s pretty cool how the series is so big even if most of the various series aren’t all that great. This one is all right, but I’m not a huge fan of Anthologies. Perhaps one will feature a big action scene which will help it out a bit. I shall have a review for the series up when it finishes.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Fire Emblem Ankokuryuu To Hikari No Ken Review


It’s hard to believe that I’ve been reading this for around 5 years. I started in early June during 2011 according to my original blog post and the series just finished the other day. Of course, the series had already been over for years, it just hadn’t been scanned yet. Well, I appreciate the work that the scanlator did and the series was a good read. It had enough things to hold it back from being great, but it’s a good series and I got to see Marth take a leading role.

So, Marth’s kingdom was basically taken over and his family line is at an end. Marth is the only one standing and his “army” is really just a small batch of soldiers. Still, he is Prince Marth and he cannot let evil infect the planet. Slowly but surely, Marth gathers allies to help in the upcoming battles. Once the army is large enough, he will take back his kingdom and finally restore the land to peace and prosperity. The problem is that Marth is a bit of a pacifist and he doesn’t like to fight, but the only way to take down the villains will be to go to war with them. Will Marth have what it takes to defeat them all?

Now, as I mentioned earlier, it’s been around 5 years since I started the title so that’s why the basic plot may sound a little fuzzy. It’s been a long road and sometimes the manga would go on break for months or even nearly a year. While I still remember it as a fun title, I can safely say that you will be able to enjoy it much more than I did as reading it from start to finish without such long breaks is a lot more enjoyable. This way you won’t forget any plot points or begin to forget the characters. You’re always able to launch yourself right back into plot despite any breaks since the situations are typically simple, but nothing beats the average fast blast through the title.

The artwork for the series is solid and the fight scenes end up looking powerful. At times, Marth looks very similar to one of the heroines, but I suppose that their character models are similar as they even have the same style of hair. The artist probably could have still made them a little more differentiated by giving Marth a cool cloak. At times, he has his signature cape, but it’s more of a generic desert one than the one that you will remember from Super Smash Bros. Seeing as how Marth is just starting here, I suppose that he hasn’t matured to that level just yet. It would have been awesome to have seen him with that look though.

Marth gets a lot of development throughout the series as he shows everyone what a capable leader he is. At first, he had a lot of trouble with villains who were of only moderate skill, but by the end he is able to take on just about anyone. In terms of pure swordplay, he’s still not among the best yet, but he has the legendary sword Falchion. He uses that one in Super Smash Bros as well and it is a very powerful sword. It can block any energy/fire attack and no villain can stand up to its limitless power. The blade serves Marth quite well.

One part of the manga’s plot that is a bit much though is how outnumbered and outgunned Marth’s army is. At one point, they face off against an army who has a mage with them and there’s no way that the heroes should have won. The Mage could blow up cities with a single blast and Marth should have been unable to stop him. The only reason why the heroes are still able to do well is because the mage lowers his guard and lets the heroes get close to him. That guy was easily the strongest character in the entire series and he wasn’t the final boss so it was expected, but still no easier to believe. It’s why you should always be careful to keep the villains in realistic reach of the hero’s power. Slightly stronger perhaps, but not by a great deal. Seeing as how Marth is still human and he didn’t have the legendary sword yet…it shouldn’t have even been a fight.

While the title is still set in the fantasy land of Fire Emblem, it’s mostly realistic. If not for the occasional dragon or magician, you could have thought that this was based on a real world. Dramatized of course, but it is very down to Earth. That means that we don’t get a whole lot of feats, but the sword fights can be fun. My only problem with them is that the battles tend to be very short. At its core, the series was still a tactical one so we typically see the heroes making plans and discussing how to attack the enemies. It’s smartly written.

That being said, the series could also get a little slow at times. Once again, I do think that this wouldn’t be very noticeable if not for the breaks, but sometimes you can go quite a while without any real action. While Marth can be a skilled fighter, he’s not exactly a thrilling main character so that doesn’t help. Marth’s heroic, but he lives in a land where wars are always being waged and does destroy his opponents, although he tries to spare as many as possible. He couldn’t keep his hands clean all of the time and that’s actually a part of his character arc. It would have been nice to have seen him arrest everyone, but it’s always tough in a war. At least, now peace can reign…or not.

