When I sit down with Splitgate: Arena Warfare lead designer Ian Proulx, he’s very upfront about the obvious inspirations for 1047 Games’ upcoming shooter: “it’s old school Halo mixed with…
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.
Read our guide below for the different methods to unlocking characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The Smash Unlock Order
Every 10 minutes spent playing the game will result in a challenger approaching, in order of the list below. You can spend 10 minutes playing random Smash matches or spending time in the World of Light Adventure Mode or Spirit Battles.
NOTE: You can circumvent the 10 minute timer by closing the game completely and restarting it. At that point the timer no longer matters – as soon as you finish a match, win or lose, a new challenger will approach. The quickest method is to set a Stock battle to 1 and walk off the edge. This is the single fastest way to unlock every character, if a bit cheesy.
You’ll have to beat the challenger to unlock them, and some of them can be quite difficult. In the case of multiple players in a Smash match, the player who won the match will face off against the challenger.
If you’ve already unlocked a character by other means, it will simply skip that character and go to the next one.
- Young Link
- Wii Fit Trainer
- Ice Climbers
- Captain Falcon
- King K. Rool
- Zero Suit Samus
- Little Mac
- Pokémon Trainer
- King Dedede
- Diddy Kong
- Meta Knight
- Mega Man
- Toon Link
- Rosalina & Luma
- Dark Samus
- Mr. Game & Watch
- Dark Pit
- Duck Hunt
- Bowser Jr.
- Dr. Mario
Note that if you ever fail to beat a new challenger, you can challenge them again by going to Games & More on the main screen, then clicking on the gate icon in the lower right corner (it may take a few challengers before it appears). This also has the advantage of allowing you to choose your fighter, instead of using the last one you used when they appear.
If you fail to beat them again, you’ll have to wait 10 minutes to be able to face them again (or restart the game and play a match). Multiple failed challenges will queue up at the challenger gate in order.
The Mii Fighters are actually unlocked from the start, you just have to create one in the Games & More section. There are three different kinds of Mii Fighters you can make: Brawler, Swordfighter, and Gunner. For the purposes of the official roster (74 fighters at launch, including Echo Fighters), all three count as three separate fighters. You can also customize their movesets and their outfits.
Classic Mode was the original single player campaign mode. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one fighter goes through six unique battles, plus an end boss fight. Each Classic Mode is unique and different, and completing a run will always result in a new challenger approaching.
Which challenger appears can be found with this handy chart. For example, beating Classic Mode with Mario will make Sonic appear. If you previously unlocked Sonic, you’ll get Bayonetta instead.
Classic Mode can be found in the Games & More section.
Using this chart you can find the most efficient way to unlocking your favorite characters.
The World of Light is the massive single player adventure in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. You’ll start with even less characters here – only Kirby survived Galeem’s initial onslaught. Within the giant map filled with Spirit Battles you can find other fighters waiting to be challenged and unlocked. Unlocking them in Adventure mode will unlock them in your regular roster as well.
It can be very spoilery to see who and where you unlock various characters, but IGN has a map up if you want all the information.
It’s advisable to back out of Adventure Mode every 10 minutes or so, that way you can take full advantage of the Smash Unlock Order above.
No matter which method you choose, or any combination therein, you’ll constantly unlock fighters as you play. Try them all to find your old standbys and discover new favorites.
I’m about a dozen hours into Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age and the smile has rarely left my face. Dragon Quest is one of the most resilient RPG franchises in video game history. The latest installment proves why it’s such a winning formula by embracing its classic roots while sprinkling in many welcoming improvements and features.
If you’re a newcomer to the series, Dragon Quest is a bit like Final Fantasy. It’s a classic 50+ hour Japanese RPG with each entry a standalone adventure (save DQ 10, which was an MMO).
The series has been around since the 1980s. Many classic RPG genre conventions and tropes can trace their roots back to those early games, including young protagonists, destroyed villages, character classes and skills, turn-based battles, and lots of side quests and dungeon crawls.
Dragon Quest 11 doesn’t try to change or alter that basic formula at all. You play as a silent, unnamed young orphan boy. You’ve grown up in a quaint village and upon coming of age, discover that you are the chosen one and set off on a heroic journey. I’ve checked off several major JRPG boxes right there. Yet DQ 11 doesn’t feel trite or tiresome. It embraces its tropes and character archetypes proudly and earnestly. It helps that the production values are the best of any Dragon Quest game to date, including full voice acting in all of the numerous cutscenes.
