Improvement in Smash 4 I – Fundamentals

**If you’re unfamiliar with Smash, this probably isn’t the post for you unless you’re curious. In order to get a full understanding of this, you should be familiar with Smash’s game mechanics and lingo (EX: Forward Air = Fair), specifically the mechanics for Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

Lately, my local scene (Chicago/Chicagoland) for Super Smash Bros. Wii U (Smash 4) has had a big increase in new players that are hungry for improvement. Some are decent but not quite at that high level, some are completely new, and others are old vets trying to get back into Super Smash Bros. The most common questions I’m hearing from these guys are along the lines of “Where do I start?”, “What do I need to know if I really want to push myself to the next level?”, and “What MU’s do I need to focus on?”.

I’m here to help you, players! I’m going to be writing a couple blog posts aimed at my local scene to attempt to help them improve and become incredible players. Obviously, this small little series is going to be aimed at Super Smash Bros Wii U, so keep that in mind.

For all of you Chicago Smash 4 kids who may not know me and are probably asking “who’s this nerd thinkin’ he can give us advice?”, let me give you a quick introduction of myself. My tag in Smash is Kappy. I’ve been playing competitively since Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out when I first attended a smash fest in my local area and got 3-stocked by a Ganondorf. Since then, I’ve taken a few breaks from Smash due to school and work, but when I was playing I managed to steal a spot in the top 10 of WIL’s (A combined PR of Wisconsin and IL’s Chicago scene) PR for one season after a couple years of competing (and then I took a break because school). I’ve been Honorable Mention multiple times in Brawl, and was a 2-time panelist for the official MU’s of Kirby (my main) during Tier List updates for Brawl.

After my break, I picked up Project M and played exclusively Meta Knight, where I managed to, again, reach the top 10 players in the Chicagoland area’s PR for EXP Gaming.

As for Smash 4, I’ve only entered 2 tournaments. I don’t know all the little intricacies of the game, but my fundamentals have allowed me to do well so far.

I could go on, but that’s the basic gist of my level of skill as a player. I’m no national monster, but I think I’m at a level where I could become one if I really dedicated myself; and you can definitely become a national monster! Here’s how to start that journey:

Where do I start?

Fundamentals. That’s it. You start with the basics of the game. These fundamentals are present in every iteration of Super Smash Bros.

What are fundamentals, you may ask? A lot of people may have slightly varying definitions of what the fundamentals of Smash 4 are, but here are the skills I think are fundamental to Smash:

– Spacing
– Positional Awareness
– Option Coverage
– Reactions and Punishes
– Identifying habits (Adaptation)
– Neutral

Let’s dig a little deeper into what those things are.

Spacing is the concept of throwing out a move when it is hardest to punish it, when it out ranges another move, or when it creates an advantageous situation for you. If you’re Marth, and you throw out a Forward Air close enough that Mario can use his Neutral Air, that’s a problem, especially since Marth’s sword out ranges Mario’s Neutral Air.

Another good example is spacing an aerial in such a way that you can’t be shield-grabbed even if you hit their shield.

Positional Awareness ties into almost everything. It’s about being aware of where you are, where your opponent is, and what that means for you in terms of advantages/disadvantages. If you’re under a platform and you’re against someone who thrives being under someone, you should be aware of that and position yourself accordingly. Don’t try to force an engagement when you’re in a bad position unless you see your opponent putting themselves in a position that will suddenly benefit you.

Option Coverage is simple. In any given situation, there are choices you and your opponent must make. These are options. You can choose to cover certain options and not others. Learning which moves covers the most options in a given situation is something that every player needs to be proficient in.

Reactions and Punishes is just your reaction speed. If you can’t capitalize in a mistake, you’re going to lose more than win. This also entails knowing the right punish. If Jigglypuff misses Rest, don’t just jab combo her. Charge an attack, set up a KO combo, etc…

Identifying Habits refers to being able to pick up on an option your opponent takes often in a given situation. For instance, in the first 30 seconds I notice that whenever I run at my opponent, he rolls away from me. Next time, instead of throwing out an attack or grab, I follow his roll and punish him for it with a grab combo.

