Smash Patch 1.1.6 Announced

Patch 1.1.6 announced with no details yet

Early on May 17, 2016, Nintendo has formally announced that there will be a Patch 1.1.6 for Super Smash Brothers for both the 3DS and the WiiU. Nintendo has been keeping this patch under wraps and giving absolutely no details about the patch except that the download will be 61MB. Considering most update patches were of a smaller size, one can assume that the latest patch will include more than just simple bug fixes and a little balancing here and there.

The only other detail that has been revealed is that the release will be sometime this upcoming month. With characters who have been relatively untouched since the first patch, such as Jigglypuff, King Dedede, and Palutena, this would be a prime opportunity for Nintendo to give much needed buffs to these characters and perhaps tweak a few things to make characters more balanced.

Or we can all chant “Nerf Greninja”.

What do you think will come up in the next patch? Leave your comments below!

Cerulean’s Thoughts on the Fire Emblem Franchise

Also known as “My love/hate relationship with Fire Emblem Awakening”

I would like to begin this opinion article by making one disclaimer. If you are the type of person who goes in reading an article with a strong opinion beforehand and do not have an open mind, stop right here. If you are the type of person who will stop reading something halfway through because you disagree with what is said and do not even bother to read to the end, this article is not for you. This is merely a seasoned, longtime series veteran’s viewpoint of the franchise, how I feel the series has gone after Fire Emblem Awakening, its unique position considering Fire Emblem Fates and the fan reaction to its release, and potential ideas for the future of the franchise. With that aside, please bear in mind this is only opinion and speculation and, as such, there will be biases involved.

Ike
Ike: The Lord of Path of Radiance

I begin this article with putting this one fact at the forefront. Fire Emblem has been one of only two franchises I can legitimately say that I will buy a gaming console just to play (just for FYI, the other franchise is Smash Brothers). My first splash in the series was receiving Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as a Christmas present alongside Tales of Symphonia back in 2005. My initial reason for saving to buy a Nintendo 3DS was simply to play Awakening. I was intrigued at all the new features and gameplay mechanics they had to offer after keeping up with the news of the game through its development. After “New Mystery of the Emblem” failed to have a stateside release, I was desperately hoping the next game would see a North America release. As a side note, I would like to say I was wholeheartedly disappointed that the WiiU did not have a console Fire Emblem game.

I received Awakening as a birthday present from a close friend that I had known for many years three months after its launch, although months later I would spend extra money on eBay just to buy the blue special edition 3DS. When I first picked up the game, I found myself hooked to the game, unable to put it down, and raving to everyone I knew how much I enjoyed the game. Yet, as I finished my fourth playthrough of the game, I could not ignore the nagging feeling in the back of my head that something felt off. It was not until when Fates was announced that I realized what was bothering me.

Lucina
Lucina: The point of affection for many Fire Emblem fans, new and old alike.

Fire Emblem Awakening signaled a change in the franchise toward a direction that was less faithful to its roots. It was a modernization of the game’s franchise, most likely done in order to try to save a series that was potentially on its last ever release due to the consistent, depressingly low sales numbers and lukewarm reception. I noticed characters that acted like by-the-books archetypes largely present in anime, such as Lucina being The Woobie, Noire being a Shrinking Violet, Frederick being the stoic servant, etc. which served as appeal to the average anime fan out there. My inner anime nerd (and yes, I will admit that I was once a hardcore NaruHina shipper) was guiltily enjoying this game, but the side of me that loved Fire Emblem really was not impressed. Support conversations were now opposite sex shipping wars instead of meaningful bonding between two characters, pairing up was a broken mechanic, fanservice seemed to pop up more and more, and boringly uninspired map designs and goals began to bother me.

Lucina in a Kimono
Who doesn’t want to see a blushing Lucina in a kimono for $3.00?

Awakening was a last ditch effort of a company which used a hodgepodge of various gimmicks and mechanics that were unique to the previous games to help give it some traction. Some features include the world map of Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, the skill system of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the generational system of Fire Emblem: Geneaology of the Holy War, the class change system of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, unbreakable weapons from Fire Emblem Gaiden, the avatar in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, etc. It combined these mechanics, the core gameplay of the series, and adding in modern market trends based on what was trending at that point in time and managed to become a commercial success.

