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Half of the Gaming Hero March Madness Sweet 16 is in the books. Today, we take care of unfinished business and send the other half into battle. How’s your bracket doing? Mine’s great because I made this up. Anyway here’s our next slate of matchups.
9. Commander Shepard v. 5. Corvo Attano
Soldier takes on assassin as this chaos-filled region of the bracket continues to produce interesting scenarios. In a face-to-face encounter, Shepard obviously has too much firepower for Corvo’s stealth-based style. But these fights aren’t so simple. Luckily, Corvo is on his own instead of under my control, so we can expect top-notch stealth against a character that also knows exactly which play to call. The two form an entertaining duel of wits, giving this one a cat and mouse dynamic. Earlier in this tournament, Shulk fell victim to a sizeable upset due to his reliance on teammates. His strength lies in others, allowing a loss against someone more used to fending for herself. This fight follows a similar path. Shepard is more individually capable than Shulk, but shares the team dynamic that this tournament sees as a disadvantage. With no squad to command, Shepard’s potential is severely limited. Corvo, on the other hand, thrives in this very situation. His abilities are different, but equally dangerous and better suited for all things one-on-one. Shepard had a nice run, but Corvo wins again en route to the quarterfinals.
6. Pit v. 7. Link
Two Nintendo icons are forced to face off in a battle of bows and blades. Link is a bit more precise, but Pit’s airborne advantage is crucial. These are two evenly matched stars. Both benefited from the ability to conquer darkness-based enemies. Being a dark antihero all of a sudden looks a lot less cool when two pretty boys created to entertain children show up and stomp all over your tournament chances. To be clear, this darkness loophole isn’t exactly an automatic win. That wouldn’t be very fun. But the power and skills behind these characters are among gaming’s best, which is enough to beat any opponent that’s already at a natural disadvantage. In this matchup, Pit is faster and wields a firepower that surpasses the weapons any typical Legend of Zelda game has to offer. We’ll be kind and not saddle Link with Breath of the Wild logic, in which Pit would shatter about a thousand of Link’s weapons. But this is still an enemy that the hero of time is not equipped to face. Given the nature of Pit’s power, I’m not even sure the Master Sword would do any damage against a heroic angel. Between the all-important ability to fly, a superior barrage of weaponry and Link’s questionable ability to combat a pure source of light, Pit wins this Nintendo showdown and advances to the Elite 8.
1. Starkiller v. 12. Aloy
The clock may be striking midnight for Cinderella. Aloy might stand a chance with an overridden Thunderjaw, but this tournament limits the use of outside help. Starkiller possesses the all-important Force, which sniffs out Aloy’s many traps and hiding spots. She doesn’t possess any magic that’d keep her bow and spear from getting sliced in half by a lightsaber. Starkiller can stop any arrow, avoid any threat, close the distance gap and win any short-range encounter with ease. A Jedi would completely break Horizon’s universe, just as one completely breaks this fight. Aloy earned the tournament’s most surprising run, but it ends here. Without much doubt, Starkiller wins and powers through another round.
6. Geralt of Rivia v. 10. Ryu Hayabasa
This is an elite duel between characters that are both regarded as world-class swordsmen in their respective universes. Ryu is the faster of the two, and speed is certainly a valuable asset in a swordfight. Geralt, on the other hand, brings an equally valuable assortment of Witcher powers and signs into battle. Speed can be a nuisance, but Geralt’s superior durability via protective shield is the game changer. The Witcher’s reflexes can strike down significantly faster opponents, even if his personal sprint speed is more average. Geralt’s mind control and possession ability, whether or not Ryu has the mental capacity to resist, slows the ninja’s relentless assault down. Witchers are chemically engineered hunters, made to take down individual enemies. This tournament plays right into his line of violent work and, while Ryu Hayabasa is a worthy match, Geralt is able to survive another round and secure the victory.
We’ve managed to keep pace with the NCAA as Gaming Hero March Madness nears its home stretch. Next time, only eight fighters remain as gaming’s best and deadliest face off to crown the last hero standing.
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