Friday, April 11, 2014

My Thoughts on the Super Smash Bros. Direct

Alright, so...  This past Tuesday, there was a special Super Smash Bros.-themed Nintendo Direct, in which a lot of things were revealed for the new Super Smash Bros. games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.  I've have a lot of time to collect my thoughts on it, and since I have a LOT of thoughts on it, I figured I'd post about it on my blog!  I've also been arguing my thoughts on what I saw on Facebook and the like, so there's that.  Either way, I feel like now I can finally say what I thought about what I saw in it.  BTW, for anyone who hasn't seen it, you can watch it here:

So I guess I should start by saying I at first found it rather underwhelming, mostly because what was implied about a character I really wanted to see playable and the newcomer they revealed at the end.  I'll explain further when I get to those parts, but I'll just say that now I feel a lot better about the Direct then I originally did...  though still kind of off.  Anyway, let's begin...

So, first off, I take it that the music at the beginning, being a similar melody we heard in the debut trailer, will be the main theme of these two games.  I can dig it.  I actually appreciate it more then the theme for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  See, I think the problem with Brawl's music is that it was trying too hard to be epic and grand.  A lot of songs in the game didn't sound that good on repeated hearing, and also had definite ends to them, which made them not good for looping.  Which is not to say Nobuo Uematsu isn't a musical genius and it isn't awesome that they got him to compose the main theme, but then again, the fact that they reused that theme throughout the entire game kind of wore it out and made it less awesome.  This one isn't trying to be grand or magnificent, which can basically summarize the game as a whole; it's not trying to outdo it's predecessor, like Melee and Brawl were, it's instead aiming to give us a good experience.  That's what I'm taking out of the development of this game, just trying to balance things out and giving a good experience for everyone.

I like that comment about how Sakurai's "still alive", despite him posting screenshots of the games he's making daily.  Maybe we thought some drone took his place. :P

I found this interesting, Sakurai is actually working AT Namco-Bandai studios.  I knew they were working WITH Sakurai/Sora/Nintendo/etc., but I didn't realize they were this directly involved.

...Why did Sakurai raise his hands there?  What was the point?  Say, just so y'all know, Sakurai suffered an arm injury a while back and it's been slowly getting worse, and has been impeding his ability to work on this game.  Some would say that hey should just leave the work to the dozens of other people working on this game, but he IS the director of this game, and thus kind of has a final say in everything; I would think he would need to be involve din the making of this game no matter what, hence why I don't mind if they took longer to complete this game, and I'm not too bothered by a release date...  Speaking of which!

You know, I have to wonder just how much of what we see in this direct WILL change by the end of the games' development...

So yeah, a Summer release date for the 3DS game and a Winter release date for the Wii U game.  This is a smart move, in that you don't want to have to buy what is essentially the same game for two different systems at the same time, plus you don't want 3DS sales to overshadow Wii U sales, which really, the Wii U needs some really strong sales at this point.  Still, I honestly didn't expect the 3DS version to be coming THIS soon...  I mean, it could just mean an August release date, but still, it feels so close...

This technical stuff is cool, even if I don't understand much of it myself.

The differences between the two games...  well, the old me probably would have only cared about the character line-up, which is the same between both versions (thank goodness), but the other things.  Well, I'll suppose I'll comment on them as they come up.  It seems as though Sakurai's implying that only the Battlefield (and maybe Final Destination) are on both versions, but I'm almost certain I saw the Boxing Ring in the 3DS version at one point.  The fact that the same stage looks different between the versions is a nice touch, though.

This is curious to me.  I thought the music selection in Brawl was MASSIVE, and I had a hard time wondering how they're going to follow up on it.  I guess it would seem that they're sort of following up on it in the Wii U version, though who knows just how many songs they'll keep from [i]Brawl[/i].  Hearing the 3DS version will have a similar musical line-up to Melee is...  fine by me, honestly.

Sakurai teases how the 3DS and Wii U versions will be linked, but doesn't expand upon it...  I'm guessing he's saving that for when it's closer to the release of the two games...  Perhaps for E3?

