Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Now I have to be completely clear when I say this: Xenoblade Chronicles, as a series, has eclipsed modern Final Fantasy. That is what this article is about. I am not referring to retro Final Fantasy or anything before Final Fantasy XII. As a series though, Xenoblade’s quality has eclipsed Final Fantasy; there is no doubt about that. Nothing is more evident than comparing Final Fantasy XV, which masquerades as an “open world”, with Xenoblade Chronicles X or Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Even the first game, after a game-altering event, offered plenty of exploration and incredibly fun and challenging sidequests. Xenoblade is the new Final Fantasy of this generation.

While X was more character-driven (you could argue the characters weren’t interesting, though I disagree), 1 and 2 are plot-driven with some really awesome characters to boot. Even Noctis’ companions are great characters in Final Fantasy XV and Ardyn is a great villain (ohhh Keiji Fujiwara!), but Noctis himself is so bland. The game is hollow, almost a fraud.

Tetsuya Takahashi’s Beginnings

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Ironically, Tetsuya Takahashi, the brainchild behind all the Xeno games, originally worked for Squaresoft. His first game, Xenogears, was originally considered to be Final Fantasy VII. That would have altered history quite a bit! The heads of Square thought the game’s themes were too complex though. The religious overtones didn’t help matters. Takahashi and his team were still young though, and contrary belief about budget issues, the development team had trouble meeting the two-year development cycle. That’s why the second disc is gutted, but a cult classic was still born.

Takahashi was still young though. He went on to create Monolith Soft and left Square. He came up with the Xenosaga series, which was meant to span multiple episodes and be a spiritual successor to Xenogears, but in Takahashi’s eyes, the games were a failure.

We released three games in the Xenosaga series, but they weren’t very well received. It was really mortifying. All of the young team members felt that way, not just the leaders. So we all decided, ‘Next time we need to make a game that players will enjoy.’ So that made the atmosphere during the Xenoblade Chronicles development very different compared to other games.

We began Monolith Soft in 1999, with funding from Namco before they became Bandai Namco. The first game we made was Xenosaga, but because we were developing it while we were building the organization, we didn’t have enough people. The programmers and the planners were all rookies. At the time, the director of Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X,  [Koh] Kojima, had just joined the company right after graduating college.”

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

“And, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but the graphics engine was only completed six months before the development deadline. That’s the schedule we were on. So—and this is a bit of an excuse—but at the time, I felt that because no one on the team making Xenosaga had any experience, it might be a little too difficult for us to make our ideal game yet.

While the stories of the games were incredible, the execution was lacking and the third game was the only one that was enjoyable from a gameplay-standpoint. Sorya Saga, Takahashi’s wife, also claims that after the story was meddled with in production and Bandai Namco took her off the project in the middle of Xenosaga: Episode II. The saga was changed forever. She was the scenario writer of the series.

Xenosaga was canceled after its third game, which was actually pretty good and was a fitting conclusion to the saga. After this, Nintendo bought Monolith Soft, and a new era was born. Takahashi began work on Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii.

Xenoblade versus Final Fantasy

xenoblade is the new final fantasy

The Xenoblade games are all open-world. They lack the “illusion” Final Fantasy XV has, which claims to be open-world but in reality the world is barren and you spend most of your time in a car driving along a road. Sure, there is some exploration, but it was not as advertised. It pales in comparison to Xenoblade, and while not as linear as its predecessor, it is a rather linear game with few rewarding sidequests. Xenoblade puts Final Fantasy to shame in this respect, and reviewers even agree. While Final Fantasy XV received an 81 score on MetacriticXenoblade Chronicles received a 92. This is despite the fact that the graphics were atrocious (they were below PlayStation 2 standards, probably because of the massive world that was created on an underpowered system).

Xenoblade X and Xenoblade 2 are sitting at an 84 on Metacritic, and there’s a chance Xenoblade Chronicles 2 could still rise, as not all reviews are in. Xenoblade Chronicles X has a user score of an 8.9, which is close to Xenoblade Chronicles’ 9.0. The games are rife with exploration, especially Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s sad that IGN claims one of the faults of the game is that “Getting from place to place can be confusing” and that the minimap is junk. The last part is debatable, but it’s called exploration I don’t want a game that holds my hand. Xenoblade 2‘s world is incredible. The exploration and secrets about are so rewarding. Also, there was no problem with lack of direction in Breath of the Wild.