Yet, sales dictate business and business dictate where a series goes. Fire Emblem Awakening was a huge commercial success and, as much as I initially loved the game, I feared the series would take a turn for the worse down a road that took the series further and further from its roots. My hope was that Awakening would bring in a new crop of fans to the fold and be used as a bridge so that this new generation could play the older games and see the magic of the series proper. My initial hope was that the next game would rein in the diversion from the main series and slowly bridge the new fans into the gameplay and story of the older games. However, after seeing the initial trailer for Fates and seeing what was initially put on the table, I felt like my worst fears had been confirmed. The older fans of the series, who had faithfully bought every game in the series, were being ignored in favor of the huge market of new fans that Awakening had brought in. I could see a split in the fandom between the old guard and new fans, much like /b/ had disagreements over Boxxy (and I might just be dating myself on that reference).

Princess Elincia
Average Stats: Okay. Join Time: Terrible. Wields: Swords and Staves. Personal Experience Means Nothing, this unit is terrible!

What made the old Fire Emblem games great was that they were niche. We were not the largest video game fanbase by any means and we sure as heck did get elitist some of the time… okay, a lot of the time. After all, the fanbase will steadfastly argue that “personal experience means nothing” and only a character’s “average stats” could be used in any debate regarding a character’s worth. Yet, we were still a tightly knit community that created some truly impressive fan works and some impressively long fanfiction. Some that are worth nothing are Gunlord500’s “Wayward Son”, Onionbreath002’s “Fourteen Days”, FoxwolfJackson’s “Spellbinding Radiance”, CormagRavenstaff’s “Final Emblem: Dawn Over an Old World”, and voltaire22’s “Debt of Honor”. Many of these stories were high-calibur prose that showed creativity and ingenuity and, with the exception of Spellbinding Radiance, were not a bunch of self-insert original characters in adaptations of the games like most of the Ylisse universe fanfiction has become.

Camilla Beach Brawl DLC
Pity we didn’t have Elincia and Micaiah DLC in Radiant Dawn. At least her seemingly uncomfortable strap is gone.

The point is the fanbase has now been saturated with a bunch of new blood that have a different perception of the series as the older fans and a different vision of what the future of the IP holds. Now, I’m not going to grumble and complain that they “ruined the franchise” as many of the older fans have been, but when I hear most of these new people won’t touch the older games because they’re “too hard” or “the old art style looks weeby” or “I can’t marry units together, what’s the point?” or “where’s my casual mode?”, that becomes a tipping point of wondering what is the future of this franchise. The future of gaming markets in general seem to have taken an interesting turn, where games are only partially released and DLC is used to complete it down to somewhat shameless fanservice for those who want to spend the extra cash to experience it first-hand.

Honestly, if a person has to play the game in Phoenix mode in order to beat it, then Fire Emblem really is not a game series for them, and Intelligent Systems has to realize it. Not every genre is meant to be played by every gamer. Case and point is that I am woefully inept at first-person shooters and, prior to playing the Overwatch beta and started going around in D.va’s mech suit and the jumpy Tracer, I only did decently in Call of Duty. Real first-person shooters, like Counterstrike and Battlefield, were simply being a sitting duck and contributing more to the opposing team than to my own. I am an FPS filthy casual shotgun newbie in Call of Duty and I will admit it.

With that out of the way, I have taken a few moments to step back from the situation and have tried to observe it in a non-biased way possible. What I noticed is a potential for Intelligent Systems to capitalize on what they have created in this somewhat interesting situation they have for themselves.

Leon and Ashley
Leon and Ashley of Resident Evil 4

I am, by no means, arguing that a change in game design and direction is a bad thing. After all, Resident Evil 4 was the first game in the series that deviated away the Survival Horror genre characteristics that helped drive the first three games. It was a highly enjoyable game and one of the best selling Resident Evil games out there. Metroid Prime decided to take the series from a third person side-scrolling horror survival-esque resource management adventure into a first-person action adventure world exploration game and is arguably the best Metroid game released. Let’s not even get started on how many stylistic changes Final Fantasy has made from the first one to the current one. Change can be good, when implemented properly.

With the release of Birthright and Conquest in Fire Emblem Fates, Intelligent Systems has, whether purposefully or accidentally, released two games that split the fanbase further by having different nuances that catered either to the old fans or the new fans. Conquest definitely caught my attention in how much of a throwback it was to this old Fire Emblem fan whereas Birthright definitely had more of an Awakening appeal in its difficulty and mechanics. Perhaps this was intentional to see what to do to further develop the series. Personally, I can see two directions that the company could take.

