Nintendo revealed Super Smash Bros Ultimate at E3 a couple weeks ago and set the community ablaze with hype. The Ultimate Smash game is definitely upon us. Reception of the E3 showcase has been overwhelmingly positive. There are so many new changes that appeal to the casual as well as the competitive player. However the biggest changes seem to embrace the competitive scene much more than ever before.
This is very exciting considering Nintendo’s history with the competitive Smash scene. Dedicated players and fans kept Smash alive, and turned it into a die hard competitive game that still lives on almost two decades later. While the competitive scene and Nintendo haven’t always seen eye to eye, things have been slowly getting better. Nintendo began sponsoring more Smash tournaments, and listening to the community more.
While their view of the competitive scene was improving, it still seemed a bit ambiguous. After E3 however, I think Nintendo made it very clear how they view the competitive scene. Super Smash Bros Ultimate looks to live up to the name, and offer the experience competitive players have been looking for.
The Ultimate package
On paper, Smash bros Ultimate is a complete love letter to the competitive scene. Series creator Masahiro Sakurai pulled no punches and put as much fan requested content into the game as possible.
Starting it all off is including every Smash Bros character ever into the game. People were understandably upset that certain characters didn’t make it into Smash 4. With every character now included, no one will feel slighted. There are so many new match-up possibilities. Solid Snake and Cloud Strife are in the same game! Fan service aside, this adds so many new layers to the competitive meta. Characters who dominated Smash 4 could possibly be completely undone by newcomers. Only time will tell but it will be very interesting to see where things go.
Embracing competitive play
Smash Bros Ultimate means so much to the competitive community and most of us haven’t even played it yet. Just from watching the 25 minute E3 reveal you can tell that Nintendo wanted to please the community. Despite the troubled relationship Sakurai and the competitive scene had, This new game looks to rectify that. The fundamentals somewhat remain the same but there are so many new changes that focus on competitive play. The directional air dodge makes a return, but not exactly how we remember it. While wavedashing has been confirmed (as of now) to not be possible, it does add a new layer of depth to the gameplay. Making air dodge reads was a huge part of the Smash 4 meta.
With so many characters having grab confirms, 50/50 combos were prominent. Now players will have to look out for even more while they have their opponent in the air. Perfect shielding is now more like a parry, which will reward skill and timing even more. There are other additions like cancelling a dash with attacks, and many other smaller tweaks. One on One gameplay has also been changed significantly. These changes look to make the game look and feel more interesting, which will be big for Smash as an esport. Critical hits have a new cinematic effect, and really add hype to each killing blow. The stock count now updates almost like a score board after each KO. Even damage and knockback get increased in one on one matches to ensure the action stays fast paced.
Rolls and dodges have more lag if they’re spammed which will punish you for playing too defensively. This change to the game promotes aggressiveness which the community has wanted for a while.
So many stages!
The stages in Smash Ultimate are another huge focal point. Not only do many stages from other games make a return, but they can be tweaked for competitive play. Stages can now have a battlefield form as well as an omega form. This gives players more than just Dreamland and Battlefield to play on for tri-plat picks. However, the biggest change is the ability to disable stage hazards. There were so many stages that could have been viable in Smash if it wasn’t for the hazards they have. With this new addition combined with the huge pool of stages, competitive play will have a whole new layer to it. There are so many new stage possibilities now, counter-pick opportunities are seemingly endless. This change clearly speaks to the competitive scene.
The Ultimate fan service
The final addition to this game that appeals to fans, and competitors alike is Ridley finally being a playable character. This is the addition no one saw coming, considering the history of Ridley and Smash. Ridley had always been a highly requested character, but never made it into any Smash game. Sakurai has always put an emphasis on making a character very faithful to their in game adaptation. You can take just about any character and find traces of their original games in their moveset and overall design. With this in mind, Ridley wouldn’t follow these rules.
Ridley towers over Samus in the Metroid games, so making him a playable fighter would compromise that. Sakurai has constantly said that making Ridley smaller, would mean that he isn’t Ridley anymore. He even made Ridley a stage Hazard in the Metroid stage “Pyrosphere” in Smash 4 as a bit of a compromise. Fast forward to today and we have Ridley as a playable character in Smash Ultimate. However you choose to look at this reality, this is a clear showing of Sakurai and Nintendo giving the fans what they want.
Thank you Sakurai
Smash Bros Ultimate is looking like it could be the game every prior release was leading up to. It addresses nearly every concern or complaint the competitive community could have ever had, while also still appealing to the casual crowd.
This game is already living up to the “Ultimate” name and it hasn’t even released yet. Everyone is excited to get their hands on the game when it releases on December 7th this year. Sakurai clearly made this game a love letter to the fans, and also the competitive community.
With that being said, I think we all need to take it easy on him for the rest of the duration of the time leading up to the game. I know we want to see new characters, and I’m sure we will see more. However, putting so many characters into this game was no small feat. Sakuai has already said that because of this he hopes we aren’t expecting too many new characters this time around. With all of the new additions this game brings, I think we should all take it easy with asking for a bunch of new characters. New characters are sure to come, either before the game releases or through DLC. Either way we need to make sure as a community we show our appreciation and give Sakurai a bit of a break after this one.
It took a long time for Nintendo to embrace the competitive community. Let’s not ruin this newfound relationship.
Are you excited for Smash Ultimate? Let us know down in the comments below!
Featured image courtesy of Variety.
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