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Meeting the new guys

As mentioned earlier, when I got "Smash 4" I pretty much went in (mostly) blind. Of course I played as Princess Peach first thing; she's been one of my so-called "mains" ever since "Melee", and I trusted her. She didn't let me down, happy to say. However, one of the developments I'd heard about was that Princess Zelda, my other main, could no longer transform into Sheik; rather they were now separate characters (solely because the 3DS couldn't handle it and those in charge not wanting any playable characters to be exclusive to one version or the other; it's for that exact same reason that Samus and Zero Suit Samus were likewise separated, the Pokemon Trainer was removed though Charizard remains, and the Ice Climbers were cut). Others may actually appreciate that for whatever reasons, but for me a major part of how I tended to play Zelda (and this proved more major than I anticpated) was more or less knowing when to take which form. I tried to get used to them being separate characters and the resulting changes in play style but eventually I gave up and now only play either Zelda or Sheik every once in a while.

With that, I had to find someone else to be my second main. Yes, I could just relearn either or both characters, but I figured why do that when there's all these newcomers, several of which (I confess) I'd never even seen before, thus I could put that same effort towards learning them? At first, I thought the Mii Fighter(s) would be my new secondary (dare I say my new primary even), what with the fact that this was more or less a way to have any character one wanted in the game whether or not legal rights or whatnot would have otherwise allowed it (and indeed Nintendo itself offers Mii costumes meant to be specific characters of theirs and the other game companies involved with "Smash 4" as downloadable content (DLC)- characters that only came up just short of being fully realized like Totakeke/K.K. Slider, Lloyd Irving, Jacky Bryant, King K. Rool, Geno, and Knuckles the Echidna). For example, I will never not think that both Disney and Nintendo passed up a golden opportunity by not putting "Wreck-It Ralph" characters- at least Ralph himself if no one else- in the game (yes, I know they "invited" Pac-Man; the only reason I can't say that stopped being funny is because it never really was funny to begin with, especially in the quote's original context). But a Mii Fighter of him and his co-stars I could manage to make/find decent Mii versions of would have to do. Same with a character of Nintendo's own creation whom I feel has gone sadly under-appreciated/under-utilized by them: Mona from the "WarioWare" series, and even Princess Daisy (unless one thinks Peach's alternate color scheme with a yellow dress and brown hair is close enough). In the end, though, the Mii Fighters proved much less fun than I thought. You're really limited as to what you can have them do or (even with DLC) wear. I still have the ones I made, but use them even less than I use Zelda or Sheik these days.

Which still left me with several (for lack of a better term) "real" characters, which I tried out in no particular order (though obviously I had to unlock some of them, and as for DLC the only ones I have that I'd had no prior experience with (did get Lucas, Mewtwo, and Roy simply because I missed having them around despite not really using them all that much before), at least not in "Smash", were Ryu and Cloud). Sadly, the ones I thought had the most potential to be my new second main, Rosalina and Palutena, proved to be letdowns, and the one I most wanted to give a chance despite personal doubts, the Villager from "Animal Crossing", just proved annoying to play as. I suppose now's as good a time as any to point out that I don't believe in that "high tier"/"low tier" gobbledygook, so pardon me for not using/loving any "top tier" characters and if the characters I do like "suck" (i.e. are "lower tier" if not "bottom tier"). Sorry, but a considerable number of the fans take that sort of thing way too seriously and I'd rather not get involved in such debates.

Where was I? Oh, right, trying out the newer characters, again some of whose existences I had only just been made aware of. One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises, though, was a character I knew quite well (and not just because this was one of the ones whose presence in "Smash" I had heard the rumors if not official announcement thereof): the "Duck Hunt" dog (here just called Duck Hunt because technically you're controlling the dog, the duck, and whoever's shooting at the stuff the dog throws, though really this group references/represents old Nintendo shooting games in general). Yes, a character that for years everyone joked about getting into "Smash" actually made it in. Yet for all the grief he gave me and everyone else in his game of origin, here he's quite fun to play as, and the redesign they gave him is just too adorable to the point that I hate fighting against him. Of course, it appears now that the dog and the duck(s) were in cahoots the whole time, which explains things in "Duck Hunt" itself.

In the "hey, who's that?" category, I found myself particularly intrigued by this blonde guy with a big sword. No, not Cloud- the other one. The one that's not DLC. Yes, Shulk, who I learned is the main hero of a game called "Xenoblade Chronicles". I knew that game existed thanks to a puzzle in "Puzzle Swap" made to promote it, but said puzzle only showed an interesting-looking sword in the middle of a field with some imposing giant robot thing in the background (and it took me a bit to realize that Shulk's sword, actually called Monado, was indeed the very one shown in that panel). Also that game had a very limited release, so I never had a chance to actually play it. Purely from a "Smash" player's perspective, though, Shulk proved quite a pleasant surprise (and this had little to do with his accent or the option to- seriously- have him fight in his underwear/bathing suit). In a way, his Monado Arts (temporary stat boosts in one area at the cost of another) makes up for the loss of the original Zelda/Sheik mechanic, and he's overall just proven great to use. I'm even considering buying the Wii U Virtual Console version of "Xenoblade Chronicles" at some point, not just for Shulk but also because of the awesome music he brought with him and the mostly rave reviews from those who did manage to get the game during its original limited run.

( And then I discovered... )