The first option that I believe Intelligent Systems could take is simply analyze the sales of the two versions. This is the most logical reason why both were released prior to Revelation, as they the gameplay of Hoshido and Nohr mirror the clash of the two fanbases. The side that wins the sales war will be the direction the series will take. If Conquest outsold Birthright, Fire Emblem 15 could be more classic in gameplay; if Birthright outsold Conquest, Fire Emblem 15 could find older features cut out in order to more effectively implement new mechanics and have easier than usual difficulty.

The other option is a lot more far-fetched, but it would make a lot more sense in a business aspect. At this point, being able to appease both fanbases at once is a near impossible task for Intelligent Systems. As much as Conquest caters to the older fans, there are core gameplay mechanics that simply decrease the game’s quality. The pair-up system, while no longer broken, is a mechanic that could be done without. The generational system in this game seems to be rushed and forced into the games with a sloppy handling of how the children were implemented into the party. Characters were rather uninteresting in most support conversations and the seemingly going from “strangers” to “I love you, let’s have kids” in opposite sex support conversations was jarring and odd to say the least. The whole “My Castle” concept was interesting, but definitely unneeded.

With that being said, Intelligent Systems could cater to each side of the fanbase even further by simply creating a new IP with the progress they have made with Awakening and Birthright. While Fire Emblem proper would return back to its roots in the next entry in the franchise, this new series could take everything that made Awakening unique to the franchise and run with it. This would benefit both sides as Intelligent Systems would be free to introduce new and exciting mechanics and settings in this new series without having fear of backlash from fans of the old Fire Emblem games. The tastes and expectations in the two fanbases are so diverse and different from each other that creating a one-size-fits-all game only partially satisfies both sides, while stunting sales from those who are firmly rooted in either side.

Princess Elise
Princess Elise, the lord of Fire Emblem 2006! No, not Marth’s sister.

As long as they do not call the spin-off series “Water Crest”, I would be fine. Persona is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series–in fact, the first Persona game was called Shin Megami Tensei: Persona–and both series do quite well with their respective fanbases. If the next Fire Emblem game sales numbers tank back to the numbers it had prior to Awakening, I would be fine with the series dying with its dignity intact, rather than see it be “modernized” into something I can hardly recognize, until Intelligent Systems pulls a Sega, promises a great game, and gives us Fire Emblem 2006 starring Princess Elise.

Besides, hey, as much as I have griped about Awakening and Fates, both were still highly enjoyable experiences in their own right. If they really make a separate series as the latter suggestion has, I would be all for buying the game. I love the tactical strategy genre and, if they truly give that series its own identity, it could rival Fire Emblem as becoming one of my favorite series and a solitary reason to buy a Nintendo console. Just keep the same composer, because the soundtracks for Fates and Awakening were leagues better than the previous games.

It is a win-win, Intelligent Systems… why not make it happen?

Nintendo Vs. Capcom: More than a Pipe Dream?

Street Fighter Producer Interested in Making Nintendo Vs. Capcom

Many fans of the Super Smash Brothers franchise were quite shocked and pleased when Capcom announced that their iconic character from Street Fighter, Ryu, would be released in Nintendo’s fighting game franchise. Some believed it to be an attempt by Smash creator, Masahiro Sakurai, to try to bridge the Smash Brothers community with other fighting game communities while others believe it to be a way for Capcom to promote Street Fighter V the way Cloud’s appearance in Smash happened shortly after the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake. Regardless of the motivation behind Ryu’s surprising, albeit pleasant cameo in Smash, the announcement has left the fighting game community speculating on future partnerships between Capcom and Nintendo.

Ryu Vs. Captain Falcon
Ryu Vs. Captain Falcon: A Rematch is Necessary

In a recent interview, Capcom’s Yoshinoro Ono briefly touched upon the process and decision to include Ryu in the roster of Smash Brothers. Although Ono has revealed in an interview with Streetpass UK that he would have loved to also see Zangief or Blanka dropped into Smash Brothers, although Sakurai has already made it clear that there will be no more character additions to Smash after the addition of Corrin and Bayonetta.