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Takahashi has gone back to a story-driven game with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t massive. There are plenty of secrets and unlockables to discover that are actually fun. The combat in the series is top-class as well. While the combat system in Final Fantasy XIII is enjoyable, the game is so linear that it’s laughable. It stops being fun. It is not an enjoyable game and the story is incredibly pretentious. Takahashi learned from previous mistakes and his religious and philosophical overtones are much more subtle.

The Bottom Line

Final Fantasy XII had some story problems and many complained about the gameplay. Final Fantasy XIII was a linear mess with an over-pretentious story no one understood with unlikeable characters. Its sequels were not that much better. Final Fantasy XV was better but not nearly as good as advertised. And it was the kind of open-world game that was promised, although it had a great villain in Ardyn.

Xenoblade is the New Final Fantasy

Xenoblade (all three) are superior in every facet: gameplay, exploration, story, combat (XV’s attempt at live-action combat was sad), and the series is filled with endearing characters. Tetsuya Takahashi has crafted some amazing worlds and has finally surpassed the company he left so many years ago. Nintendo is actually incredibly supportive, as opposed to Square and Namco Bandai before them.

Maybe the sales aren’t there yet for the series, but the Xenoblade games are masterpieces. The original had a limited North American release and Xenoblade X came out on a dying system. Both sold over 900,000 (Xenoblade Chronicles sold over one million if you count 3DS sales) copies. The potential is there. It’s not the 6.5 million units that Final Fantasy XV has sold thus far, but Xenoblade is still in its infancy. It doesn’t hurt that this latest game is coming out on the Nintendo Switch, which could eventually eclipse the PlayStation 4 in sales.

Xenoblade is the new Final Fantasy

Tetsuya Takahashi is a genius. As long as Nintendo continues to guide the series, there are no heights that it can’t reach. And that includes surpassing Final Fantasy in quality, which it clearly has from a quality standpoint. The next step is competing with sales numbers, which may be possible on the Nintendo Switch.


Nintendo Switch 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Nintendo Switch had the best Black Friday out of all the other video game consoles. Putting that aside for a moment, a number of children, families, and even adults are waiting until Christmas in order to purchase the console/handheld hybrid. Better yet, some may just receive it from Santa himself. Here in our Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide, we put together the must-have games, accessories, and systems that Nintendo has put out over the past year.


This year Nintendo launched the New Nintendo 2DS XL. While it is unable to do 3D like its counterpart, it is perfect for youngsters with still-developing eyes. There are so many games available on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, including most of the Zelda saga, as well as lighter, more family-friendly games. Anyhow for anyone without a Nintendo 2DS or 3DS, this is a must-buy, especially given the massive game library for the system. The system does cost $149.99, although there is always the original Nintendo 2DS if that is too steep for you at $79.99, although the former is much more likely to last longer. This particular item linked to actually comes packed in with a game, the magnificent Mario Kart 7, which is for all ages.

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s crowning achievement. It has been the culmination of years of work and finally, it’s paying off. The system was the best-selling console on Black Friday and has an incredibly impressive lineup of games to go along with it. If you’re looking for a new gaming console, have a family, or want to play Zelda and other fun games, the Switch is for you. By Christmas, the Switch will have a total of seven first-party titles published and developed directly by Nintendo, including two of the greatest games of all-time, Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. This doesn’t take into account third-party games that got Nintendo’s permission to use their intellectual property.

Nintendo 2017 Gift Guide

They have received and are receiving ports from Bethesda, one of the largest publishers in the world, as well as Rockstar Games. It is a system that brings people together and has a social component to it like no other console on the market. While families and children will love it, it’s not just a system for children; it’s a console for all ages, as Nintendo has shown with their third-party support.

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

As a 90s child, I can only reminisce about the Super Nintendo. I got it when it came out when I was five for Christmas and some of my fondest memories were playing together, with my family. In fact, it was my playing A Link to the Past with my dad which eventually drove my passion for the Zelda series. The system includes 20 of the SNES’s best games, such as A Link to the Past.

The Super Nintendo Classic is the perfect system to introduce younger gamers to the games of their parents’ generations, as well as a way for older families to rekindle their love for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and spend quality time together, as my family will be doing this Christmas.