Neutral is the most abstract. Neutral is a state within fighting games that refers to when both players are “safe”. Neither one is being hit, neither one is easily seen to be on the defensive or offensive. It’s basically a culmination of all the fundamental skills because you have to navigate and win neutral to win the game.

This is where everything comes together. Winning neutral refers to winning exchanges made in neutral that transition to another state. If I space a Back Air with Mario and hit, I’ve transitioned to be offensive while my opponent has transition to being defensive. I have won that neutral exchange.

Neutral is difficult to master. Being aware of what options your opponent has at certain ranges of each other and where you two are (Spacing, Positional Awareness, Option Coverage) will allow you to more accurately predict (Identifying Habits) and punish (Reactions and Punishes) a mis-spaced aerial, grab, etc…

Being able to figure out your opponent’s game plan and win exchanges in neutral based on that knowledge is referred to as Adaptation.

So how do you practice your fundamental play? Obviously, attending tournaments and playing with people is the best way, but if you’re alone? Fear not! There are two simple ways to practice everything.

CPU’s and video watching.

What do you use to practice each technique? Here’s a quick’n’dirty list:

CPU’s
– Spacing
– Positional Awareness
– Reactions and Punishes
– Option Coverage

Videos
– Identifying Habits
– Positional Awareness
– Option Coverage

Human Players
– Neutral

Notice how fighting a human is basically practicing everything, while the other two let you hone in on specific skill sets (with a little overlap).

Let’s start from the top:

CPU’s

So, here’s an old adage I’m sure you’ve heard:

“CPU’s suck and help YOU form bad habits”

This is false.

If you’re conscious while practicing, you can make sure not to auto pilot and form those bad habits. CPU’s are great to space around and practice reaction time. If a CPU techs, they’re the exact same as a human. Practice punishing rolls and spot-dodges. CPU’s are great for nailing Air Dodge punishes on reaction or covering those options. Practice combos – CPU’s will either attack you or air dodge as soon as they can, so see how far you can go with a combo before that happens.

Practice reacting to DI. CPU’s are notorious for having either bad or godlike DI, so practice reacting to it. Don’t predict, just react.

Think about your advantages and disadvantages while on the ledge, platforms, center stage, in the air, etc… CPU’s are pretty notorious for having inhumane reaction time, so sometimes you can see weird holes in your play because of their flawless execution and reaction. Try to attack them – can a move of theirs outright beat the one you’re using? If so, think of different ways to get around it.

The most important thing about fighting CPU’s is to NOT AUTOPILOT. Be absolutely conscious while you’re training and really think about what you’re doing and what you’re trying to practice. React to them, do NOT try to predict them.

Videos

Here’s where a good chunk of your mental game comes into play. Watch any match – bad players, good players…whatever! I want you to pick a player and try and find their habits. Do they tech roll to the left? Do they always use get up attack if a player is running towards them and they missed their tech? Pick apart these habits. Try to predict a player’s habits mid-match. Try to predict their adaptation mid-match.

Look at an exchange between players – I think offstage or ledge play is most effective to begin with – and see what options are being covered and what options are present. As an example, Player A is grabbing the ledge. He has the option to:

– Normal get up
– Ledge get up attack
– Roll get up
– Jump get up
– Drop down and regrab ledge
– Drop down and come up with an attack

What is Player B doing to cover these options, and how many is he covering? What could Player B do to cover as many options as possible? Think about these as you watch. Pause the videos if you have to, but ideally you should strive to analyze these as the video plays without pausing.

Look at the positions of the players. Center Stage is a highly coveted spot in Smash. It allows the most safety and is the best place to mount both a defense and an offense. See how the players interact with that. Try to spot when players inadvertently put themselves in a terrible position, especially when they have the lead. Watch how that bad position translates to a big punish for their opponent. Watch how players attempt to set themselves up to always be in an advantageous position.