The series ends with Marth stating that more battles will be fought and that it will be quite some time until peace is kept within the lands. So, he heads off to win these battles with his friends and the series just comes to a close. It’s a decent ending as there are certainly many Fire Emblem games and there’s not much of an alternative on what kind of ending could have shown up. It seems like you need to play the game to get the full story, although you may have expected that.

This series is based off of one of the video games and the author has fun throwing in guest stars and cameos from some of the fan favorite individuals in the game who weren’t totally relevant to the plot. It appears like the red haired swordsman, one of the best characters in the series, is one of those guest stars. He never really contributes to the series except to beat up some henchmen and get a lot of hype. Still, I liked him from the start and I believe that I had him fight on the blog a while back. He was certainly a skilled warrior.

Oguma was the main “rival” character. I used the quotation marks because he acts like a cool Shonen rival, but technically, it’s hard to call him that since Marth is not competitive at all. Oguma was really needed as he is the army’s best fighter and without him, Marth would have surely lost the war. Oguma thought up many of the plans that were used in the battles and his overwhelming power in combat was a great asset to the team. He was certainly likable. Sheeda was the main heroine and she is good with dragons. I believe that she also knew some healing magic. Sheeda was a nice supporting character and helped out throughout the series. There’s not a whole lot to say about her, but she helped to remind Marth that while the war is going on, not everything is bleak. She has a happier ending than most of the other characters. Kain is the main comic relief of the series and he’s all right I suppose. I just didn’t really care for the guy and his magic abilities never got to be that impressive. He’s around, but he rarely helps out and is typically getting into danger all of the time.

There are certainly many more characters that pop up throughout the series. There were about 12 volumes, which were made up of 59 chapters so a lot of things got to happen. There was a more experienced mage who loved to tease Kain about the fact that she was infinitely stronger than him. There were also some fun fights with other black dragons and the main villain made his plans. More of the characters would leave a lasting impression on me with a re read and I may go through the series again someday, but I feel like I still remember enough of it that a re read isn’t quite necessary. While I don’t know most of the names, the characters are what really counts.

Another reason why the series was so good is that it was a class act from start to finish. The series avoids the fanservice trap and none of the characters are terrible. There were probably some unlikable villains and heroes around, but I can’t think of any that made it to Roshi or Oolong levels. The writing was good and didn’t need to rely on any cheap tricks to get through the story.

Overall, I definitely recommend checking out this title. Now that it’s finally finished, you can blast through it and witness the legendary war that Marth fought through. It’s no wonder why his kingdom looks like its in ruins in Super Smash Bros Brawl. I do think that Meta Knight wouldn’t have stood a chance against such a seasoned veteran there! Marth’s a solid lead and he’s surrounded by a good supporting cast. There is a lot of action in the series even though there are large periods of peace between the fights. The art is solid and the writing is consistently good. I’d probably add another star to this title with a re read as it would address my pacing problems a little, but either way it’s a complete title to check out. I’ve now finished two of the Fire Emblem titles and I highly recommend checking out the one with Al and Roy if you haven’t yet. The franchise has numerous manga titles so hopefully I will be checking out another one of them someday. If this manga doesn’t give you some incentive to play as Marth, I don’t know what will.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Smash Bros 3DS Review

smash_bros_3ds_box_art
All right, it’s time for another big Nintendo review! We just got through playing with Hyrule Warriors and that game gave Nintendo another 9 star title. Now, the next Super Smash Bros is upon us and I can safely say that this one is worthy of the 9 star rating as well. There is a lot of content within this title and you’ll find yourself with things to do for days to weeks to months. For reasons that I will explain soon, it cannot really beat Melee or Brawl, but that’s the Wii U’s job anyway. Nintendo made the right choice in deciding to go to the portable market. Now, let’s see what this game is made of!

It’s been a long time since Brawl so we’ve all been pretty psyched for this game. It’s the first title that I’ve ever pre ordered and I’ll make sure to do the same for the Wii U version. That means that I took a break from the 5 dollar bin for once. At 9 stars, you can tell that this game is a cut above the rest. There are tons of positives, but there will also be some negatives or things that I think the game could have improved on. Before we get into the detailed topics, let’s take a look at the gameplay.

