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We’ve seen Nintendo Directs that have focused on one game, like Platinum Games’ The Wonderful 101 last year, but Nintendo has yet to do one on a game as big as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. Along with Mario Kart 8, the Wii U version will be one to keep close eye on since these are games that sell over ten million on previous Nintendo systems, and could be potential saviors for the system.
Announced by series lead Masahiro Sakurai last week, and hyped over via his Miiverse posts since, we can see the difference when a non-internal Nintendo helms a Direct. With no last minute notice, Sakurai’s consistent hype and a decent air time makes this one of the easiest Nintendo Directs to watch, and something I hope Mr. Iwata pays attention to. The traffic proves it too, a half-hour before airing, Nintendo’s YouTube broadcast had over 11,000 people anticipating it, and over 50,000 on it minutes before it started (this didn’t count the ones watching it on Nintendo’s site).
Now to the Direct itself. Sakurai broadcasted from Bandai Namco’s building and started up strong with the release windows for the games. Surprisingly, the 3DS version will release first this summer and the Wii U one will release later in the year.
The 3DS version will run in 60 frames-per-second, even in stereoscopic 3D, though minor elements like the Assist Trophies’ animations will run in 30. Each stage on the 3DS will have two songs attached to them, much like Melee; but the Wii U version will have much more, as well as a playlist, a la Brawl.
In terms of stages, Sakurai confirmed that the 3DS Smash Bros. will have Reset Bomb Fortress (Kid Icarus Uprising), 3D Land (Super Mario 3D Land), Spirit Train (Zelda: Spirit Tracks), Guredo Valley (Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D), Arena Ferox (Fire Emblem Awakening), Tortimer Island (Animal Crossing: New Leaf), Living Room (Nintendogs), Prism Tower (Pokémon X/Y), Rainbow Road (Mario Kart), Find Mii (StreetPass Mii Plaza), Balloon Fight, and Jungle Japes (Donkey Kong Country and ported from Melee). The Wii U version will have Mario Galaxy (Super Mario Galaxy), Pyrosphere (Metroid: Other M), Town and City (Animal Crossing: City Folk), Boxing Ring (Punch Out!! and Smash Bros. flavors), Pilot Wings (Pilotwings Resort), Skyloft (Zelda: Skyward Sword), Windy Hill (Sonic Lost World), Garden of Hope (Pikmin 3), Wii Fit Studio (Wii Fit), Palutena’s Temple (Kid Icarus), Halberd (Kirby Super Star and ported from Brawl), and Wily Castle (Mega Man 2). He also discussed the Yellow Devil from Mega Man and how he’ll effect the Wily’s Castle Stage, which is pretty much like in the original Mega Man: go for the eye!
Both versions will have online multiplayer, and the Smash Bros. team is working hard to make sure that they are advanced for the new consoles. When you fight against strangers, there are two modes to choose from: For Fun and For Glory. For Fun only records your wins, has you fight in unaltered stages randomly and have items and Smash Balls on. For Glory is for more hardcore fighters and records all wins and losses, no items and has you fight in Final Destination Mode stages. Final Destination Mode is for some stages outside the traditional Final Destination that will have them stay static, losing their gimmickyness. In addition, your NNID will appear above your character and the game will have a fair practice rule in effect, meaning if you play unsportsmanlike, you can be punished up to but not limited to banning.
Since leaderboards only tell so much about a player’s capability, this new Smash will incorporate a new ranking system called Global Smash Power. To put it simply, everything you do online gains you points, and the leaderboard will tell the world how much effort you put into the game. Matchmaking will take your Global Smash Power into effect when pairing against others.
Next up were items. Sakurai wanted to tease all the returning and new items you get to play with. In terms of normal iems, you’ll see the Beam Sword, Bumper, Smart Bomb, Motion Sensor Bomb, POW Block (Mario Bros.), Beetle (Zelda: Skyward Sword), Fire Bar (Super Mario Bros.), Back Shield (Kid Icarus Uprising), Bombchu (Zelda: Ocarina of Time), Fairy Bottle (Zelda), Ore Club (Kid Icarus Uprising), X Bomb (Kid Icarus Uprising), Hocotate Rocket Bomb (Pikmin), Rocket Belt (Pilotwings Resort), and Steel Diver (Steel Diver).
For Assist Trophies, expect Andross (Star Fox), Devil (Devil World), Knuckle Joe (Kirby), Saki (Sin & Punishment), Lyn (Fire Emblem), Nintendog (Nintendogs), Waluigi (Mario), Dr. Wright (Sim City), Skull Kid (Zelda: Majora’s Mask), Mother Brain (Metroid), Midna (Zelda: Twilight Princess), Ashley (WarioWare), Dark Samus (Metroid Prime series), Chain Chomp (Mario), the newly announced (hence the Miiverse post) Isabelle (Animal Crossing: New Leaf ) Elec-Man (Mega Man) and the Color TV Game 15 (Nintendo’s first piece of gaming hardware).
