As someone who never played the Smash Bros. games competitively because I’m awful at them, Nintendo weren’t really showing us the trophies and unlocks that are important to me. The game doesn’t seem to have undergone many changes from Melee aside from roster additions; but the game controlled perfectly on both systems.
Visually, it’s a huge leap from Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the looks of the characters haven’t suffered at all in the transition to HD. The 3DS version was surprisingly pretty too, if a little less impressive – the inclusion of thick black borders to the characters doing a great job of hiding some technical limitations.
Naturally for someone whose first videogame was Mega Man II, Mega Man was the first character I used. His moveset is somewhat different to other characters, one of his basic attacks being a shot from his gun arm that didn’t hinder his movements. He also had a move that would send him rushing forward in a cyclone that often sent me hurtling from the stage, though that’s something to adapt to rather than an inherent problem with the character. His Final Smash was fantastic, summoning many incarnations of Mega Man – including the beloved X – to fire a giant energy beam at his opponents.
I also played as Wii Fit Trainer, who I was a little disappointed by. I’m the kind of player who will get above or below my opponents and attack from there, but Wii Fit Trainer didn’t seem to have any attacks like that: Pushing B-down from above or B-up from below would just trigger some meditation thing, and I wasn’t able to figure out what it actually did with three other players throwing me around!
Animal Crossing’s Villager was great to play as he had a surprising amount of mobility. One of his attacks summoned a statue that would launch itself across the battlefield, the Villager able to jump on and off at will, following it into battle to attack in the wake of its explosion. His up attack also sprouted balloons that allowed him to float above the stage. I think I’ll be getting plenty of use from the Villager.
Not that he’ll replace my beloved Kirby, who I’m happy to report remains unchanged in any notable capacity: I’ll still be dropping on fools in rock form and pulling off sword uppercuts. He did seem to move a little more loosely, though this doesn’t appear to be a global change as Pit felt a little too heavy and clunky.
I’m a huge Smash Bros. fan and I am particularly weird in the fact that I enjoy using the heavier, powerful and lumbering characters like Bowser, Ganon and DK over the various generations. I managed to get a go at a few of the characters, Bowser being one – played maybe a few too many times but mainly because someone wanted a rematch when i beat them, twice – the others being DK, Toon Link and Greninja.
Toon Link was 3DS only in the version that we played and honestly, I didn’t get much use with him as I died a lot as him and kept confusing my Toon Link with an opponent’s. I was playing on the 3DS version however so the smaller screen size didn’t lend itself as well as I’d hoped – but I was standing while playing as opposed to the inch away from my face in bed that I would realistically be using it for on release. DK seemed much the same as ever with maybe a few minor tweaks to his hitboxes on certain moves. Bowser has had a few basic and smash attacks altered; his sideways smash is now a dropkick with a minor delay that was a little off-putting, and there are a few other minor tweaks to how moves reacted.
Greninja was interesting to say the least; he has a fast and very vertical jump – not unexpected since he is both a frog and a ninja – which was difficult to get the hang of since it was really quite high. He also has water shurikens sent off one at a time, and he also has water blades for some of the smash attacks. He is very light and his moves seem to include disappearing and reappearing to attack with some special moves (not unlike Sheik). He feels like he could be fun to play with but I honestly didn’t last long enough to really see all he had to offer.
Wii U was played with the Gamecube controller, which is pretty much the only way to play for some people. It didn’t really feel any different to Brawl or Meleé in any significant way but only time will tell. It obviously looks great and I’d imagine it to be the definitive version for most people. 3DS on the other hand was less easy to handle; perhaps my hands were just used to the Gamecube controllers but the layout of the 3DSs buttons just weren’t working for me. The circle pad seemed fine but again I didn’t have enough time with it to really evaluate it. The screen size for the 3DS didn’t do me any favours with tracking things on screen, and the 3DS XLs looked like they were generally better for play. The one advantage for 3DS that I really liked was that when you are having a multiplayer game people who ready up early can load a sandbag event so they can practise before a match starts.
One worry I have is that all the stages that appeared to be there – on both versions – were relatively small. As a big fan of Hyrule Castle, levels including the Great Fox and a fan of the generally larger battlefields, it was a little disappointing to see that it was mostly small to medium arenas. What stages were there where all fine, but nothing that would particularly stand out as a great stage for me. I know I’m a little on the picky side here but It is a concern of mine. On the other hand the levels did seem to be filled with events that add a little extra to the fray, which is always good.
A quick word on Amiibos
We didn’t get to see any of the Amiibo implementations with Smash Bros., but I wanted to note how well made the figures were. They’ve been made with a lot of fidelity and attention to detail; Samus even has a sheen finish to add an illusion of metal to her. We saw her, Mario, Kirby, and the Villager, and my wallet is going to hate me.
Yeah so some Amiibos were there in a case, with a TV playing the Amiibo advert sat right above it. We don’t really have much to say on them other than that they look nice. The current lineup is pretty good too but I’m a little annoyed that there wasn’t a Bowser or Ganon Amiibo as it seems pretty set in stone that they will always be “good guys”. It’s a shame because either of those I would snap up straight away. From the current lineup, I might buy Mario or Link if the price and compatible games are right.