2017: The Best New Nintendo Characters

Games Lists

Nintendo is famous for creating some of the most memorable video game characters of all time. Naturally, the company itself is largely responsible for a major portion of the most iconic characters in the industry, dreaming up potential classic mascots at a rate on par with Disney. 2017 brought several noteworthy new personalities into the mix most notably from the Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem franchise, and so we decided to write about some of our favorites. Time will tell if any of these achieve the noteworthy success of a Mario, Link, or even Kirby, but they sure did leave a lasting first impression.

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BOTW-RivaliRevali

I may be the only writer here at Goomba Stomp who prefers Revali over the other three Champions in Breath of the Wild but it’s comforting to know that the game’s sound director Hajime Wakai stated that Revali is his also his favorite character. The Rito Champion and one of Link’s allies may be prideful and arrogant, but he’s also brave, fearless and determined to protect his Rito tribe and stop Ganon. Revali is also voiced by Sean Chiplock who arguably delivers the best voice acting in the entire game, and while he may at times be a touch too flamboyant, it’s clear that he means well and that his cocky attitude is meant to hide his insecurity. But what I love most about Revali is his look and his choice of weapon. Of the hundreds of characters that appear in Breath of the Wild, Revali may just be the coolest looking of the bunch and if I had to choose between the entire cast, I would want to see Revali added to the Super Smash Bros. roster in the near future. (Ricky D)

REX-Xenoblade-Chronicles-2Rex

I’m not as crazy in love with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as some of my colleagues are but what I don’t understand is why everyone I know who loves this game hates Rex? How can you seriously play your way through a JRPG that is not only heavily focused on a narrative but requires well over 100 hours of your time to play – and not like the main protagonist? For all intents and purposes, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is Pyra’s story, but
Rex acts as the stand-in for us, the audience, and therefore it’s appropriate that he’s curious, inquisitive, confused and lost. Like us, he’s discovering new places, people, creatures, and mysteries for the very first time and so it feels appropriate that Rex knows just as little as we do when starting this adventure. Yes, he’s often confused and a tad slow but he’s also a child who lost his parents at the age of two and washed up on the shores of Fonsett Village where he was raised by Azurda, a small Titan, whom he calls Gramps. He spent most of his adolescence travelling through the sea of clouds overrunning the world of Alrest and earned his living by performing retrieve and rescue missions as a Salvager. And yet, like all great champions, Rex is devoted to protecting everyone and everything he loves. He’s hopeful, open-minded, brave and determined to find Elysium, even if everyone else tries to convince him it doesn’t exist. The character Rex has also been criticized for having a strange accent but I feel this criticism has been taken too far. Sure, I might not be able to pinpoint exactly what British accent the voice actor is attempting to mimic but the last time I checked, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 doesn’t’ take place on the planet Earth, so why does it matter? As for the voice acting itself, the acting in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a leap forward when compared to what we’ve seen in other popular JRPG franchises. (Ricky D)

Ronan-Fire-Emblem-WarriorsRonan

Fire Emblem Warriors is one of my favourite games of 2017. In my review I wrote, ‘it’s an orgy of frenetic combat, a blood-letting on a titanic scale, a ballet of butchery that moves in perfect harmony with its thunderous gameplay’. There’s something incredibly appealing about the large-scale battles and swords and sandals gameplay of the Koei Tecmo series that suits the Fire Emblem series. Take for starters the roster. Whether you’re a tried-and-true Musou veteran or a diehard Fire Emblem fan, Fire Emblem Warriors is sure to please based on its large cast of recognizable and beloved characters alone. A majority of the players come straight from Fire Emblem Fates and Fire Emblem Awakening and the game features well over twenty characters to choose from. The usual suspects such as Corrin, Marth, Camilla, Robin, Frederick, Cordelia, Takumi, Tiki, Sakura and more are all present and accounted for along with two newcomers Rowan and Lianna, rightful heirs to the Kingdom of Aytolis. Of the two, Rowan, the younger twin brother of princess Lianna was my go-to character to play with. There’s something to admire about the hotheaded, stubborn, and naïve prince who prefers to fight in the battlefield as a knight rather than be a king. He’s a true warrior, despite his young age, and easily one of the best new characters added to Nintendo’s universe this year. (Ricky D)

PrinceSidonPrince Sidon

Sidon is the prince of the Zora, the son of King Dorephan and the brother of Champion Mipha. Players first encounter Sidon at the Inogo Bridge while on his way to Zora’s Domain. Sidon is kind, personable, and a role model to the rest of the kingdom. After the loss of Mipha, Sidon essentially had to step into his elder sister’s shoes and be the hero the Zora people needed. After 100 years of bitter hatred for Link from some of the Zora, specifically Muzu, Sidon remembers the feelings Mipha had for Link long ago and completely trusts him to help take down Vah Ruda and save the Zora.

