Movement Animations in Games

There’s something to be said about a solid running animation in a videogame. Considering that most games involve movement, it’s easy to take for granted what really good movement feels like in the heat of play. But it’s very easy to mess up the way it feels to actually move about in a virtual world. That said, I’m going to go through a few of my favorite movement animations in games.

Main Character — Xenoblade Chronicles X

The original Xenoblade was a slog to get around in. It truly felt like Shulk and Co’s movements were slower than the actual animation, making it look like you were sliding across the ground. Xenoblade 2 fixed this, upping the movement speed overall. But it’s Xenoblade Chronicles X that remains the leader in the trilogy when it comes to movement. Your character’s standard run was brisk and speedy, but it was the full-on sprint that took the cake, letting you hoof it through the game world without losing a breath. It also could be chained into an immensely satisfying jump that let you cross chasms with ease.

2B — NieR: Automata

Surprise surprise. Every animation in NieR: Automata is absolutely bonkers. 2B’s movements have a weight to them that make her feel real, while still being responsive enough for you to feel like you have complete control over everything she does. Hell, even her walking animation is good! Platinum knows how to pick ’em. This won’t be the last time they’re on the list, either.

Cole — Infamous 2

It makes sense that Infamous is on this list, considering Sucker Punch created Sly Cooper, one of the better platformers of previous generations. All three Infamous games felt great to move around in, but Infamous 2 gets the edge here for the fantastic ice powers you can get, which make moving around even more exhilarating.

Bayek — Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Ever Assassin’s Creed game has great movement in it, so I decided to just pick one of the more recent ones. Origins was a great game overall, but I especially enjoy how Bayek’s weight shifts through the sand as he walks and runs out in the desert. The way holding the control stick in one direction leads to him eventually sprinting at full tilt is also intuitive after a few minutes of practice.

Hunter — Bloodborne

I don’t know what it is about Bloodborne in comparison to other games From Software has created, but it’s the one with the movement I loved the most. It just felt tighter and easier to control. It’s also one of the few games on this list where moving backward is just as important to me as moving forward. The way you can go back and forth on a dime to control distance between your enemies is why I decided to put Bloodborne on this list.

Link — Breath of the Wild

The Link in Breath of the Wild is a spunky little guy, and that shows in his running animation. The way his armor and weapons clink and clank against him in the usually silent Hyrule gives the animation even more character. I’m also not usually a fan of stamina systems, especially when it comes to running in a game, but I’m willing to let it slide for the simple fact that Link’s sprint feels much faster in Breath of the Wild than it does in Skyward Sword, which has the same concept, but worse.

Noctis — Final Fantasy XV

Regardless of how I feel about Final Fantasy XV as a whole, I can say pretty confidently that it feels good to simply run around in the game’s world. I don’t know how Noctis doesn’t get tired running in all that black in the middle of the midday sun, but I’ve learned not to ask questions when it comes to this game. Either way, there’s an exaggeration to Noctis’ run that makes simply running around all together satisfying, especially when coming up on a gang of monsters you’re about to crush.

The Traveler — Journey

It’s a good thing it feels good to move about in Journey, considering running is just about the only thing you do in the game. I don’t mean that in a negative way, of course — Journey is an amazing game, and the way the Traveler shifts and slides through the sandy dunes of its world make exploring entertaining, even in the most vast stretches of landscape.

Raiden — Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Oh hey, Platinum’s here again! The ninja sprint that Raiden does in Revengeance feels so good in action. It’s also a useful gameplay mechanic, letting you move automatically above or around objects to focus on fighting your enemies as opposed to getting stuck on geometry. Plus Raiden looks great doing it the whole time. And the way electricity gets stamped on the ground when he takes steps…it might be time to do another playthrough of MGR, everyone.

Amaterasu — Okami

Some say Okami is too long of a game. I say those people are incredibly wrong about everything and should reconsider their life-choices. Besides the fact that the game is amazing the whole way through (eh…give or take the first thirty minutes), it also feels amazing to dash about as Ami. The way flowers sprout behind you is such a unique stylistic touch, and the fact that they turn gold when going at your fastest speed is a level of detail that would help Platinum — then Clover Studios — make a name for itself later on in the game industry.

Treasure Master

Look at this guy. Look at him go.

Ok that’s all of them!! If you have a favorite animation of any kind in a game, post it here, or @ it my way over on mastodon, @eightbitsamurai!

Alliance Alive

Oh Alliance Alive. I’m very sad that nobody played this game because Legend of Legacy was a doozy that probably warded people away. This is because it was bad, I mean that it was bad. It was hampered by obfuscated systems and the complete lack of a plot, and was a huge grind to get through. Did you know that some characters had secret affinities with certain weapons? Now you do!

Alliance Alive arrived to fix Legend of Legacy’s, well, Legacy. And wow does it do a fantastic job with that! There are so many aspects that got fixed that it’s less of a spiritual sequel and more of a spiritual redo.

So why do I love Alliance Alive so much? Let me count the ways:

A combat system that finally makes sense. Where Legend of Legacy had too many systems that didn’t make sense, Alliance Alive has a bunch of systems that are all laid bare in their entirety, while also easing up on the complexity. Everything is defined by formations and roles, no more secret systems to speak of. It harkens back to a nice little blend of Romance Saga and Final Fantasy II, speaking to the pedigree of the game considering its developers. It’s extremely addictive to set up a bunch of different formations to change your strategy up on the fly. Also the bump to five active party members instead of 3 is a huge improvement. Speaking of Party Members…

An Alliance with Soul. Your 9 party members, like, talk to each other! It’s wild! They have lines and a personality and everything! And they’re all really charming! I can’t remember their original names because you can name them whatever you want from the Status menu, but I’m particularly fond of the Daemon Fox lady and the young scientist girl. Their interactions are a lot of fun. There’s also a plot to speak of (written by the same person that wrote Suikoden II) and it’s actually pretty engaging, concerning a human uprising against the daemons that have them under their thumb. It’s not mind-blowing by any means, but there are enough mysteries to keep you enthralled.

