Smash Bros may have been one of Nintendo’s mainstays since the N64 days, there are still some gamers who have not taken a dive into Nintendo’s crossover platform fighter. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the horizon, and the fact that more and more people are getting a Switch, now is a perfect time, more than ever, to get into the world of Super Smash Bros.
The Smash Bros. series started on the Nintendo 64, with a game aptly titled Super Smash Bros. The game was released in 1999 and featured 12 characters, from Nintendo mascots Mario and Link, to more obscure characters like Ness from Earthbound and Captain Falcon from F-Zero.
Super Smash Bros. Melee debuted in 2001 for the Nintendo Gamecube, only two years after the original. It upped the ante with brand new mechanics, a new Adventure Mode that plays like a traditional Nintendo platformer, new stages, and new characters like Mewtwo and Princess Peach. Melee still holds up today and has a strong legion of fans still playing it religiously.
The next instalment came in 2008 on the Wii, with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This game added online play, letting players use a variety of different controllers, and was the first to add third party characters like Sonic The Hedgehog and Solid Snake. These days, Brawl is seen as a dark spot for the series as it never really lived up to fan’s expectations and was a much slower paced game overall.
The most recent games in the series are Super Smash Bros. For 3DS and Wii U, the same game with a few different modes and stages between versions. It was released in 2014 and has since been the go-to Smash game for fans and newcomers. While one can say that the 3DS version is more accessible than the one on the Wii U due to the Wii U’s lack of popularity, there’s a lot to be desired when playing Smash on a tiny screen, as compared to playing it on a home console with friends.
Which brings us to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest entry coming to us soon on December 7th 2018. This game, while aesthetically similar to the previous entry, Smash 4, is actually a brand new game built from the ground up. While there may be more things for us to learn about the game in the upcoming 6 months before the release, here are some of the things we can be hyped about:
Melee has always been a fast paced game. With certain exploits made popular by fans, the game is even faster than what Nintendo intended it to be. Melee terms that are bound to crop up include wave-dashing and L-cancelling, which are all advance techniques that have since become the way to play in the professional leagues.
Smash 4, while not as slow as Brawl, was a more acceptable pace, being easier for newcomers and pros to get a grip on. This meant that the barrier of entry of this game is lower and more and more people can just pick up the game and play. Nintendo has since removed most of the mechanics that allowed for the exploits in Melee to happen, making for new champions in the Smash 4 scene while Melee veterans stick to the old game.
Smash Ultimate seems to be bridging the two fandoms together by bringing the best of both Smash 4 and Melee together. While it may look like Smash 4, under the hood they’ve added a bunch of mechanics that is more in-line with Melee’s brand of Smashing. For one, directional air dodges are back. When a character is in the air, pressing the shield button would allow the character to dodge in the air and avoid attacks. In Smash 4, you would just dodge in place as you were falling, while Melee has you able to dodge in different directions, altering your falling direction.
A new mechanic coming to the game is Perfect Shielding, which is a sort of parry all characters can utilise by shielding right as the opponent lands an attack. This would certainly add more depth to matches. One common complaint was the fact that most players could spam dodge over and over to avoid damage. Now dodges can get “stale”, meaning if used over and over, the time players remain invulnerable will be lowered, and they are more susceptible to attacks.
Overall, Nintendo seems to be bridging the casual, pick-up and play nature of Smash 4 with all the technicality, and mobility Melee offers.
The reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate made it a point that every character from every Smash game is back, this includes Pichu from Melee and even the return of Solid Snake from Brawl. There are a lot of fans that lament the fact that not every character will return in each new iteration of Smash, especially those who play Ice Climbers. Many would prefer or argue with other fans to just skip the new games as their favourite characters aren’t appearing. Smash Ultimate aims to end these arguments indefinitely.
Smash 4 did start this trend of bringing old characters back through DLCs, with the likes of Lucas from Brawl and Roy from Melee making their return to the series through DLCs released after launch. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will have the most characters at launch out of any Smash game, including brand new characters, rounding up the total to about 68 characters.
So if you’re an old-school fan, rejoice as none of your favourite characters are getting cut from the game. If you’re new, more power to you, it just means even more options for you to try and find your ideal character.
It’s no secret that the Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s shining saviour, a super star of a console, combining handheld portability with console quality games. The 3DS version of Smash 4 was the first portable Smash game, which meant that for the most part, it was a one-player game. Sure, there was online and local play between 3DSes, but it just wasn’t the same.
Smash is a game truly enjoyed surrounded with all of your friends, on a couch, in front of a huge TV. Pummeling each other across the screen, cursing each other as you play, it’s just a good time to be had for all.
The Switch fixes all that and more, the Gamecube adapter for the Wii U is compatible with it, you can play Smash anytime, anywhere, and with anyone, 8-player Smash is back. The list of things done right goes on and on.
Or rather the Wahlephat in the room, what set the Internet ablaze during E3 was confirmation that Waluigi is in fact NOT playable in Smash Ultimate. The lanky, trollish, evil counterpart of Luigi has been the source of many memes in the fandom, and fans were begging Nintendo to put him in. Fans did get another wish of theirs granted this time around, Metroid villain Ridley is playable after appearing in Brawl and Smash 4 as a boss character, and even Princess Peach’s fellow princess, Daisy is joining the roster as well.
So, why not Waluigi? The man, the myth, the legend himself. He’s appeared in every spin-off game, from Mario Kart to Mario Party. Why not Smash? The theory is that maybe Nintendo themselves are trolling us, and maybe he is a fighter and will be confirmed in a later date. While many hope this to be true, clearly some fans are just putting on their tinfoil hats here. Whatever it is, Waluigi does appear as a summonable ally, in the form of an Assist Trophy.
So he’s not really missing. Nintendo actually confirmed his non-playability by showing him coming back as an Assist Trophy. Whatever it is, maybe no Waluigi is just for the better.
All in all, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate definitely is the definitive way to play Smash. Time will tell if any flaws will crop up with this new game. Maybe a lack of modes, no variety in online play, stuff like that. But for now, it truly seems like it is the Ultimate iteration of Smash Bros to date,