But aside from being a strong leader and personable character, Prince Sidon made waves in Breath of the Wild with the fact that he’s a total heartthrob. Maybe it’s his smile, or his classic pose, or maybe his rippling fish abs. The Sidon meme started small at first, with BOTW fans noting that they liked Sidon, finding him motivational and enlightening, then noting that Sidon was indeed an attractive fish, to shipping Sidon and Link, and then finally hitting full meme status, including real-life fan clubs.

But regardless of whether or not you find Prince Sidon attractive, he’s a strong and impactful character to the Zora Kingdom after the loss of Mipha, and more importantly, to Breath of the Wild as a whole. (Katrina Lind)

arms-800x420The Entire Arms Roster

Arms does a great job in shaking up the fighting genre, putting the camera right behind the player’s avatar and equipping each character with superhuman limbs that extend across the battlefield. Even though this unusual brand of boxing won’t appeal to most gamers, you have to admire Nintendo for taking chances and creating an entertaining new IP. But what makes Arms truly stand out is its superb roster, each character with their own backstory, unique personality, strength and weakness. Every great fighter has great characters, and Arms has fourteen in total to choose from. In fact, the cast is so great that it’s hard to decide just who we should choose, but given that each of the characters can equip the same arms, we figured why the hell not include the entire roster. (Ricky D)

MiphaMipha

Link has a habit of falling for a Zora, and a love story between a hero Hylian and a Zoran princess is one that expresses itself throughout much of the lore in Breath of the Wild. Mipha, for her part, was a childhood friend of Link’s and the feelings soon blossomed. Mipha is a shy character, but beneath the quiet love for Link, there was a complex champion who took her responsibilities seriously. “The Champion’s Ballad” did a fantastic job of revealing the true story of Mipha written in her diary. Among the feelings of love were feelings of regret and jealousy, and particularly one of doubt as to whether she could truly pursue the Hero of the Wild. The beauty of the story of Mipha remains the tragedy of its end. When Waterblight Ganon defeated her and imprisoned her soul in Vah Ruta, the Zora armor that she had made for Link as a typical Zoran proposal of marriage was never to be. With Link now the personal guard of Princess Zelda, the Zora armor was made out of hope and jealousy that maybe it was never to be. But like with so many stories in Breath of the Wild, this Romeo and Juliet tragedy becomes a what if? (James Baker)

Pearl-Marina-Splatoon2Pearl and Marina

Pearl and Marina are the new Inkopolis idols hosting “Off the Hook” replacing Callie and Marie in Splatoon 2. Unlike Callie and Marie, Pearl and Marina actually seem like a team who work together, instead of bickering cousins. The two are like the ebb and flow of the ocean in a harbor. The two are really a perfect pair musically, personality wise, and aesthetically. Pearl being hot-headed and sharp, and Marina, the calm though sometimes forgetful stronghold of the duo.

Pearl and Marina’s origins are explained within the sunken sea scrolls found within the single-player campaign, where both cephalopods were actually at the final boss battle in Splatoon, where both thought the battle between Agent 3 and DJ Octavius was an underground concert and thus inspired their musical careers. (Katrina Lind)

KassKass

Kass is perhaps the focal point of “The Champion’s Ballad”. Whilst not strictly important to the progress of the game, his own story is harmonious to the events that unfold, placing him as the conductor of this symphony. Kass is passionate about the stories and poems of old, to such an extent that he left his wife Amali and five daughters in Rito village to go on an adventure to discover the ballads from ancient times. His teacher was the court poet for the Hyrulean royal family and also a member of the Sheikah tribe, without much else mentioned of his teacher, we can only assume he was lost in the destruction of Hyrule castle, leaving Kass with a promise to fulfill, a promise that isn’t entirely explained. The complexity leaves Kass longing to return to his family, and his duty to his teacher leaves him showing up across the whole of Hyrule. Kass is always somewhere important, so when you hear the bisonoric sound of an accordion, you know Kass is around with an important quest. (James Baker)