The Alliance System. People have been saying that Ni No Kuni II is like Suikoden II, but when it comes to closeness, I’d say Alliance Alive hits that mark a lot closer. About 9 hours into the game you unlock the Alliance System, wherein you set up 5 Guilds on your giant Ark ship. You then recruit members for your Alliance in different areas and assign them to the different guilds, which increase their power and help you out. The way you recruit these people is part of the fun — one human with an obsession with wanting to become a daemon joined when I switched my active character exploring the map to one of my daemon characters and talked to him. Another joined after we kicked their butt in a fight. There’s an addictive “collect ’em all” quality to grabbing all these characters, and I’ve essentially put the main quest on hold to find them at the moment.

A World Map. For real! And rather than just running around, you get a cool little glider that you can use to strategically fly from place to place to access secret out of the way areas, like new spots to build Guild Towers and guild members to recruit. It’s very cool (although the game can lag a bit if you’re moving too fast).

QOL Stuff. You can save anywhere! If you need to backtrack, 9 times out of 10 the game will fast-travel you there if you want! All the stats are explained this time (I’m serious, Legend of Legacy was bad)! You can change character’s names! The enemies are all visible on the map! You can chain battles to expedite grinding, if you want to grind at all!

JRPG Nostalgia. I guess this all culminates to one single feeling I have about Alliance Alive: it actually pulls off that nostalgia for the SNES/PS1 era of JRPGs. Something about raiding a hot spring to save a bunch of talking frogs felt like peak Final Fantasy IX to me, and that’s very much a good thing. It even has secret party members! There’s no obnoxious fanservice, no tedious sidequests that feel like padding, and every system in the game makes sense to include, letting you put as much or as little time into it that you want (seriously, you can completely ignore that Alliance system if you want to). And it does all that without hewing so closely to those SNES/PS1 JRPGs that it doesn’t actually do anything interesting or new. It’s just a really good game that feels like it was made with love, in my humble opinion.

Now that Alliance Alive is getting ported to the Switch, give it a shot! It’s definitely the most slept on game of 2018, and I highly recommend it!

Hyper Light Drifter

I wanna preface the below with the understanding that I don’t think Hyper Light Drifter is a bad game. It is demonstrably not. Honestly, my standards are so low at this point that as long it’s not filled with gross loli shit or racist under/overtones, then your game is probably fine in my book. BUT HLD (or Hyper Lightmension Driftunia if ya nasty) has a lot of design decisions that I think are very interesting but that I found myself not agreeing with, enough that I’m making a whole blog-post about it.

For the unitiated HLD is a succesfully kickstarted top-down action-exploration game that is pretty hard to define in terms of its inspirations. It feels like it takes bits of everything from traditonal SNES JRPGs to Zelda to — and I’m sorry to say it — Dark Souls. It has no plot to speak of, really. Sure, you can speculate, but unlike Dark Souls, which has a plot you can piece together with some digging and a Vaati video or two, that’s pretty much impossible with HLD, because there’s not a single line of dialogue in the game outside of tutorials. We’re going to get back to this.

Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful. It’s one of the best looking 2D games I’ve ever played. Every pixel is lovingly crafted and purposeful. The fluidity of the animation as the Drifter cuts through enemies never stopped being engaging as I played through the game. Every setting is distinct in its aesthetic and carried a different variation of the overall melancholic tone that the game provides. The music is also fantastic, with brooding synths that sound like they came straight out of a Blade Runner film but without all the Asian fetishization.

Those are my highlights. But that said, moment-to-moment I found myself frustrated with Hyper Light Drifter.

What’s the Point?

Let’s get back to that part about HLD having next to zero plot. This can be fine as a design decision. Shadow of the Colossus has so little dialogue, it probably all fits on a double-sided 8.5 by 11 sheet. The problem is that even SotC has an easy to understand goal. Obfuscation doesn’t equal a compelling world to explore in. Dark Souls’ environmental design and even its inventory descriptions give you some idea of what’s going on and your place in its world.

HLD doesn’t have this in any way. Why are you going around killing these enemies? What is the village hub you go back to for upgrades? What are these skeletal titanic remains doing in the world? A little bit of mystique is great in getting the imagination going, but you can’t just stop there. There has to be some thread that players can go down to answer at least some of these questions, even if they’ll never be solved fully. It hearkens back to the unforgiving, hostile environments of a game like the NES Legend of Zelda, where everything is out to kill and you don’t really know why, but doggone you spent money on this cartridge and you’re going to finish it. It’s just not something I’m into personally. By the time I fought the last boss, I assumed I was supposed to feel something about the events that followed. But with no understanding of the stakes towards the conflict I had just been through, I just sort of…blanked out.

You Zig, I Zag

“But Mint,” you say with an exasperated sigh. “The plot is just window-dressing for the main focus, which is clearly the combat, you cheeky tart!”

Alright, fair, fair. And I will say that when all the pieces come together, HLD flows in a way that feels great.

Dancing through bullets, dodging past enemies before cutting them down with your sword can be exhilarating…in the right circumstances. But it takes a long time to get there. Combat is stilted and slow unless you upgrade yourself with a particular set of skills from the main hub of the game. It’s totally possible to miss these upgrades. The only reason I knew of them was that I spent a bit of time researching where best to put the upgrade points I had collected after finishing the first dungeon of the game.

The Chain Dash is a move so fundamental to the core of Driftunia’s design that I was baffled that it wasn’t immediately available in the Drifter’s tool-set — it was like having to level up for the block and dodge roll in the original Kingdom Hearts. The same can be said of the Dash Shield, which lets you move through energy shots with the right timing, and the Sword Deflection, which does exactly what it sounds like against enemy projectiles. The game became infinitely more fun after I built this toolkit, but I don’t feel it should have been “built” in the first place. Getting upgrade parts to improve your character is a staple of the action-exploration genre, I won’t argue that. But as I mentioned, with a myriad of upgrade choices to choose from, you might completely miss these skills. Couple this with a lack of i-frames, busy screen-effects, and some bosses that were more a chore than a challenge to fight through, and you have a game that is definitely mechanically sound, but not built with the sort of tempo I’m interested in when it comes to action games.

Image result for not my tempo
forgive me for this one, I recently rewatched Whiplash, heh…

Nooks and Crannies (and more Nooks)

And so we find ourselves in the third pillar of Hyper Light Drifter’s design: exploration. Again, I want to make it clear that I don’t think that any of what I’ve talked about up to this point is particularly bad. It’s just not for me. And this applies with HLD’s exploration as well. A lot of the game’s hidden areas are based on the old-school design philosophy of “bumping into all of the walls until you find a wall that’s not actually a wall.” As you get into the game proper, you’ll find yourself wondering if the forest of trees to your left is actually a game border or a spot that takes you to a new screen just out of reach, with goodies to peruse. I’ll admit that I sometimes felt pretty good about finding these spots, especially as they led to new beautiful areas and bits of currency that brought me one step closer to a new item. But by the end of the game, I was getting a bit tired of it all, bumping into one object after another and destroying every item in every room to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Some of the secrets are pretty obvious. Others are so obtuse to reach that you’ll find them either out of sheer luck, or by checking a guide.

