Nintendo’s E3 Presentation was short and sweet, but it had a chock full of goodies for the Nintendo Switch. Capping off the presentation was one of the hotly-anticipated games of the year, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
SSBU is the biggest Smash Bros. since it first appeared on Nintendo consoles. And that’s no exaggeration. With over 60 characters appearing across all iterations of Smash Bros., plus new additions, it simply and easily takes the top spot for the largest franchise crossover ever. And the full roster is -breathes deeply-
Mario, Samus, Kirby, Bowser, Link (Breath of the Wild), Donkey Kong, Fox, Falco, Marth, Zelda, Sheik, Villager, Mewtwo, Metaknight, Sonic, Peach, Pikachu, Ice Climbers, Inkling, Captain Falcon, Zero Suit Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Squirtle, Ivysaur, Charizard, Ness, Lucas, Ryu, Ganondorf, Ike, Cloud, Snake, Jigglypuff, Pichu, Roy, Olimar, Diddy Kong, Lucario, Lucina, Robin, Bayonetta, Mr. Game and Watch, Greninja, Dr. Mario, R.O.B., Duck Hunt, Pit, Dark Pit, Palutena, Corrin, Bowser Jr., Toon Link, Young Link, King Dedede, Rosalina and Luma, Mii Gunner, Sword and Brawler, Wario, Little Mac, Pac-Man, Shulk, Wolf, Megaman, Luigi, Yoshi, Daisy, and Ridley
During the Nintendo E3 Presentation, Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai stated that the starting roster may be initially limited to the series regulars. The method of unlocking new characters will be more streamlined in SSBU, per the presentation, but the specifics have yet to be defined.
There are a number of changes made to SSBU compared to its predecessors. Most noticeable of which is the game’s speed. SSBU is comparatively more responsive and faster than the previous Smash games, and even slow-moving characters get the benefit of maneuvering a bit lighter here. It’s a subtle change that the casual gamer might not notice, but it surely winds up the tactics to a different level once we head on to the pro leagues.
Other tweaks include Perfect Shielding and penalties for excessive air dodging. Perfect shielding, as explained by Sakurai, happens when the player blocks at the right moment, adding a frame of invulnerability to the character with nary a flinch. This proves to be a huge advantage for SSBU competitions when iframes become the name of the game. On the other hand, SSBU tones down the air dodge tactic to keep the game’s action at a decent pace. Too much air dodging, and the character suffers with a bit lesser dodge animation than normal. And finally, damages are also tweaked depending on the number of players present on stage. Characters deal more damage during one-on-one battles, as compared to three or four-way battles.
A few more quality-of-life changes can also be seen in-game. In particular, characters with meters or gauges, like Inkling’s paint level or Cloud’s limit break gauge, will be visible beside their damage percentages. Also, a small box showing a character’s position off-screen will now be visible, in order for everyone to accurately estimate its position. Stages can now be selected prior to choosing the fighters, which allows players to specialize character training depending on the stage. Stages also have different versions, such as the full version or a flattened Omega version, to provide variation in tactics and overall combat pacing.
Characters have a few changes too. SSBU adds a new type called Echo Fighters. Daisy, Dark Pit, and Lucina, in particular, fall under this category. Echo fighters are basically reskins of older SSB fighters (like Daisy referencing Peach), having nearly the same moveset, but still have an identity of its own. Other tweaks include Samus’s mid-air cannon charging, Link’s manual bomb detonation, and Shulk’s quick-select fighting modes. Visual changes include a tweaked Wii Fit Trainer face, a heart-shaped tail for female Pikachus, a visible jetpack gauge on R.O.B.’s torso, and the addition of Protoman and Bass in Megaman’s final smash, among others.
We’ll know more about SSBU in the coming months. Whet your appetite with the Nintendo SSBU Invitational (playlist above). But for now, keep your eyes peeled for its release on December 7, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.
And one last thing… Gamecube controllers are still completely usable in this game.