It will be very difficult to find though, so if you are intent on picking one up, you have to be diligent. For $79.99 though, quite honestly its a steal considering what you get in the box. If you call ahead to GameStop or use their website, they are usually pretty good at telling you when they will be expecting shipments. I literally walked in, they opened a box, and I bought one as my Mom’s (as much as I want it) Christmas gift. It’s a fantastic gift for all ages.

Nintendo Switch Games

There are so many fantastic games that have been released this year for both the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. There are games for everyone, whether they be casual, children, families, or even adults. In fact, many of the games for the Nintendo Switch don’t simply apply to just one of those categories. Here are some must-have holiday titles for the Nintendo Switch.

1-2 Switch$49.99 (before discount)

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

1-2 Switch is an excellent, casual party game that is friendly to gamers and newcomers alike. This is a game that you could bring home and play with your mom and she’d understand it. She’d most likely have a great time with it. This is a must for families to pick up, even if the price is a little steep; it’s just too much fun to put down.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — $59.99

When the Nintendo Switch was unveiled, one of the most exciting prospects was being able to play Skyrim on-the-go. Bethesda followed through on their promise with a game that had surprisingly few bugs. It is the must-have third-party game for the Nintendo Switch this holiday season for those who have never experienced the original.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Ubisoft’s Mario/Rabbids mashup is nothing but pure fun. Not only that, it’s multiplayer, so you can enjoy it with a friend (isn’t that what the Switch is all about!?) Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is the most underrated title on the Nintendo Switch. It is a turned-based tactical game, but it never gets boring. This is one of the crossovers for the ages.

ARMS — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

ARMS is the wackiest brand-new IP to come from Nintendo since 2015 when the first Splatoon came out. The art style is eerily similar to Overwatch, which can be nothing but a compliment. There are also several new fighters joining the fray soon, for free! This fighting game is crazy and can either be played with motion controls with the JoyCons or a standard controller. If you don’t own a Switch Pro Controller or only have one pair of JoyCons, you will only be able to play single player. The cheaper option is to go for a Pro Controller and one player uses the JoyCons, but if not, be prepared to spend an extra $20 on brand new JoyCons.

Splatoon 2 — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

No one in their right mind thought that the Nintendo Switch would come out with a sequel to Splatoon so close to the system’s launch (it released in July). It came out, and gamers have been in love with it ever since. Despite the lack of split-screen multiplayer, it’s still one of the best shooters to grace any console in recent memory. It’s even receiving a hefty amount of brand new DLC — for free — heading into the new year. Splatoon 2 is smash hit in Japan, and the rest of the world will follow suit.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a port of the Wii U version of the game along with all of the game’s downloadable content (please do this Smash!), it is the best multiplayer experience that the Nintendo Switch has to offer. With plenty of tracks dating back the SNES days, along with plenty of new ones to enjoy, this competitive racing game is fun to the core. It can be both fun and competitive and that’s one of the game’s charms. You can also play it with the JoyCons alone, making multiplayer much easier.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 — $59.99

Nintendo Switch 2017 Holiday Guide

Continuing Tetsuya Takahashi’s Xeno series, this goes back to the original Xenoblade Chronicles‘ roots as a plot-driven game. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t much to explore though. Any RPG fan who enjoys real-time combat with compelling stories and characters need to check Xenoblade Chronicles 2 out.

Super Mario Odyssey — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

Super Mario Odyssey is already vying for several Game of the Year awards and is regarded as the best Mario game since Mario 64. That’s quite a legacy to live up to! The game is a fun-filled adventure with superb gameplay that never takes itself too seriously. If you buy any game for yourself or a significant other this holiday season, buy either this game or our next choice. It also has a two-player mode, so you can enjoy it with your family and friends!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) — $59.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

A launch title for the Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild set the standard for Nintendo’s hit console. There is plenty of exploration, puzzles to solve, mysteries to uncover, and secrets to unbury. While the story is on the light side, the new DLC pack may rectify this one flaw of the game. Everything else is perfection. The game rivals Ocarina of Time as the best video game of all time.

Other games to consider: Fire Emblem Warriors, L.A. Noire, Doom, and Sonic Mania. 