While the potential with pitting Street Fighter icons against Nintendo legends in a unique fighting game system has since passed, Ono has also thrown the idea out there that he would be greatly interested in working on a traditional crossover fighting game.

UMvC3
UMvC3: One of Capcom’s many crossover fighting games

Capcom has an extensive history of working on mashup fighting games including Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Street Fighter, Capcom vs. SNK, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and Marvel vs. Capcom. Given that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was a game that was released for the Wii and is arguably one of the best fighting games of that console, it is entirely possible that “Nintendo vs. Capcom” might be more than just a pipe dream, especially considering the two companies are on friendly terms.

Granted, don’t get your hopes up for a WiiU port of Street Fighter V, but a potential partnership down the road could bode well for seeing Mario, Link, and Pikachu on a team against Albert Wesker, Zangief, and Vergil Sparda. Only question is, which team would Megaman and Phoenix Wright play for?

Watch the full interview between Ono and Streetpass UK below:

Streets of Rage 2 OST on vinyl available for pre-order!

Available for ordering today, Streets of Rage 2 OST on vinyl comes in three editions

SoR2 Cover
Cover of the Streets of Rage 2 Genesis edition.

Yes, you all have heard correctly! With many people turning to listening to their favorite music in a less crisp warmer tone or simply purchasing the records as collectors, vinyl has been resurging through the markets with renewed vigor. The latest music to join this trend has been video game soundtracks. Paired with the high amounts of nostalgia in the video game culture, vinyl seems to be a perfect fit for many gamers of today.

Today, February 27, marks the first day of pre-ordering for the vinyl release of a remastered Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack. Widely regarded among video game fans as one of the most influential and well-written soundtracks of the 16-bit era, this soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro has been taken straight from the files from his original NEC PC-88 and touched up for a modern audience. In addition to the record, two lithographs and artwork from Sega are included with the purchase.

Streets of Rage 2 vinyl options
The OST’s vinyl comes with three different cosmetic options, two lithographs, and a killer case.

The records come in three editions, all in 2 x 180g LP. One is a traditional black vinyl and will sell for approximately $32, whereas one can pay a few dollars more (approximately $35) and acquire a transparent vinyl with a smoke effect and optional blood spatter. Twenty-five tracks will be included with the release, which include four bonus tracks. Two examples of what the soundtrack has to offer can be found here.

Personally, I can only hope they do this with the Final Fantasy VI, Bravely Default, or Chrono Trigger soundtracks one day.

Will any of you be purchasing this for your vinyl collection? Leave your comment below!

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon announced today

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon announced by Nintendo

Earlier today, Nintendo held a brief, but wonderful video event today that made Pokemon fans across the world extremely excited. Nintendo has unveiled the next games in the franchise’s main series, Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, and it will be released in nine different languages. CEO of The Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, said during the presentation: “We hope that, through Pokemon, players can overcome language barriers and interact with other players from around the world.”

New Pokemon Center Design
New Pokemon Center Design!

This comes a day after a leak confirmed that Nintendo had registered a trademark with new logos for the games. Although not many details were released, fans of the series can look forward to these games in a holiday 2016 release time on the Nintendo 3DS. This is especially good news to the fans, many of whom have been waiting since Pokemon X and Pokemon Y’s release back in late 2013. One can only speculate what does “Sun” and “Moon” correlate to in the actual games, although one can assume that it relates to this generation’s legendary Pokemon.

Also coming from the announcement celebrating Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, the original Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition will be released on the Nintendo eShop as a virtual download for fans to play. There will also be an updated version of Pokemon Bank that Nintendo also announced as follows:

“This online storage application will make it possible for fans to move Pokémon wirelessly from Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition, which come to the Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS on February 27, to Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Pokémon from Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon X, and Pokémon Y can also be transferred to Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon through Pokémon Bank”

Pokemon Blue Cover
Pokemon Blue (also Admin Cerulean’s first Pokemon game)!

This brings some interesting questions about the re-releases of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow and if there has been a massive overhaul in how the gameplay mechanics work. In the original games, the IV’s (Individual Values) only went from 0-15 as opposed to 0-31 in later games, the split between Sp. Atk and Sp. Def did not happen until Generation 2, Pokemon did not have gender in the original games, there was no Nature or Ability in the original games, and attacks were considered physical or special based upon the attack’s type rather than by the individual attacks themselves (ie: all fire-type attacks were special, even attacks like Fire Punch). I am rather confident the Pokemon Company thought this through; in the meantime, many fans can simply speculate on how the developers will deal with these discrepencies.