Akira Toriyama’s instantly recognizable character and monster art has been beloved for decades, and looks amazing when blown up in all its colorful, charming glory. Battle screens play out like an action-packed Saturday Morning Cartoon, yet still operate exactly like a classic turn-based console RPG. You can move your characters around just for funzies, which is a nice touch without altering the formula of attacking, casting spells, activating character-specific abilities, and engaging in souped up Pep Powers.
The Pep Powers are a new element in battle. Occasionally characters will enter a Pep state that grants increased stats for a few turns. If multiple characters get Pep’d, they can unleash awesome combo attacks with various effects. I do wish there was an actual visible bar or meter for how close Pep is to activating. But retaining Pep though multiple battles is a nice feature.
Crafting with the Fun-Size Forge is also new to the series, and it’s one of the better crafting minigames I’ve seen. Acquire recipes from quest rewards, chests, and bookshelves and gather materials from slain monsters to make new equipment. New weapons, items, and accessories must be hammered out on the forge by hitting target areas using different abilities. Hitting the right spots grants better stats on the crafted equipment. The more you craft, the more abilities and stamina you unlock, making the entire system very rewarding and satisfying.
Crafting can be done at any campsite out in the world, which is another fantastic addition. No longer do you have to huff it back to town (or use the handy Zoom spell) to rest up and save your game. In every field or area there’s a campsite with a merchant, a save point, and a forge. You can rest to heal up as well as change the time of day, which alters which monsters are in the field. And speaking of healing, simply opening the menu screen and pressing a single button will heal your entire party as efficiently as possible, using healing spells, then healing items, so you can jump right back into the action.
The story is still getting started, and I’ve only recently acquired the fourth party member. These are very long RPGs – in fact DQ 11 has the audacity to play the opening movie and title screen after a certain event several hours into the game. The early game is a bit slow and battles have been fairly simple, but the deeper I get the more satisfied I am with the world, characters, skill system, and combat.
Given the length I can’t yet comment on how well the whole thing holds together. But my early impressions leave me very impressed. I’m a relative late-comer to the series, having first played Dragon Quest 9 on the DS back in 2009, before enjoying the 3DS remakes of DQ 7 and DQ 8. Dragon Quest 11 is probably most similar to DQ 8, and I mean that with all the praise that entails as DQ 8 is widely considered the hallmark of the series.
Dragon Quest 11 may just be the best Dragon Quest game to date. Even if you don’t know your Metal Slimes from your Healing Slimes, RPG fans are in for a treat.
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is rated T for Teen.
Four years ago at E3 2014, Ubisoft blundered into a PR nightmare by weakly defending why both Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4 lacked playable women characters in their multiplayer modes – they would require too much time and resources to animate.
Female representation in big, blockbuster games has been sporadic at best. Yes we can point to the same franchises like Metroid and Tomb Raider over and over again, but that just proves the point even more.
But there is good news. In recent years diversity and inclusion has become a major focus for many game developers and publishers. The fruits of those labors are beginning to show. We could call it the Overwatch or Wonder Woman Effect, or just a sign of many game companies hoping to avoid stagnation and seek out progressive voices and audiences.
At E3 2018 we were impressed with the number of women characters, both old and new, showcasing AAA games. In case you missed it, let’s run through the new era of leading ladies from E3 2018.
Technically Battlefield V was announced ahead of E3. The reveal trailer featured a female soldier who had the best lines and most badass moments. EA even went so far as to feature a female soldier on their cover art.
At EA Play 2018 they teased a single player campaign that also starred a woman fighter’s story of revenge and survival during World War II.
Battlefield V is a great example of the struggles a big studio and franchise can face for daring to include diversity in their games. That reveal trailer currently has more dislikes than likes, with both numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It’s sparked numerous outrages and debates about the game’s historical authenticity versus political virtue-signaling.
It’s endlessly disappointing that including diverse characters has become a political, hot-button issue, and the main reason why many big game companies steer clear. For what it’s worth, EA and DICE have committed to inclusion in their games.
Our commitment as a studio is to do everything we can to create games that are inclusive and diverse. We always set out to push boundaries and deliver unexpected experiences. But above all, our games must be fun!
— Oskar Gabrielson (@ogabrielson) May 25, 2018
I confess I’m not familiar with the Gears of War franchise beyond playing the first game nearly a decade ago. Kait Diaz was apparently a major player in 2016’s Gears of War 4, but in Gears 5 she takes center stage as the primary playable character.
The trailer, shown at the Xbox E3 2018 conference, featured both a cinematic cutscene with Kait, Marcus, and the rest of the team, as well as gameplay starring the young heroine.