I won't comment on every individual stage, so I'll just comment on stages I haven't seen before.  ...Well, I will comment on one stage, and that's Find Mii, which we only saw one screenshot of before.  The stage looks pretty simplistic, except for when the Dark Emperor shows up.  I'm guessing it'll be like the Yellow Devil from the Dr. Wily's Castle stage.  And hey, Balloon Fight, nice idea for a stage!  It looks like you can actually walk through one side of the screen and come out the next, meaning the only way to KO someone is by knocking them up or by knocking them into the water (and presumably having the fish eat them).  Really creative idea, I like it!  Palutena's Temple is also something we've seen before, but now we get a better look at it.  It looks like one of those "big" stages, like the Temple or New Pork City...  Except somehow even MORE massive, if that's even possible.  Oh, and there are "Familiar Stages", Jungle Japes from Melee, and the Halberd from Brawl,  I'm personally hoping that Hyrule Castle from the Nintendo 64 game will return. ;)  BTW, what's that song that starts playing when Tortimer's Island shows up?  Anyone know?

OH WAIT, did you see that?  It's a Blue Shell from Mario Kart!  Presumably, it'll attack whoever's in first.  I have to wonder, what happens if the person who throws it is in first?

And here we have an explanation of the Yellow Devil!  What's interesting is that Sakurai describes him as a "boss" rather then a mere stage hazard.  And really, when you think about it, he really does seem to take up so much focus that describing it as a mere "stage hazard" doesn't feel right.  He literally takes up a good third of the battle field, and it feels like the fight switches between fighting against the other players/fighters to fighting the Yellow Devil.  Trying to ignore it and continue fighting just doesn't feel like much of an option...  or does it?  Will have to play myself to see if that's the case.

...AND here comes the part that had me furious when I first saw it...  The way it's presented here, it makes it sounds like Ridley, my most anticipated character for the [i]Super Smash Bros.[/i] series, is going to be a boss character on the Pyrosphere stage.

Okay, first off, some background: Ridley is one of the major characters from the Metroid video game series.  He's been featured as a boss in almost every game, and is directly tied to the past of the main character, Samus Aran, who has appeared in every Super Smash Bros. game.  Ridley appeared as a boss in Super Smash Bros., and thus, people have a hard time accepting that it's possible for him to be playable, and thanks to this tease, people think that's all he'll be this time around.  Thing is, though, there are a lot of questions surrounding this.  Most of them can be addressed through this video here:

But for me, personally, I feel like there's a lot of wiggle room here.  For starters, Sakurai didn't outright said Ridley was a boss.  Sure, we see a shadow that LOOKS like Ridley, but when you look at everything else revealed in this trailer, it was outright stated what characters were and that they'll be appearing as something OTHER then a playable character.  The shadow we also looks very suspicious.  Part of me feels like it looks more like Meta-Ridley, or Robot Ridley, or one of the many other Ridley forms or clones from the Metroid series, as opposed to actually Ridley.  Not to mention, many people have pointed out that Ridley almost looks like he's being controlled, almost as if to say that the Ridley shadow we see is actually the playable form of Ridley.  I don't know if I'd go THAT far, but that certainly would be an interesting twist...

Not to mention, when you play as Toon Link on the Spirit Tracks stage, the Toon Link there is switched out with Alfonzo.  Who's to say the same can't be done with Ridley?  After all, there are multiple versions of Ridley, it's not hard to imagine that if you play as Ridley, a different boss appears on this stage.

It's also worth noting that Sakurai LOVES to mess with his fanbase; this could easily be a trick, a troll move, a way to lead people into thinking that Ridley's a boss, only to surprise them by showing him playable at a later date.  It's not that surprising, given he's done as much crazy stuff before, and even in this Smash Bros. Direct video, and I'll get to that momentarily...

TROPHIES!  I'm glad there's a Tiki trophy, she's a major character, not only in Fire Emblem: Awakening, but also the first few Fire Emblem games!

Online play...  don't have much to say here, other then I never really played online much, and that I like that Sakurai seems to be addressing how people tend to play Smash Bros.  One COULD argue that he's just giving us both extremes with no middle ground, but I'm at least glad to see he's giving us the option, instead of giving us pure hardcore gameplay (a la Melee) or pure chaotic gameplay (a la Brawl).

