(Pre-word: I meant no offense if I make mention of someone else’s tastes and comparing it. I’m not saying my opinion’s better, it’s just different. With that being said, let’s continue)
Hello everybody and welcome back into another session of Weapon on A Stick. Last time we have dealt with the stick itself, Combat Staff… Now if you add a pointy blade on the end of it, the result would be the spear and its subset. Halberds, naginata, pikes. The Spear combines the long reach of a staff and the piercing power of a blade, and sometimes also its slashing power, making it a bit safer to use, and also simpler to use in various modes, just keep your distance and keep swinging or stabbing. It’s also a popular weapon to use on horseback due to its reach. Many medieval cavalries have used the spear or its subsets as their go-to weapon for melee cavalry combat.
So, here I am, listing down the 10 Video Game experts of spear that is entrenched in my mind, they can swing, stab and slash no matter where they are. But first and foremost! I have to mention this: Spear is so widely used in video games that sometimes, its sub families are considered spears itself. This is why for this countdown, I will bypass that one difference, if it’s a subset of a spear, like naginata, it’s eligible for this. Aside of that, only from the games I played… well maybe that has just one subversion (you’ll see it soon enough), but it still applies. Also only one per franchise, that goes naturally.
Welp I don’t think I have more to say for intros. Let’s cut through this countdown at once!
… This is where I have to use that subversion at once, and I apologize in advance because it looks like cheating from the get go. The game we’re talking about is Tales of Vesperia.
It’s really really one of the Tales games… that I want to play so badly! But it’s only Xbox 360 exclusive, I don’t have that, and the PS3 import is so expensive that I might not be able to afford it well! C’mon, get it on Steam, Bandai Namco!! But I still indulge to how the characters were like through other videos, and other spinoff games like Tales of Versus, Tales of the World Radiant Mythology and Tales of Twin Braves have Vesperia characters represented and also THIS character. So technically, that kind of bypassed the rule of ‘only the game I played’, I didn’t say ‘only from the game of origin that I have played’.
Now with that out of the way, the character I’m talking about is Judith.
… Wait, are you saying that I had to break the rules because I have a thing of sexy fanservice characters? Like the pervert I am? Think what you like, but I’ll just give it this: Had I played and experienced Vesperia full time, Judith would’ve ranked REALLY high in this list. Before we get to that, let’s just get on with her story.
Without spoiling things, I hope, Judith first made her appearance in the story as this armored ‘Dragon Freak’ that goes around destroying blastia, which she deemed as a dangerous thing made by her father, without any exceptions. Nobody knew that she was actually a Krityan, an usually intellectual elf-like people, and actually a rather gorgeous woman who likes to wear less to give her more agility in combat and to tease others and not like any other Krityan, being that she’s more home about fighting than learning. Yuri Lowell only learns this when they got together in a jail and then she ends up joining the Brave Vesperia, and along the way, even if she made conflicts here and there, she started to develop from her old mission into something more altruistic and more trusting on mankind. After all, the blastia she destroyed was just a tool, a weapon, whether it’s evil or not depends on the man using it, and she learns that not every man are evil…
They just stand out more.
All right, so now we’re getting to the meat of things. So basically, just by seeing Judith in battle, doing all those crazy maneuvers with her spear, even if she got her handle wrong, is just greatly breathtaking. Not sure if this is accurate, but I’d say Judith popularized one thing with how she handles her spear: Aerial combat in Tales series. A lot of Judith’s moves leaves her open to do more actions airborne, and juggling her enemies until either they hit the ground full of damages, or dead airborne. She also has a tendency to enhance her attacks with lightning or teleporting around either stomping her enemy or just throw down her spear empowered with energy. Come to think of it, Judith might as well be one of those characters whose spear skills are unique to her own throughout the whole Tales Series. A lot of her skills just come up new compared to others before her, and only a few of her skills came up in future series after hers.
That’s a lot I can say from someone whose exposure is from side games or fan games, but is such a great expert in spears that it would be a great injustice to not even put her into this list. I’m sorry, Judith, when one day I have finished playing Vesperia on my own, you would get really high, like maybe one of the Top 5 here, but for now, you’d be at #10 of my Spear Experts list.