A really good idea is to get videos of yourself and watch yourself play. Pick yourself apart, see where you could have made better decisions or put yourself in a better position, and see where you played well. This can really help if you’re feeling like you’re approaching a plateau.

Human Players

This is where it all comes together. Obviously, this is one of the most effective ways to get better. When you’re playing friendlies, you get to practice everything. Remember to be conscious while practicing. Don’t just mindlessly play.

Here’s a helpful tidbit – don’t get mad about losing. Anyone who knows me can attest that when I play friendlies, I suicide quite a bit. Why? Because I experiment. This option isn’t working? Let me try something weird. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I now have experience about that particular decision.

Listen, you’re not going to learn what you can do just by watching others and heory-crafting about it. Try stuff out, especially when playing friendlies. Go for those crazy edge-guards. One day you might come upon a situation where that suicidal edge-guard will net you a win, especially if you’re ahead in stocks. You’ll thank yourself for having tried it out not only because you’ll win, but you’ll be lookin’ real fancy doing it.

If you’re playing on For Glory, take into account lag while playing. I don’t recommend For Glory for anything reaction-based because of lag, so if you are on it, try to predict more to practice that.

What about Match-Ups for my character?

I’m a firm believer that learning these fundamentals comes before even thinking about processing character v character match-ups. In fact, I think player v player is much more important, but I will be covering MU’s in my next bit of this series as well as stuff about picking a character and play styles.

So…how often should I be playing?

Every day. At least 30 minutes, no less. You want to get good? Play every day.

Play as long as you want, but realize that everyone has a limit before they start to burn out. At that point, STOP PLAYING. Or, at the very least, stop practicing and do something fun like Smash Tour. If you practice while you’re burnt out, you’ll become worse. Being burnt out is when you’ll start to autopilot and form awful habits. Me? I can play for probably 4-5 hours of serious play before I need a break.

——

I think Chicago’s scene has a lot of fire and potential, but not a lot of direction. I’m here to give you all who need it some direction so that you can all become amazing. Please, don’t hesitate to send me a message on Facebook or Skype (ID is ryan.klaproth) and ask about stuff like this or ask for some friendlies – I’m generally not available for them, but I’ll try to make time. I’m not the best player in Chicago, but I know how to talk about this stuff and break it down, and I can help you break down your own play styles, habits, explain these concepts in more detail, etc… And, you can always reach out to the top players in Chicago – they’ll be more than happy to help you, especially with character-specific stuff and MU knowledge.

Anyway, this is part 1. Save this post somewhere that’s easy to access and get practicing! Next time, I’ll be covering play style and anything more character-specific!

Just Sayin’

Link to the Chicago Smash 4 Facebook group: Clicky

Check out my other posts on improving in Super Smash Bros. Wii U!

II – A Different Way to Look at Match Ups
III – Attitude
IV – Friendlies
V – Stages
VI – Preparing for a Tournament
VII – Training Regimens
VIII – Character Loyalty

Check out the BONUS series!

IX – The Plateau
X – Practice Methods I
XI – Practice Methods II
XII – Practice Methods III
XIII – At a Tournament
XIV – Practice Methods BONUS IV
XV – Game Flow

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Tales of Xillia: 4-man Co-op (first impressions)

So, for anyone who doesn’t know, I stream myself playing games pretty much every Saturday night. Usually, I do single-player games with a commentator or two. This time, after talking to a friend, I decided that I would tackle a game from the Tales series of games. These games are known for supporting 4-player combat, although most people just play by themselves or with one other person. Now, each Tales game generally has a gimmick that they can use to enhance combat.

However, Tales of Xillia’s is a little odd. It actually “hampers” 4-man combat. When you link with another character, the one being linked to is automatically taken over by an AI, and only unlinking will restore the ability to control that character. It’s basically a way to make playing by yourself easier and more fun because it makes the AI much smarter.

Now, at first, I didn’t like it. I didn’t think my group would need it. But then I started doing some research after a very painful 1st boss, and after doing some research and really thinking about it, 4-man combat with linking is starting to grow on me.