This isn’t as big a cardinal design sin as the inability to keep track of everything. You’ll find lots of areas that you’ll need to backtrack to after gaining a certain number of keys, and you have no real way of remembering them unless you make a note outside the game, or, again, keep a guide handy. I unlocked two monoliths. How many are there in total? No idea. I didn’t feel any incentive to explore much outside of the critical path because I knew I’d forget where everything was and had no idea how much progress I was making for the extra stuff.

I guess the general thesis I’m making after writing all this is that HLD really wants you to care — about its characters, its world, and its mechanical systems — but doesn’t do enough for it to earn that care. It’s simultaneously aloof and open, wanting you to dive into everything it has to offer but not really giving you a reason — or even, depending on your prior preparation or luck, the tools to do so. I didn’t hate my time with Hyper Light Drifter. But I didn’t love it either. I didn’t feel much of anything, and I think that’s a shame, because it’s a game that, with a bit more time, is definitely something I could see myself loving.

Crowe’s Nest

“Psst…Velvet, wake up.”


“Wake up.”



Velvet shot up, slamming her head against the bunk-bed above her. She dived out of covers, drawing her sword and aiming it  out of the Van Eltia’s cabin door.

“What is it? Are we under attack?” she shouted. Magilou stood behind her, arms behind her back.

“Nooooo,” she replied.

“Then what’s wrong!?”

“Oh, I just wanted to see if you were asleep.”

In one swift motion, Velvet went from aiming her sword towards the door to jamming her forearm against Magilou, her sword running its length across her throat. The witch raised her hands, flapping them back and forth.

“Take it easy, I’m just joking. I needed to ask you something.”

“Couldn’t it have waited until morning?” Velvet growled, teeth bared.

“I mean, probably, but where’s the fun in that? Come on, the night’s young! Let’s go to the Crow’s Nest. You like the Crow’s Nest, right? Cause it’s like, your…forget it, it’s no fun if you explain the punch-line.”

Velvet sighed, sheathing her sword and letting Magilou off from the wall.


Magilou blinked.


Velvet was already making her way out onto the deck. She didn’t look at the witch as she spoke.

“Yes. I am already awake, and I could use the air. Maybe it’ll prevent me from killing you.”

Magilou shrugged, skipping along to make her way behind Velvet.

The Van Eltia was quiet, the only sounds coming from the creaking within the ship’s wood, and the waves crashing against it. A few lamps were lit throughout the deck, most likely the crew’s sentries posting watch. Velvet pulled herself along the ladder that led to the Crow’s Nest, Magilou following close behind. As they climbed, she could hear a faint sigh below her. Velvet stopped to look at the girl.

“Are you alright?”

Magilou was staring back up at her, a hand on her chin as she rested her elbow against one of the ladder’s rungs.

“Better than you know,” she said, winking. Velvet rolled her eyes, focusing back onto the climb. “I’m just saying, the view is great up here!” Magilou continued.

“We’ll take this shift,” Velvet told the sailor on duty once the two girls made their way to the top of the nest. He saluted, happy to be relieved of the work so he could get some sleep, and made his way down to the deck. Magilou flopped out on the floor, looking up at the stars.

“If you close your eyes, it feels like you’re going to fall off the boat!” she said with strange amount of glee. Velvet eyed from the other side of the nest.

“If you’d like, I can push you off.”

“I feel like we never go more than three sentences without you mentioning the way you want to kill me. Or how much you want to kill me. Or –“

“It’s because I want to kill you. Was this a mystery to you?”

Magilou rolled onto her side, holding her head up with her hand.

“Well, why haven’t you then?”

Velvet flinched, turning away. The witch grinned.

“Well you seem to be stumped by what I feel is a pretty easy question, so I’ll try another one — the one that I wanted to ask you in the first place.”

“Which is?”

“What do you think of the moon?”

Velvet closed her eyes. She stayed like that for a few moments.

“You fall back asleep?” Magilou asked, scratching her back.Velvet exchanged a question for a question.

“This is what you woke me up for?”

“Yes! It’s very important! The moon says a lot about people. I’m a witch, don’t you remember? I commune with it all the time.” Magilou wiggled her arm and spoke the last sentence as if she were telling a spooky campfire tale. Velvet snorted.

“Really? What does the moon say about me?”

Magilou sat up, putting a finger on her chin as she thought. “Well, for one, that you’re a Taurus. You sleep with one leg out of the blanket…hmm, what else…” A smirk crossed Magilou’s face.

“Maybe…that you’re not a fan of red?”

Memories of Aball flashed through Velvet’s mind. She gripped the wooden guardrail that she leaned against so tightly it began to splinter. Magilou snapped her fingers.

“Yep, I thought so.”

Velvet took a calming breath. “You’ve said nothing of note, witch. No one is fond of the Scarlet Night.” Magilou leaned her head on the palms of her hands, looking too relaxed for the conversation that was currently taking place.

“I’d argue you might be less fond of them then most,” she said, her smirk never disappearing. Velvet took a step forward.

“Is there a point to all this?”

“Yes, actually! The point is that you need to be a little more open and trusting.”

Velvet laughed, despite herself. “That’s…quite ironic, coming from you,” she said. Magilou pouted.

“I’m being serious! Everyone needs someone to rely on. Even I have Bienfu, even if the most I rely on him for is as my punching bag.”

Velvet sat on the floor of then nest, meeting Magilou at eye-level.

“I don’t need to rely on anyone. I just need to get my revenge. I don’t really care what happens after that.”

“I see! Well then why are you on this ship then? Why do you take our help? Or are we being used? I mean, I don’t mind being used now and again, but I’m really more of a to–“

“Stop,” Velvet said, holding her hand out before Magilou could continue her verbal tirade. “Our goals aligned. That’s it. Your powers are worth keeping around.”

Magilou was suddenly sitting right next to Velvet. She hadn’t even seen the girl move. She leaned up against Velvet’s shoulder.