So… Bandai Namco? Bring that game on Steam, come on…!
All right, we can now talk about someone who’s actually originated from a game I have actually played. So where do we go from here? Welp, let’s get to Dota 2.
With so many heroes to choose from this game, no doubt that the spear is one of the weapons presented and wielded by several heroes. There’s Huskar the Sacred Warrior that throws tons of spear on fire while walking to the area of death himself, or there’s Tresdin the Legion Commander, wielding her halberd that gets more powerful for each heroes she kills in a Duel. Or there’s even Slardar the Slithreen Guard whose spear can stunlock his target with a few strike of luck. But by the end of it, I guess I’ll have to give this title to one of my favorite heroes… and no, it’s not just due to bias.
If you’ve seen my old favorite Dota 2 heroes videos, then you’d be familiar with this guy. Azwraith, the Phantom Lancer, proves to be extremely nimble and deadly with his spear… or rather, THEIR spears. This is because he’s now able to create illusions of himself, all with similar skills of spear with him. Before that, he was just a simple fisherm– fisher… cat person from the village of Pole that was besieged with an army led by the Dread Magus Vorn. Azwraith plowed through the wizard’s army armed with nothing but his spear, an incredible feat, if you ask me, until he’s the lone person confronting Vorn… and kills the Wizard himself. Of course, in his dying breath, the Wizard casted a spell that affected his body forever, he’s now a multiplying phantom of himself, but in a way, he can sense and feel and command his phantoms.
And these phantoms serve him well during battles between the Radiant Ancient and the Dire Ancient, all of them carrying spears that might do lesser damage than how the real Phantom Lancer swings his spear, but all of them will carry out the on-hit effects of any items possessed by the Phantom Lancer, making it very deadly if his phantoms swarm on his enemy with their spears on tow. As stated, the Phantom Lancer can sense and command his illusions, which means that he can pretty much multitask them on how they should act with their spears… directly. In addition of how he can also rush forward in a quick speed with spear at hand, he can also toss his spear that damages his enemy and create an illusion to fight with spear even more.
This will come up more later, but Phantom Lancer pretty much popularized how in MOBA games, when you have a spear, your job is to stick to your target, and start stabbing and whacking them with your spear until the target dies. With that many spears in his command and his overall nimble move even with a spear and his ability to multi-task commanding those spear-wielding illusions while being no slouch with the spear on his own, Phantom Lancer lands right onto the #9 spot of my Top Video Game Spear Expert list.
Let’s talk about a subset of spear that we call Naginata. Originating from Japan, it was at first used as an alternative of spears by Japanese soldiers, in case they want to slash someone in addition of to stab someone while having the blade being on a stick than near a handle, like a katana. Over time in the Sengoku Period, the Naginata gained popularity in the hands of women who defend their home while their husbands were away from home warring. This gave the incentive that naginata is like a spear for ladies, though not all ladies use naginata, but it does have a touch of femininity. There’s even a trope for it.
Well, with that being said, one of the best gems SNK made before its first bankruptcy is The Last Blade series, a weapon-based fighting series based on the Bakumatsu era of Japan. I could talk about how much this is such an underrated series with gameplay aspects, but… well this isn’t where to talk about it. Well, with all that said, yes they have a great example of a female who’s really really good at Naginata and exemplified what I said about the femininity of a Japanese woman using that weapon.
Introducing the heroine of the series that for some reason never set foot outside her home series, Yuki — Whoa, whoa, whoa! Now I can hear the complains, you’re gonna say ‘But with a name like Yuki, how could she not be a Japanese?’ Okay, okay, just take it slow and hear me out. Yuki is the child of a foreign family, her parents died in a ship wreck and she was then raised by the sword master Gaisei. She learns the Japanese culture well enough that she just felt more like a Japanese lady than whatever her foreign ancestry means. Due to her more impregnable spirit, Gaisei chose to teach her the arts of naginata combat rather than the sword, which is used by her two best friends Kaede and Moriya Minataka. When Gaisei was killed and it looked like Moriya was the murderer, Yuki traveled throughout Japan in cooperation with Kaede in order to find out the truth behind this murder and clear his name, which led her to the mad guardian of Suzaku, Shinnosuke Kagami, and his plan to open the Hell Gate. Even after Kagami’s defeat, the Hell Gate is still open as in the 2nd game, and there’s only one thing that can close it: The Sealing Maiden. As Yuki researched more about this Maiden, the more closer she gets into her ultimate destiny, one that she will not back down because her impregnable spirit will not let her.
