Fire Emblem: Three Houses is exactly as I feared, a game that puts as big an emphasis, if not more, into building relationships, teaching classes, and walking around Garreg Mach Monastery as it does the actual turn-based tactical combat the series has been known for. Yet by deftly weaving these relationships and seminars into gaining new skills, new class recruits, and new story opportunities, Three Houses has proven that not only are the non-combat sections enjoyable, but are now integral to the series.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a flawed but fantastic action-brawler. One of its biggest flaws is how poorly it describes some of its underlying mechanics, such as attributes and synergies. We’ve compiled some quick tips, details, and strategies so you can spend less time staring at statistics and more time punching bad guys.
Once upon a time, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was a fun, easy to play, co-op action brawler series called X-Men Legends. Later they bequeathed the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series, featuring a huge roster of Marvel heroes and villains in co-op action full of fireballs, laser blasts, swift punches, sword strikes, and plenty of shield-throwing and Hulk-smashing.
The series lay dormant for the last decade, until now. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a triumphant return, showcasing classic comic book writing, art, and action in a post-MCU world. The Black Order retains the deep stat-based RPG elements while maintaining its easy and co-op-friendly action gameplay with an impressive amount of content and replayability.
Super Mario Maker was a clever delight when it launched in 2015 on Wii U. The simple premise – a full editor suite for making and playing Mario levels across multiple eras – was an instant hit, recreating the dreams of many a dreamy kid scratching out level designs in a school notebook.
The Switch sequel keeps the same solid editing and classic Mario gameplay, while adding several high quality pieces, a vastly expanded story mode, and online and local multiplayer.
My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!
#8 Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
I love my mainline Pokémon games but I typically skip the spin-offs. While I do casually enjoy mobile AR game Pokémon GO, I was fully prepared to roll my eyes at what looked like a dumbed down, Pokémon GO-ified RPG.
I was happy to be very wrong – Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! are charming and delightful recreations of the original Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow games. Adventuring through a fully 3D Kanto is a delicious nostalgia fest but it’s the little improvements that really kept me hooked, like being able to swap your party out on field, drop-in co-op, and not having to teach the critical Hidden Machine skills just to get around.
Random battles have been completely replaced with Pokémon GO‘s pokéball throwing minigame, and it’s honestly a really great change of pace. Collecting Pokémon becomes quick and rewarding rather than a slog, and we finally get to actually see Pokémon out in the field. I can be far more proactive and engaged in Pokémon hunting – with the benefit of also making the world of Kanto really come to life.
It’s a testament to how well designed that original 20 year old game is that this modern remake doesn’t have to change a whole lot to get me sucked in all over again. Yet all the changes and improvements are very welcome. I would love to see Let’s Go editions of each Pokémon generation.
My only complaint about the game – it released two weeks before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
What started out as a goofy mashup of a handful of Nintendo characters having a What-If throw-down has spent the last two decades transforming into one of the most beloved, consistently excellent series on every Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64.
As the fifth game in the series Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is well deserving of its Ultimate title, featuring every fighter and stage from previous games while providing a solid balance of new and classic gameplay modes, though it’s still a series built for, and best enjoyed locally rather than online.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a massive crossover fighting game, featuring an enormous roster of over 70 fighters. However, when you first start the game you’re limited to the eight fighters who appeared on the original Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64.
You’ll unlock more fighters just through playing, but it’s not as random as you think. There are multiple ways to unlock characters, and by adventuring through the World of Light single player mode or completing Classic Mode with certain fighters, you can be a bit more proactive and hunt for certain characters.