It’s a little harder to describe this game if you’ve never played a Super Smash game before, but it’s essentially a 2D “sprite” brawler. I’m using the word sprite to remind you of the classic GBA games. Mario, Sonic, Mega Man. Picture that style of running and jumping and then add combo attacks from a classic fighting game. Each character can attack 4 different way as you input their standard attacks with the control pad. Right, Left, Up, and Down. This also applies to their 4 special attacks and 4 smash attacks. There are many different combos for each character and you’re guaranteed a unique experience every time. There has never been a game quite like Super Smash Bros although many other titles have tried and failed. (TMNT Smash Up and Playstation All Stars come to mind. They weren’t bad of course, but they’re just not as good as Super Smash Bros.)

Typically, many of the stages will have gimmicks to make the battles more fun. Some stages may have enemies that attack or a stage that is constantly moving. There are dozens of items to also impact the battle, but you will still want to be skilled at close quarters (Or long range) combat for when there are no items to protect you. The game is very fast paced and it’s as strategic as it is action packed. Super Smash Bros is as deep as a game gets when it comes to gameplay and that’s why it’s a title that always ends up getting a lot of play time. Melee got well over 300 hours and Brawl had reached 999 at one point before my system data crashed. These games are built to last!

The graphics never really looked impressive online, but the 3DS isn’t meant to be viewed that way. The games always look better on the actual screen and this title is no exception. I don’t use the 3D because it hasn’t really helped any game, but it doesn’t need that affect. It’s very flashy and the effects definitely look like a 2014 title. It’s not overdone to the point where your eyes hurt, but everything does make sure to pop out at you so you won’t get bored of the scenario. Each level has been done with a lot of detail and the stages are very pleasing to compete in. None of them can really be called boring.

The soundtrack definitely earns a 5 star rating from me. (Out of 5 of course) Some of the themes aren’t as climatic as the ones from Melee and Brawl, but the large selection ensures that you will still find a lot of great tunes. I like the level theme from the Kid Icarus Uprising (The Reset Bomb level) stage. Now that is what I call climatic and it would have been very cool to hear that play during the final battle against the Master Hand. The Final Destination theme just isn’t as intense as I would have expected from the other games. Metroid and the Legend of Zelda likely have the best themes overall, but Pokemon and Kid Icarus definitely give them a run for their money. (The 3 big guest stars also have some great themes, but they aren’t quite as numerous, which is why they aren’t at the top. If it was just a contest for best theme in the game, it would be pretty interesting!)

There are many modes to play so let’s start with the most popular one. I’m referring to Classic Mode! Unlike the previous games where you went 8-12 levels, this one is only 6 battles long. I really don’t mind that though since beating 12 levels with 40+ characters would likely get tedious after a while. Classic Mode has really changed here as there are 2-3 paths per battle. You can take the easy way, medium way, or the difficult path to really test your skills. Moreover, you can decide how difficult the mode will be as a whole from the start. You can start at level 1 and go all the way to level 9! (I haven’t completed level 9 yet, but I’m working on it! Level 7 is currently my record) The final boss with Master Hand really gets difficult as you increase the difficulty setting. I was pretty surprised at the final boss so I’m not going to spoil it here. Although, SPOILER ALERT, I will be mentioning all of the secret characters in the game later so you have been warned. Let’s just say that the final boss has multiple phases like a Final fantasy game and the boss fight is so dark and disturbing that you may think that you have wandered into Resident Evil or Slender Man! Nintendo definitely outdid themselves there.
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We’ve also got All Star Mode. (The mode that was always stuck in Classic’s shadow) It’s still pretty fun and the gimmick is that you are fighting all of the other characters without gaining health. (Although you are given 3 items to replenish your power) It really didn’t feel like you were fighting the rest of the characters though since it’s over very quickly. Perhaps that part was changed here. You can switch difficulties here as well and you fight the characters by their order of origin. That’s pretty fun since you can see which characters originated before the others.

Stage Builder has been taken away, but it has been replaced by a character customizer. Each character will have a few attacks that you can customize so that you really get your “perfect” version of that fighter. You can also equip badges and other items to make the fighter stronger. This is mostly useful in Smash Run, which I shall talk about shortly. There is a shop to buy trophies and it seems to be updated either once a day or every few hours. It’s a good way to pick up a few trophies from time to time and luckily they have all been new so far. There is also a Trophy Block Smash mode where you break Trophy blocks as a timer ticks down. It’s a fun minigame and it’s a good way to spend some coins and quickly earn some trophies. You usually earn most of your coins back as well so it’s a very good investment to make.

