Super Smash Bros Ultimate
There are so many changes, tweaks, and details about Super Smash Bros Ultimate out there after E3 – the game looks familiar, but has changed quite a lot. Here are the twenty most important things we’ve learned, and what they mean for Smash Bros.
Certain characters will be classified as ‘Echo Fighters’ in Ultimate, meaning that they’re designated as slightly tweaked clones rather than new fighters. This suggests that any unannounced new characters we get are likely to be heavily based on existing characters (like Daisy, who is Peach’s Echo Fighter). Who else will we get? Shadow the Hedgehog? Ms. Pac Man? Dark Samus? Lucina and Dark Pit are the only other confirmed Echo Fighters so far. Does this mean that Toon Link and Child Link are considered significantly dierent? What about Gannondorf and Captain Falcon, whose shared move-set feels increasingly strange with each new iteration? Does Dr Mario not qualify?
Final Smashes have been fundamentally overhauled to happen faster and not break up the fight so much. Some of the more irritating ones are gone, and while there’s perhaps less nuance now that so many of them just do a bunch of damage to anyone in the aected area, fights should flow better now without long, sustained distractions. Fox/ Falco/Wolf’s Landmasters have been removed, replaced by an assist from the rest of the StarFox/ StarWolf team. Donkey Kong now just beats the hell out of his opponents without using his bongos, and Little Mac does the same without rampaging around as Giga Mac. This will be the case for most characters that had an overcomplicated Final Smash.
Nineteen stages have been confirmed so far, only two of which are brand new (Splatoon’s Moray Towers and Zelda’s Great Plateau Tower). Each stage will also have Battlefield, Final Destination, and Omega variations, so you can switch up the aesthetics for your very pure one on one bouts. We’re holding out hope for Pokémon Floats.
Damage is now tracked down to a tenth of a percentage. If your opponent is at 100%, they’re pretty vulnerable; if they’re at 100.5%, they’re just a tiny bit more vulnerable. This will make the exact damage caused by certain moves a little bit easier to track – it seems like a change introduced for the esports scene.
Directional air-dodges are back. This means that, unlike Brawl and Smash 4, you can move in a direction as part of your air-dodge. You can no longer wavedash (air-dodging into the ground at an angle to slide a short distance), but you can waveland as you hit the ground (although it will be significantly nerfed compared to Melee). This is more relevant at high-level play than it is at casual, but it’ll open a few more defensive options even for intermediate players.
A ‘short hop’ is now much easier to pull o – push ‘up’ on the stick and A at the same time to do a much smaller jump, letting you perform an aerial attack at, essentially, ground level. This has been possible in previous Smash games if you knew exactly how to manipulate the controller, but Ultimate aims to make advanced techniques easier to learn and pull o . One piece of feedback from pro players at E3 is that Nintendo seems to be taking esports seriously at the moment, and wants to make the path towards getting really good at the game easier to traverse.
Although there are a lot of characters in the game, the starting roster will be small. You’ll have to unlock characters by playing, but that’s all part of the fun, and Sakurai wants new players to be facing o against an absolute barrage of challengers.
Let’s talk defence. In Ultimate, if you press the shield button as an enemy attacks and then release at the exact moment their attack ends, you’ll generate a ‘Perfect Shield’. Your character will flash and you’ll be able to counter-attack much faster than usual (which is a matter of less than a second, but at a high enough level it matters). This is di erent from in previous Smash Bros games. There are also penalties for dodging too much this time – try to chain together too many dodges and you’ll be left open and vulnerable to attacks.
Waluigi will not be a playable character, only an assist trophy. While we could joke around, it’s honestly surprising that he continues to get overlooked.
Adult Link is dressed in his Breath of the Wild garb now and doesn’t have his hookshot anymore (which left you absurdly vulnerable if it missed). His bombs now work via remote detonation, which is interesting.
Amiibo support is back, baby,
and all the amiibo fighters you trained up on the Wii U and 3DS iterations can be transferred across to Ultimate. For those of us who already amassed huge collections, this is a considerable relief, even if it sounds like they won’t be gaining any additional functionality in Ultimate. New amiibo will be released for the characters that don’t already have them too – Ridley and the Inkling were shown o, but by my count there are five other characters announced so far that don’t have Smash-specific amiibo yet. Meanwhile, Zelda is now dressed in her Link Between Worlds outfit, because that game is rad as hell.
Stage selection 12
now comes before character selection. This might seem like a very minor change, but it means that you can leave Little Mac behind if you’re choosing a map where jumping any sort of distance will be essential, for instance. It’s easier to match a character to the fight you’re about to have now.
There’s a fake Smash Ball 13 now,
which looks very slightly dierent from a regular one and will do massive damage to you if you smack it. Tricky-tricky.
As of right now, we know 15 very little about the game’s single-player mode.
The typical Nintendo strategy with Smash Bros games is to just sort of casually reveal almost every detail about the game in the lead-up to its release, so hopefully we’ll find out more soon. Smash 4 had a pretty weak single-player mode oering on both Wii U and 3DS – we’d love something akin to Brawl’s Subspace Emissary.
It can be 16 hard to track who is winning a timed battle,
so now the points leader will occasionally flash to indicate that they’re ahead. It’s a subtle flash, easy to miss, but if you’re winning a four-player brawl and your opponents notice, expect them to gang up on you (or go to greater lengths to avoid you).
You can now start charging 17 a smash attack,
or most charge attacks (like Samus’ gun) while airborne. This leaves you vulnerable, of course, and massively limits your manoeuvrability, but it means that in an eight-player brawl (they’re back too, by the way) you can land right into the middle of a fight and immediately send your opponents flying.
Snake’s bubble-butt has 18 been flattened right out in this one,
and returning voice actor David Hayter agrees, via Twitter, that this is a travesty. Why isn’t Snake allowed to have a nice butt in this one, especially with Nintendo embracing more of a ‘thicc’ aesthetic with its original characters for Switch (this is a real thing that has happened and I will not be convinced otherwise)? Hard to say.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate 19 was built from scratch
– it’s a new engine, not an update to the Wii U engine. It’ll have improved texture rendering and lighting compared to that game, and better character models. Development has been a joint eort between Sakurai’s studio, Sora Ltd, and Bandai Namco, just as the last game was.
There are a whole heap of 20 minor UI changes
for easier visibility and better tracking. Villager’s icon will now tell you what they have stored in their pocket, for instance. Ryu always faces his opponents in a one on one fight to make inputs easier. Certain characters’ voices will change slightly depending on their costume, Shulk’s arts are now easier to change, ROB has a visible fuel display – the team has truly paid attention to every detail. They’re not kidding with that ‘Ultimate’ tag – there are dozens of changes that did not make it onto this list.