Sea of Solitude
Sea of Solitude isn’t a AAA game, but it is being published through EA’s EA Originals brand. An announcement trailer was shown during the EA Play conference, revealing the personal story of loneliness and depression from game designer Cornelia Geppert.
Geppert was one of the few women game designers to take the stage at any of the press conferences. The game stars Kay, a young woman whose emotional issues have transformed her into a literal monster. She has to save both herself and her fellow monsters amidst a ruined, flooded world.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
One of the biggest female-led series has been riding high in the last few years thanks to a successful reboot by Crystal Dynamics. The third game in the rebooted Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, features an even darker, more brutal story as Lara must prevent a Mayan apocalypse, which she herself helped set into motion.
In the gameplay trailer we see Lara go full-on Predator, stealthy hunting foes with bow and blade in a new outfit that proves high-stakes action-adventure makes for a solid work-out regiment.
One of the most surprising announcements from the Bethesda E3 2018 conference was a spin-off co-op sequel to Wolfenstein II. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is set in 1980s Paris, far after the events of Woflenstein II.
The bad news is that the alt-history Nazis are apparently still in control (in France at least). The good news is that BJ’s grown twin daughters are ready to fight the good fight.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
With BioWare making Anthem, the torch of romancing NPCs in a gender inclusive universe has apparently fallen to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series. Newly announced Assassin’s Creed Odyssey looks absolutely gorgeous, taking place in Ancient Greece and featuring the same great series improvements found in last year’s Origins.
But the real talked about feature is choosing to play the entire game as either male character Alexios or female character Kassandra. Both are fully voiced and remain the stars of their stories. And yes, apparently you can romance multiple characters no matter whom you choose to play as.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
The original 2003 Beyond Good & Evil is still one of the most mentioned games when talking about female-led games. That’s pretty sad, yet Beyond Good & Evil has also become a cult favorite. Beyond Good & Evil 2 has been in development hell forever, eventually turning into this big AAA prequel starring a new female character as the leader of her own motley space crew.
The prequel has astonishingly great animated cinematics, but we also got our first look at some pre-alpha gameplay, which lets you fly to different planets and explore in third-person action-adventure. It looks incredibly ambitious. Unfortunately we still don’t have a release date.
As revealed at the PlayStation E3 press conference, Control is a brand new game by Remedy, developers of Quantum Break and Alan Wake. Jesse assumes the role of Director of the Bureau of Control, giving her supernatural powers and a fancy shifting gun.
We don’t know much more about it, but it definitely looks a lot like Quantum Break.
The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II may be the single most anticipated sequel of the year, though we still don’t have a firm release date. The new trailer showed off the most memorable scene from all of E3, an older teenage Ellie passionately kissing her new love, Dina. Not only is it a sweet moment, it’s also incredibly well animated. How far we’ve come in four years!
The gameplay portion showcased the familiar brutality of The Last of Us, confirming that Ellie is the main protagonist in the sequel, and that human enemies are just as harrowing as the Clickers.
Playing mostly as Joel shepherding Ellie in the original 2013 game while switching to Ellie for the sequel is a great metaphor for the progress gaming has made over the years. Gaming is for everyone, and it’s nice to see women get more seats at the grown-ups’ table.
Skylanders fans haven’t been feeling confident about the series lately. Activision announced last year that there would be no Skylanders 7 release, the first year a new Skylanders game hadn’t released since the series began in 2011. We’ve been given no new updates on the future of the once stalwart kid-friendly franchise.
For now fans can revel in the sales of older games and figures. Whether you’re a newcomer to the toys-to-life series or a reminiscing veteran, we’ve compared all six primary Skylanders games and ranked them from weakest to strongest.
6) Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
New Gimmick: Toys to life!
Best Skylanders: Stealth Elf, Drobot, Cynder
Once upon a time, toys-to-life was a relatively brand new concept. Activision and Toys for Bob looked for a recognizable, kid-friendly gaming hero to leverage. Enter Spyro, the sassy but good-natured dragon, who helped pave the way for an all-new action series using physical figures as a unique form of DLC.
Spyro’s Adventure may earn points for being the original, but it just doesn’t hold up when compared to later entries. That’s more a testament to how well the series has steadily improved rather than any glaring weaknesses in the original game.
5) Skylanders: Giants
New Gimmick: Extra-large Giant figures
Best New Skylanders: Flashwing, Ninjini, Pop Fizz
A second Skylanders game the very next year raised a few eyebrows, but Skylanders assuaged many fears by seamlessly carrying over all previously leveled figures from the first game, creating an important precedent that cemented the series’ popularity for years. Out of all the games here, Giants is the safest sequel, not rocking the boat too much but still steadily improving on level and figure design.