3DS Games

Pókemon Ultra Sun/Moon — $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Guide

These are the last two installments in the Nintendo 3DS family of games. Time sure flies, huh? They are selling stellarly in Japan and there’s no reason they won’t be hits here as well, considering how good Pókemon Sun/Moon were.

Fire Emblem Echos: Shadows of Valentia

— $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Gift Guide

Fire Emblem Echos came out earlier this year and while there seemed to be a lot of hype around the game, it seemed to have fizzled out. It got stellar reviews and was a fantastic game though. It’s a must-have for any Fire Emblem fan or those who love tactical RPGs.

Metroid: Samus Returns — $39.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Metroid: Samus Returns is a remake of one of Samus’ previous adventures, Metroid II. It’s a side-scrolling action-adventure game that is filled with thrills and will definitely appeal to the old-school gamer. It was the highest reviewed game of the year on the Nintendo 3DS and promises not to disappoint.


Many accessories for the 3DS system of families are not really needed at this point, but there are plenty of accessories that are perfect for the Nintendo Switch!

JoyCons — $79.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

While JoyCons aren’t currently in stock at Amazon, there are plenty of places you can pick them up and if you order the Neon JoyCons today, you save $12, even though they, again, out of stock. They also come in many different colors, so be sure to check them all out!

Charging Grip — $29.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Charging Grip should have come out of the box with the Switch, but alas, it didn’t and here we are. This grip will allow you to plug in your grip if your JoyCons die on you while playing, which happens more often than you would think. It’s the perfect gift for someone who plays a lot of Zelda without a Pro Controller.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller — $69.99

Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a necessity, especially if you are playing games like ZeldaSkyrimMario Kart, DOOM, even Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It works great with larger hands and is the ultimate controller for Switch gamers, especially those who play more hardcore games. With at least 40 hours of play, this Pro Controller will never fail you and even rivals the Xbox One controller.


Nintendo 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

What Nintendo holiday gift guide could end without talking about amiibo? Nintendo has released five Breath of the Wild amiibo prior to this past November upon the game’s initial release. In early November, they released the Champion amiibo, which are a must-have for anyone who plays Breath of the Wild. Their drops are both useful and valuable, and besides that, the level of detail on them is astonishing. Any Zelda fan would love just one, and they have been much easier to find than amiibo in years past.

We also recommend this screen protector for your Switch tablet.  It’s only $8.99 and a fantastic deal on Amazon.

For those who do not have a carrying case, this NES-style case will do just the trick nicely. It costs $22.99 on Amazon.

Of course, there’s so much more we could put in here, but simply put, these are the essentials every Switch fan needs.

Happy Holidays and we’ll be back for our next installment in the series and move on to Sony!

Why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo’s Holiday Surprise

While all eyes are on Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (many Switch newcomers will want this game) this holiday season for the Nintendo Switch, which dominated Black Friday sales, one game has slipped under the radar: Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Nintendo has been marketing the game strongly and technically, this is Nintendo’s holiday release; it comes out December 1. Fans of the series are ecstatic considering the game goes back to the roots of what made the original Xenoblade Chronicles so great: its story. Xenoblade Chronicles X was fantastic in its own right, but it lacked the characters and charm of the original. As the holidays fast approach, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game poised to become Nintendo’s holiday surprise.

It’s Coming From Tetsuya Takahashi

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo's Holiday Surprise

Tetsuya Takahashi may not be directing the game, but this game is his baby, no doubt. Very little know that Xenogears, the original installment in the Xeno series, was actually an early concept for Final Fantasy VII (!!!). The higher-ups at Squaresoft deemed it too dark to be a fantasy, thus the cult hit Xenogears was born. Takahashi went on to create the Xenosaga franchise for the PlayStation 2 but when sales were rather poor after the first game, development stopped on the fourth installment. While the games weren’t great, the story is among the best to grace the PlayStation 2, incorporating complex religious themes and taking much from Carl Jung’s philosophy, mixed in with aspects of Gnostic Christianity. While the games may not have been the greatest, the series was an engrossing experience.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo's Holiday Surprise

Takahashi was then young, but later matured, and later developed Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. While it shared many of the themes of its predecessors, it is by far Takahashi’s crowning achievement and one of the best games to grace the system according to Metacritic, scoring a 92/100Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is going back to the series’ roots and is plot-driven with an expansive world, like its predecessor.