Let me explain linking really quick. Linking allows characters to beef themselves up, share skills, and use “Link Artes”, more powerful versions of normal Artes. With 4 players, linking isn’t really an option if everyone wants to participate in 100% of the combat. So, you’re basically gimping yourself for bosses, which is the problem (normal battles are completely fine with no linking). How can my group utilize linking effectively while not feeling like we can’t play during boss battles?

The easy way is to have two people allow themselves to be linked from time-to-time. I played a lot of Tales of Symphonia – it was my first ever Tales game! I played it so much I’d go through the whole game just having the CPU’s fight during boss battles and managing them through items. So, really, I’m okay with being linked and just sitting there sometimes, but even I’ll want to play sometimes, so I’m set on finding a way to utilize linking differently than the game intends you to (which is have it up basically all the time).

My strategies going in are not to try and fill the Link Gauge, which is filled through normal attacks while linked and using Artes while linked.

We could link for different things quickly. For example, if one of us is knocked down, we link with Jude, get picked up, and then unlink. We could link to position someone from behind quickly since the AI is programmed to take the best route to the back of an enemy. These are the kinds of small optimizations I think we could use with linking to utilize it while still basically playing the whole time.

We could also link just to spam more powerful artes if the boss is knocked down/stunned, and then unlink. It’d be a quick link to unleash a couple powerful attacks.

Those are all I’ve got right now though. If we wanted to fill the Link Gauge effectively we could go in waves of 2 players being linked and switching off every “tier” (I think there’s 4) of the Link Gauge. Again, I personally am okay with letting myself be linked, but this is a final resort kind of option if the boss is really hard and we need over limit.

I’m actually pretty excited to try and master linking with 4 people. Sure, it’s not the standard Tales 4-player experience, but to be honest it’s kind of refreshing and I think it can be a lot of fun. It’s obviously poorly designed (it feels like the multiplayer for Xillia was shoe’d in), but I’m the kind of guy who tries to make something work, and I think linking could be a really cool way to play this game with 4 people, even if it’s generally seen as bad. I think there’s a lot of strategy to be had with this sort of linking; unfortunately, no one’s really experimented with it and just bash it, so I think there’s a lot of untapped potential here.

There’s got to be a way to make this work. I think people just focus on filling the Link Gauge too much and not on the little optimizations you can make regardless of the Link Gauge.

Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Ouran High School Host Club

*SPOILERS: Don’t read this if you don’t like being spoiled.*

It’s rare for me to watch two shows in a row that I really enjoy. Luckily, Ouran High School Host Club delivered that second consecutive show experience for me!

Background:

Ouran High School Host Club is a reverse harem (one girl, many guys, for those that don’t know) about a girl named Haruhi who dresses androgynous due to her attitudes on gender that stumbles into the host club at Ouran High School, a club about entertaining girls who have nothing better to do because the boys there have nothing better to do. They mistake Haruhi for a boy, and she’s coerced into being a host to repay the debt she incurs from breaking a very expensive lamp. And then they find out Haruhi’s a girl.

It’s a great premise for a reverse-harem because it explores a lot of different topics that a typical harem (reverse or not) explores. Funny how two comedies in a row are deeper than most dramatic anime I’ve seen thus far.

Plot Direction:

Ouran High School Host Club acts like a typical harem-style show, but completely turns it on its head every episode. There’s the episode for every character, the beach episode, the summer vacation episode, the school festival episode, etc… but it does keep a small overarching plot line.

The plot is not the main focus here, however. The show thrives on poking fun at the typical, and besides the characters, this is probably the best part of the show. It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a while, and that’s because it’s unabashed in how blunt it is in making fun of everything it comes into contact with. I really enjoy how it deals with stereotypes, especially when it comes to gender and social/economic status. That’s where the comedy really hits its mark.

The show itself ramps up in drama and character near the end. It’s very slapstick and lighthearted in the beginning. It’s pretty impressive to see that pulled off well, but what I think is most impressive is how they play with Protagonist and Main Character.