We’ve also got some classic minigames like Target Test and the Home Run Contest. They’re both pretty fun to play and it’s a good way to learn how to deal maximum damage as quickly as possible. I do prefer the old target test though. This one is not luck based per say, but it’s a little harder to aim for your very best since it’s very hard to aim your Sandbag with precision. There is also the Multi Man(Mii) Brawl, where you face many weak or skilled opponents. For example, 10-100 Man Brawl has you face that number of Miis. One hit will typically finish them and the mode is really about seeing how quickly you can dispatch them. On the other hand, we have Cruel Brawl (I keep saying Brawl, but that may not be the exact title anymore. Either way, it’s close enough) where the opponents are extremely hard to defeat and their attacks are devastating. Just defeating one of them is a pretty good feat in itself.

All right, let’s talk about Smash Run! Smash Run is essentially this game’s version of Adventure Mode. It’s really meant for group play, but it’s still good on your own. You are given 4 minutes to go around and find as many power ups as possible. They are hidden in treasure chests and you can also get some by beating the local minions. Finding a boss will net you some huge rewards as well. After that, you are faced with a Final Battle. It may be a standard fight or it could be a ground race. Maybe even a tree climbing race. I’ve tried this one 3 times so far and I got two regular matches and one race. It’s decently fun, but it’s not really a great substitute for Story Mode or Adventure Mode. It’s nice and short, which helps the replay value, but the other ones were a little more fun. At least the scenery in Smash Run changes each time you play it.

I think it’s time that we talked about the characters. Again, I will be mentioning the secret characters so you’ll want to skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know about them. This will be the only place where I shall mention them so skipping this paragraph and any of the ones coming up with a SPOILER ALERT sign at the front shall keep you safe. Some of the character decisions were intriguing. They can make you a little sad, but not so much because of who made it in. You’re really just sad about who didn’t make it. So, first let’s talk about the newcomers to this series.
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SPOILER ALERT. There are 14 newcomers to the series not counting Miis and Pallette Swaps. First up would be Bowser Jr. It may seem a little disappointing to have another Mario character in the mix, but you can’t deny that his control scheme is very unique. He’s not the greatest character to play as, but I don’t mind his controls. I doubt that I’ll be playing as him much on the 3DS, but who would have thought that you would end up fighting in a Clown Car during a Super Smash game? I was surprised at the addition and I’ll give him a B rank overall. I haven’t tested out his final smash, but I’m sure that it’s solid.

Spoiler Alert. Dark Pit is next and he’s essentially a clone character as is Lucina. Lucina is a clone of Marth and Dark Pit is naturally a clone of Pit. Both of these play like their normal counterparts so there isn’t much to say about them. I give Pit a B+ and Marth an A so these characters stay true to those ranks. I am pretty glad to see both of them even if they are clones. Fire Emblem needed more reps and Lucina seems like she’s a good character. Likewise, Dark Pit was one of the big positives about Kid Icarus Uprising and he deserves to be in the game. My stance on clone characters is that they’re a good idea as long as they aren’t keeping other characters out of the mix. It’s like if James bond was in the game and James Bourne was a clone of him. That would be great for me since I refuse to play as James Bond.

Spoiler Alert. Duck Hunt is probably the most shocking addition to Super Smash Bros. I really can’t get into his attacks so far. He has the potential to be good and I’ve played an online opponent who used him already. He can definitely make for a good fighter, but his attacks don’t seem to be my style so far. He would probably rank in the bottom tiers for me at the moment, but maybe I’ll get used to him. I would give his gameplay a D for now, but the actual addition is very good! We needed a solid throwback character like this.

Palutena is a pretty good fighter. I can’t really say that many of her attacks really stand out to me at the moment. I would give out a C+ or a B- until I really start playing as her. Her moveset seems to be acceptable, but I don’t see myself becoming a Palutena pro anytime soon. It’s good to have more Kid Icarus fighters joining the fray though.

Rosalina’s moveset is pretty interesting since it’s like playing as the Ice Climbers if they had a completely different moveset. I would also give her a C+ or a B-. I haven’t really played as her in an official match (Home Run Contest or Target Attack I believe) but she seems to be decent. I may need to get used to her as well and she’s a little on the slow side, which can be a little dicey.