Oh, and I LOVE that now Final Destination chances it's look to match the look of other stages.  Maybe now it won't be so boring.  Don't get me wrong, the new Final Destination stage looks pretty epic, but it's nice that now they'll be a variety to it...  Though I have to wonder if this is only for online mode or if it's regularly available...  and if you can change it yourself or if it's always random...  Maybe they'll work on that before the games are released.

Hrm...  This "Code of Conduct" sounds good in theory, but I have to wonder if Nintendo will be up to snub when it comes to cracking down on bad behavior in online matches.  Either way, here's hoping!

Global Smash Power...  I recall Sakurai saying he didn't like match-ups, because he didn't like the feeling that some people thought there were so many other people better then them.  This sounds like a better solution to "his" problem; you can see who you're better then, but not who's better then you!  Either way...  eh.

Items!  The Rocket Barrel music from Donkey Kong Country Returns is awesome, BTW!  Just commenting on items I haven't seen before (that aren't returning items).  The POW Block is an item I was expecting, though the way it's implemented wasn't exactly what I expected.  Still, awesome!  So it the Fire Bar, a classic Mario obstacle, here a sword-like item that shrinks with every attack!  Really unique!  The Back Shield was a useful item in Kid Icarus: Uprising, and it looks to be pretty useful here, too!  Bombchu is another "obvious" item choice that works pretty much how I would expect it to work.  Rocket Belt, I bet Little Mac loves using that item, seeing as his air game isn't that good! 

ANOTHER TROPHY!  Say, how many of you watching this the first time went "IT'S PIKACHU!  ...GOD DAMMIT, ARRRRGH!"? :P

Assist Trophies, I really want to comment on them all, including returning Assist Trophies that weren't seen before, but instead, I'll just comment on the new ones.  ...Wait, did Sakurai say something about "All-Star Mode"?  ...So, "All-Star Mode" confirmed to return?  Also, how will they factor into All-Star Mode?  Either way, he says he wants to put in as many as possible, which is awesome!  ...Even though the Assist Trophy item itself looks creepy now...  Actually, I want to note that in the previous game, Waluigi was classified as a Mario character, now he's classified as a Wario character.  Interesting, in that Waluigi has only been featured in Mario spin-offs, and only is associated with Wario by being paired with him in those games.

The Skull Kid doesn't use the Moon, but then again, wouldn't that just destroy EVERYTHING if he did do that?  Midna looks pretty cool, it's awesome to see her (even if she's not playable).  Dark Samus, I have to admit, I haven't played much of the Prime games, so I don't think that of her, but seeing her here...  Yeah, she's pretty awesome.  Kind of makes me reconsider seeing her playable...  in the next Smash Bros.  HOLY CRAP, CHAIN CHOMP, another obvious and brilliant idea!  Elec Man, sweet, I wonder if we'll see any other Robot Masters...  WHOA, Color TV Game 15...  talk about old-school!

Pokémon!  First of all, I think the Master Ball idea is awesome, considering that there are literally enough Legendary Pokémon to fill up a Poké Ball line-up!  Plus, this gives a lot more regular Pokémon time to shine with the regular Poké Ball!  Arceus looks to be powerful, and useful!

OH SNAP, SUBSTITUTE!  This was so funny, because I've seen Facebook images with jokes like this!  Anyway, not counting returning Pokémon...  Well actually, I'm a little bummed that Mewoth isn't playable, but I guess it's too late for him.  Eevee!  It doesn't look like it does much, but it's just so adorable I don't even care!  Fennekin...  looks like it shoots out flame pillars...  almost like Ness's PK Fire!  Meloetta also looks fairly unique.  Gogoat, I love this guy!  It looks like he rams opponents, and you'll be able to ride on them...  neat!  Kyurem...  does he have ice powers in the games, I forget...  Victini...  I wonder what it does?  Keldeo, I love this guy, particularly since he looks like he's from you-know-what! ;)  We saw Xerneas before...  but we didn't see what it did.  Nor do we see what it does here.  Kind of lame.

So Samus still has the Zero Laser, but doesn't change into Zero Suit Samus.  Yeah, apparently you can no longer change characters mid-match.  This is probably to help streamline the line-up and make things more balanced, so you don't have to suddenly switch strategies mid-fight.  I don't mind it that much, though it does mean that we won't be seeing characters like the Pokémon Trainer back, since his whole gimmick was switching between Pokémon...