It’s Not the Only Nintendo Holiday Game

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo's Holiday Surprise

While Zelda doesn’t quite count as a holiday game, so many are buying a Switch this holiday season (just look at the Black Friday sales) that they are bound to buy one of the greatest games of all time. Nintendo has done a masterful job at spreading out their release dates, with Super Mario Odyssey coming out on October 27. Fire Emblem Warriors came out a week before. This gives gamers plenty of time to be able to pick up Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which comes out on December 1. This takes a considerable amount of pressure off of the game. The fact that it’s coming out on an up-and-coming system doesn’t hurt either.

Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Crossover

The problem with Xenoblade Chronicles X, which was released on the same date two years ago, was that it was the only holiday game for Nintendo on a dying system. The marketing for the game was abysmal. Nintendo has really pushed Xenoblade Chronicles 2, even giving it its own Nintendo Direct and releasing several trailers for the game and its own music video. The marketing has been superb, even receiving a special sidequest in Breath of the Wild to obtain Rex’s armor. Under Nintendo’s guidance, Monolith Soft’s games have scored an 84 or higher on Metacritic. Nintendo and Tetsuya Takahashi’s genius seem to be a perfect match for each other.

Newcomers to the Series are Excited

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo's Holiday Surprise

There are a good number of people who have never played a Xeno game who are either intent on buying a game or it is the game that sold them on the Nintendo Switch. This is huge. It shows the title is not simply a “niche” game like so many claim. It’s one of the most-wanted games for the Switch, and according to the November 29 issue of Famitsu, the most-wanted Nintendo Switch game. With all the hype Nintendo has built for the game with their excellent marketing, as long as it has stellar reviews, and previews indicate the game is superb, it’s going to be a must-have this Holiday 2017 season.

The Hype is Real

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo's Holiday Surprise

The Hype for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is real. Fans of the series and newcomers alike are ecstatic for the latest entry in the series. Nintendo took a chance on Monolith Soft and Tetsuya Takahashi years ago, and it’s paying off. Xenoblade Chronicles was a hit, despite a limited release in North America, totaling over one million sales (if the New Nintendo 3DS version is counted). Who knows if Digital sales from the Wii U are even taken into account in those numbers.

Xenoblade Chronicles X sold almost a million copies despite being on a dying system with barely any support from a marketing standpoint. There’s no reason why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 won’t be an even bigger hit, given it’s coming out on Nintendo’s crowning achievement during a holiday season where the Switch is dominating (just look at Black Friday). All of the trailers have also been incredibly intriguing, especially the character trailer. The story may rival Xenoblade Chronicles.

Nintendo is banking a lot on Xenoblade 2. Given their marketing for the game and the fact that it’s spread out from other Nintendo Switch releases, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Nintendo’s holiday surprise.

Wolfenstein II is Not Just About Killing Nazis

Killing Nazis is all good and fun. They were one of the most villainous groups to ever exist on our planet and almost wiped out our very way of life. That being said, Wolfenstein II is not just about killing Nazis. It uses Nazi America as a backdrop in chilling fashion and gives our heroes the most irredeemable villains they could ever fight. It’s a game about people trying to live their lives and trying to survive. None of that is more obvious than looking at our protagonist, William Blazkowicz.

William’s Struggle

Wolfenstein II is not about killing nazis

William is left mangled by the events of the last game. He can’t even walk. It’s only by way of Caroline’s suit that he is able to regain his strength, but even that is only a temporary solution. William is dying; he can feel it. His fight isn’t with the Nazis, but with himself. He longs to be with Anya, the woman who bears his children, yet he knows his days are numbered. What does he do? He shuts her out. He focuses on fighting, which is something he seems to think is the only thing he can do. It’s a very human reaction. William is fighting for survival; for the survival of his family, and ultimately the survival of himself. How the latter comes to be is a bit fantastical to be sure, but it’s one of the more incredible moments in the game.

Wolfenstein II is not about killing nazis

Blazkowicz is the heart of this game. The flashbacks with his parents and his ultimate confrontation with his father show where his demons lie. And that was not with the Nazis, but with his own father. Ultimately he killed his horrible-excuse-for-a-human-being father to overcome his demons. The greatest demon that William faces within the game isn’t the Nazis, but with himself. Yes, there is plenty of Nazi killing in Wolfenstein II, but to relegate the game to simply one about killing Nazis, and to cement that as its identity is a disservice to the narrative. And it’s such a beautiful narrative too.

