MISHAWAKA – The newest member of the Super Smash Brothers Ultimate roster, Byleth, has finally been released for players.
My first few hours with this controversial character can be described in four words: “surprisingly and overwhelmingly enjoyable.” I was happy enough to see Byleth make it into the game, but this character surpassed my expectations by being incredibly fun to play as well. The move set is incredibly unique for a Fire Emblem character; Byleth wields not just a sword, but an axe, spear and bow. These weapons, called “Hero’s Relics” in the original game, are all wielded by different supporting characters in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ll describe the weapons in what I believe is the ascending order of importance.
First is the bow; its name in Three Houses is “Failnaught,” and in Smash Brothers it fires both arrows and giant bolts of energy. Not only can it be used as a bow, but Byleth can spin Failnaught around in the air to act as a multi-hit move, which is incredibly useful for combos. The drawback (see what I did there?) for using the bow is that once you press the button to fire it, you either must let the attack finish or cancel it altogether. There’s no way to quickfire an arrow; however, holding the button down longer will charge a more powerful version of the initial attack.
The spear, “Areadbhar,” allows Byleth to be lethal at both short-range and long-range. Using an enormous spear like Areadbhar against swordfighters enables Byleth to stay out of range of many of their attacks. What makes it especially rewarding, however, is the “sweet-spot” on the tip of the spear; hitting enemies with this part of the weapon does much more damage and launches them much farther back. I think this weapon is incredibly useful, and it has already kept me out of harm’s way many times.
Finally, we come to the axe, Amyr. This is by far the most satisfying weapon to use with this character; I say this because it is a high-risk option with an astronomically high reward. Not only are all the attacks using Amyr incredibly slow, they also leave you incredibly vulnerable. The tradeoff for that sluggishness, however, is how unfathomably hard Amyr hits. This weapon can knock out an enemy in one hit, and it’s available to use so long as you have the time to use it.
While that may sound like an uninspired and foolish way to play a fighting game, the sheer satisfaction from landing such risky attacks is more than enough to justify playing this character. Two days after the release, I had fought over ninety battles (and have won at least 70% of those games) with Byleth. Though his announcement may have been underwhelming and even insulting to some, I am overjoyed at this character’s inclusion and playstyle, and I look forward to playing him in many games to come.