UrobsaUrbosa

Urbosa was the Gerudo Chieftain of her people, governing Gerudo Town with wisdom, strength, and compassion. Urbosa is an incredibly strong champion and remembered well by the Gerudo people, some saying that Urbosa’s movements resembled a beautiful dance when using the Scimitar of the Seven. More so than any of the other champions, Urbosa had a very pronounced and personal hatred of Ganon, as the demon king was first born into the kingdom in the form of a male Gerudo to begin his campaign of violence and destruction to Hyrule. So the defeat of Ganon is a personal journey to Urbosa.

What makes Urbosa such a fantastic Champion is her relationship to Zelda. Since the passing of Zelda’s mother when she was little, Urbosa took on the role of caring and helping guide her little bird. Even though Zelda feels that she has failed her destiny, Urbosa was still there to care and support her, along with protecting her own people with the fire and fury we know her for. (Katrina Lind)

SharenaSharena

Fire Emblem Heroes went from being what a lot of people considered would be a flash in the pan to Google Play Japan’s best game of 2017. Heroes is a celebration of the Fire Emblem franchise and features well-known characters from almost every game in the series. Heroes is not just a simple crossover though and has its own story and main characters that are exclusive to it. Sharena is the princess of Askr, and brother to other lead characters, Alfonse. She’s a cheery and supportive character and has the backs of everyone else throughout the story. Sharena has one of the best max-level conversations with the player, and it gives a lot of insight into her caring demeanor.  

There’s more to Heroes than just its writing, playing the game is obviously an important thing too. The Free-to-obtain units in Heroes are obviously a little underwhelming compared to their gacha-related allies, but Sharena is surprisingly strong. She’s easily the best out of the starting Askr trio, and can easily fit whatever role you need her to if built properly. Very few characters can fill as many niches as Sharena. The peppy princess of Askr is easily the best unit character out of Fire Emblem Heroes. (Taylor Smith)

Monk Maz KoshiaMonk Maz Koshia

Anyone who’s finished Breath of the Wild’s second DLC pack will understand why Monk Maz Koshia makes this list. The Champions’ Ballad presents you with a new series of challenges on the Great Plateau and at the end, Link must battle the Sheikah Monk who boasts a wide array of tactics, including techniques from every boss prior fight — along with some new ones. Like a Yiga Footsoldier, Monk Maz Koshia can magically teleport and strike Link from above with his Sword, but he also uses a Bow and an assortment of Fire Arrows, Ice Arrows, and Shock Arrows to strike his enemies. Koshia can also split himself into nine copies, each of which can damage Link, and if that’s not enough, he also uses charged laser attacks and a series of eight metallic, spiky balls to attack. All in all, Maz Koshia is one of the best boss battles featured in any Zelda game and a strong finish to the DLC pack that elevates the year’s best game to further heights. (Ricky D)

CappyCappy

What makes Super Mario Odyssey special is that it isn’t so much a sandbox game as it is a toy box. Odyssey encourages players to explore every nook and cranny, and it helps that Mario now has Cappy to use as a standard throw attack. That possession power, embodied by Mario’s new sidekick is what makes Odyssey stand out from every other entry in the series. It’s a brilliant idea that allows for dozens of additional playable characters, all with different powers, abilities, and ways of getting around. Professionally, Mario has always worn many hats but thanks to Cappy, in this game, he’s anything and everything he wants to be. The Super Mario series has always been known for introducing us to some of the most beloved characters in the Nintendo universe, and Cappy is right up there with the best of them.

Editor’s Note: Although Super Mario Odyssey is the first game in which Cappy is physically present, his first appearance in a game is in Super Mario Run. To promote Super Mario Odyssey’s appearance at E3 2017, a statue of Cappy in the form of the Mario Cap was made available as one of the objects in Kingdom Builder.

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1 comment

Ricky D January 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm

I finally got around to playing Mario + Rabbids and I am wondering how nobody nominated Peach Rabbid as one of the best new characters. Honestly, she might be my favorite.

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