“Right. Well, let’s go back to our previous question then: why haven’t you gotten rid of me yet?”

Velvet grimaced, turning her head away. “I think you said it yourself. You’re being used.”

Magilou ran a finger up Velvet’s thigh. A cold sweat ran down her back. A breathy whisper made its way to her ear.

“Do you want to use me right now?” it asked.

Velvet was…conflicted, to put it mildly. All this time she had refused to let herself feel anything, worried that she would be distracted from her goal. But as much as she damned herself for it, she was smitten with this absolute, literal jester of a human being, whose words and actions constantly kept her guessing. Why should she deny it?

“Yes,” Velvet finally said.

Magilou swung a leg over, straddling Velvet as she kissed her with an intensity that caught Velvet off-guard. She accepted it, wrapping her arms around the witch’s waist.


The first crack of the dawn’s rays shown on Magilou and Velvet when they finally woke up. The latter was blushing from head to toe. Magilou yawned, stretching out until she noticed Velvet next to her. A lazy smile lingered on her face.

“Were you that red last night?” she asked, attempting to conceal a snicker. Velvet threw the girl’s clothes directly at her face.

“Dress yourself! And stop stretching out like a deer in morning light, someone down below will see you!”

“Relax you big baby, it’s still dark and the shift doesn’t change for a while.”


“Alright, alright, I’m going…you know you’re surprisingly pushy for someone who collapses at a literal finger touch.”

Velvet wanted to throw Magilou over the guardrail — for real this time. But someone would see the body. She focused instead on dressing in a blur.”

When the pair made their way down from the Crow’s Nest, Velvet took a few breathes, trying to act as calmly as possible, even if she was anything but. She turned to Magilou.

“You will speak of this to no one. No one.”

Magilou shrugged.

“Sure sure, we’ll keep it on the down-low. I can keep a secret.”

Magilou began to walk away, before Velvet grabbed her by the wrist. She was staring directly at the floor.

“…Thank you,” she finally managed to get out. Magilou was, for once, taken off guard.

“Yeah. No problem.”

She made her way below-deck.

“Remember: no one!” Velvet shouted behind her.

“Yeah, yeah!”

“We totally smashed,” Magilou told Eizen and Rokurou a few minutes later.

art by @double_moonbow

Simple and Clean

You’re 3.99 years old. The wedding you’re at is boring as hell, so your cousin hands you a GameBoy Color with Link’s Awakening inside. The only videogame you’ve played before this is Pac-Man, at an arcade in Egypt. You are in awe. You cannot believe videogames can be like this – they can tell a story, just like the Redwall books that are enamoring you at the same time. You want an N64 on your birthday, and instead of getting Star Wars Rogue Squadron like you planned, you get Ocarina of Time.

You’re 5 years old. You still haven’t beaten Ocarina of Time. You’re only allowed 2 games a year, so you’re trying to savor the experience. Plus, you’re terrified of the Shadow Temple. You are enthralled by this game. It is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. You explore every nook and cranny. You finally understand what the phrase “explore every nook and cranny” even means, because you’ve done virtually everything there is to do in the game. You finally beat it. You cry. A lot.

You’re 8 years old. You have a few games under your belt at this point. Besides reading, they’re your favorite pastime. Your mom acquiesces to your passion for the hobby, as long as you’re reading, getting A’s in class, and only playing on weekends. You’re finally getting a PlayStation 2 for Eid-al-Fitr. It’s the first time you’ve ever fasted for real. You’re allowed one game along with it. You pick Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, having enjoyed the previous games in the series. It’s the first game that’s ever betrayed you. You are crushed. You return a game, for the first time in your life. With your second chance, you choose carefully. You see a game called Kingdom Hearts on the GameStop shelf, and recognize Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 on the back of the box. He didn’t let you down before. You buy it. It is incredible. You love it so much you break your mom’s rules, playing it on weekdays for a brief 20 minutes while she’s away to pick up your little sister. You beat it. You cry. A lot.

You’re 11 years old. You’re getting a game for your birthday. You’re keeping up with the industry now. You know what IGN is, and you like to do the polls on GameFAQs, and print out the walkthroughs. You really want Shadow of the Colossus. Your mom asks the GameStop clerk if the game is violent. Your heart freezes. Is this the end? The clerk looks her dead in the eye, and says “no.” Thank you Jeff from the Aurora Mall GameStop. I hope you’re living your best life. Shadow of the Colossus changes your life. You’ve cried from games before, but not like this. You question things you were certain of before the credits rolled. You realize that games can be more than just entertainment, or even more than just a story. They can change who you are, fundamentally.

You’re 12 years old. You hate middle school. It is the worst thing you’ve ever experienced, and you’ve had an infected lung tissue removed from your body. That’s how bad middle school is. But it’s okay, because Kingdom Hearts II has released. You have grown up, and the game has grown up alongside you. Sora has grown up alongside you. You play it in a rush during your Spring Break. The ending is so cool that you show it to your friends. They don’t care and have never been interested in Kingdom Hearts in their life, but you can’t help it.

You’re 16 years old. High School isn’t as bad. You skip prom to play Portal 2. You don’t like Skyward Sword, and it causes you to question everything you’ve ever known. You aren’t sure if you’re changing, or if the games you’re playing are. Sometimes you’d rather write than play. You have ideas for novels, but you know you aren’t good enough to make them. Not yet. Everyone is talking about Skyrim. Your friends are talking about Skyrim. Your teachers are talking about Skyrim. Your crush knows what Skyrim is. You want to talk to her about it. You don’t. You don’t talk to her at all, actually.

You’re 19 years old. College is…okay? You have money to buy your own videogames now, from your job at the Registrar. Despite that, you find yourself spending less money on them. You don’t find yourself enjoying them much anymore. You replay all of the Kingdom Hearts games in the HD collection. They’re still good. You recognize that they’re silly, but they’ve been with you all this time, and they mean something to you. You think next year might be better.

You’re 20. You hate everything. You hate college. You hate your major. You hate your roommate. You don’t want to do anything. You spend hours lying on your bed. You go to class, sometimes. You stare at the menu screen of Xenoblade Chronicles X, but you never press start. You don’t even know what the point of getting it was. What a waste of money.

