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Only eight fighters remain, and Gaming Hero March Madness has gone well beyond the point of easy decisions and quick explanations. Without further delay, here is your Elite 8:
1. Kratos v. 3. Samus Aran
In this tournament’s many battles, clashing universes are often difficult to compare. This is arguably our best possible example of that. Samus’ feats as a space bounty hunter, in the science fiction realm, rival that of any other character here. They might fall slightly shy of slaying the gods themselves, but both competitors in this Elite 8 matchup have extensive history destroying massive and powerful foes. Up close, Kratos starts mashing Samus beyond repair. Her best chance, one she’d be smart enough to take advantage off, would involve keeping her distance in a speedy aerial battle. Kratos can fly, but he isn’t the smoothest flight-capable character out there. The wings get him from Point A to Point B, even around some basic obstacles, but pursuing and evading the cooler version of Boba Fett is an altogether different task. I’m not an expert on the relative power gap between Greek myths and sci-fi fantasy, but there is reason to believe Samus actually does more damage from a considerable distance. Rapid firing miniature nukes against a stream of fire arrows is probably an advantageous move. Even Kratos’ deadly chain combos, fearsome fists and divine combos can only do so much damage if he can’t successfully string more of them together. Samus could theoretically be ripped apart in a thousand gruesome ways. No Elite 8 fight will be easy to call, but this one is exceptionally difficult. Ultimately, range and mobility win matches when your durability and power rival that of an opponent known for his durability and power. After an epic struggle, Samus wins, eliminates the tournament’s top overall seed, and advances to the Final Four.
1. Bayonetta v. 2. Dovahkiin
While I focused on this in the previous introduction, I now realize that just about every contestant still standing has some astounding résumé against immensely powerful enemies. We may have to retire that compliment. By the lore, these two are an even match. One slays and conquers dragons while also fending off the many evils of Skyrim. The other simultaneously takes on heaven and hell via unholy slaughter. We’ve yet to rely too much on core gameplay to decide these fights, but that factor becomes most relevant in this matchup. Bayonetta is fast, and literally dances around enemy attacks to set up devastating counters. The Dragonborn is notoriously clunky. His abilities do cover the power of all of medieval fantasy fiction. But everything he does is telegraphed and predictable. Bayonetta possesses a similar range of skills, but she also makes a living out of devouring predictable enemies. Just imagine what Witch Time would do to your Skyrim hero. Even the Dragonborn’s enemy-slowing and speed-boosting shouts can’t manage to put more than a dent in this mobility disadvantage. Bethesda’s primitive Elder Scrolls gameplay is finally coming back to haunt them, as they and Platinum Games sit on opposite ends of the combat spectrum. Bayonetta isn’t built to explore; she was created to kill things. The Dragonborn’s power is as dangerous as it is ancient, but the Umbra Witch’s dazzling combat style is far too much for him to handle. Bayonetta wins.
5. Corvo Attano v. 6. Pit
I won’t feign suspense where there isn’t much. Based on Pit’s track record leading up to this fight, we know he holds a number of significant advantages over Corvo. Pit can fly, making much of Corvo’s stealth useless. Pit can eliminate darkness-based enemies, especially those that aren’t as powerful as he is in the first place. Dishonored isn’t a game meant to track down flying blades of light-based death. Pit’s constant movement goes against everything enemies in stealth games teach you, and his weapons more closely resemble a boss you’d fight in an action-RPG. Corvo is ruthless, cunning and prepared for every encounter. But there isn’t a trick in his book that can fight a more powerful opponent that he can’t even touch, and has the goddess-given power to turn him to dust at any moment. In the round’s most decisive fight, Pit soars into the semifinals.
1. Starkiller v. 6. Geralt of Rivia
This is an interesting matchup because both fighters are Force wielders. The powers may not share the same name in Geralt’s universe. But he and Starkiller share the mind-invading, object-pushing abilities that seize the advantage in any conflict. Starkiller’s application of telekinesis is stronger, but neither of these two would be tossing the other around. A pair of lightsabers is certainly a more fearsome assault than Geralt’s one (at a time) sword. Lightsabers have inconsistent effects against metal, and the magic infused with Geralt’s blades would keep them in one piece as he faced Starkiller’s furious approach. This is another impossibly difficult call. With no other differentiating factor, Starkiller is more of a raw force than he is a particularly seasoned fighter. He’s hyper-aggressive, overeager, and will always opt to brute force his way through any situation. Starkiller is a powerful pawn for Star Wars’ prestigious villains, and he’s susceptible to failure against a significantly smarter opponent with similar abilities. Strong, fast and dangerous isn’t enough to beat Geralt. He’s all of that and knows exactly what to do. Starkiller eventually leaves himself open, loses a hand like any good Jedi, and it’s all Witcher from there. Geralt of Rivia wins and rides the momentum of a big upset into the Final Four.
One top seed survives, joining a 3 as well as a surprising pair of 6s in our Gaming Hero March Madness Final Four. Next time, we’ll go through both the Final Four and championship fight. Four fighters remain as we head towards the tournament’s big finale. See you then!
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