The Wii Fit Trainer got a lot of hype since she was just randomly revealed after some big events when Sakurai played as her. She seemed like another random addition that nobody could have expected, but I thought that her attack set looked pretty sweet from the get go. I love hand to hand fighters and that’s exactly what she is! I would definitely give her moveset a B for now. I almost bumped it up to a B+, but she does seem to be a bit slow so I’ll have to check on that. Nevertheless, The Wii Fit Trainer is a solid character and a welcome addition to the game. (I may as well say now that they are all welcome additions to the game. Most Nintendo characters are likable, which helps a lot)

Shulk is one of the best new fighters and I would easily give him an A. I love sword fighters and his controls are pretty easy to just pick up and play. Learning all of the signs and maximizing the use of his sword will take more time, but his attacks have a good reach and they deal a lot of damage. He seems like a really good all around character and that’s always good to see. He’s a character that I will likely use a lot.

Villager is unfortunately one of the most disappointing newcomers when it comes to his attack set. He’s not great at scoring KOs and I found it pretty difficult to win with him. He’s very slow and his attacks have a very small range. Trying to hit anyone with his cannonball smash is tough. It’s only good as a way to stop people from climbing back onto the stage and you need to have had the advantage to try something like that. I’ve got to give him an F at the moment. He’s seriously the worst character to play as, but I can think of it as a challenge. I’ll just have to learn how to crush opponents with him!

Mega Man is easily the biggest newcomer to join the fray and he lives up to his name as the Blue Bomber. Just about all of his attacks are long range. It makes me a little nervous to use him online though since any fighter with a reflect attack can have a field day. You have to use a lot of strategic thinking to use him in that scenario. Of course, I loved using Snake for this reason and Mega Man has even more projectiles at his disposal. Really getting good with Mega Man could take some time, but he is definitely a lot of fun to play as. He’s definitely getting an A.
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Pac Man’s another solid fighter whose array of attacks is befitting such a legend. I would give him a B+ or an A-. The reason why he scores a little lower than some of the other high tiers is because I love some of his attacks, but I don’t like some of the others. It’s a bit of a give and take with Pac Man. His Pac Charge and his aerial maneuvers are very useful, but I’m going to have to be careful when using him since he’s just tricky to play as. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like his attacks leave him a little more open and it’s hard to finish off an opponent. Definitely another great character to add to Super Smash though.

Now it’s time for the best newcomer to Super Smash! I’m talking about Little Mac and he instantly gets an S. He may just be my 2nd favorite character to play as behind Fox. I’m probably still better with Mario, (My old number 2) but Little Mac is insanely fast so playing as him always give you a rush. His KO attack can come in handy as well if you time it right. His grabs are a little weak, but I suppose that it’s to be expected since we wouldn’t want him to be too overpowered. If I really get used to his physical attacks, he can definitely replace Mario as my backup fighter. I look forward to using him a lot in the future.

As far as the Pokemon fighters go, Greninja is a decent fighter. As with Palutena, I find that his attacks don’t really stand out that much. He’s quick though and his Water Shruiken is a great long range technique. I’ll give him a B rank for now. Being quick is always a plus and his attacks don’t really leave him open for long. He’s certainly not the Pokemon that I would have chosen to add, but he’s a solid addition nonetheless.

Finally, we’ve got Robin. I’ll give him an A since he’s another really good sword fighter. His Thor attack is really powerful like ROB’s laser and charging it up is pretty easy. He’s not lacking in close combat techniques either so Robin is a real threat in all situations. I haven’t played as him that much yet, but I can see myself playing as him pretty often.

All right, there are still some characters who really should have been in it. I’m talking about Mewtwo, Lucas, Roy, Dark Samus, and Ridley. These guys have proven time and time again that they deserve a spot here. Each of these fighters could have beaten most of the newcomers that were not included. Of course, it also gives you someone to wish for the next game so it’s not all bad. It’s pretty sad that the Ice Climbers didn’t make it though since they were one of my best fighters in Brawl. One move that makes up for most of these instances is the return of Dr Mario. Now, that’s what I’m talking about here! Dr Mario is awesome and a nice twist from the regular Mario. Have you seen his final smash? This is one of the guys that I missed the most from Melee so it is good to have him back with us.

There’s not much to say about the old characters. Some fighters like Pit and Link were changed and I like their current controls. Other like Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are now recognized as their own characters. I think that was a good change and now Zero Suit has a really awesome Final Smash to use. Meta Knight’s final smash was definitely nerfed, but it’s hard to tell whether his attacks are less overpowered or not. We likely won’t know until the Wii U version comes out.