But what's this?  Zero Suit Samus won't be returning!?  ...Nah, Sakurai's just messing with you, she's back!  See, THIS is what I meant by Sakurai's trolling nature, he loves to mess with us.  Hell, this also goes back to my point about Ridley; if Samus and Zero Suit Samus can fight each other at the same time, I don't see why Ridley can't fight another Ridley.

Anyway, it's interesting that they wanted to "power [Zero Suit Samus] up" this time around, even though she was technically "higher tier" in Brawl, not to mention the whole point of her character was that she was weak attack-wise by a very fast character.  Regardless, those jet boots are cool (no, I don't think it's sexist that they gave Samus high heels, especially since they actually IMPROVE her combat style, so shut up!), plus they got ride of that stupid tether recovery, so I'm glad!

I like Zelda's new down special move, that Phantom Slash looks dang useful, and awesome to boot!  Oh, and I guess Sheik is a seperate character now...  and they replaced her Chain move it seems.  I guess I'm fine with that, the Chain move didn't have that much practical use anyway.  the "Bouncing Fish" reminds me of the Flip Jump move Zero Suit Samus had in Brawl.

The Hammer Flip that Kirby has was actually meant to be in Brawl, there are in-game models of him moving and jumping while charging his hammer.  It would appear to work like King Dedede's Jet Hammer now (also, Kirby's cute with his tough guy face!).  the Final Smash has changed, too, to using that Ultra Sword form Kirby's Return to Dream Land.  I didn't really have much of a problem with Cook Kirby, though this is cool, too.  Speaking of King Dedede, he was my main back in Brawl, and likely will be again, if Little Mac doesn't take his place.  Changing up his Waddle Dee toss to now toss Gordos...  that's cool, I guess.  Actually, it's REALLY cool, since it looks pretty powerful!  I just love how powerful King Dedede is!  Though I wonder if this means Bandanna Waddle Dee will be playable...

I like that they actually made Lucario's aura ability actually look useful in this game; in Brawl it felt like it barely made a difference!  Really, Lucario just looks a whole love better in this game in general!  "Player expectations"...  I'm holding you to that, Sakurai!  Either way, Mega Evolution, just as I and many expected out of Lucario.  I have to admit, Aura Storm was a pretty badass move, but I like seeing this anyway.

Looks like Olimar got a bit of an overhaul.  Not QUITE like Bowser, but still, a lot more consideration went into improving his moveset!  Having 3 Pikmin out instead of 5 MAY seem like a disadvantage, but it's easily to keep track of them this way, not to mention having a set order in picking Pikmin helps you strategize better.  Again, getting rid of the stupid tether recovery for something more useful; awesome to see Winged Pikmin here!  Though I wonder if Rock Pikmin will also be featured...

It's kind of a shame to see gliding go, even though I never used it all that much.  Regardless, Pit was a sweet character in the last game, and I'm glad to see he's gotten several upgrades from his new game this time around!  His Final Smash has changed as well!  I thought it would be the Great Sacred Treasure, but this is just as good!  I have to wonder though...  maybe they changed his Final Smash because...  well, you can't summon Palutena's army...  if you're FIGHTING Palutena!  Huh?  HUH?!  Well, a guy can dream, I suppose.  Either way, I DEFINITELY look forward to who gets an upgrade.

Well FINALLY Yoshi shows up!  I guess they were saving him for this.  Sakurai said they were working on improving his look, which is why they held off his reveal until now, and I guess I can buy that.  The dedication made to actually making the characters LOOK like the games they're from is really great this time around!  And at last the original 8 have all been confirmed!

Trophy Time!  ...Wait...  is Palutena just a-OH GOD!!!  Ah-ha, Sakurai you sly dog!

Hearing more about Rosalina here made me more confident about her character.  Not that I didn't doubt she'd be any good, I was just a little confused at first...  It really does feel like Rosalina and Luma were inspired by the Ice Climbers, except they have completely different movesets, so different strategies can be used, not to mention you can't actually play as Luma.  That Star Bits move looks like you need Luma to use it, as Rosalina doesn't actually fire the bits herself.  It's also nice to know that the Gravitational Pull can be useful even when there are no items.  The Power Star is a cool Final Smash, but I have to wonder why it isn't a Grand Star, considering they were pretty important in Super Mario Galaxy, and it would just make more sense.