And for some reason, she can also control ice. Indeed, a lot of her attacks are based on how much ice she can summon. However, it doesn’t mean that Yuki really forgot her basic skills in swinging and slashing with her naginata. In fact, if she’s not using her naginata as a medium to summon the ice that she uses to keep the enemies at bay, she’s not that afraid to get up close and then start striking her target with several swings of her naginata. She has several attacks that are purely based on how much she strikes with her naginata, and sometimes she can use normal strikes in conjunction of her ice attacks, such as a powerful downward thrust after tossing the enemy upwards with an ice tornado… That’s gonna hurt, no matter what.
Well this might be a little bias, but I’m just impressed with how Yuki combined the elegant use of a naginata with my most favorite element in fiction, ice, and… yeah I don’t really give a damn about how she lost tier levels in the second game. My stance has always been ‘Middle finger to tier list’. In addition of being a strong willed and admirable woman who will give everything she has in order to fulfill her destiny and protect those she loved, Yuki stands as one of my most favored spear experts ranking at #8.
Now if only SNK gets a clue and lets her appear in future crossover games…
Fate/stay night is one of my favorite franchises by Type Moon, which is about the Holy Grail War where Servants based on 7 classes are summoned by their Masters as they compete who gets to achieve the Grail. Problem is… it’s a Visual Novel, a pure one at that, it doesn’t have other ‘game’ elements like the Phoenix Wright series, so I can’t put people from there to this list. It’s a pity, there’s a lot of characters and weapons that can fit in lists like this, had it not been the nature of its platform.
Thankfully, it’s still a very popular piece that there’s a lot of shout outs of that series. And one of them can be found right here at BlazBlue. And a good thing too, because I actually grew to like this character overall.
This girl here is called Mai Natsume. Yep, by the look of that red spear on her, you’d know she’s giving vibes of Fate/stay night’s Lancer. But really, she’s not in this list just because she’s a shout out to one of my favorite Servants there. But first things first. Mai is pretty unique because she… used to be a boy. Yes, it’s not a crossdressing boy with gigantic fake tits. Due to a magical grimoire, he ended up stuck physically as a girl… a rather busty young girl. Shenanigans occur as Mai tried to adjust the new life as a girl, and mentally becoming one as well, but in the end, Mai chose to stay as a girl as the condition gave her new abilities to protect her friends, tying back to her mostly altruistic personality, which may be too typical or bland for others, but it’s pretty okay in my book.
Later on down the line she managed to get ahold of a copy of the Legacy Weapon called Outseal, a red spear that can home into the enemy direction on a whim and houses quite a lot of power… Oh and… it’s worth noting that Mai actually debuted in a spin-off manga, but since she made her playable debut in Central Fiction with a spear… well, here she is.
The way she wields her spear is what sells it to me. After a good dose of character development backstage, this girl who’s more polite and kind hearted can wield the spear with grace and precision like a pro. She can chain her normal attacks like a ground combo without absolutely having to resort to button mashing, which can lead to tons of spear thrusts, which can be linked to a further massive thrust. She’s also pretty nimble, dashing or backflipping before eventually switching to a massive thrust, and as stated, with how her spear can change direction, she can throw the spear and make sure it hits, giving her zoning options and keeping the enemy at bay. And did we mention if it’s fully charged, it becomes unblockable?
That’s not even getting to her Distortion Drives. A charged, delayed and powerful thrust, as well as a spear throw that can cause massive explosion to anyone caught with it (this one is an Astral)… Yeah, anyone who does watch Fate/stay night is going to have a wide grin on it. In addition, her other Distortion Drive is a massive jump before landing in for massive damage. Hm… Final Fantasy players? Does this remind you of the Dragoon Jump?
