With rumors swirling of a new Smash game on the horizon, fans wonder what changes will be made. New characters, new stages, the list goes on, but there is one potential change that has the community somewhat divided. The question of whether or not the rage mechanic should return in the next iteration of Smash.
The Rage Mechanic
For those uninitiated, rage is a mechanic exclusive to Smash 4. Rage occurs when a player reaches 35 percent and maxes out at 150 percent. The effect makes all moves by the player deal more damage and knock-back the higher their percent goes. This adds many new dynamic elements to gameplay.
Players who are able to stay alive despite being at high percents will deal more damage to their opponent and have a chance to make a comeback. While this sounds good on paper there are arguments against the mechanic being in the game.
First we’ll look at the positives rage brings to the table. Rage can give players a much bigger comeback factor in every match. A player who is able to keep their stock in tact despite taking high amounts of damage has the ability to use their added attack power to clutch out close games against all odds.
It is also often seen as a punishment to your opponent for failing to close out a stock while still dealing big damage. So when a player dies at 70 percent (before the attack) to a player who is at 170 percent, it is seen as a punishment for not getting the kill despite the high percentage. I think this adds a new layer to competitive play.
Now a player must focus harder on taking the stock quickly and efficiently to ensure they don’t die to a rage fueled play late in the game. Another big plus is that it gives heavier characters much more viability. Most heavy characters like King Dedede and Ganondorf are lower on the tier list because they’re pretty slow. They also have weak neutrals which makes most fights very tough for them. Rage gives them a much better chance in competitive play.
Heavy characters already do crazy amounts of damage, so rage gives them much higher chances of winning. They can clutch out games more often due to sheer strength, and they’ll get to use rage more because their weight helps them live longer. Combos now need to account for rage, as some combos wont work if your rage level is too high. All of these factors make the game more complex for the better. However there are drawbacks.
Just as Rage benefits heavy characters, it heavily punishes lighter characters. Lighter characters die much earlier than others which is a problem when you combine this with rage. Now a lighter character is even more susceptible to dying early because the more damage they do, the stronger their opponent gets. This can lead to lighter characters getting abused by rage and dying at ridiculously low percents (even at zero). This mechanic might be the reason that Jigglypuff is the worst character in the game. She has a big clutch factor with her rest ability, but the fact that without rage she dies at insanely low percents, makes rage kill her viability. Even worse is that lighter characters rarely get to use rage to their advantage, because they usually don’t live long enough.
Lastly, rage can make this game get very janky very fast. There are too many instances of players dying at lower than 10 percent. Certain moves with set knock-back can be combined with rage to literally kill you at zero percent. This is often seen as unfair and cheesy.
I think Rage is good for competitive Smash because it adds more technical layers to the game. There is more to practice, to study, and to master. I think it adds a greater level of hype to the game and forces players to play better. I see rage more as a punishment for letting an opponent live too long. Rage shouldn’t be looked at as a cheap tactic, and I think the game is better off with it. It provides more viability to weaker characters (weak as in low on the tier list) and gives players a chance to come from behind which is a crowd-pleaser. Smash 4 is by far the most dynamic, and balanced game in the franchise and rage plays a big part in that.
Featured image courtesy of Smashpedia.
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