The new Giants gimmick likewise wasn’t anything fancy. They were big, lumbering brutes who are almost more of a hassle to play than anything else, though the actual designs are fun, like Eye-Brawl who could detach his giant flying eyeball.
4) Skylanders: SuperChargers
New Gimmick: Vehicles and racing
Best new Skylanders: Stormblade, Splat, Spitfire
By the fifth entry, Activision was looking at other successful family-friendly series to add a whole new dimension to Skylanders. They settled on Mario Kart-style kart racing. It wasn’t exactly a demanded feature by fans, and the result was a ham-fisted addition that didn’t feel entirely welcome. Vehicle segments were both forced (land) and optional (sea and air) and ranged from traditional racing to vehicular combat, 2D exploration, and shoot ’em up brawls.
The Skylanders themselves played a diminished role during the often annoying vehicle segments, and the controls left a lot to be desired. The on-foot gameplay was still solid, and the figures were decent. While it was fun seeing new remixes of familiar characters, like a gun-wielding Stealth Elf, it meant less new characters overall.
3) Skylanders: Trap Team
New Gimmick: Trapping and playing villains
Best new Skylanders: Krypt King, Gearshift, Blackout
Ah, the inevitable Pokémon clone. For the fourth game, Trap Team lets you battle against a roster of fun new villains – and then capture them inside special trap crystals. Sold separately, of course. Playing as the villains was like a special powered-up mode and a lot of fun – particularly the way the captured villains taunted from the speakers on the portal itself.
You needed one of each trap element to play as all the villains, but you could mix and match them within their elemental types. Much speculation was given as to how the traps would be incorporated into future games, and the answer was, unfortunately, not very well if at all. Save for a few standouts the new Trap Master figures were generally disappointing, and requiring them to unlock everything in the game was irksome.
One standout feature that Trap Team added: tower defense survival mode. These were fantastic challenge modes, built for various levels of Skylanders, and a fun way to earn experience and level up outside the main game. They also played perfectly in co-op. For whatever reason, the mode was dropped in future games.
2) Skylanders: Swap Force
New Gimmick: Swappable figures that can mix top and bottom halves
Best new Skylanders: Roller Brawl, Free Ranger, Spy Rise
The third game in the Skylanders series was the first developed by Vicarious Visions, instead of series creator Toys for Bob. Like the annualized Call of Duty series, Activision would appoint two studios to keep up with the yearly output of new entries. Vicarious Visions created an excellent entry that provided some of the biggest, best level designs the series has ever offered. Plus you could finally jump, a first for the series that opened up the level designs even more. But the real treat was the incredibly cool swap gimmick.
In one what is unquestionably one of the neatest concepts in a Skylanders game, special Swap Force figures could be taken apart and mixed together to create unique combinations. It was fun to play around with the toys, and also created a lot of really fun and interesting combos in-game, supported by new challenge mini-games and dual elemental gates.
Swap Force also featured Time Attack and Score modes for providing challenging replay value, and was the last Skylanders game to include PVP arenas.
1) Skylanders: Imaginators
New Gimmick: Create your own Skylanders
Best new Skylanders: Kaos, Golden Queen, Ambush
It’s not fair to declare that Skylanders Imaginators was the first game to finally get it right, as each game had their strengths. But Imaginators combined a brilliant new gimmick, the best line-up of new figures, a fully realized loot system, and a more free-roaming overland map to create the best Skylanders experience yet.
The ability to create your own Skylanders was made possible by piggy-backing on Trap Team’s trap concept. Separate Crystals were sold that could house a single created Skylander. The Crystal determined its element, while you could select on of 10 different weapon styles. Within those parameters, you had multiple basic attacks, weapon attacks, and elemental moves to choose from as you leveled up.
All in-game rewards were tied to loot chests, which gave out new customization pieces, weapons, and skins for your custom Skylanders. There was an astonishing amount of loot to collect, making your Skylanders journey fun and rewarding, though they may suffer a bit from Frankenstein syndrome.
Imaginators couldn’t gotten by on that concept alone, but Activision also released the best wave of figures Skylanders had ever seen. The Senseis were all new, medium-size figures that had the best designs and gameplay we’ve seen yet, and the Villains let us play as our favorites from Trap Team as proper leveled figures.
Story structure and level design saw vast improvements as well. No longer were we stuck in a hub world, going through each level chapter by chapter. Now we could free roam around a board game-like overworld, exploring hidden secrets, taking side paths, and finding mini-games. It cannot be overstated how much this improved every aspect the game. If you can only play one Skylanders game, make it Skylanders: Imaginators.