But overall, playing as her, even when she’s simpler than a cast is just simply a blast, Mai carries her spear smoothly and thrusts hard with it, the determination she carries makes her look like quite the pro fighter. For a newbie in the fighting game, that’s a lot to say, and she can certainly keep up with the more ‘out-there’ cast of the game, making her one of my most favored Spear Experts in video games, ranking at #7.
Fire Emblem. Ever since the beginning of the series, the lance or spears have been a mainstay weapon in the series, favored by common foot soldiers, Cavalries, Pegasus Knights or Wyvern Riders. As the series goes on, they introduced the Weapons Triangle system where it beats swords, but is beaten by axes.
Since there are a lot of unique characters that join you, it’s no easy task to pick just one spear expert from here. There’s just a lot of people I can pick. Nephenee from the Tellius series might be a very strong contender, because she’s one of those characters that made spear-wielding soldiers from unplayable foot soldiers existing just to get their asses kicked by the player into a force to be reckoned with. And that’s not even getting to the multitudes of Pegasus Knights available. But in the end, I decided that I’d give this title… to that one Lord that specializes in Lance, Prince Ephraim from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
Ephraim is the first prince of the Kingdom of Renais and twin brother of Princess Eirika. When Grado invaded his homeland, Ephraim went on a guerilla mission to divert the attention of Grado, with just a few men. Since he’s well-talented in the arts of war and following his creed of ‘Don’t pick a fight that you can’t win’, Ephraim managed to gather enough information and escape with his life, even when there was an unexpected betrayal. But his homeland was successfully invaded and Eirika missing and later found in an ambush with her troops. Ephraim managed to gather his men and rendezvous with Eirika, and eventually going on a journey to uncover the mystery behind Grado’s invasion, where his other childhood friend Lyon might have clues about. One mystery that will tie to the battle deciding the fate of the world Magvel where they lived.
And a mystery that will put his leadership qualities in questions, as Ephraim found out the hard way that maybe he should put more attention about his people skills, which he eventually worked hard to fix if he’s to become a good king one day.
But we’re not here to talk about that, aren’t we? Being a Lord that specialized in a non-sword weapon, Ephraim might remind the previous game’s players to Hector, except that he’s using a Lance. His skills with the spear is stellar enough that you can easily just send Ephraim alone to a wide array of enemy ranks… and they all die. One by one. Ephraim’s stats and his growth are excellent enough that he can easily become a one man army by himself, but since this is Fire Emblem, it’s not that wise to do so. However, you can always count on Ephraim to have his spear bail you out in tight spots. In addition, once he promotes into the Great Lord, he gains not only a horse, but an upgrade of his already unique cavalry-killing, armor-breaking spear, from the Reginleif into the Siegmund, making him even more powerful than the way he was before.
In addition of his mastery of the art of war, Ephraim is one person who has enough spirit, skill and balls to get into the enemy fray and whack away anyone that comes to his sight with just his spear, and he can be a cocky ass about it. But all of them are still tempered with how much he cared for his country and wanting to be the one the people can depend on, he’s willing to risk his life for everyone he holds dear about, and that’s… a lot of people. It makes him a decent character, and a very powerful Spear Expert, ranking here at #6.
Ah yes, we’re back to League of Legends. The realm of Runeterra has no shortages as well in whoever wield their blades on a stick. There’s actually a lot to choose. Jarvan IV and his massively huge spear, Pantheon and his spear that never misses when thrown, Nidalee and her spear that gets more damaging the more it’s thrown and more… However, as much as one of them is actually my top favorites amongst the Champions of Runeterra (Guess who)… This is one of the times I don’t follow bias and the one that comes to mind when it comes to spear expertise in this case ends up being yet another one of my favorites, but not as high as one of those guys. The Seneschal of Demacia, Xin Zhao.