William’s Fight

Once William is saved and he realizes he has a future, he is fighting for something. He has a purpose. He is fighting for both Anya and his unborn children.

Another aspect of the narrative of Wolfenstein II is family. People from all walks of life have come together under Eva’s Hammer and are fighting, together, for survival. You could say it’s about a ragtag group of freedom fighters simply trying to survive. Sound familiar? It’s the base for almost every great story you’ve ever been told.

William Blazkowicz — Wolfenstein II’s Heart

Wolfenstein II is not about killing nazis

The narrative for Wolfenstein II is truly amazing. The Nazis play a core element as the villains in the game for sure, and killing people is a core element of the gameplay as a first-person shooter. But the narrative itself is about a man who is facing death after being mangled and merely trying to survive. A man who is trying to find purpose in his life again. And you can tell this by the narrations he gives throughout the game (so well written!).

This is what Wolfenstein II is really about — William Blazkowicz the man, not William Blazkowicz the Nazi Killer.

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

Fate/stay night and the massive franchise it has spawned is nothing short of astounding. The world is intriguing and the characters compelling. While some may contend the original visual novel, being the original source material, is the of the overarching saga. Yes, Emiya Shirou’s story is a classic and he’s an even more interesting and screwed up character than Kiritsugu will ever be. It’s also difficult to say that one route in the visual novel is better than the other; all of the routes contain pertinent information other routes leave out, because they are meant to be played in a specific order. That being said, Heaven’s Feel is the best route in the game and naturally feels like the successor to its prequel, Fate/Zero.

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

Fate/Zero doesn’t have any heroic battles. There are no heroes or villains, with the exception of one Master who is a brutal serial killer. It’s an in-depth character study of a bunch of ****cked up individuals who are so broken beyond repair that their only hope left is to cling to a “Holy Grail” which will fulfill any desire. While Kiritsugu’s wish is the noblest of all, he’s also the most twisted character aside from Kotomine Kirei, who doesn’t “find” himself until the end of the series. Archer/Gilgamesh is antagonistic, but his final confrontation with Rider shows that he’s not really any more horrible than any of the other Servants or Masters, at least in Fate/Zero.

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

There’s also a lot more character development in Fate/Zero in comparison to Fate/stay night. Kiritsugu realizes the mistake of his ideals through the grail while Kotomine Kirei finds his salvation in its answer. Kotomine also has that pivotal moment where he commits the ultimate betrayal, cementing his path towards years of villainy.

The only words shared between Kiritsugu and Saber directly are incredibly powerful, and was done on purpose.

Kiritsugu: Honor and glory…theres’ no point in speaking to a killer who takes pride in such things. 

Saber: You would insult chivalry to my face, fiend!?”

Kiritsugu: Knights cannot save the world. They call certain methods of fighting good and others evil, acting as if there were some nobility to the battlefield. Such illusions, perpetrated by heroes throughout history, have led countless young men to their bloody deaths, all for the sake of this valor and glory.”

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

Saber: “They are not illusions! Even the taking of life, as a human act, must have laws and ideals. Otherwise, every war would bring hell to this world! “

Kiritsugu: “And there you go. You heard her, Iri. Our Heroic Spirit here thinks the battlefield is something better than hell. What a joke. It’s hell itself. There’s no hope on the battlefield. It has nothing but unspeakable dispair. Just a crime we call victory, paid for by the pain of the defeated.

Yet humanity has never recognized this truth. And the reason for that is, in every era, a dazzling hero has blinded people with their legends and prevented them from seeing the evil of bloodshed. The true nature of humanity has not advanced a step beyond the Stone Age.”

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

Iri: Then Kiritsugu, is your hatred for Heroic Spirits the reason why you force Saber to endure such humiliation?”

Kiritsugu: “Of course not. I don’t allow private feelings to interfere. I will win the Holy Grail and save the world. I am simply waging that battle using the most appropriate methods at my disposal. 

Righteousness cannot save the world. I care nothing for it. 