Dauntless either has terrible timing or brilliant timing. Indie developer Phoenix Labs had one of the largest booth at PAX South to show off their free-to-play monster hunting game. The booth lie in the shadow of the even larger Capcom booth, whose gigantic Rathalos statue beckoned people to play one of the biggest releases of the year: Monster Hunter: World. Dauntless offers a much more streamlined – and more importantly free alternative to the niche hunting genre.
“We’re big fans of the hunting genre,” said Reid Buckmaster, combat designer for Dauntless. “We wanted to bring together elements of games we all enjoyed to build the ultimate co-op game that we at the studio always wanted to play. We’re using elements from Monster Hunter, but also gameplay loops from Destiny.”
After several crashes on the demo PC I finally loaded up into a mission with a group of three other hunters, called slayers. Four weapon loadouts were available, and I chose the war pike.
Dauntless uses an easy to understand combo system with two attack buttons, as well as a special attack that varies depending on the weapon. My war pike could focus a laser beam, while the dual blades could either be hurled to close the distance, or used to vault away from a monster to avoid danger.
Combos are quickly accessible from the pause menu, teaching me basic strategies for getting the most out of my weapon – button mashing only gets you so far.
“We want to push players to switch between the weapon types,” said Buckmaster. “Players should want to feel like they have a main weapon, but be able to quickly switch out depending on their party composition or the encounter.” There are five weapons currently available: sword, hammer, axe, dual blades, and the war pike. A sixth weapon is being planned for open beta.
The four of us landed on a floating island to begin our hunt. The islands are relatively small zones and contain a number of gatherable resources and plants, which can then be used to craft potions and items back in the hub town of Ramsgate.
As in Monster Hunter we were given a time limit to hunt the monster. “We’re shooting for an average hunt time of about 15 minutes,” said Buckmaster. “If you have the right gear and really know your way around, you could finish one as quickly as five minutes.”
We stuck together and soon found our prey: Skarn. Skarn was a large four-legged dinosaur monster equipped with giant plates of rocky armor. It could knock the armor off and use it as a weapon, or slam the ground and cause rocky spires to jut out and impale us. The four of us surrounded it and began hacking it up, getting knocked around in the process. A big part of the strategy is learning to read a behemoth’s attack patterns and weaknesses, and a live demo on the show floor isn’t the ideal way to tackle it.
Skarn retreated to a different area, giving us some breathing room to apply healing before chasing after it. There were some glowing blue outcroppings on the ground we could activate for an additional healing font. We also came equipped with several healing potions. If someone went down we could revive them, provided someone else distracted the monster away.
Sadly the behemoth ended us before we could take it down, though we gave it a valiant effort. Monsters scale with the number of players, and Skarn represented a Tier 2 behemoth. Normally it would not be the first monster you face.
Skarn is one of 18 behemoths currently available in the closed beta, spread out over five different difficulty tiers. The starter monsters at Tier 1 are easier versions of other behemoths, while a few later behemoths repeat the base monster designs but with different coloring and attack patterns.
Fighting behemoths is more than just trying to kill them. Targeting specific body parts and destroying them will nullify some of the monster’s attacks, as well as rewarding you with that body part. Body parts are used to craft more powerful weapons and armor, which in turn allow you to hunt more dangerous prey.
Dauntless is currently in closed beta, with an open beta arriving this summer on PC. Since it’s going to be free to play, Phoenix Labs admits that the open beta will essentially be a soft launch. “For open beta we’ll have the outline of our campaign,” said Buckmaster. “The goal is to have a full story campaign with voice acting and cutscenes. It’s not unlike Destiny where the 10-15 hour campaign shows you the ropes and gets you into the universe. Beyond that you’re grinding out for better stuff and going for the top accolades.”
Phoenix Labs promises the game will remain free to play, with no pay-to-win elements. “We are very firmly against pay-to-win type mechanics,” said Buckmaster. “You won’t be able to purchase anything that will affect your gameplay. The only things available to purchase will be cosmetics, like designs for flares and armor.”
Dauntless is planned for a PC launch initially, but Phoenix Labs are eyeing console releases for the future, though no consoles have yet been announced.
Can Dauntless survive now that many hunting fans are knee deep into the recently released behemoth of the genre, Monster Hunter: World? “The hunting genre has been pretty niche and sometimes difficult to get new players into,” said Buckmaster. “That’s something we wanted to do focus on with Dauntless – having a really inviting game that has depth, but easy enough to jump into and start hitting buttons.”