For Pokeballs, we will see Arceus, Meowth, Electrode, Eevee, Staryu, Metagross, Fennekin, Melotea, Gogoat, Entei, Deoxys, Palkia, Kyurem, Victini, Keldeo and Xerneas. When a Master Ball pops up, expect a legendary Pokémon.
One big change in this new Smash is the removal of transforming characters. This means characters like Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are now 100% independent from their host character. Zero Suit Samus has changed with Jet Boots that will allow her to be more nimble on the field. Sheik now has Burst Grenades and an acrobatic heel kick called Bouncing Fish. Zelda will now summon a Phantom (a power from Zelda: Spirit Tracks) instead of morphing.
Other characters have also been altered. Kirby’s hammer move can now charge to allow better aiming and more destructive power, though it’ll hurt Kirby if he charges for too long. Dedede now throws Gordos instead of Waddle Dees, meaning that they are much more powerful. Lucario’s aura still strengthens the more it is hit, but now that ability will allow it to hit for even more damage. Lucario can also Mega Evolve into Mega Lucario and when in that state, it’s damage will always do the maximum amount of damage Lucario’s aura can provide. Olimar has been weakened to only allow thee Pikmin at a time, but they will now spawn in a fixed pattern. His recovery move has changed to Pink Pikmin assistance. Pit floats for less distance now, but more powerful and his Power of Flight recovery move goes much further. Several Final Smashes are changed, like Kirby’s and Pit’s. There are others, so expect those when the game launches. The last change of the veteran roster was the returning Yoshi. He stands upright instead of a dinosaur, and those changes made him stronger.
For new characters, Rosalina can send and retrieve her Luma, and when its sent out, that Luma will wander and attack when Rosalina does. Both characters have different movesets, making Rosalina’s arsenal pretty diverse. In terms of her normal moveset, she can shoot Star Bits, use the Launch Star for recovery, use the Gravitational Pull to pull over items and deflect projectiles and summon a Power Star for her Final Smash.
Little Mac is strong on ground, but his attacks and recovery in-air are extremely weak. The Power Meter diversifies Mac, which determines the power of the Straight Lunge attack (full meter = insta-KO to anyone hit). Normal moveset consists of the Jolt Haymaker (evade and strike), Rising Uppercut (recovery), Slip Counter (fake out and counter), and the transformation into Giga Mac for the Final Smash. A Wireframe Mac the original Arcade version of Punch Out!! is an available costume.
Animal Crossing’s Villager uses the gameplay of the sim to full use. Pocket allows him to stash and use projectiles, the Lloid Rocket makes him shoot a Lloid (or fly sideways on it when in air), the Balloon Trip is used for recovery, Timber is a multiple-part attack of planting watering and chopping down a tree, and Dream Home has Tom Nook and his kids build a house (with someone in it) that’ll blow up.
Mega Man has an extremely detailed attack because every minor attack uses some sort of normal or robot ability. The Special moves consists of Metal Man’s blade, Crash Man’s bombs, Wood Man’s leaf shield and Rush for recovery. The Final Smash has him, X (Mega Man X), Volnutt (Mega Man Legends), .EXE (Mega Man Battle Network) and Geo Stelar (Mega Man Star Force) all use a charge attack.
The Wii Fit Trainer, who has both male and female forms, also has a gameplay quirk. It can increase its attack with Deep Breathing. The Sun Salutation is a chargeable projectile, like Samus’ beam, that can be used later. Otherwise, it’s moves are based on various exercises, like yoga stretches.
Also new for Smash are Custom Move Sets. Only used with friends online and off, these allow you to tweak attacks to provide a different effect. Sakurai used Mario’s fireball as an example, where he can how use slower balls that stay on field or faster ones that don’t touch the ground. These are terribly broken maneuvers and are only for kicks and giggles, so don’t expect to use them online. Though it is a fun addition nonetheless.
Next up is the new mode, Smash Run. Exclusive to 3DS version, it is a battle game where you trek through an expansive dungeon collecting power-ups for five minutes. These dungeons contain enemies from various Nintendo games like Mario’s Goombas, Donkey Kong’s Kremlings and Pikmin’s Bulborb, and the dungeon will encounter certain events too (everything will spawn and happen randomly). Afterwards you go into a match using those power-ups you gained throughout the dungeon. Though I wrote this before Sakurai said it, this was ripped from one of his previous games, the City Trial mode in Kirby’s Air Ride. Sakurai didn’t mention if Smash Run is limited to local multiplayer or if it’s also online.
Sakurai thanks everyone and updated the role call for the cast, but he slipped in one more surprise at the end. Actually two: Two new playable Pokémon: Charizard and Greninja. Charizard looks much more diverse now that it’s unleashed from the Pokémon Trainer, and looks like he can Mega Evolve too. Greninja, arguably the most shocking unveil in the game, is super acrobatic and use some pretty ninja-like moves like Substitute. Look at the shot below and you can really appreciate the graphics (that Substitute doll!).
Well that wraps up one the most info-enriched Directs I’ve ever recapped (and that includes E3!), and Sakurai failed to disappoint. While I’d prefer harder launch dates, I can’t complain about the info he gushed out, and I bet more is to come. Like always, the full Direct is here and comment about what you liked!