When it comes to Xin Zhao, it’s all about how he swings his spear, it’s his only physical arsenal, combined with a shit ton of determination and warrior spirit. It’s what kept him alive after all those years in The Fleshing event in Noxus, a gladiatoral match where winners face even more opponents simultaneously in the next match they survived at. The last record was nearly 50 opponents. Xin Zhao was up for 300 opponents, six times more than that, when King Jarvan II of Demacia noticed his tenacity and spirit and offered him his freedom and his opponents’ in exchange of his service, plus whoever put him in this being punished. Xin Zhao didn’t just accept, he also even willingly took a poisoned dart for the King that he just met. And from that point forward, his spear would always be at the side of the Jarvan family, from the 3rd Jarvan to the 4th… which is, the Champion we’re familiar with.
Xin Zhao has the best dedication when it comes to spears. Compared to the other champions I mentioned, while they’re good with the spear, they have other means of combat in the Fields of Justice. And as I said, for Xin Zhao, it’s all about only his spear… And that’s all he needs to be a man… oh, sorry. I mean be a really competent champion. All Xin Zhao has are just ‘ways to slash and stab his spear to the enemy’s body’, and all of them are pretty much deadly tools. Enemy is on a distance? He just audaciously charges on the enemy, slowing them down, where he can buff himself with Battle Cry to sustain his hit points every third hit while also having his attack speed increase, which means more stab times that can also make him tear down turrets with ease.
Yes, apparently screaming really loud empowers his spear that he knocks down towers. That’s just how Xin Zhao rolls.
In addition, there’s also another way he uses his spear, the Three Talon Strike, for the next three attacks, Xin Zhao’s thrusts get more powerful and for the last one, he uses the blunt side of his spear to… knock the enemy up in the sky. Wow. If it’s just knocking away the enemy backwards, I could take it, but Xin takes the enemy to the sky, with just a knock on the blunt side? You wanna wonder what would happen if he used the bladed side?
Actually, he does that, just not knocking to the sky. Sorta. With his Ultimate the Crescent Sweep, a powerful circular sweep that knocks everyone hit with it far away for massive damage, and grants him extra protections for each champions hit, tying nicely with how he survived the Fleshing, with lots of opponents to be hit at one blow, he just got harder to kill. There’s just one person he wouldn’t blow away, that is, the Champion that he’s attacking, because he’s inflicting them with his passive, Challenge, which decreases the armor of just one person he’s targeting.
Once Xin Zhao got you on his eyesight and the sight of the tip of his spear? You only have one choice. Be a man, and fight him with all the force of a great typhoon and the strength of a raging fire, your life is on the line, and only one may come out alive. Sure, you can bring your friends, but approach with care, unless he uses his spear to isolate you from your friends AGAIN. In ONE SWEEP. Regardless, his mastery and dedication with the art of spear combat makes him not only a dangerous but great champion to have in the Fields of Justice, it impresses me enough that Xin Zhao takes his place as one of my top video game Spear experts, ranking at #5, even when he’s not my overall favorite champion.
If you’re wondering just who is my favorite champion overall, even with a spear at hand? The answer… is just as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. For now. Next!
And now, we’re back in the Legend of Dragoon. Yeah, it’s really one of those underappreciated RPGs in the PS1 era that I have sweet memories with. But I digress. First and foremost, this might look like a little bit of cheating, but bear with me on this.
Early in the game, the hero Dart encountered this brave knight named Lavitz Slambert, serving the Kingdom of Basil and also an expert in spear fighting. Through trials and tribulations, he grew to be not only Dart’s best friend, but also a very helpful ally with his spear plowing through anyone that they come across, and he’s actually got style on his spear, with quite a lot of spinning moves with either his spear, or his body while holding the spear. As the story progressed, he won over the Jade Dragoon Spirit, allowing him to turn into a Dragoon and having control of the wind in addition of his spear.
Alas, poor Lavitz. He didn’t last the whole first disc.