This news is only the tip of the iceberg for the many events happening in a busy year for the franchise. Next month is the release of Pokken Tournament, a fighting game featuring Pokemon created by some of the key developers for Tekken and Soul Calibur. Later this year, Pokemon Go will release on iOS and Android.

What are your thoughts on a Generation 7 release for Pokemon? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Top Ten RPG Boss Battle Themes

Top Ten RPG Boss Battle Themes

Now, I understand that virtually every article writer has done a top ten list, perhaps even on the same topic as this. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter; to be frankly honest, my opinion on the matter changes every so often, so it is a little difficult to compile a “top ten” list, but here we go!

Please note that this list does not include final boss themes, since that may be put in a separate list in the future. Also please note that this list tries its best to avoid outright spoilers; however, indirect spoilers may be subconsciously and unintentially implied and some cases spoilers are absolutely unavoidable.

#10: The End of Raging Waves: Etrian Odyssey III

I actually have never played this game, so I never had the opportunity to experience this song yet in its actual game. I originally considered writing The End of Raging Winds from Etrian Odyssey IV, since I really liked that song, but after hearing that song was based upon this lovely gem, I had to give it a listen. After having listened to both songs numerous times and dissected both and why I liked both, I had come to the conclusion that I liked this version better. Call me a sucker for well-written chip music, but listening to this song brings a fresh feel of a JRPG boss battle theme while taking that block of nostalgia and chipping away at it.

The song is a solid combination of a good bassline, a good lead, and percussion that help drive the feeling of necessity to win a battle. It is a solid theme and definitely will stay on the top ten for a while to come.

#9: Armada Battle Theme: Skies of Arcadia

I was hesitant on putting this on the list, because as amazing as Skies of Arcadia is, I have to say the soundtrack is actually the weakest part of this game. Not even close to saying it was a terrible soundtrack, but as great as every part of this game is, one part had to be the part that was the weakest. Every song on this soundtrack was very well made, but unfortunately for me, none of them really completely stuck out to me. The only song I can say for a fact that even somewhat stood out to me would be the theme that plays when the player fights against a member of the Valuan Armada.

The song itself is upbeat enough to definitely give the vibe of a boss battle, but it definitely has a more sombre tone in its main melody to denote that something serious is going down. However, the B-theme (or second melody in other terms) goes from having a sombre feel to a bit more of an uplifted tone. This was probably to give players the subconscious feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel; I can certainly say that hearing that part in this song definitely raised fighting morale.

#8: Spider Dance: Undertale

This entry is only debatable because one might argue that Undertale is not truly an RPG. Personally, I feel that the game has enough RPG elements in it that I would classify it as a hybrid containing elements of classic turn-based JRPG and simpler bullet hell games. Out of all the boss themes in the game, I find this one to be the one that appeals to me the most both in terms of musical composition and how appropriate it is for the scene.

The constant movement and torrent of notes is quite reminiscent of spiders running, and I applaud composer Toby Fox for a job well done on this track. In terms of the game being a humble tribute and/or throwback to the old school RPG’s, this song definitely hits the nail on the head. Between the chiptune-esque nostalgia of the piece, the driving pace of the song, and the appropriateness of the mood set by the piece, I can definitely say this piece is worthy of being on the list.

#7: Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster: Super Mario RPG

Honestly, this was a toss up, since this one and Fight Against an Armed Enemy were both spectacular boss themes on this soundtrack. However, this track managed to deliver a knockout punch and jump to the list, shooting up to the seventh spot by clawing its way up there.

Super Mario RPG is a delightfully quirky game that combines the elements of a traditional RPG with some timing elements in attacks, a whimsical plot and characterization that is signature of a Mario game, and a fantastic soundtrack that reflects both elements in this amazing amalgamation of quaint and quirk. Between the off-the-wall drumming, introductory brass fanfare that screams old school boss battle, and a melody that could go in most mario games, this song definitely is a great hybrid of Nintendo and Square’s talents.

