Tuesday 6 November 2018

Nintendo Direct - The all Smash Bros. Edition

With one month left before the release of Ultimate Super Smash Bros, Smash and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai presented a final and rather slow paced 40-minute infomercial of what’s included in the game come release on December 7th.

Most of the Direct show was dedicated to explaining what the new Spirits Mode is (and sort of sheds some light on the deaths of many of the game’s characters during the trailers). Spirits are a large new addition to the game and makes an easy excuse to fill the game with even more cameo characters. Working a bit like a Perks system, one primary Spirit can be assigned at a time and levels up the more they're used in battle. Support spirits can then be stacked onto the primary one, to boost it's stats. You unlock Spirits during special matches, called a Spirit Event. These consist of fights with Bizarre circumstance; like fighting oversized characters, having to defend an ally from other fighters or fighting armies of tiny opponents. Spirits have a rock, paper, scissors trope, - shield > attack > grab > shield; and also they have their own class system.

Novice - standard strength
Advanced - a bit stronger
Ace - especially powerful
Legend - in a league of their own

Sadly, this means there are no collectable trophies or stickers are in the game this time.

The final player count (on release) will be an unbalanced 74 playable characters, with the announcement of Ken Masters -of Street Fighter fame - acting as a shadow fighter to Ryu, with slight variations to his move set. The debatably more interesting new addition is the 7th generation Pokemon, Incineroar; who fights almost as a wrestler and has many "risk/reward" conditions to his move set. A 75th character that no one saw coming, Piranha Plant, will be released as a "free" downloadable to anyone that purchases the game before January 31st 2019. The pipe bound carnivorous shrub can spit fire, poison, and spiky balls, and summons Petey Piranha for it's Final Smash. How insulted is Waluigi right now that a plant made it into the game before he did. Additional post-launch DLC characters were also announced (because it's 2018 and of course Nintendo wants that post game extra money). No clues were given as to who the extra five fighters would be, but Sakurai made a promise that there would be no Shadow characters. These are expected to be about £5.99 per character or £25 for the fighter’s pass. Each new character will come with a new stage and music to complement.

For a bunch of the characters that still haven't made the roster, Mii's get costume parts so you can dress them up to almost make up for their absence. A few of them include Ribbon Girl, from Arms. The Ink kids, from Splatoon (which is an odd one, as they're in the lineup). Rex from Xenoblade Chronicles, Chibi Robo and some wearable Nintendo Labo. All of these would have made better (although possible not more interesting) additions than a Piranha Plant.

The Assist Trophies come from a far wider array of games than ever before. Spring Man, from Arms, and lots of Fire Emblem characters seemed obvious enough. Even Guile from Street Fighter sort of makes sense. Virtua Fighter 1's Akira is slightly odd but Fatal Frame is an inclusion I'd never expected.

A Story Mode of some description was teased, at the end of the show, without much explanation. The trailer showed all the would-be heroes being vaporised by an armada of Master Hands, with only Kirby making a narrow escape and then burdened with the task of rescuing those he left behind to die. It looks to take place on an overworld map and includes Story Mode specific boss fights, which is always good.

Seems odd to have a Nintendo Direct this close to the release of a new Pokemon title, to only ignore it entirely and solely focus on a game that already has all the hype behind it…. But still, Hype!

Bry Wyatt

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