You’re 21. You switched majors. You feel weird about it, but you realize it’s for the best, and that you have to make choices for yourself sometimes. You pick up Persona 4: Golden. It’s soothing. A reminder that you can do better, and be better. You move in with your friend from middle school. You have plans to stream together. You never do, but you like living with him, and don’t dread going home.

You’re 22 years old. You think you like videogames again. Final Fantasy XV, Gravity Rush 2, Nier Automata, Tales of Berseria, Yakuza 0: you’re spoiled for choice, and reminded of the quality they can carry. You wonder again if games changed when you weren’t looking, or if you changed when games weren’t looking. You think it might be both. You play every Kingdom Hearts game in order, from Kingdom Hearts to Dream Drop Distance. You hear that Kingdom Hearts III is releasing fairly soon. You doubt it.

You’re 24 years old. Kingdom Hearts III is releasing tomorrow. You wrote that novel, and you’re about to write it again. You don’t live with your friend from middle school anymore, but you stream with him (almost) every Saturday. You’ve reestablished your whole online persona, and feel more comfortable with yourself than you ever have been. Kingdom Hearts III has blot out the sun as it looms over you. You wonder what will come after it’s finished. You feel like a chapter of your life is closing, and it makes you very uncomfortable. You are embarrassed that a videogame about Mickey Mouse is causing you to have a life crisis, but you figure that writing about it might help.

It doesn’t.

But it was still pretty fun.

Ode to Aqua

I’ll be assuming you have a general knowledge of Kingdom Hearts in this piece. I…I have to. It’s the only way to write this in under 10,000 words.

Kingdom Hearts is a series filled with clones, clones of clones, time travel, nonsense dialogue, and a bewildering plot that is debated on GameFAQs forums and Reddit threads to this day. It’s confusing. It’s a mess. I love it.

But underneath the cacophony of discussion about hearts and weird anime-haired lions is Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. A game that’s so subdued and uncomplicated in its focus, it almost feels like it’s from an entirely different series.

It’d be unsurprising if you haven’t played Birth by Sleep. Released on the PSP in 2010, only the most rabid of fans would be willing to buy the game on such an unsuccessful console. It wouldn’t be until Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (yes, I know, and I’m sorry) released in 2014 on the PS3 that a larger audience would gain access to the game. Which is great! I consider BBS to be the best of the series, and a large part of that has to do with Aqua, one of the game’s three playable characters.

Birth by Sleep is a prequel to the Kingdom Hearts series, taking place ten years before the first game — in essence, before things got wild. It tells the story of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, three keyblade wielders that want to become Keyblade Masters alongside their current teacher, Master Eraquis. Their exam to become masters occurs at the beginning of the game, where Aqua succeeds, and Terra does not. This division between the friends sets off a chain of events that basically screws everything up for the whole universe and will lead you to ask questions like, “what’s the difference between a Heartless and a Nobody? and, “wait, so Heartless carry hearts in them, effectively not making them heartless?”


Aqua is a blessing to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. She feels too good for it, if we’re being completely honest. She displays a level of competency that’s pretty much unmatched by any other character in the game, including characters like Yen Sid, who are supposed to me mentors to the series’ plucky gang of Final Fantasy rejects.

It’s refreshing to play a female protagonist that isn’t helpless or weak, and especially important, isn’t undermined by the rest of the cast. On the contrary, Aqua is without a doubt one of — if not the — strongest character in the series, if you take into account what she accomplishes by the end of Birth by Sleep.

By the time credits roll, Aqua pretty much single-handedly prevents the Worlds from being completely swallowed up by darkness. She saves Ventus and defeats Terra-Xehanort, the hardest boss in the game, before letting herself get swallowed up by the Realm of Darkness to save Terra, too. Then she travels and survives through the Realm of Darkness for ten years to find a way out, before helping save the Worlds again by closing the door to Kingdom Hearts with Mickey. In short, Aqua gets things done, and it’s that agency that makes her so engaging and impressive to me.

On top of that, she’s just fun to play. She has access to the most powerful spells in the game and feels more competent than Terra and Ventus. I spent hours grinding for levels to make her deck of commands a force to be reckoned with. Her barrier is the best at defending against attacks from all directions, too. By the time I was ready to face the final boss, I had moves that would essentially clear a room of Heartless in less time than it’d take you to say “Sora, Donald, Goofy!”

In essence, Aqua is the best. She almost (almost) makes up for Xion, Namine, and Kairi’s general lack of agency in the other Kingdom Hearts games – the first is unplayable, the second has been a damsel forever now, and Kairi has barely had a chance to show off her keyblade skills. But there’s one major problem I have with how Aqua’s character is developed.

She’s the Team Mom. Aqua ends up being a baby-sitter for Terra and Ventus. She’s constantly having to help them fix their problems, and provide support for them. She’s pigeonholed into being a maternal figure a lot of the time, especially when you consider her overall lack of impact on the plot up until the end of the game. Sure, you could argue that this is due to Xehanort not wanting her to interfere in his plans for the two boys, but that feels like a weak explanation.

It pains me to say it, but Aqua’s character development feels like an afterthought at times. A Fragmentary Passage, a recent addition to the series that has you play as Aqua during her time in the Realm of Darkness, thankfully alleviates some of those issues for me, as Aqua confronts some of her fears and character flaws in an interesting way. But Birth by Sleep was her debut game. It would have been nice for her to get that sort of depth there. A lot of my love for Aqua stems from the characterization that we the fanbase have given her, in spiteof Nomura’s storytelling decisions, not because of them.

All that said I feel that Aqua shines through these flaws. She’s the heart of Birth By Sleep. Its her sense of justice and loyalty and her ability to kick ass that carry her through to the game’s final moments, cementing her as the true protagonist of Birth by Sleep, a key player in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, and one of its best characters. Without her, I don’t think Kingdom Hearts would be nearly as interesting.

Which leads me to ask Square Enix: please let Aqua, Kairi, Namine, and Xion finish strong in Kingdom Hearts III. With so few female characters to begin with, it’d be a shame for you to fail them so close to the finish line. You’ve had fourteen years to make sure you get it right. Don’t mess it up.

A JRPG Primer

I’ve been meaning to put this guide together for a while because I have a bunch of friends that don’t know where to start when it comes to JRPGs. Which is fair — there are a million of the things, and a lot of them are pretty bad. That said, what’s nice about the JRPG is that despite what sounds like a niche genre, there are tons of options for all kinds of people to get into them based on their own preferences, from action games to the more traditional turn-based affairs.