#6: Kraken of the Sea: Earthbound

While on the topic of games on the SNES that are affably quirky, Earthbound seals this spot with the boss battle theme in the second half of the game. Earthbound is a game that delivers a deceptively simplistic world full of crazy hippies, punks on skateboards, corrupt officers, cults, and many other enemies for a good majority of the beginning of the game, leading people to a sense of security in that this game is very light-hearted. After certain events happen in the game, the turning point has the game do a complete turnabout, even going as far as to change the battle music for the boss battles (or sanctuary guardians as some have referred to them as). The last part of the game takes a decidedly dark turn and the music itself in the second boss theme of the game manages to capture that essence and deliver it great justice.

#5: Boss Battle Theme: Shin Megami Tensei IV (no official title of the track)

Although this song has no official title (to my knowledge), this track definitely replicates the grim nature of this game quite well. The entire game has you entrenched in a battle of law vs. chaos, where neither is in the right or wrong, one’s morality compass spins in all directions, and the only thing the main characters can do through most of the game is survive and try to carry on with their mission. The driving beat, frantic pulse, and relentless lead gives the player the rush they need in this grim, gritty masterpiece of a game. It is hard to justify what makes this song so appropriate for the game outside of strongly advising one to play the game themselves, but if this song makes a person think of a battle for the party’s life, where every wrong move in a punishing battle system could have your party flat on its butt and possibly slaughtered in a world that really is relatively thankless for the actions you have been taking, then the song has done the situation justice.

#4: Gym Leader Battle Music: Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow

(Video chosen because the actual song has sound effects from the game in the background)

This song was almost a no-brainer as soon as I started this list and was one of the first songs to be considered for the list. In a game where a young child captures creatures from the wild, trains them, makes them one’s friends, summon them to battle against other trainers, growing in friendship, and growing in experience, eight particular adversaries stand in the way of reaching the very top (nine if one counts the fact this song also plays when going against Elite Four Lance). The gym leaders in the Pokemon games traditionally are trainers who specialize in a particular type and are much stronger than the average trainer, serving as the player’s boss battles in this revolutionary RPG.

The music itself constantly pushes forward with a constant stream of eighth notes, usually in the bass, and a frantic run in the middle voices, while the melody almost sings on top of all this chaos with long notes that complement the chaos under it quite fittingly. The moments in the song where everything just stops and only the lead is playing provides a stark contrast to the rest of the piece. Overall, a very solid boss battle song.

#3: The Fierce Battle: Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III on the SNES)

This song is the oftentimes overshadowed other boss theme in a game with an already beloved and well-known boss theme in The Decisive Battle. However, and I may be of the minority, I find this song to actually be superior of the two amazing boss themes. This song plays late in the game when the player is facing some of the last bosses of the game. At this point, everything lays in chaos and destruction and your ragtag party of heroes have worked so hard to stand as the last bastian of defense against the psychopathic antagonist’s grand scheme.

This song’s rather frantic introduction and chromatic movements quite accurately and precisely manage to reflect that ideal. With the flutes playing the lead in the next part of the song bridging the intro into the actual song, one can almost feel the emptiness of the world weighing in on your mind. With the actual melody going on afterward, one can feel almost the frentic battle high in the sky over the ruined world. The next line with the trumpets does an interesting development of the initial melody by offering a more optimistic outlook of the battle, but this is quickly quashed by the reprise of the song’s introduction, restarting the loop.

#2: Magus Confronted: Chrono Trigger

With a rich storyline, an awesome cast of unique characters, and a new spin on the Active Time Battle system with dual techs and watching character placements on the map, Chrono Trigger is, by far, one of the greatest JRPGs to have ever been created. What stands out most about this track is that you do battle with Magus, an evil sorceror that you have been chasing for a while, in a dimly lit hallway with only torches to light your way. For most of the game up until this point, the story has been pushing for him to be the antagonist that you have to absolutely take down, so this song fits perfectly as something akin to a final boss theme. From the slow build of the introduction, the relentless drive of the rest of the piece, and the percussion break that fits seamlessly in,

#1: Wicked Flight: Bravely Default

Bravely Default, personally, has set a new standard of expectation of what is the bar of expectation for great video games. A video game is a combination of the skill of a writer for engaging the mind, the skill of the artists for engaging the eye, and the skill of the composers for engaging the ear working together in perfect harmony with each other to deliver an immersive artistic experience for the player.