Alright, Little Mac, this guy rocks!  It's kind of ironic that Sakurai said it would be hard to put a diverse moveset for Little Mac when he can only punch, and while that's kind of true, having an incredibly specialized moveset like that ALREADY makes him unique!  But they went totally above and beyond with this guy, let me tell you!  It's interesting, though, in that Little Mac's characters is pretty much a small guy who's not all that strong but releases a bunch of rapid attacks.  Here, he's not only fast, but his attacks are super powerful!  ...While on the ground.  That might be why he has flinch resistance, to help make up for his weak air game and absolutely pathetic recovery.  Like yeah, he might be powerful, but if he gets knocked into the air too much, there'd be no point to it!  Hearing more about the KO Punch has me...  questionable.  Like, not only does he gain power by landing successful blows, but even getting hit?  Like, wouldn't that result in him charging up the KO Punch too quickly?  I mean, I would THINK that with an attack THAT powerful, you'd want to limit the option he has to charge it up, right?  He's already so powerful as it is...  That Jolt Haymaker move sounds pretty cool, and would also explain how he somehow managed to dodge that Charged up shot from Mega Man in his trailer.  The Slip Counter is pretty much his signature move from the Punch-Out!! games; dodging and countering.  Giga Mac, I have to admit, doesn't feel like that much of an upgrade.  I mean, Little Mac is already so powerful, the only thing Giga Mac appears to have going for him is that he's so much bigger and slower.  I guess he'll have complete flinch resistance, but I don't know how much good that'll do if he can't catch up to his opponents.  ...Also, Wireframe Little Mac, WHAAAAAAAT?!  I still kind of hope for Super Punch-Out!! Little Mac, or pink sweater Little Mac.

The Villager looks really fun to play as, not much else to say other then that.  Pretty much all of his moves we see here have been seen before and we don't get THAT much elaboration on them that we didn't already get.  One key difference, though, is that his Final Smash is revealed.  Apparently opponents get turned into bags of Bells, and they're used to pay Tom Nook, build a house, and then the house explodes with whatever opponent trapped inside.  I'm guessing that the more opponents get turned into Bells, the bigger the house gets, and the bigger the house gets, the more damage and knockback is down to those opponents.

Mega Man, a lot like the Villager, doesn't have much here that we haven't already seen.  I THINK one new move of his is seen, the Air Shooter, which is his up aerial move, plus now we know what his special moves will be.  Again, the new thing we learn is his Final Smash, and not only is it better then anything I could ever image, but it really shows that Sakurai and Nintendo care a lot more about Mega Man then his own company Capcom does now.

I like learning more about the Wii Fit Trainer(s), even though they aren't my favorite choices, I still like how they're included as fighters anyway.  Sun Salutation feels like an odd move, regardless of how Sakurai justifies it, but Deep Breathing perfectly incorporates what Wii Fit is about into their moveset!  I have to wonder, though, just how long does the "Deep Breathing" powered-up effect last...  Oh, and the male trainer is, indeed, and alternate "costume".  Hell, this is the first time that a character's physical appearances, as opposed to their outfit, is straight-up changed in a Super Smash Bros. game.  That being said, I'm likely going to play as the female trainer, just because I liked that a female character was added to the roster.

Customizable moves...  This was something speculated about after the initial announcement, and it made some kind of sense, when it was confusing to keep track of what moves Mega Man had.  Now, though, it just seems like a confusing addition, since the attacks are still basically the same, they just move and behave differently.  Thankfully, this will be kept out of competitive play, as I'm sure balancing things out would be a nightmare...  Though I wonder if it'll change that much with the more casual gameplay...

Another trophy, King Kihunter this time...  you know, I recently tried looking up the different Metroid enemies that AREN'T Metroids or Space Pirates, and I found it hard to keep tack of...  Though I'll definitely keep Kihunters in mind.

