Smash Direct – November 1/18

Another Super Smash Bros Ultimate Direct! It’s the final one before the game releases, and showed off a ton of features that will be in the game. As usual, I have some thoughts!

Characters – Three new characters were revealed, two of them being the final fighters included in the base game, and the last being the first of the game’s DLC. I’m just happy that that stupid leak from a week ago was disproven. It was silly and I’m shocked that so many people were fully willing to believe it.

Ken: Another rep from Street Fighter, Ken is an echo of Ryu. Obviously. I mean, that’s his whole thing. But he’s faster than Ryu and his moves have more fire to them, so I may actually give Ken a sporting chance. I was so happy that Ryu was included in Smash, but I simply never found him that fun to play as.

Incineroar: The new Pokémon for this Smash entry, Incineroar is the awesome final evolution of the oh-so boring Litten. Since his gimmick is that he’s a wrestler, his throws are more powerful than average, and he does little poses after every successful attack. Neat! I like heavy characters, and I think that Incineroar could absolutely get added to my go-to lineup.

Piranha Plant: Where do I even start? Every new Smash needs a “WTF?” character, and Piranha Plant fits that bill spectacularly. Plus, it looks like a ton of fun to play; the kind of character with a wide variety of moves and is probably best for trolling opponents. Unfortunately, it’s not quite finished, so it’ll be available as DLC “a few months” after the game’s release. On the plus side, anyone who registers their game before the end of January 2019 will get it for FREE! I love free!

Spirits – Trophies are gone! Sakurai thinks they don’t quite fit Smash anymore, and also they’re a huge pain to make, apparently. So instead, they’re adding in a new suite of collectable character thingies called “Spirits.” They’re basically trophies, but made of existing 2D art instead of new 3D models. And also you can bind them to the fighters as power-ups? It seems like an incredibly convoluted system that I’ll largely ignore, to be honest. I’ll likely just treat them as trophies and try to collect them all.

Spirits also provide a sort of remixed version of previous games’ Event Matches, wherein there are a number of unique pre-set scenario-type battles. Now, rather than being a hodge-podge of random scenarios, each one is tied to a specific character and winning the match will award you that character’s Spirit. It seems like you can tackle them in any way you want, but some make use of other Spirits to power up, so you’ll need to bind Spirits of your own to level the playing field. Regardless of the increased complexity, it’s basically still just the same old Event Matches, which I always found to be a very fun little distraction.

Online – So, apparently you can play Smash though this worldwide connection thingie called the internet? Yeah, I dunno about this…

Realtalk: Smash has had a spotty history of online play. Hopefully it’s ironed out this time around. I might actually use it if there isn’t an ungodly amount of lag!

Assist Trophies – You know, you pick up that little trophy case and then a guy pops out to help you? A bunch more were revealed in this presentation, and apparently there are now more assist trophy characters than pokéball Pokémon. I’ve never counted, but I’m mildly surprised that there have historically been fewer assist characters.

Notably, this was the ultimate troll by Nintendo. Past assist characters like Zelda’s Skull Kid, Isaac from the Golden Sun series, and Shadow the Hedgehog have been suspiciously missing from Smash UItimate’s marketing up until this point, leading fans to believe that they would be upgraded into full fighters this time around. They were all revealed to be back as assists during this segment, crushing dreams left and right. I love it!

My one disappointment is that Spring Man from ARMS has been relegated to assist trophy, rather than a full fighter. ARMS was a valiant effort by Nintendo to get a new IP out there, and to move a little bit more into the competitive gaming scene. Alas, ‘twas not meant to be.

Also there’s a Dr. Wily assist this time around, and it’s based on the Wily Capsule from Mega Man 7. This is notable because that’s widely considered to be the absolute hardest/most frustrating Wily Capsule of them all. Hah. Magnificent trolling, Mr. Sakurai.

World of Light – This is the new Adventure Mode, which is looking to be a semi-sequel to Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, maybe? The opening cutscene was showed, which has all the fighters facing off against a sky full of Master Hands, which turn into beams of light that vaporize everyone but Kirby. Also there’s some sort of strange, winged thing that presumably controls all the Master Hands. I would wager that it’s either Tabuu or Master Core (or a fusion of the two), but we won’t know for sure until the game is out! Anyway, all the Smash fighters are used to create zombie versions of them, which are infused with the power of other character’s Spirits. Then it’s up to Kirby to go on an adventure to save the rest of Nintendo!

Important note: This is essentially confirmation that Kirby is the Best Nintendo Character. I’ve known this as true for basically all my life, but it’s nice to have it officially recognized.

As far as gameplay goes, it seems to be the same as Spirits mode, but organized onto a fairly large map. There are also bosses thrown in there, like Dracula and Rathalos, which I’d like to note still makes no sense because there is no other Monster Hunter representation. As far as we know, all the sub-par platforming from Subspace Emissary has been excised and all that remains are fun event matches and bosses. Possibly more cutscenes, but I have no strong opinion on those either way. It looks real good!

DLC – Excluding Piranha Plant, there are five planned DLC expansions for Smash Ultimate. Each pack will contain a unique new fighter (no echoes), a new stage, and a bunch of new music. This is basically on par with the DLC that Smash 4 got, only spaced out a little more, since DLC characters usually came in sets for that game. Also, no purchasable Mii Costumes for Ultimate so far. The season pass is $25 USD (or $5 for each pack), which is going to be like $30 CAD, which I’m fairly sure is cheaper than the Smash 4 DLC was. This is a very rare situation where I’ll actually be purchasing a season pass, even though none of the DLC characters have been revealed yet.

While I am perfectly content with this setup, I do wonder why they’re not adding any new echo fighters. They seem like significantly less work than building a new fighter from the ground up, but what do I know about game development?

Anyway, that’s it! That’s all the things I needed to say. You can watch the video below!

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