Disclaimer: Blah blah blah opinions, this isn’t a book of gospel, blah blah, tell me what you’d suggest as a start, yadda yadda.

The format of this guide is as follows: I’ll name a game, and then I’ll name who it’s for. The only exception to this is what game you should play first, which, if you’re a beginner in the genre, should always be…

Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger, for all intents and purposes, is pretty much the perfect game in its genre. It’s JRPG nirvana. It never slogs, never forces you to grind, and has a combat system that’s easily approachable while still being cool to experiment in. It’s an expertly paced game that teaches you all the standard JRPG systems. The only thing that might cause me to hesitate when it comes to recommending Chrono Trigger as your first JRPG is that everything after it might feel weak by comparison. And that’s the best praise I can give it!

Child of Light

Child of Light is a great intro into JRPGs, and a good indicator that just because something is made by a Western developer, doesn’t mean it isn’t a JRPG – I promise you, that sort of conversation isn’t worth arguing about. It’s relatively short, grabs the amazing combat system from Grandia 2, and is family-friendly as well. The art and music are also phenomenal. Plus, you can play it on literally every modern system out at the moment.

Persona 4

If you’re a fan of anime, or miss high school (which, honestly, why?) but haven’t played a JRPG, Persona 4 is right up your alley. A satisfying blend of high school sim and traditional JRPG gameplay, with a dash of pokemon-esque strategy, Persona 4 is an addictive trip. Pick this if you miss summer trips with your friends. I went with this one over Persona 3 and Persona 5 because the former takes forever to get going and the latter is so mechanically perfect as a turn-based game that it’d be hard to go back to earlier games in the series. Persona 4 is available on the PS2, PS3, and in enhanced form on the PSVita.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

Maybe you read all that and your nose wrinkled in disgust. “This is why I never got into JRPGs,” you’re thinking. “I don’t want dating mechanics or slice of life skits!” You’re probably looking for Shin Megami Tensei IV, then. If you ever thought “I want Pokemon but instead of being my friend they want to kill me” then this is actually the perfect game for you! What you get in exchange for a brutal game is an interesting storyline about the nature of humanity and what words like law, chaos and neutrality really mean.

Seriously though…be careful making this your first choice if you’re not ready for it. And IV is on the friendlier end of the spectrum!

Nier / Nier Automata

Are you looking for more interesting and weird storytelling as present in SMTIV, but without the brutal difficulty? Do you like good music? Are you a dad? If you answer “yes” to any of those questions, you’ll love Nier and/or Nier Automata! Though the latter is a sequel to the former, you can jump into them in whichever direction you like, in my opinion. The original game in the series is a bit less polished than the first, so if that sort of thing is important to you, start there before moving to the silky-smooth gameplay of Automata. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

Paper Mario / Mario Bros. RPGs

The Paper Mario and Mario Bros. RPGs have the benefit of being attached to the most iconic videogame character in gaming history. Both series have simple but interesting and active combat systems that are easy to grasp as a JRPG beginner, and include all the characters you love — including some wacky new ones. Any of the games are a great place to start, but I recommend Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door and Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story from each series, respectively.

Tales of Berseria

Maybe you’re the type that finds the turn-based nature of JRPGs to be a snoozefest. If you’re willing to not to shy away from some Big Anime Archetypes, The Tales series is right up your alley! These are fast-paced action games that make combat fun even 30 hours into a story. Before last year, I would have recommend Tales of Symphonia or Tales of the Abyss as good places to start. And they still are! But Tales of Berseria gets bonus points for being on the current generation of consoles, as well as including an interesting group of characters and some quality of life choices that help set it apart from other games in the series.

Final Fantasy X

Of course there was going to be a Final Fantasy game on this list. It’s hard to avoid the JRPG Juggernaut. Out of fifteen games, I went with FFX. It has a simple but effective battle system, isn’t incredibly long like some other Final Fantasy games, and is straightforward — sometimes literally, depending on the area you’re in. Plus, if you find yourself wanting to dig deeper, there’s a metric ton of post-game content you can dive into that will test your JRPG skills to the limit. It’s also available on pretty much every platform in existence, so it’s easy to find a copy.

Blitzball still sucks, though.

Fire Emblem Awakening

Are your turn-based JRPGs not turn-based enough? Let Fire Emblem give you the strategic rush you need. Fire Emblem games can be extremely difficult, but Awakening gives you enough options to ease your way into the game’s addictive RPS strategy systems without having to worry about getting your entire team killed. Couple that with a fantastic localization and tons of customization options, and you’ll be knowledgeable enough to be one step closer to playing Final Fantasy Tactics, the graduate-level equivalent of the strategy-jrpg.

And I’d say that’s that! You’ve got your retro games, your anime games, your action games, and so on. I’m pretty confident that if you jump into one of these games, you’ll get a handle on the fun stuff JRPGs have to offer. And if you have your own suggestions, let me know!

A Fashion Critique of Dresspheres in Final Fantasy X-2

Final Fantasy X-2 is a weird, pop-infused sequel to Final Fantasy X, where Yuna and her gal-pals (read: poly-lesbian super squad) travel around Spira and have weird adventures that would be side-quests in any other Final Fantasy game.

But none of that really matters! No, what matters most in X-2 are the Dresspheres, the Jobs of other Final Fantasy titles. They’re the most exciting part of X-2, where Yuna, Rikku and Paine change between different outfits in fun Magical Girl-esque transformations in the middle of battle to use different abilities.

But the question that’s never been asked (or maybe it has, I don’t know): how good do these Dresspheres look? Today we’re going to get an answer.

The Rules:

Yuna, Rikku and Paine each get a rating on a 10 point scale. We’re ignoring the special dresspheres, sorry.

Let’s get started!


Yuna: This is her “default” outfit in game, and it does general justice? I normally wouldn’t be into the tattered chest, but it forms into her symbol so she gets bonus points instead. Functional, but fashionable. Not sure about that half-skirt, though.

Score: 8

Rikku: Those boots really don’t work with the pants, I’m sorry. Same half-skirt but in yellow? Nope. It’s not as bad as some of her other outfits though, so she gets some pity points.

Score: 6

Paine: She has a pirate-vibe going on, which I dig. She was also smart enough to not make her half-skirt so long, which gives her bonus points. Colors are good. Only thing keeping this from a perfect score is the completely unnecessary exposed midriff that looks like it was cut out of a cheese grater.