Saber: “Kiritsugu, do you understand? If you do evil out of a hatred for evil, that rage and hate will merely birth new conflict. Emiya Kiritsugu. I don’t know what betrayed you and caused you to fall into such despair in the past.

But your rage and sorrow are found only in those who once sought justice. Kiritsugu. In youth, deep down, you must’ve wanted to become a hero. You believed in a hero to save the world. You desired it more than anyone. Am I wrong?” 

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

Kiritsugu:“I will end this ceaseless cycle. The Grail will make that possible. I’ll make sure the blood I spill in Fuyuki is the last blood humanity will ever shed. Even if that means staining my hands with every evil in the world, I don’t careIf it will save the world, I’ll do it gladly.”

Iri is also a fantastic addition to the universe as Illya’s mother and does show some character progression as the series goes on, experiencing the world for the first time and becoming her own person. Her fate though, like in typical Fate fashion, is tragic.

Fate/Zero is the Best Fate Series Story

The servants are more interesting, the side characters are more interesting (Shinji, Taiga, and Issei simply aren’t interesting), the dynamic between Emiya Kiritsugu and Kotomine Kirei is more intriguing than any other character dynamic in the Fate saga (possibly all of anime), and the ultimate confrontation between Kiritsugu and Kotomine is one of the greatest battles in the history of anime. Fate/Zero epitomizes everything the Fate universe stands for, even if it wasn’t the original.

Skyward Sword’s Criticisms Are Unwarranted

In retrospect, due to the “Zelda cycle”, where fans retroactively claim how horrible the last installment in the franchise was, Skyward Sword is regarded as one of the weakest Zelda games. It’s been going on for years, ever since Twilight Princess. It’s doubtful it will happen to Breath of the Wild, as it’s heralded as the greatest game of all time, but even Ocarina got backlash after Majora’s MaskSkyward Sword was a different kind of Zelda game, but that didn’t make it a bad Zelda game. In fact, there are so many beautiful things to be had in the game. It’s a top five Zelda game, at least. And it was so entertaining and exciting to follow former IGN Nintendo Editor Rich George’s live tweets of Skyward Sword while reviewing it. He gave it a 10/10. What happened Zelda fans?

The Plot Was Too Heavy

It’s funny, Zelda fans have complained for years that they want more story in the franchise. Ocarina of Time’s story was incredible for its time and balanced both gameplay and plot perfect, but it was still a bit thin. The execution, however, is still the best in the series, which is why Ocarina’s story still holds up. Breath of the Wild’s story was meh at best. Skyward Sword, by far, has the best narrative in the entire Zelda saga. It has the amazing NPCs like Majora’s Mask, some incredible characters (yes, including Fi), and the best incarnations of Link and Zelda to grace the series. Plus, it’s implied the two actually kiss. Can we really ask for much more?

The Motion Controls Sucked

This is one of the worst assertions. If you had to keep re-calibrating, you were doing something wrong. The motion controls were incredible and the reason why both the puzzles and dungeons are among the best in the series. The boss battles were some of the best in the franchise, including the memorable Ghirahim. 1-to-1 sword fighting couldn’t be any more enjoyable, and there were so many new items that utilized these controls, like the Beetle, essentially a replacement for the boomerang. Skyward Sword injected some new much-needed freshness into the series after years of trying to emulate Ocarina of Time. It succeeded in this respect, beyond any expectations.

There Was No Exploration

This is actually one of the most ridiculous assertions when it comes to Skyward Sword. Yes, it wasn’t an open-world game. Yes, it could come across as somewhat linear. But the game itself actually had quite a bit of exploration to be had! Yes, the game was segmented into several sections that slowly open up, but all of those sections were incredibly dense. There were so many secrets and sidequests to be had, Goddess Cubes included. The Lanayru Desert was the best and probably the largest area. Faron Woods was rife with secrets and exploration. Exploring each of the sections within the game was actually one of my favorite parts, and there were some fun minigames.

Skyloft and its surrounding islands also had some cool stuff. Yes, even the sky.