Character:

Again, the characters are the pinnacle of this show, and the reason why their comedy succeeds so well. I could go on about every character, but I think Haruhi deserves a special mention here. In most harems I’ve seen, the protagonist (generally the guy in a harem, girl in a reverse-harem) are the protagonist and the main character. Sure, the other characters go through some change, but it’s really the guy/girl that go through the biggest arc. Haruhi doesn’t. Her arc goes from being forced to work as a host to enjoying working as a host, but it’s incredibly subtle and not really touched upon until the end; to be honest, it’s not that important. So what’s so great about her?

She’s only a main character. And to be honest, I found it really refreshing.

She’s the one that drives the entire host club into changing, but has no real internal conflict to get through. She’s just a catalyst for everyone to change, and that leads me to my next point – most of the host club members are protagonists. Most of them have some conflict that they need to resolve that Haruhi brings out – the twins have to deal with the fact that they can really open up to someone else besides each other, Tamaki has to deal with his feelings of love for Haruhi and his feelings of keeping the Host Club like a family because he was stripped of his own, Kyoya has to deal with being the third son in his family. Honey and Mori have their own episodes, but they’re pretty set in how they are during the show. Honey changes during flash backs when Tamaki convinces him to join the Host Club, but Mori is very much a main character alongside Haruhi, although I’d put him more as a secondary main character.

This combination of protagonist/main characters and have multiples of each usually falls flat because there’s too much going on and the drama usually kills the comedy, but the show does an amazing job of tying everything together and weaving together the dramatic moments with the comedy. The execution is simply superb.

——

Ouran High School Host Club is a comedy first, but like The Devil is a Part-Timer!, where I think it shines best is its characters. This is the second comedy in a row I’ve watched, and both have been fantastic because there’s a deeper level there than just comedy, but it’s not so dramatic that the lightheartedness is taken away. I think having excellent character execution is why these two comedies were so great. I think this direction for comedy – where there’s some real character growth and well-defined character roles, is amazing, and it lets the funny moments be even funnier while not letting the inevitable dramatic moments get in the way because they’re so craftily executed.

Ouran High School Host Club does this in dazzling form, and I didn’t even talk about its dazzling animation and music. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Animation/Art: 8/10
Music: 9/10
Plot Direction: 8/10
Character: 10/10
Final Score: 8/10

Just sayin’

REVIEW: The Devil is a Part-Timer

*SPOILERS: Don’t read this if you don’t like being spoiled.*

One night, I was in the mood to watch some anime. I started browsing through Netflix and came across The Devil is a Part-Timer, which said it was a comedy about Satan working part-time at a fast food restaurant. I was intrigued and up for some light-hearted comedy, and it was only 13 episodes, so I gave it a shot.

Man, do I wish it had been longer than 13 episodes!

Background

After being defeated by the Hero in Ente Isla, Satan retreats to Earth, where he winds up in modern-day Tokyo with his most trusted general, Alciel. After realizing that magic doesn’t work, they decide to find a place to live, change their names (to Maou and Ashiya), and bide their time until they can return to Ente Isla and conquer it. Little do they know that the Hero, Emilia (Earth name Emi) has cahsed them down to slay them once and for all and save Ente Isla. It’s a really good premise; simple, to-the-point, and best of all, has amazing potential. But does it deliver?

Plot Direction

Oh yes. Yes it does!

So, this show is a comedy. And it’s a comedy about Satan, an almost omnipotent being, working at a MgRonald’s (yes that is a blatant reference to McDonald’s!). Just thinking about it is pretty chuckle-worthy, and really, the comedy is pulled off great, but what I really want to touch on in this review is where this anime goes in (sadly) only 13 episodes.

There’s a lot of development in character and story in this show, and it does that really nicely, even though almost every single episode feels like a filler episode. What this show is really about, to me, is what if the roles of the Devil and the Hero were (somewhat) reversed? Sure, there’s a lot of stories where the enemy is misunderstood and trying to do something for the greater good, but there’s always something that leaves you wanting them defeated. In this show, Satan is the protagonist, and he’s the protagonist not because this show is about being evil – no, it’s about role reversal.