Wicked Flight is the song that plays for the penultimate battle of the game and is as satisfying as it is epic. In a series of plot twists and turns, the player eventually comes to terms with engaging and battling this game’s antagonist. One can easily relish this moment of a truly difficult boss battle with the idea of finally taking this person down for good. After having fought them in two battles before and, if one takes the wrong route in relation to the crystals, is the final boss of the “bad ending”, this battle will be the most satisfying victory once overcome.

Honestly, everything about this song screams “final boss”. In fact, the character themselves scream “final boss” to me, but that is an opinion article for another time. From the introduction, which introduces a fanfare, to the main theme itself, the song is heavily appropriate for not only the situation at hand and the severity of the plot at the moment, this song is very appropriate for the character themselves. It has the feeling of unease and discord, yet has a feeling of uplifting flight (hence the title of the song).

Overall, while this list may always change in my head, it is hard to justify putting any boss theme above Wicked Flight. It is simply the right song written the right way for the right occasion in a masterpiece called Bravely Default.

Do you agree with this top ten list? Comment below!

Bravely Second Release Date and Demo

Bravely Second Release Date Has Been Announced!

Nintendo has announced a Bravely Second release date for North American audiences. The announced date is April 15, 2016. Prepare your tax checks, because this is going to be one game for the 3DS you do not want to miss out on!

Bravely Second Collector's Edition
Bravely Second Collector’s Edition

Fans can pick up a Collector’s Edition of the game for $69.99, which includes the game, a 250-page deluxe art book, and a soundtrack that features ten songs. This package is similar to the package that was announced to be released to the European market with the exception that North American markets will not be getting the Agnes figure that is included with the European deal.

In the meantime, a demo called “Bravely Second: End Layer—The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers”, has been announced for release in the North American region. No date for the demo has been announced, but the demo itself is rumored to have about ten hours worth of gameplay. Bonuses that have been accumulated in the demo can be carried over to the main game when it releases.

Demo screenshot
Bravely Second Japanese Demo soon to be localized

Those who have played a version of the demo already can experiment with the included classes. The demo will include its own story and will serve as a prelude that leads up to the main story and focuses on three of the game’s characters. Returning classes include the Freelancer, the Valkyrie, and the Red Mage. The demo also debuts the new classes of the Wizard and the Astrologer. In the demo, the game mechanic Bravely Second also returns. In addition, Bravely Second will have a feature similar to Bravely Default’s Norende village, where players will be using StreetPass to help rebuild a village.

April cannot come soon enough!

Dragon Ball: Project Fusion announced

Dragon Ball Z to Have an RPG Released on 3DS

The latest issue of V Jump magazine out in Japan has revealed a treat for Dragon Ball fans across the world. Bandai Namco has been announced to be creating a new RPG for the Nintendo 3DS set in the Dragon Ball universe. The game has been reported to be titled “Dragon Ball: Project Fusion” and is slated to have a release in 2016 in Japan.

Dragon Ball: Project Fusion
Can Broku lift things up and put them down?

Not much is known about the game, such as release price, game mechanics, character roster, exact release date, or whether there are any plans for localization. The very little we know of the game comes from pictures from the magazine, which features a picture of a Super Saiyan Goku doing a fusion dance with Super Saiyan Broly. However, it is unclear how this game will fit with the storyline of the manga and anime, if it will at all, considering Broly is from the movies, which are widely regarded as non-canon.

With any luck, Dragon Ball: Project Fusion will be brought over internationally to see a release outside of Japan. The last Dragon Ball game from the RPG genre to be released out to the western audiences was “Attack of the Saiyans” by Monolith Soft. Perhaps they might be the company developing the game. If not, hopes that Tri-Crescendo could potentially work on it since they have worked with Bandai Namco in the past.

Super Mario Bros. Z: The Long Anticipated Revival

Mario and Sonic return for a new sprite adventure in Super Mario Bros. Z

Super Mario Bros. Z was a sprite flash animation released by Alvin Earthworm released on April 22, 2006 on Newgrounds. In an era where many flash animators were trying to make a name for themselves through sprite animation shows such as Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom, Super Mario Bros. Z began as a humble crossover of characters from the Mario series and the Sonic series with heavy DragonBall Z influences. Over time, the show’s fanbase grew and grew and the series itself became a cult classic in internet culture. Many spinoff series drew inspiration and were created as a homage to the original, such as Mega Sonic Bros. AF, Mario and Sonic: Worlds in Danger, and New Super Mario Bros. Z.

