As I reported earlier, the internet is abuzz clamoring for more information about the latest installment in the mega-popular Super Smash Bros. series. While previous news to come out of E3 has focused on the addition of new characters, this afternoon brought us some clarity about the specifics and design choices going into Nintendo’s next brawler. Series director Masahiro Sakurai hosted his own bite-sized Nintendo Direct to offer some details about how the game is shaping up, and what makes the latest additions to the character roster so special. Check it out:
In case you can’t access the video at the moment, I’ll provide a summary of the key points. For one thing, Sakurai confirmed that Final Smashes are definitely making a return. He then went on to comment about a few balance tweaks being made that are relevant to certain roster veterans. In particular, Bowser now stands more upright than in previous versions of the game, slightly altering his hit box. Additionally, his running speed and attack strength have been adjusted in a way that will make him more powerful.
One of the key highlights of the video concerns the differences between the Wii U version of the game, and it’s portable counterpart on 3DS. Sakurai notes that the stylistic changes were made to suit the needs of the portable device. Specifically, characters have darker, more emphasized outlines surrounding them to make them stand out easier, given the limited screen space. This also makes it easier to keep track of the action when the camera pulls back on larger stages, ensuring that the 3DS experience is still both fun and engaging; without the frustration of losing a character in the scuffle.
Another key difference between the two versions will be the available stages. While Sakurai confirms that the portable version of Smash will have as many characters on the roster as the Wii U, (he curiously doesn’t say the same roster though. It could be a translation thing, or perhaps I’m reading too much into it; but there’s a chance some characters may be exclusive to certain versions of the game,) the games will have certain stages that are exclusive to one another. The 3DS version will feature a few stages that focus on popular portable franchises, such as Nintendogs, while the console experience will include stages from notable console titles. Another benefit of this is that it allows the team to craft stages that better suit the 3DS’s smaller screen and 3D capabilities.
The rest of the video is dedicated to showing off the three new characters announced at the show this week: Mega Man, Villager from Animal Crossing, and the Wii Fit Trainer. Mega Man faithfully retains his old-school NES design, and uses the powers of bosses he’s absorbed in previous Mega Man titles. He doesn’t have any standard punches or kicks; instead, his normal attack is simply the Mega Buster, which is capable of firing a charged blast. His special abilities include accessing the Leaf Shield, Flame Sword, and even Metal Man’s popular Metal Blade; which can fire in eight different directions and even be used as a projectile by other characters. His patented slide attack and faithful robo-dog companion Rush are also a part of the action: Rush can be used to give the Blue Bomber a boost much like the spring did for Sonic in Brawl.
The Villager retains his obsession with collecting objects from the Animal Crossing series, and even uses his pack-rat nature to his advantage during his moveset. He can use his trusty shovel to literally dig adversaries into a hole, before dropping a bowling ball on them for substantial damage. One of his major draws is that he can horde incoming projectiles or items grabbed off the ground. Anything he collects can then be used a single time whenever the player decides to throw the item out. This means the Villager can catch Samus’ Charge Shot, then fire it back at her whenever he chooses. He can also pick up capsules off the ground and store them for later, in case he wants to wait for an ideal opportunity to use them while retaining access to his entire moveset.
Finally, the Wii Fit Trainer’s “attacks” actually consist of her demonstrating the various Yoga techniques from her popular fitness games. Being a health-conscious trainer, her moveset consists of various stretches and exercises that promote wellness; she will even occasionally offer fitness advice to her opponents throughout the battle. Her Final Smash sees her unleashing a screen-clearing barrage of duplicates stretching in various exercise positions that will leave other fighters totally worn out. Despite sounding like a silly throwaway character, the Trainer actually “fits” really well into the Smash Bros. universe, with a series of “attacks” and combos that rival any other potential challenger.
That about wraps up the major information to come out of Sakurai’s miniature Nintendo Direct. I’m really glad we got some details about how the Wii U and 3DS versions differ, although I’m most curious to hear some news about features such as cross-functionality between the two releases. Ideally, the game will allow players to face off against one another online regardless of the platform they’re playing on. It would also be nice if there was some sort of trophy/sticker/collectible component where players could unlock exclusive goodies for playing and sharing content between the two iterations. Nintendo has promised more news soon, so time will tell.
Do you folks like what you’ve heard so far about the latest incarnation of the Smash Bros. series? What other features would you like to see included with the game? If you had the choice, would you rather stick to playing Smash on a console, or does the idea of taking the action on-the-go sound like an even better idea? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+. And if you can’t get enough of my shenanigans, (who could blame you?) you can check me out @GamingsNirvana, or add +VinnyParisi to your circles.