I’ll admit that it’s been hard to get in stride with Fox so far. I can’t rely on his drill kick to up smash combo anymore since the drill kick launches an opponent upwards. He’s still a great character, but I’m going to have to consider the chance that Fox may not be my best character in this game. I’ll still use him the most with honor, but that would definitely be a pretty big twist.

There are a good amount of stages to choose from and they’re pretty great. The Boxing Ring is like a new version of Final Destination and the Reset Bomb gives you plenty of options for how you want to attack the opponent. The Living Room is super spacious and it feels like Temple or the Bridge from Brawl. I definitely don’t have any qualms with the stage selection and Final Destination is still the best and that will likely always be the case.

There are many other factors that I haven’t even touched upon like the new Pokemon, Assist Trophies, and Items. Those are fun to experience and there’s not a whole lot to say about them. It’s always thrilling to see a new one and some are more thrilling than others. I do think that a good amount of the Pokemon are a little too easy to dodge, but the Assist Trophies help to make up for that since they can be pretty tough. Ghirahim is definitely a really good one. From the new items, my favorite is easily the cannon that fires a giant laser blast. You really can’t beat that!

Negatives? Well, there are definitely some to be mentioned, but they are pretty minor since the game is still getting a 9. Some are decently major, but not in the sense that I would take away a point for it. One is the lack of a Story Mode. It’s definitely a step back and I’m sure that they could have squeezed it in if they really wanted too. Just take out Target Test and the Multi Man modes if you really had too. I wouldn’t even mind if All Star Mode was thrown out or the Smash Run.

Not really a negative, but I dare say that the game was a little more similar to Brawl than Brawl was to Melee. By that, I mean that several of the Assist Trophies have stayed the same as well as the Final Smashes. Some character models like Zelda and Ganondorf really feel ripped from Brawls. It just seems like this game took a few shortcuts so that it could come out sooner. I’m fine with the Assist Trophies, but I do think that they could have put some more effort into the character models. Maybe played around with the abilities some more and also given everyone a new Final Smash. Even if it’s the same, change the animations around. Final Smashes are one of the big things that we all look forward too after all. I won’t even mention the alternate costumes since that is a given. They could have done so much more with it.

Super Smash Bros is definitely a lot of fun and I don’t know why the waiting line was so short. When, I went to Gamestop the second it opened, there was only one other guy waiting for the title. They must have been at the Nintendo Center for the midnight screening. Well, I ended up playing that game with my bro nonstop from 9:30 all the way until around 8. It was an epic 10 hours and there are very few games that I could play for 10 hours straight. Both because that’s a lot of time to spend on a title and also because most games would start to get a little repetitive or tedious by then. Not Super Smash Bros and that’s all I really need to say for the Replay Value factor. There are few games with as much content as this title.

Nintendo finally added some online rankings, but I can’t say that it’s the best addition. You can now play real ranked matches in the “For Glory” section, but you don’t get a rank. You can Global Smash Points of course, but it only shows how many people you are better than, not how many are ahead of you. In this day and age, they really could have put in the effort to have a real rankings system so that was pretty disappointing. I’ll still be playing online a lot, but Nintendo really dropped the ball there.

One final thing to mention are the challenges. As with Brawl, there are many challenges. When you complete one, you unlock a stage, a trophy, or something else. There are 105-108 challenges in the game and we’ve completed around 70-80 at the moment. Completing them all will definitely take some time because you have to complete various modes with every character in the game. Still, they’re pretty fun to do so you won’t find it to be a drag and it adds to the replay value.
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Overall, This is one of the greatest games out there and it’s easily the best portable game of all time. Due to the 3DS being a lot smaller, the controls can be a bit of an issue. Because of this, I don’t see myself reaching elite status as quickly as in Melee or Brawl if at all. I’ll definitely play it a lot and I aim to be a master of course, but it’s definitely not the same as on a home console. That’s why this game is still not quite as good as Melee or Brawl. The Gamecube controllers are really a must at this point and you have to be careful with the circle pad since there have been so many reports of it breaking for people. It’s great for what it is, but this still won’t be replacing the Wii U Super Smash Bros. Either way, I highly recommend this title to all gamers. It will really keep you busy for a long time and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s the best game that has come out for the portable market. The only thing that can really surpass it is if a sequel were to come out soon. Now, get ready to Smash and I accept all Challengers!!!

Overall 9/10