In its original run, eight episodes were created and released with a ninth that was in-progress; however, Alvin had stated that he had started to grow tired of working on the episode and announced on March 26, 2012 that the series had been discontinued. However, fans of the series were determined to continue the legacy of the show and bring the show justice. Animators such as Krazzygamer3y2, who wanted to continue the series and add Megaman characters, and LDEJRuff, who titled his continuation Super Mario Bros. Z: resRXion, worked diligently to creatively continue the series on in the spirit of the seemingly discontinued show.

On October 5, 2013, Alvin had made a post stating that he had some interest rekindled in remaking the series after reacquiring Flash. He had also announced that if he was to continue working on the series, he was going to reboot the show from the beginning in order to fix some scenes that he felt were not to his liking as well as alter some plot points that he felt he did not want to use anymore.

Alvin eventually released an updated version of Episode 1’s opening sequence, but strongly emphasized that this video did not have any guarantee that he was remaking the series. All was silent for a while from the creator and some fans were beginning to wonder whether this was going to be just deflated hopes.

Super Mario Bros. Z
Super Mario Bros. Z

However, on September 4, 2015, Alvin released a new introduction to the series’ reboot, much to the exhuberation and joy of the show’s fanbase. After three years from the discontinuation announcement, the show was getting a proper reboot. On January 5, 2016, Alvin released the first episode to all his Patreon supporters and shortly afterward, on January 8th, the episode was released to the general public.

Rejoice, fans, for the heroes have returned with Sonic’s heroic optimism, Mario’s steeled resolve, Luigi’s comedic cowardice, and Shadow’s cynically pragmatic attitude.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Anime comes out west

Phantasy Star Online 2 Anime to be Localized in Western Markets

Phantasy Star Online 2 is a game developed and published by Sega and was a much anticipated and desired sequel to the critically acclaimed Phantasy Star Online. In Asian markets, it has been released for PC in 2012, PlayStation Vita in 2013, and both Android and iOS in 2014. Furthermore, PSO2 has been slated for a PlayStation 4 release in 2016. Yet, what has the majority of the fans of the series left high and dry is the constant lack of any concrete plans of localizing the series. While Sega had teased Western fans of the series with a teaser of an English version of the game during the Penny Arcade Expo in August of 2012 and had announced a potential localization as early as 2013, fans of the series are still patiently (or impatiently) waiting for Sega to deliver on its promise. Yet, Sega has already announced plans to expand its franchise with a Phantasy Star Online 2 anime, much to the chagrin of the franchise’s fans in the Western market.

Phantasy Star Online is a well-known franchise here in the Western market, with a robust following. It has received many high ratings from websites such as IGN, Eurogamer, and GameSpot and has sold many copies across its various platforms. Fans of the .hack series, both anime and video game, truly appreciate Phantasy Star Online since .hack’s series developer, Hiroshi Matsuyama, has cited Phantasy Star Online as an influence for The World, the MMORPG world involved in the series.

Phantasy Star 2 Online Anime
Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation

However, this lack of a localization of the game has not stopped Sega from creating an anime based upon the game in 2016. The ironic and slightly irritatingly amusing part of this that has puzzled many fans of the series is that Sentai Filmworks has acquired the license to localize the anime for North American audiences. Fans of the series who want to indulge in more Phantasy Star Online run the risk of having the game spoiled for them by an anime based upon it, much like the fans of the Mother series had Mother 3’s storyline spoiled for them when they played the North American release of Super Smash Brothers Brawl and played through the Subspace Emissary storyline.

Perhaps Sega can reconsider localizing Phantasy Star Online 2 if Western audiences can answer with an overwhelmingly positive response to the localized release of the Phantasy Star Online 2 anime. Although the PlayStation Vita has underwhelming sales outside of the Japanese market, the PlayStation 4 has sold over 23 million units worldwide. In addition, numbers show that PC gaming is a relatively niche market over in Japan. With these signs, coupled with a positive reception of the anime, PSO fans could potentially be rejoicing if Sega listens to their fans and announce a localization of Phantasy Star Online 2.

I know Red and myself most certainly would buy one.

What do all of you think of this? Leave your comments and feedback below!