Well, unfortunate as it may, his place ends up being replaced by someone who he has taught in the ways of spear fighting… the very King of Basil himself, King Albert, who has been childhood friends with him and actually he’s doing very well to fill in for Lavitz. In addition, for a King, he’s already done good for his country, he’s a well beloved King who will put everything on the line to defend his kingdom, and even as he goes incognito with his new friends, he always set himself as a humble man who never boasts his status even when opportunity presents itself. Oh and did I mention that he’s also has his way with history books? (In other words: Nerd)
While Lavitz’ spear fighting is fierce but has a slow and steady feel in it, Albert just takes spear fighting into a whole new level. He pretty much takes Lavitz’ attacks, make it look like done in steroids, at least in speed factor. All in all, it demands a new familiarization and extra attention to master Albert’s way to control his spear. Naturally, Albert also inherits the Jade Dragoon Spirit from Lavitz and possesses the Wind magic that comes with it, but to me I feel that it’s his spear skills that stands out.
So by this, who gets the spot? Well, here’s the answer: BOTH.
#4. Lavitz Slambert & King Albert (The Legend of Dragoon)
Lavitz set the ground work of the spear fighting and additions we saw in Legend of Dragoon, and then Albert takes over and completed it. It is also enhanced by the narrative that they’re also best friends since childhood and Lavitz taught Albert how to use a spear. Kind of ironic that it’s the Knight that taught the King, but it works. They use spinning a lot in their spears too, so they have been spinning to win from start to finish.
While it was pretty sad about that thing on Lavitz, he has given enough presence with the spear even beforehand, and Albert did his style justice after his departure. This is why both of them ARE on the spot of #4 amongst my Top Spear Experts in video games, to exclude one of them would be a great injustice.
Spear is one of those weapons that are commonplace during ancient wars. The Three Kingdoms era of China being one of them. So, naturally, Dynasty Warriors comes with a lot those who wields the spear or any form of polearms. Many would say that Zhao Yun or Lu Bu are the most obvious choices. But I’m gonna follow my own tastes and give this title to this one guy that I always recognize and like the most when it comes to Three Kingdoms stuffs… Guan Yu.
So remember last time I spoke about naginata? It was a weapon similar to glaive or halberd, but in China, a derivative of that is called the ‘guan dao’. It was a heavy weapon mainly used to test the strength of soldiers by having them wield it, and it was the reason why Luo Guanzhong had that weapon become the basis of Guan Yu’s weapon of choice, the Green/Blue Dragon Crescent Blade/Sabre/whatever you want to call it.
Since we’re talking about the game, let’s just focus on his performance and character at the game or the novel. Not the history.
Guan Yu is the sworn brother of Liu Bei and Zhang Fei, assisting him since the Yellow Turban Rebellion and swore to work together to quell the chaos ravaging the land. His intimidating stature and his might in battle tempered with his commitment to honor makes him a revered figure in battle, being the God of War, though that didn’t stop him to be outwitted and defeated later, but hey, what can you say, when you’re just a man, even when you’re called a God, you’re not invincible. But that aside, Guan Yu is pretty much one of the most loyal friends you can have, and he’s also a great family man. You can see how much he treasures his children and how they look up to him. All around great guy, if you ask me (his historical self, not so much, but we’re not here to talk about that).
Guan Yu in battle is a great combination between strength and discipline. The swing of his Blue Dragon (in context of this game, let’s just call it that) halberd are all powerful enough to match with Lu Bu’s halberd, and they all cover a great range, allowing him to easily mow through the crowd and cleans up in just a few hits. Unlike Lu Bu, who usually needs to be unlocked, Guan Yu is usually available right off the bat, so you’ll get used to him and the mighty way he used his halberd, and get intoxicated as you clear up the crowd with ease. In addition, this doesn’t deter him from being an excellent duelist, the range comes with great focus on sweeping through one single particular target.
While technically this could be cheating, well… take all those, and pretty much that can apply to Guan Yu’s appearance in Smite, since most of them involve how he swings his halberd. Either he can dash with his weapon to cut through the enemy Gods to reduce his cooldown, or he can swing it around to the front, stealing their protections, or he can ride his Red Hare to speed up and wreak havoc with his halberd swings.There’s a reason why he’s my #1 favorite God in Smite, folks. And that’s not just because I like him in Dynasty Warriors.
