Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Summary of the Super Smash Bros. Direct

The latest Nintendo Direct has revealed quite a bit about the latest Super Smash Bros. installments, including, finally, a release window. The 3DS version is set to be released this summer, while the WiiU counterpart will be dropping this winter.

Now we know when to expect it, but we also have a better idea of what to expect. Nothing will ever hold a candle to the unreachable-by-human-fingers skill ceiling in Melee, but many have been worried we would be getting something along the lines of Brawl, a game that wrenched the community in two due to Sakurai's deliberate attempts to arbitrarily create a playing field in which everyone had an equal chance at victory, regardless of skill. This never works, obviously, and thankfully there's no tripping in the latest installment. The game also appears to be faster paced than the previous installment. It would appear Sakurai has learned something from the community's reaction (and modifications) to Brawl.

This is further evidenced by the fact that there are two distinct online modes when playing with strangers: For Fun and For Glory. For fun will pit the player against 3 others in a free-for-all match with a random stage and all items turned on. For Glory on the other hand is a definite tongue-in-cheek nod to the competitive community which limits the stage to Final Destination, removes items from the equation, and allows 1v1 matches. To keep things varied, every stage has a Final Destination mode wherein any extra platforms or stage hazards are removed, leaving a solitary base platform to fight to the death. It should be noted that the competitive scene plays on many more stages than just FD, but it's a running joke that the only true way to play is Fox vs Fox on Final Destination with no items. There are no restrictions when playing with friends.

We Ness mains have yet to see our telekinetic killing machine return to the battlefield, but I don't think we need to worry. After all, he's been in every game so far and Earthbound was just released for the WiiU. Leaving him out of the fray would be crazy, right? RIGHT?! SOMEBODY COMFORT ME. Ahem... In the meantime, we can take comfort in the fact that Zero Suit Samus, Shiek, and Charizard are returning. While these were previously different forms of a single character selection, they are now completely separate characters. A welcome change considering that Zelda and Shiek each get a new move to replace their down-b special, and it makes counter-picking in a competitive setting less risky as you won't have to worry about the unexpected Zelda main wrecking your face with her magically charged heels. Yoshi is also returning, this time sporting an upright stance and a boost in power. 

Until now, Little Mac, Rosalina, Villager, and Wii Fit Trainer were the only new characters announced. We had little other than screenshots and short clips to gauge their abilities, but the latest Nintendo Direct reveals to us their entire move-set and general strengths and weaknesses. Little Mac, for example, is a monster on the ground but vastly underpowered when it comes to aerial combat. Now we have a new fighter to fawn over: Greninja. This water type ninja frog looks as if it'll be a very formidable opponent. Dare I say, top tier? Keeping with the Pokemon X and Y theme, Mega Evolutions have been introduced for Charizard and Lucario, though it's not yet clear how they will be activated.

Exclusive to the 3DS version is an entire new mode called Smash Run, which drops players into an enormous dungeon with the express goal of powering up before they duke it out. With 5 minutes on the clock, you'll have to roam around, defeating a variety of randomly selected enemies to collect various icons that power up speed, attack, special moves, projectiles, and defense. It isn't clear why it's exclusive to the 3DS version, but perhaps it's a replacement for the various custom modes found in previous titles (lightning, giant, etc.) and therefore a way to keep the game small enough for a 3DS cartridge.

The last major change comes in the form of custom move sets. This makes me a little wary, as if done improperly it could really throw off the balance of the competitive landscape. All the video reveals is that certain moves like Mario's neutral b and DK's side b can have their speed adjusted, with the move's power inversely correlating.

That's the meat of it. There are some nitty-gritty details I didn't feel the need to drill down to here, so feel free to watch the video below for yourself. Shortly after the game's release Portable Platypus will be hosting a tournament. There will likely be a first-place prize of some sort, nothing huge. Items will be allowed for this tournament to celebrate the game in its entirety and to level the playing field a bit. After that, you can expect nothing less than hardcore skill-based matches on neutral stages.


Post a Comment