Score: 9


Yuna: I’m not fond of this dressphere in general, and think it looks bad on everyone. Of the three, though, Yuna pulls it off best. Strong colors and a cool skirt.

Score: 7

Rikku: It’s her default, so a bit of thought was put into it. The yellow actually works in her favor for once! But the dreads get a hard, hard pass.

Score: 6

Paine: Girl what is you doing. The heels. The weird thong-thing…just, no.

Score: 4


Yuna: What is it with this game and cheese-grate midriffs? If this shirt was fully formed the whole outfit would be a 10. As it stands, I must take points off, but then add points back on because posing like Tidus and using Brotherhood is a nice touch. Though I wonder how Wakka feels about that, to be honest.

Score: 7

Rikku: She actually does alright here! The colors are nice, and using Auron’s sword is cool. Not sure about the boots, but we’re going to give Rikku the wins when she can get them.

Score: 9

Paine: If this were anyone else it’d be a hard pass. But Paine is just emo enough to pull this look off. None of it makes any sense and I love every bit of it.

Score: 10


Yuna: This is actually one of my favorite outfits of hers. It feels the most like something a human might wear in real life or during a performance, which is more than I can say for most of these outfits. That shade of blue is perfect!

Score: 10

Rikku: She looks like a teen idol that immediately lost popularity halfway through her career.

Score: 7

Paine: What? What is this? Did she dig up Elvis’ corpse, take his outfit, and then somehow manage to make it worse? I’m literally losing oxygen right now.

Score: 3

Black Mage

Yuna: Killed it.

Score: 10

Rikku: Killed it.

Score: 10

Paine: Killed it.

Score: 10

White Mage

Yuna: It’s so…safe. I feel nothing looking at this.

Score: 5

Rikku: Why did she make her cuffs look like the flaming dragon shirts I wore in middle school.

Score: 4

Paine: Now this is what I’m talking about! Paine took the White Mage and made it punk. I am in awe. It’s crazy how much of a difference taking your hood off makes.

Score: 9

Gun Mage

Yuna: I dig the purple, and the necklace is great. Still very much unsure about these half-skirts, however. And I’m worried about those little…screws? Is your dress nailed in, Yuna? How do you get out? Are you okay??

Score: 7

Rikku: Gonna need you think twice about those stockings, sorry.

Score: 6

Paine: This was SO CLOSE to being perfect. But the checkered pants just throw the entire thing off. I can’t stop staring at them. They’re bad.

Score: 8

Lady Luck

Yuna: I’m feeling everything in this outfit except for the gloves. The crown is a nice touch.

Score: 8

Rikku: Remember when I said most of Rikku’s outfits were bad? Yeah. I’m sorry they made yellow your primary color, Rikku. You got done dirty.

Score: 4

Paine: Paine walked into a crowded casino with a cigarette and is going to take all your money. And you’re going to love every second of it.

Score: 9


Yuna: Finally, Yuna’s half-skirt shortens (even though it’s still half a skirt, which still makes it weird). Normally I wouldn’t be into big shoulder pads, but the look actually works here.

Score: 7

Rikku: Holy crap, another good Rikku outfit! I’m getting strong Samus vibes, here, and that’s a good thing.

Score: 8

Paine: The weird vertical straps throw everything off. Also, purple and orange are not a winning combination.

Score: 5


Yuna: She looks like she’d get on your MySpace page and give you the ole’ “rawr XD” combo. But I guess it works? Maybe on a system with more polygons it could do more. The fur is good though.

Score: 7

Rikku: Just…why…

Score: 2

Paine: She looks like she came out of the CGI Beastwars TV show from ’96. I mean this mostly in a good way. The colors clash but those horns are just chef’s kiss.

Score: 7


Yuna: Yuna goes the 100% traditional route here. Not too flashy, but it gets the job done.

Score: 7

Rikku: I actually really dig this outfit! The skirt is bomb, it’s practical while still having that Rikku flair, and the helmet is great.

Score: 9

Paine: Not gonna lie…don’t really know what’s going on here. The pants look like 80s dancer rejects, and the giant buttons on the sleeves make her look like an old-fashioned toy from the 60s. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.

Score: 5

Dark Knight

Yuna: This is almost a ten, I’m just not sure about that clown/pirate hat hybrid. Everything else comes together well, though.

Score: 9

Rikku: I love my spiky unicorn girl. This is also one of those instances where the yellow is turned down a bit, which gives it bonus points as well.

Score: 9

Paine: This isn’t just emo…this is…advanced emo…

Score: 10



Score: 0

And that’s all of them! I hope you enjoyed this fashion walkthrough. Just for fun, let’s see how the points total up:

Yuna: 92

Rikku: 82

Paine: 89

Thanks for reading. No, seriously, thank you, I can’t believe you got this far.

Embracing Failure: An Ode to Celeste

This piece contains spoilers for Celeste’s ending!

I am a quitter.

If you’ve known me for more than five minutes, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. I’ve quit personal projects because I didn’t feel they were good enough. I’ve quit jobs because I thought I wasn’t good enough for them. I’ve quit classes I’ve found too difficult. I quit working at RPGFan, a place I’m fond of, because I was worried the people there didn’t like me. I just dropped them all.

It feels good to quit things. To know that I was right, that something wasn’t worth doing, or confirming that I wasn’t good enough to do it. Quitting comes naturally to me. It soothes the part of me that wants me to be safe. The part that stops me from getting hurt, to stay cozy in a bubble of comfort and familiarity.

The characters in Celeste know how I feel. Madeline, the game’s protagonist, wants to climb the titular Celeste Mountain to prove something to herself, in spite of herself. It is revealed early on in the game that Madeline has depression, anxiety, and experiences panic attacks. She wants to accomplish something, anything, and so heads to the mountain to reach its summit.

It isn’t easy. Celeste is a game that demands pixel-perfect platforming precision. You will die. A lot. You’ll die on nearly every single screen at least once, in some spots 30 or 40 or 50 times, depending on your skill level. Every death will be your fault. Celeste controls perfectly. Your jump and air dash are the only tools at your disposal, and you will be tested and pushed to the limit to use both on every screen.

