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.

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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 diƒer­ent? 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 aƒected 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 dier­ent 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 oer­ing 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 eort 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.

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