Emi, the Hero, is actually an anti-hero, as you find out. She has that perfect tragic Hero backstory – she was taken away from her family to be trained as the Hero, she finds out her father dies from a general of Maou’s army, and then swears vengeance on him. This is flipped into being an anti-hero when it’s revealed that there is no “destiny” to slay the Devil King. The church in Ente Isla fooled her as part of an elaborate plot to take over. Unfortunately, this whole backstabbing isn’t explored nearly as much as I would have liked, but that’s because there’s only 13 episodes. If there’s a second season I really hope they go into more detail about this, because it’s something I’d love to see more of.

So the show basically puts you in this weird spot where Emi continues to try and stick to “being the Hero”, even though there was no grand destiny, in order to justify her wanting to kill Maou because his army killed her father, while Maou continues to bewilder her and others who come into the show trying to stop him (because he’s the Devil King) when he does nothing but good, even when he momentarily regains his demonic power due to the negative emotions elicited by people.

Frankly, this is one of the best role reversal plots I’ve experienced. It’s all pretty subtle save for a few episodes, and it’s garnished with a hefty helping of comedic frosting. While I’m sure others can, I can’t find anything I disliked about where the show went or its plot as a whole, and that’s in part due to how well these characters develop.

Character:

This is, hands-down, the best part of this show. In particular, Emi stands out as the pinnacle of a developing character.

Maou develops, but it’s more that he opens up to you like a friend becoming closer to you than him really changing. You find out that he only attacked humans in Ente Isla due to misunderstanding them, and that he actually prefers living on Earth because the people there have been kind to him. It’s this living in modern-day Tokyo that Maou comes to understand, appreciate, and respect humans. It’s weird to see someone who’s supposed to be evil be so kind, especially when it involves Emi.

This isn’t in the anime explicitly, but while looking the show up I came across the light novel (which it started out as), and there’s a scene where Maou tells Emi that she has to keep an eye on him and stop him because he’s going to take over Ente Isla someday, even though both of them know that’s not going to happen. It’s an incredible scene for both of them, with Maou selflessly lying just to appease the distraught Emi. Again, it’s somewhere waaaay down the line in the light novel, but I think it’s worth mentioning because that kind of perfect role-reversal is very subtle throughout the anime, whereas it’s a little more clean-cut in that scene.

Speaking of Emi, she’s probably the most developed character. She goes from the Hero, hell-bent on taking out Maou, to a girl who doesn’t exactly know what she should be doing concerning Maou because her only desire is to exact revenge on him for her father. She bluffs that she needs to take him out because she’s “the Hero”, but she values him as an unlikely friend. She even goes out of her way to talk someone of the church of Ente Isla into holding off on slaying Maou despite all the horrible things he did in Ente Isla, claiming that it was her duty as the Hero.

The rest of the characters all undergo some sort of development, and really, I’d like to write about all of them, but in this review I really wanted to touch on the dramatic role-reversal that’s subtly masked under an anime labeled as a comedy, and how brilliantly it’s executed. Trust me when I say that pretty much every character is enjoyable and undergoes some form of character development. It’s fantastic.

——

The Devil is a Part-Timer was a show I randomly decided to watch on Netflix, and it rocketed into the top 5 for me. This show has it all for me – action, great comedy, character, and plot, and to top it all off, the animation is really good. The only really glaring flaw is that it’s only 13 episodes. Still, If you’re looking for something to marathon through and get way more than you expected out of it, check this anime out!

Animation/Art: 9/10
Music: 7/10
Plot Direction: 10/10
Character: 10/10
Final Score: 9/10

Just sayin’

REVIEW: Super Smash Bros. Wii U

I apologize for having not put up any posts in the past month. I’ve been working hard to prepare for interviews and so much of the time I’d spend writing these posts was dedicated to such preparations. Now that Christmas is around the corner I do find myself with a little bit of time to write, so let’s jump right in to my review of the recently released Super Smash Bros. Wii U!