The way I describe Celeste’s mechanics make them sound antagonistic, a Super Meat Boy-esque escapade where every death causes you to inch one step closer to throwing your controller across the room. But that’s not the case. Celeste challenges you, but the way it does so is encouraging as opposed to aggressive. Loading screens send you post cards with uplifting messages: “Every loss means you’re learning!” There’s a forgiving Assist Mode that allows you to progress through the game even if you’re not fast or technical or have a strong grasp on the controller. And the music is soothing, energetic without being overbearing.

Celeste is a warm cup of hot chocolate on a winter day. It is a game that allows you to take each screen one step at a time, and encourages you to keep trying. And because of that, I didn’t want to quit, even at the game’s most difficult.

The way Celeste blends the message of its narrative with the mechanics at play is wonderful. Madeline’s anxiety and depression are made manifest in her “Other Half,” a dark-palleted version of the girl that serves as her antagonist for the majority of the game. Madeline’s Other Half taunts her, goads her into focusing on her failures, and — most importantly — tries to convince her to quit climbing Celeste Mountain.

As the story progresses, Madeline starts by wishing that Other Half would go away. But she eventually attempts to understand the motives and reasoning of her Other Half. She realizes that this voice in her head is one that’s trying to protect her from the sting of failure. Why hurt yourself when you can just…quit? The Other Half is trying to help in the only way it knows how, and this clash of feelings nearly throws Madeline off the mountain.

Near the game’s end, Madeline reconciles with her Other Half, and a heartwarming conversation ensues about the fear of failure, and allowing yourself to work past that risk to achieve something great. And it is here where Celeste allows its mechanics to weave itself into its narrative in an uplifting way — literally. Madeline’s acceptance of her Other Half allows her to air dash twice, and partner with the dark part of herself to launch into the air. The challenges ramp up even more as you make a final dash towards the summit, but at this point, you feel as if nothing can stop you. You’re going to get to the top of that mountain.

I didn’t want to quit Celeste. And because of Celeste, I don’t want to quit, period. It is a beautiful game that plays to its strengths in order to remind you that you are better than you think you are, and that you can accomplish more than you think you can. That anxious, scared voice inside of your head should be listened to, yes — but it shouldn’t stop you either. I can put Celeste in a small pantheon of games that didn’t just entertain me, but also gave me the encouragement to improve myself and become a more confident person. It is powerful, and you should play it.

Just don’t quit!

Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Thoughts

I wasn’t that excited for the new Smash Bros but ended up getting a copy. I don’t actually care that much about most of the game, but I’ve always liked comparing characters between each new release and seeing who’s good, who I used to like that sucks now, and so on. After two and a half soul-crushing hours spent unlocking all the characters, here’s how I feel about the roster members I spent the most time with.

Please keep in mind that I don’t know that much about in-depth Smash. You won’t see me talking about frame data or whatever. If you wanted to rank me, I’d the person everyone hates in casual match-ups, but would easily get stomped out of the pools of a legit tournament. So High-Tier casual.

Whatever! Let’s go.


It’s 2018 and I’m maining Zelda. What a time to be alive. 

Is it true that I picked Zelda because now she’s super fucking cute? Yes! Look at those shoes, holy shit! And she’s so expressive now, it’s great. Plus I love her new color schemes (I pick the Skyward Sword one myself). That’s fine though because Zelda’s actually super fun to play now. Din’s Fire doesn’t put you into free-fall in the air anymore, Farore’s Wind is easier to keep track of and has huge kill potential, and Nayru’s Love is fantastic for anyone trying to approach you as a “get the hecc off of me” button. Her new forward and back airs have sweet spots as satisfying as Captain Falcon’s glorious knee of justice. But all that said, it’s her Phantom buff that really puts her at the next level. The edge-guarding options are legit whack, and it can even kill at higher percents. If a good Zelda gets you knocked off the stage, good luck trying to get back on! Plus it lets you set up some absolutely dirty enders.

I had to take a shower after this


MY BOY! I’ve been playing Roy since the Melee days, and he’s never gotten his proper dues. “He’s just Marth but worse.” “His sweet spots are terrible.”

But a new game means a new engine, and it feels like this engine was built around Roy. In retrospect, honestly, it feels like Roy was an Ultimate character stuck in Smash 4. They finally fixed all his weird frame data and it shows. There’s no wonder they call Roy a lion because Ultimate Roy is a beast. His pressure is unreal, his damage is next level, and he has options for pretty much everything. This man is doing kill damage at 60% for some characters! I feel like a God! Literally the only thing holding him back is his mediocre recovery, but doing that will require you to get Roy off the platform first. And if he’s running towards you, that probably isn’t happening. It’s the Roy Boys’ time to shine!


Don’t let her cuteness fool you – Pichu is a nightmare to deal with. I would never call myself skilled at Smash Bros, but when I pick up Pichu, I certainly feel like it. She has combos for days, and they’re all so easy to pull off. Her thunder being able to spike is so strong for the edge game, and she can use it to kill at higher %s. PLUS she can combo into that! The Ultimate engine benefits faster characters, and with Pichu as one of the fastest in the game, I’d be scared of her if I saw her online. 

Young Link

There are a lot of Links in Smash Bros, but Young Link is the one to pick. While I mained Toon Link in Brawl, and Just Link in 64, neither can match Y!Link. That’s because he does what the other Links do, but like…50x faster. This little kid scurries around the stage like someone dumped a bunch of sugar in his Lon Lon Milk. He can combo his arrows into each other! His mix-ups are strong because of all of his projectile options, and he can throw out some ridiculous kills. Plus his down-air spike…so satisfying when you manage to land it. 

I had a feeling I was going to like Inkling the minute I used her, and I was right. I tend to lean towards the speedier characters, and Inkling definitely fits that bill. She’s kind of like Y!Link in that she’s speedy and has a ton of options for different scenarios. Her ink takes a bit to get used to, and it can spell trouble for her if she’s run out, but she makes up for it in the damage that she can build up. Her roller is super fun to use, and canceling out of it for a smash attack after trapping somebody is truly revenge for all those who doubted the weapon in Splatoon. 

If you don’t shout woomy after you take a stock you’re a cop though.

That’s everyone I’ve played the most so far, and who I’d put into my “team” if we were doing a 5v5 Squad Strike, I guess. There are a few others I put a bit of time into, but not enough to make any definitive judgments (Isabelle looks like she’ll be horrifying to fight against, however). Obviously, things could change, both in terms of characters I play and ones that seem good but end up being bad, or vice versa. Assuming I keep playing Ultimate, I’ll update you on anything new I find interesting!