And now an all-new mode, Smash Run!  HOLY COW, look at all those enemies!  So many enemies from so many different games, I love it!  Shotzos, Kremlings, Tikis, Goombas, Kihunters, Shy Guys Magikoopas, Monoeyes, Grand Goombas, Bulborbs, and plenty more where that came from!  I also saw some Targets from Target Smash!/Break the Targets!, and the doors from The Subspace Emissary there, too!  the mode feels similar to City Trail from Kirby Air Ride, something pointed out by Sakurai himself in the video.  I loved that mode, and I'm glad we're seeing something similar to it here!  I have to wonder why this will only be the 3DS version, though...  Is something bigger planned for the Wii U version?  OH, I saw a Hammer Brother!  And...  Um, Skullker...  That thing from Kid Icarus: Uprising...  And Gordos!  And T.A.C.!  And...  Waddle Dee?  Hmm...  Maybe Bandanna Waddle Dee won't be playable.  Then again, who knows?  I also have to say, having an improved jump might not be all that useful, given that you could easily jump off the screen in a match.  OH, BULLET BILLS!  Also, items...  I guess they'll work like stickers from Brawl, or the power-ups in the multiplayer modes from Kid Icarus: Uprising...  And here they list off some enemies.  Some I've already named, others I didn't catch before.  Like Stalfos!  I was hoping he'd be in this game, since along with Octorok, he's been in almost every game in The Legend of Zelda series!  Reapers are here, too...  boy, dealing with them will be annoying.  Wait...  "Mettaur"?  I thought they were just called "Mets" in English...  Also, it's cool that some Subspace Emissary enemies return in this game.  Wait, Chandelure?  A Pokémon enemy?!  ...Didn't see that coming.  Wonder if other Pokémon will appear as enemies in this mode...  Mimicuties appear, too.  I guess that's why the chests look like the chests from Kid Icarus: Uprising.

And that would appear to end this Smash Direct...  I totally respect and understand that these guys are working hard, and really, I hope they take as much time as they need.  Once again, Sakurai raises his arms, and this time, it almost looks like he's in pain!  Again, what's up with that, like, why did he do it?  Seeing all the characters confirmed so far was cool (wait, did I see DK give his signature roll move?!), it was a nice way to end the direct...  except that wasn't the end...  Because THIS came immediately afterward!

So I watch this and I'm like "Oh, cool, Charizard's back...  I guess he's all alone this time, since Sakurai said there will be no switching characters mid battle, meaning no Pokémon Trainer...  I guess this means Squirtle and Ivysaur won't be returning...  But are they really giving a trainer to a returning veteran?"  Then the trailer goes on, some awesome stuff happens, and then we see that figure in the shadows charging up something, and I'm like "holy crap, is that Mewtwo, oh gosh I hope it's Mewtwo!"  The battle continues, Mario and Charizard are about to clash, then...

Some blue shuriken cuts them off...  some ninja thing turns out to be what was in the shadows...  I had a hard time trying guess what it was...  until it's revealed that Greninja is will be a new fighter.  And I'm like:

"Um...  what?"

Like, seriously, I did NOT see this choice coming at all!  A lot of people says it makes sense seeing as he's a generation 6 Pokémon and a popular one at that, but...  Well, I cannot think of a single solitary person who wanted to see any generation 6 Pokémon playable.  Hell, even a Kalos Pokémon Trainer wasn't that high compared to other Pokémon Trainers (Hoenn in particular).  Not to mention, Greninja...  Well, I'm trying to think of other popular Pokémon, because honestly, aside from being a fully evolved starter, I can't think of anything that notable about him; he's not prominently featured in the anime, he's not in any movies...  I mean, am I the only one who thinks this or is it just me?  Literally, the only reason I can think for a choice like this is because Greninja is simply a cool choice and has the best moveset form generation 6 Pokémon to work with...

...Because yeah, Greninja definitely looks like a flipping awesome fighter!  Hell, I chose Froakie as my starter so of course Ilove Greninja!  His movesey revolving around speed, plus all of his awesome ninja moves, it just looks like a blast to play as him!  Plus I like to think he's the perfect rival for Charizard, who's more based around raw power and fire as opposed to speed and water.  Oh, and Mega Charizard X evolution, badass.

So yeah, despite having some pretty awesome stuff in there, being flabbergasted by Greninja being playable and annoyed by the tease that Ridley is only a boss kind of overwhelmed me and made me have a negative view of the Direct.  Really, though, I've gotten over it, and I thought it was very information and awesome.  So thanks for reading my thoughts, if you bothered to read them at all.

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