A familiar feeling at its most refined.
Shoryuken was on the scene at E3 2018 and got the opportunity to give the recently announced Super Smash Bros. Ultimate a test run on day one. The title was a blast to try, especially with so much to play with. What seemed to be about half of the roster was available along with dozens of stages — if it were to release at this point, the title would appear to have been a full game.
That being said, there was way too much content for the time granted to gain a deep analysis of all of the changes to the characters and the combat mechanics, but it gave a good amount of insight to what the game hopes to accomplish.
First things first, the presentation, while initially similar to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, has many new tiny details that make a huge difference to the overall experience. The characters are much more detailed and dynamic, seemingly combining the clean look of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with the more-realistic textures of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Also, fighters from the same franchise are no longer tied to appearances of a particular entry. Using The Legend of Zelda franchise as an example, Link is based on his Breath of the Wild incarnation, Zelda is designed to match her A Link Between Worlds design, and Ganondorf is representing his classic look from Ocarina of Time. Many characters also have additional outfit choices, like the newly-introduced Inkling.
There were a couple of new stages on display as well; Moray Towers from Splatoon, and the Great Plateau Tower from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were both interesting additions to the game. Moray Towers felt like a more angular version of the Wrecking Crew stage without its stage gimmick and with its own unique flair, and the Great Plateau Tower allowed for creative uses of stage destruction to take your opponent out.
The new special effect designs really set the action apart from its predecessors, too: you gotta love how clean the colors look. The new cloud effect designs are so clean and crisp, you can practically feel the impact of being blown away.
Returning characters aren’t all how you remember them. A large amount of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate cast have some major tweaks that will change the way they are played. Some of the veteran fighters have been given new mechanics altogether to match their franchise’s more-recent entries.
Link’s bombs, for example, are no longer traditional explosives. The bombs must be activated by the Sheikah Slate, making the projectile practically harmless when initially thrown, but with strategic timing, the bomb can do damage in ways never possible before. This also gives the player time to think about how they want to use the weapon, instead of being forced to react quickly to the traditional timer associated with the special move.
There are bound to be countless other changes made to the returning characters, so be on the lookout!
The zippy Inkling from the Splatoon franchise can be played as both an Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy of various looks, and is a mobility master that can spray its ink to do additional damage to the opponent. This is a very interesting mechanic which will have to be looked into further to determine its overall effectiveness.
The standard B attack shoots ink from the traditional Splatoon blaster; the shots can be redirected from whichever way the player was facing at the initial shot. The side-B attack initiates a dash with the roller weapon. The down-B move will have the Inkling toss an ink grenade inflicting heavy damage. Finally, pressing up-B will activate an upward dash. Be wary of using up too much ink though, once the gauge runs out, it will need to be reloaded by holding down the B button. The Inkling’s Final Smash may also be redirected when used, so don’t fret if it doesn’t make initial contact.
Ridley, the space pirate responsible for a great majority of Metroid protagonist Samus Aran’s strife, is a major addition to the series, largely in part to the popular demand for the character. At first glance, The scheming reptile appears similar to Charizard in general motion, but this is nowhere near the truth once one grows accustomed to the outcome of his phenomenal special attacks.
Pressing B releases a fireball attack that can be charged for maximum effect. Ridley’s side-B is a personal favorite due to the overall intensity of the move after a successful grab, it’s really just that cool. Down-B performs a tail stab, causing a paralyzing effect on the opponent. Finally, the up-B move activates an upward dash. Also, his Final Smash — slamming his victim against the side of Samus’ ship and blasting through both with a huge energy beam — is particularly impressive.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was an absolute blast to play, and it sets itself up to be the most comprehensive title in the series to date. While the roster includes every character in the franchise to date, some with new looks and others with new moves, everything feels positively fresh. It will be exciting to watch the development of this fan-favorite franchise as it releases later this year for Nintendo Switch on December 7.
Oh also, as a side note, I didn’t get the chance to use a whole lot of new items, but the fake Smash Ball is a monster, even if you aren’t the one to break it, you will get hit — hard. You have been warned! As if the previous games’ trick hammer wasn’t ruthless enough.
For more details on the title, its features, and its characters, check out the official website with screenshots and trailers available for the entire roster! Also, stay tuned to Shoryuken for news, interviews, and other hands-on experiences at E3 2018!