The Silent Realms

Everyone seems to hate the Silent Realms, but I think they were a great change of pace for the game. That goes for the “padding” at the end of the game too, but the Silent Realms, were, in particular, fantastic. They caused your adrenaline to go wild and were incredibly frantic. They had great rewards, and they also helped Link grow spiritually as a character. With Skyward Sword being a narrative-driven game, it was actually one of the few times I was so immersed in the main character that I became him. I was Link. And I felt his character’s growth, as well as his love for Zelda. The Silent Realms worked really well as a change of pace from the dungeons and grow Link’s character. They fulfilled their function perfectly.

Skyward Sword is easily one of the top five Zelda games. The criticisms levied at it are not only unfair, but for the most part, they are invalid. Yes, Nintendo decided to go a different direction in Breath of the Wild, but that has no bearing on whether or not Skyward Sword was an amazing game. It was.

One of the best.

Breath of the Wild Champion amiibo

The Breath of the Wild Champion amiibo came out this past weekend, and they are more than just a mere visual spectacle. I was lucky to be able to pick up all four at Target; Urbosa, Daruk, and Mipha on Saturday, and Revali today. I quickly started testing them out, seeing what I would get from the chests (or simply dropped from the sky), and I was surprised by what I found. The only thing missing from the set was a Champion Zelda, in the style from the DLC trailers. I hope we get one, as she looks so regal like a Champion Princess should.

We already know from the Nintendo Direct that each Champion amiibo gives the player a helm associated with each Champion. Daruk gives you the Vah Rudania Divine Helm, which provides Flame Guard. Mipha’s amiibo provides you the Vah Ruta Divine Helm, which, like the Zora Tunic and greeves, give you Swim Speed Up. Urbosa gives you the Vah Naboris Divine Helm, which is incredibly similar to the Thunder Helm except Urbosa’s helm just has Electricity Resistance. Finally, the Revali amiibo gives Link the Vah Medoh Divine Helm, which gives you cold resistance. The helms also grant an additional bonus, Ancient Proficiency. When used in conjunction with the Ancient Cuirass and Ancient Greaves which are upgraded at least twice, attack power of ancient guardian weapons is increased, with some additional bonus from the helms. I personally don’t care about the helms that much, but they seem pretty cool to have and they have nice perks.

This was already revealed though, but it’s still pretty interesting and they’re easy to get — I got two on my first attempt with Urbosa (along with diamonds, rubies, and some flint I believe) and with Daruk.

The best part of the Champion amiibo are the order of the drops. Everything is based on being able to rebuild their weapons. The game isn’t so kind to just give them to you, but it gives you exactly what you need to rebuild them, as soon as you need them. I didn’t have Mipha’s Lightscale Trident. What was the first item I got from her? The spear that is required to use to rebuild the Lightscale Trident. My favorite Champion weapon in the game comes from my leave favorite champion — Revali. His Great Eagle Bow is by far the best in the game. The one I have is almost broken, so I did a little experiment. I dropped the bow and then used then scanned his amiibo.

What exactly happened? I received the Falcon bow so I could get the Great Eagle Bow again, right away, as soon as I lost his bow! And, most importantly, the very first drop I got was full of rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and flint when I used the Champion amiibo. These are required to rebuild some of these weapons, especially Urbosa’s, whose shield is outright amazing. Finding the Gerudo Schitmar in order to rebuild the Schitmar of the Seven is no easy task. There’s one that’s simple to find, but they are not common. In fact, finding most, if not all of the base weapons for the Champions’ weapons is pretty difficult.

Breath of the Wild Champion amiibo

This makes the Champion amiibo, by far, not only the best, but the most valuable amiibo that can be used in Breath of the Wild. The items they give you aren’t random — in fact, it’s all very calculated to help the player, something the game doesn’t do very often.

I haven’t even been able to talk about the beautiful design of the amiibo either. The Breath of the Wild, and Zelda amiibo in general, are the most well crafted and detailed amiibo Nintendo has ever released. The Champion amiibo actually sets a whole new standard for not only the Breath of the Wild set, but a new standard for all amiibo. I can’t even pick out one that I can say is my definitive favorite, although I will say Urbosa and Daruk are probably the best and Mipha is the weak link in the set, but that doesn’t mean much; they’re all fantastic.

If you buy any amiibo for Breath of the Wild, buy the Champion amiibo. Not only are they beautiful, but they have the best functionality of any amiibo in any game. Hopefully with the upcoming DLC focusing on the Champions even more, the amiibo can add in a few more hidden features we don’t know about yet!