Now, this version is incredibly similar to Super Smash Bros. 3DS, which I also reviewed, so my opinion of the game is very similar, but there are a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences that the game has with its hand held counterpart, so that’s what I’ll be addressing with this review.
Graphics
 
I think this is an obvious improvement, but Super Smash Bros. Wii U looks great! From the stage designs to the characters and animations, everything looks great in HD. The game is very pretty.
 
Smash Tour
 
Replacing Super Smash Bros. 3DS‘ Smash Run is Smash Tour, a Mario Party-esque mode where players collect fighters by traveling across a game board and then competing in mini games. A good addition, but I really wish they had put in an updated Smash Run where all 4 players could interact with each other.
 
8-Player Smash
 
This is by far the best addition. 8 players is chaotic and incredible. I could play this for hours.  My personal favorite is how you can really mix up the teams: 2v2v2v2, 3v5, 4v4, 3v3 – there’s a lot of combinations, and it’s really fun. If you were on the fence about getting Super Smash Bros Wii U, this alone is a reason to purchase it, grab 7 friends, and go at it.
Amiibos
 
Amiibos are a figurine that you can use to interact with certain games. Super Smash Bros Wii U is the first one to utilize it, and what it does is create a CPU character (that you get to name) of the figurine that can play with you. What’s unique about an Amiibo CPU is that it learns and grows based on what it plays. It starts at Level 1, and levels up as you play with it (max level is 50). The cool thing is that it responds to the way you play and has the capacity to become more intelligent than a stock level 9 CPU. It’s a really cool feature that I’m definitely going to be making use of.
 
Stages
The stages in the Wii U version are better than the 3DS version (except for the Paper Mario stage in the 3DS version – that stage is my favorite stage of all time); The giant 8-player stages are great (especially The Great Cave Offensive – what a great stage!), the version exclusives like the Star Fox Assault stage, the new Legend of Zelda stage, the new Super Mario Bros. Wii U stage – they’re all really welcome additions and they’re all great-looking. I think the only really bad part about the new stages is that a lot of them are in the same vein as Delfino was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. A lot of them have a “hub” stage that transitions to various parts of the level. They look cool, but having multiple stages like that is kind of stale.
Event Matches
 
I don’t have a lot to say about this – I’m just happy that they’re included. Speaking of, the Master Order and Crazy Order modes are also really cool.
——
All in all, Super Smash Bros. Wii U takes what made its 3DS counterpart so great, added some new modes, and made it look prettier. Oh, and you can use Game Cube controllers, so that’s a plus. If you were on the fence about buying either the Wii U or 3DS version, get the Wii U version, if only for 8 player Smash.
Rating: 8/10
 
Just Sayin’

REVIEW: Super Smash Bros. 3DS

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted! I’ve been meaning to write this review but I was having so much fun with the game that I forgot to write it!

So, the new Super Smash Bros. game is out. While most of my friends in the competitive area of Smash aren’t exactly enjoying it, I am enjoying it a lot. Now that I have the full game let’s go into what I’m excited about and what I’m looking forward to with the Wii U version.
The Good:
 
Smash Run
 
I have to start here. Smash Run is probably my favorite mode of Super Smash Bros. I’ve ever played. Collecting power ups and duking it out in quite a few different varieties of mini games (including racing, climbing, and various versions of Smash) is awesome. I loved Kirby Air Ride’s City Trial (which is basically what Smash Run is), and so I instantly took a shine to this mode. I think the only problem is you can’t interact with the other players besides a bomb you can throw into their screen.
All-Star Mode
 
The new All-Star mode is really cool. Instead of grouping characters together by game, they’re grouped by time period. This makes some really interesting variety of characters and stages while fighting. The mode is a little on the easy side for me, but I really enjoy it nonetheless.
Music + Graphics
 