That means, amongst the cast in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, due to his actual deification, Guan Yu’s halberd is the one halberd that can slice through Gods. In addition of him being one of my most preferred characters in both Dynasty Warriors for his powerful way to swing his spear and the Novel, spotty historical records aside, I am proud to say that I admire Guan Yu and I name him the #3 Top Spear Experts in video games.
Samurai Warriors is the sister game of Dynasty Warriors, so technically using this game with the addition of Dynasty Warriors isn’t cheating. And as expected, there are tons of spear wielders here. It’s a game based on ancient wars, of course spears are going to be there.
Well, none of the characters became a God unlike Guan Yu, but if you’re speaking of someone who’s just as mighty as he is disciplined, there’s someone who really really fits the bill even more without being a deity. Once upon a time, in the first Samurai Warriors, there is this featureless officer in Mikatagahara said by Takeda Shingen to be the luxury of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and he made a brave stand for the latter’s sake. His name is Honda Tadakatsu and he became playable in the expansion, complete with his own theme song…
And holy shit, that’s a completely badass appearance, what a way to make an entrance to the game. They’re not kidding when they say Tadakatsu is the mightiest warrior there is and being likened as the game’s counterpart to Lu Bu. He’s the guy who has never been injured majorly after participating in around 50 battles, not an easy feat, mind you. And if you let him die in your control… Well, maybe we, the players, are just not good enough to manage his might. In addition, his weapon is a huge spear called the ‘Tonbogiri’ AKA ‘Dragonfly Cutter’, since if you leave it alone and a grasshopper tried to land on it… the grasshopper gets cut in two. Cleanly. That’s just how intimidating he is. But even with those intimidation and might he possess, Tadakatsu is still a man of discipline, loyalty and honor. Always loyal and protective to his liege Ieyasu and being a good family man that protects his family well, Tadakatsu pretty much earned his spot to be one of the most celebrated warriors in the era. Just because he’s comparable to Lu Bu doesn’t mean he has to follow his less than stellar personality and philosophy, we can even consider Tadakatsu the anti-thesis of Lu Bu, a mighty warrior who’s also tempered with discipline and honor.
… Hold up, you’re asking why I’m referring him with ‘Honda Tadakatsu’, not as the game stated, being ‘Tadakatsu Honda’? Hm… well, a short valuable lesson time. In Japan, if the person is born before the Meiji Restoration, they’re to be referred with the last name-first name order, and the Sengoku period is before the Meiji Restoration period. Let’s leave it at that, if this was a certain someone else writing this article, it could get ugly…
And yes, I understand that Tadakatsu also has a rendition in Sengoku Basara. But while his Tonbogiri there does look like a spear, it’s more of a drill, I’m more looking for a traditional spear experts (not to mention his shit ton of Gundam-like armaments). Huh, maybe if there’s a Drill countdown later.
Anyway, back to Tadakatsu in his Samurai Warriors appearance. He may be one of the slowest character movement-wise, but you get a sense of his might. Every swing of his spear covers a tremendously great range and possesses a great might. It can create a great shockwave in one swing, or when slammed to the ground, create quakes ranging from smaller ones to a massive one.
And due to his stature, Tadakatsu swings it like nobody’s business. When you can swing a spear that massive with ease and still inject a lot of skill and style in it, you know this is one badass guy, and he certainly can show it to you, no problem. Yes, the above picture is just another Tuesday for spear-slamming and ass-kicking for Tadakatsu.
Tadakatsu remains as not only the finest Tokugawa has ever offered, but also the best when it comes to Sengoku and those wielding a spear in it. Combining his discipline and honor with how much power he can bring in it, I’d say that Tadakatsu’s spear fighting can even surpass Gods (he just doesn’t become a God, he does have another epithet, ‘The Warrior That Surpasses Death’. Good enough), and grants him the place as my #2 Best Video Game Spear Experts.
Okay, now that we’ve reached to this, it may be a wonder to you who will claim the title of #1 Spear Expert in Video Games. Well for starters, this is from a Square-Enix game!
… It’s not Xaldin.
