Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct has brought us a great amount of news, from characters to release dates. We now know that the 3DS version will come to us in the summer while the Wii U will hit the console by year’s end. On 3DS, the game will run at 60FPS, making the sacrifice for assist trophies and pokeball pokemon running at 30 FPS.
While the roster will be the same between both versions, the stage selection is going to be vastly different. The same stage, such as Battlefield, will even look different between the two versions. As for music, the 3DS stages will have two songs each, similar to Melee while the Wii U version will have a selection akin to Brawl. The 3DS stage list that we’ve seen thus far is showcased, including Reset Bomb Forest (Kid Icarus: Uprising) and Arena Ferox (Fire Emblem: Awakening). They range from relatively calm to out and out wild, like the Spirit Train. We even see new stages based on Find Mii and Balloon Fight. When it comes to Wii U, Windy Hill Zone is introduced from the Sonic series and the enormous size of Palutena’s Temple is showcased. About to crush some dreams here – Ridley shows up as a “boss character” on Pyrosphere, so he’s all but confirmed to NOT be playable.
For Online Play, you can choose to play with randoms or friends. You get the choice of playing “for Fun” or “for Glory”. For Fun, stages are random and items are on. The only tracked stat will be your wins. For Glory, Final Destination is the only stage and items are off. Here, your wins AND losses are recorded. Just FD is oddly limiting, but at least they’re thinking about competitive style, right? Sakurai is on board with us – In For Glory mode, almost every stage will have a “Final Destination” mode so that you’re not constantly staring at the same stage. This is an interesting take on “serious” vs “fun” play, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more stage variety – At least Battlefield included in there? To round out the online experience, we’ll see a new kind of leaderboard for Solo mode scores. Your total Solo scores will give you an overall ranking instead!
Quick looks at new and old favorite items is the next section. The Beam Sword and Smart Bomb return to old form and are joined by the Fire Bar (A modified “bashing” weapon), a POW Block and even the Bombchu! The Back Shield does just what it says and floats behind you to protect from sneaky opponents. The Rocket Belt is primed to help characters like Little Mac with less than stellar recovery keep in the fight. Assist Trophies make a big return, showing almost all of the previous Brawl ones. Skull Kid is shown in action finally and is pretty disappointing – He inverts the playing field. Midna from Twilight Princess attacks with her extendable head hand and Elecman even shows up to help Mega Man take down his opponents.
The Master Ball joins the regular Pokeball on the field and will always contain rare and powerful Pokemon, like Arceus who helps to Meteor Smash your opponents. Lots of returning legendaries and some new attackers, like Fennekin, Keldeo and Eevee. Keldeo is really aggressive, attacking with its horn while Eevee is oddly disappointing – It appears to just come out and use tackle or take down. Seems odd to have something with the vast options of multiple evolutions do something so mundane. I’m going to hold out hope for a wild idea. Perhaps if Eevee is hit with an attack, it evolves accordingly and then attacks differently?
Playable Characters are up for focus now. Characters no longer change forms mid match! Samus’ Final Smash won’t have her shed her armor any longer, but Zero Suit Samus still joins the battle. ZSS has powerful new kick attacks to make up for the fact that she isn’t “half a character” any longer. Zelda, not being able to transform either, now has Phantom Slash as her down special attack, summoning a Phantom. This proves out that earlier footage of this model wasn’t an Assist Trophy after all. Sheik also returns with a grenade attack and a flipping kick not unlike ZSS’s Brawl Down B. For our favorite puffball Kirby, his Hammer can now be charged and he has a new Final Smash – Ultra Sword. DeDeDe no longer throws Waddle Dees, replacing them with Gordos for more damage. Lucario’s Aura abilities are significantly stronger and when he Mega Evolves (assumedly via Final Smash), his Aura stays at full power until he un-evolves. Olimar can only hold three Pikmin with him at a given time but they are now pullable in a pattern, so his Pikmin organization is much easier. Pit is now stronger, to compensate for the loss of the ability to glide and he has a new Final Smash, the Three Sacred Treasures. Everyone’s favorite dino Yoshi finally shows up! Yoshi stands a bit more upright but his moveset looks largely the same. Sakurai says he’ll be a bit stronger this time around, so we’ll see how that turns out.
As for the newest characters, Rosalina gets first focus. Luma can stay near Rosalina or attack out. Once “out” Luma will wander around but the player still controls its attacks. Gravitational Pull seems to be a highly defensive move. We’ve previously seen it guide FLUDD past Rosalina, but it seems to counter a fully charged Aura Sphere without issue as well. Her Final Smash is a Power Star that shoots out a LOT of projectiles. On to the powerful Little Mac, who has a strong ground game and some “super armor” on attacks. Mac is weak in the air by design and his recovery is admittedly poor. The Power Meter fills up when dealing or receiving damage and the Super Punch is essentially a one hit KO. Mac’s down B is a take on Marth’s counter attack where he dodges and then immediately attacks. The quirky Villager finally shows his final smash – Dream Home. If an opponent is caught in it, they seem to be blown clear away. Capcom star Mega Man has had a lot of focus attack-wise but we finally see his final smash as well – An assault from five different Mega Men! Wii Fit Trainer can power up her own attacks with her down b, then unleash bigger KO’s, which is a brand new mechanic. These characters aren’t the semi-clones we’ve seen in previous smash sequels. They have some really unique looking mechanics and styles and that’s going to equate to a more enjoyable experience for all.
3DS gets a new Game Mode called “Smash Run”. Players attack various minions from Nintendo series throughout a dungeon and collect powerups. After five minutes, players are placed into a normal Smash game where their stats are boosted based on what they collected. Before entering the dungeon, characters can select powerups to use. This one has “fun” written all over it. Even steadfast competitive minded players have got to be intrigued by this.
…oh and one more thing – Charizard returns to the battlefield! He’s not alone either, as he’s joined by popular Kalos starter Greninja! My long shot guess was for a new Trainer to have Chespin/Braixen/Greninja, so I’ll take partial credit on this one. Charizard, being separate from his trainer, now has a new special attack that we can assume is Flare Blitz. ‘Zard flies in a straight horizontal line while cloaked in flame for a solid attack. Greninja is giving me pretty strong Sheik-vibes. He looks quick and able to strike hard. Water Shuriken seems to be able to be charged and held, similar to the Needles. The quick glimpse of Up B seems similar to Pikachu, hopping in two directions. Down B (presumably) is Substitute – Very ninja like, with a Pokemon flare.
All in all, this is the type of update that fans CRAVE. Loads of new information, new footage and even new characters. Options like For Glory mode show that while the game still has a party vibe, they’re developing with serious players in mind as well. One piece of footage that stood out to me in making that point was Charizard landing a back throw and having the chance and option to chase the opponent down via dash and hit a forward air successfully. This wouldn’t work in Brawl due to how quickly you could air dodge out of hit stun, so this small bit of evidence has potential competitive implications in a big way. Staggering the release is a great business idea, but the 3DS version will need some really solid solo play options to keep us commuters entertained. Can’t wait for the summer!
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