Super Smash Bros. 3DS (and the Wii U version) has the best music in a Smash game to-date. Really digging the remixes, and the game looks fantastic. I think the only problem here is you can’t change the music like you could in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but that’s a minor detail I can look over.
Teams
 
So you can now be whatever color you want in team battles. That’s the best. Now you have team outlines, which is way cooler and way better. Seriously, forced colors was never something I enjoyed about teams. I’m glad they changed that.
Stages + Items
 
These are, hands down, my favorite stages in the franchise. The Paper Mario stage is definitely my favorite. All the new stages offer something really cool, and I LOVE the new old-school Mute City stage! To add to the craziness of the stages, the new items are a blast. The Galalga Boss that sucks you up, Cuckoos, and the new Pokemon and assist trophies really make for a hectic item experience. It’s fun!
Characters
 
The new characters rock. I love them all. In fact, Villager is my main! I actually don’t mind Dr. Mario, Lucina, and Dark Pit, either. While I will never play Dark Pit, I really enjoy Lucina and would rather pick her over Marth, so I’m glad she’s in the game. Also Dr. Mario is a boss and actually has different moves so I wouldn’t consider him a straight-up clone.
Custom Moves
 
Are probably the best part of this game. I am loving some of the custom moves the characters have! They give the characters some much-needed flavor or just help their kit in general. For example, Luigi has an ice ball – how cool is that?!
The Bad:
 
Controls
 
I’m actually very used to the controls, but as a competitive player (who doesn’t really play Super Smash Bros.), I really miss the c-stick. Being able to do a falling Up Air is something I have taken for granted, and while I can still do it, it takes a lot of precise manipulation of the joystick, and to be frank, the 3DS’s joystick isn’t incredible. I wouldn’t say the controls are awful, but there’s definitely something left to be desired here.
Classic Mode
 
Is still kind of boring.
Online + For Glory
 
Okay, so every For Glory mode stage is basically Final Destination with the stages usual blast zones. Some of the have walls that go down to the blast zone. This is fine, but I really wish some of the stages (I’m looking at you, Paper Mario stage and Rainbow Road) had their original design in For Glory mode, just minus the hazards. It’d make some of the levels way more varied and interesting without it just being flat. This ties into online.
You see, Final Destination is a horribly balanced stage. It gives characters with projectiles a clear-cut advantage (unless you’re Little Mac), and that’s hardly fair to slow characters. I think Battlefield is the most balanced stage, but I’m digressing. It seems that the cast is balanced around Final Destination, and that’s…not great. Granted, I think the game is incredibly varied right now and a lot of characters have untapped potential, but it sucks that online every stage is basically Final Destination,  giving some characters inherent advantages. That’s not too bad if you’re really good, but I think a lot of players who want to become competitive aren’t going to enjoy their character suffering as they try to practice their character.
Also the lag can be dreadful sometimes. At least the game has decided to dish out “No Contest” where neither player receives a detriment or plus to their record if the game lags for too long. It can detect intentional DC’s though, which is awesome. Other than those few complaints, though, online is incredibly fun. I’ve played just about 100 1v1 games and a few 2v2 (both For Glory) and they’ve been really fun. I have yet to play the “For Fun” mode or 4 player For Glory, and I probably won’t for a long time. I enjoy 1v1 the most.
Equipment
 
I’m not really a big fan of equipment, and that’s because they only give out stat boosts. I’m okay with the changing stats of characters. It’s a cool concept and it’ll make your Amiibo CPU’s way more fun to watch. However, it’d be nice if there were some pieces of equipment that only gave effects, no stats. I’m a big supporter of custom moves for official tournaments with this game, and I would’ve loved to include equipment in there, but alas. Equipment will be no more than a side tournament option.
And that’s about it. I could rate this game on my usual criteria but there’s so much content in the game I won’t do that. With that said, my rating for this game is a solid 8/10. If you’re a fan of the Super Smash Bros. franchise, you will love this game, even if it’s on the 3DS. I wouldn’t wait for the Wii U. Having Smash on the go is incredible.
Just Sayin’