Not my fault I didn’t play or follow Kingdom Hearts! It’s a promising and good game, but sometimes the camera works just made my poor body squeamish that I can’t get through the game at all… Maybe one day in the future, but who knows.
So… well, it goes for the next obvious game: Final Fantasy. And as stated, the class Dragoon exist there as the resident spear expert, and they made a good impression in terms of awesome as well. Why? They’re using dragon-shaped armors! But I digress. So when it comes to Final Fantasy, there’s a lot of those who wield spears in battle. And I’m once again being true to my opinion and coincidentally, pick the next ‘most obvious’ choice… Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV.
So, yeah. Kain is the first Dragoon westerners get exposed with, and is the best friend of the main character Cecil Harvey, only that friendship gets a lot of wrench thrown at it, due to the fact that Kain is involved on a love triangle with their best friend Rosa Farell, leading him to be mind controlled by Golbez several times. This fact is often used by unknowing people to say he’s one dirty traitor, and considering how much I speak about honor and loyalty, this might be a little jarring. But if one seeks deeper into the story and characterization… you’ll find that Kain’s flaw is not actual not having loyalty or honor, he just had a mind susceptible of brainwashing, but when push comes to shove, he will show his loyalty and camaraderie. He does fix those mindset by undergoing the same training like Cecil in Mt. Ordeals, and by the time After Years rolled in, all in all, these all contribute on the public and my opinion that Kain is one of the more compelling characters in Final Fantasy IV.
He appeared in Dissidia 012, and while he was presented as someone who backstabs the whole good guys, it turns out that he was in agreement with another good guy to do it to ensure they live on for the next cycle, and when it turns out the way to end it once and for all is to basically get himself to a place where he’ll be killed without any other way out, Kain had a perfect chance not to participate and spare his own life. He willingly threw himself to that place of death, giving his life to ensure the main heroes survive to the next cycle and win it. That itself should shed any doubts if Kain was still this ‘dirty traitor’. Because, NOPE.
Due to hardware limitation back then, all Kain had before is just normal attacks with spears. Didn’t look too impressive, but it still gets the job done, as he’s competing with Cecil with who gets to deal the most damage per attack. In addition, he revolutionizes the usage of the skill Jump, where he jumps to the air, making him untargetable until he drops down on one enemy for massive damage, a technique passed down to future Final Fantasy Dragoon characters or just those who wield a spear. By the time of After Years, he grew more powerful with the addition of White magic in disposal.
Take all those, and his appearance in Dissidia games pretty much crank it up to eleven. Kain is designated as an airborne fighter, therefore it’s not just his Jump that you need to watch out for, which by the time of the Arcade, gets upgraded that he pretty much teleports to the enemy location before dropping down with his spear. A lot of his moves are how much he swings and stabs with his spear while airborne, bringing his enemy in the sky a lot of times before finishing them off. Yes, he also gains several wind magic, but aside of normal zoning, that pales when compared with how Kain decimates his enemies with his spear. And it works really well, keeping the enemies on the range and in the air makes playing as him a great experience, and every stab or slice with his spear just feels really satisfying.
Unlike what the misconception said, weak mind as a flaw aside (which he got over), Kain actually embodies the thing about honor and loyalty, fitting him with those things associated with spears. And that dragon-like armor is just checking about ‘Yes, this guy is gonna be awesome’ requirement and I’m not wrong in this. In addition of those, his nimbleness and proficiency in aerial combat with his spear, all of those makes me without regret declare that Kain Highwind is the #1 Video Game Spear Expert.
I am ChrisX, and… I await that Arcade Dissidia to get into PS4, and definitely with Kain in it. Come on, Square-Enix! I. AM. VERY. PREPARED!
Again, just like the Magic Caster list, since there’s a lot of candidates, I have to split the HM into two again. Hope you enjoy.
Zhao Yun (Dynasty Warriors)
Sanada Yukimura (Samurai Warriors. Well, technically the Sengoku Basara would count as well, but I’ll just lump them in together)
Eugene Gallardo (Tales of Rebirth)
Huskar (Dota 2)
Pantheon (League of Legends)
Caeda (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon/Mystery of the Emblem)