Super Smash Bros. Direct 04/08/14

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Well, that was different. An entire Nintendo Direct broadcast dedicated to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. games on Wii U and 3DS. There’s a lot of information to go over today, so let’s get to it!

Release Windows

In a surprise move, Nintendo is not going to release the Wii U and 3DS versions of Smash simultaneously. Smash on 3DS is slated for a Summer 2014 release, while Smash Wii U is now set for Fall 2014. I suppose it only makes sense to let each game have its own time in the spotlights, especially considering the seeming quality of both.

Smash and Run

Further legitimizing the 3DS version of Smash was today’s announcement of the handheld-only Smash and Run online mode. In Smash and Run, players barrel through a dungeon populated with random enemies, collecting powerups to enhance their character. These dungeon crawls last only five minutes, after which all upgrades to the player’s character carryover into a Free For All bout. Cool!

Online

Sakurai noted the limitations of online face by Nintendo when Brawl came out on Wii, emphasizing that things will be different this time around. It was unceremoniously hinted at that players should do their best to have a speedy internet connection, even going so far as to recommend players buy a wired internet adapter for their Wii Us. While just about every online game is better with a good internet connection, it was still an… interesting thing to point out. I’m nervous.

The footage of online play looked good, though, and with Nintendo set to eliminate DS and Wii online play in short order, here’s hoping the extra server space will serve to boost both Smash and Mario Kart 8. As far as actual modes go, Sakurai and company have opted for something called For Glory and For Fun. For Glory is meant for true competitors, with no items and matches occurring only on Final Destination-versions of the bulk of each of the games’ stages. For Glory also keeps track of players wins and losses. For Fun is exactly what it sounds like; traditional stages and items, with only players’ wins counted. Whichever crowd a player gravitates towards, they’re sure to be satiated with this setup!

Taking it a step further, online behavior will be monitored, with bans put in place for disruptive players (that includes tattling on players not doing anything wrong). Unfortunately, there won’t be true leaderboards, but there will be something called Global Smash Power, which ranks how many other people the player has outscored in solo player modes. Interesting, but I’d still like to know where I stack up online. At any rate, Sakurai and Nintendo have clearly put a lot of thought into this new online setup, so hopefully it pays off for players, in the end.

Characters

Individual fighter transformations are now out, meaning characters like Zelda and Samus, who could become Sheik or Zero Suit Samus, respectively, can no longer do so. Instead, these alter-egos have become their own, separate fighters. This has resulted in some balancing tweaks, as Zero Suite Samus, for instance, was intentionally weaker than armored Samus in Brawl. Now her own character, the developers had to augment her to be competitive with the other fighters.

Officially announced as players on the roster were Zero Suit Samus, Sheik, Yoshi (big surprise), and two, new Pokemon; Greninja and Charizard! Charizard seems to have replaced the Pokemon Trainer along with Squirtle and Ivysaur, but with three other Pokemon playable, it probably would have been overkill to make the other two their own characters. Who knows, E3 is still coming, but these seem to be the Pokemon we’ll be brawling with!

That brings to a close all the news fit to print on today’s Smash Bros. Direct! A tad underwhelming, but overall I was very pleased to learn so much more about the new Smash Bros. games. I’m sure Nintendo will have more to say leading up to the impending launch of both (I will eat my watch if Nintendo doesn’t include a Namco character), but in the meantime, enjoy this glimpse by watching the actual video from today’s broadcast. There’s some more tidbits about frame rates, stages, and trophies that I didn’t touch on here, so it’s worth a look. Until next time, dear readers!

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