Thoughts on Smash 4 (3DS Demo version)

Last Friday, the Nintendo 3DS demo of Super Smash Bros. 3DS was released to the public. Luckily, I was able to obtain it earlier thanks to a special giveaway for Platinum members. Now that it’s been about a week since I’ve played it, I thought I’d write about my first impressions.

The Ledge System is GREAT

As someone who hates every ledge mechanic in the previous iterations of the series, I love how the ledges work in this game. You can’t grab the edge to stop someone else from grabbing it, and you can’t regain invincibility unless you touch the ground and then re-grab the ledge (I actually don’t know if you regain it after being attacked). I really like this system. It forces more off-stage play if you want early KO’s, otherwise you’re stuck fishing for KO’s on-stage.

Pivot Canceling

If you push the other direction while dashing, you do a little slide animation before starting to dash in the other direction. During that slide animation, you can cancel that into an Forward Smash, Up Smash, or Forward Tilt. Forward Tilt and Forward Smash are the most useful applications of this mechanic, and it’s a great way to space your opponent while ground. It gives characters like Mario and Pikachu some neat ways to keep space, especially with how fast their Forward Tilts are.

Combos are (kind of) real

Some characters have good combos (coughMariocough), others have a couple strings. However, combos do exist due to hit stun being longer and unable to be canceled like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite how small they may be.

Air Dodging sucks (YES!!)

Air Dodging produces some serious landing lag when you hit the ground with it. +1 for offense.

It’s fast

Since Super Smash Bros. Brawl was quite slow, this game feels much faster. You feel like you have greater control over your character and you feel more rewarded for performing high-execution techniques quickly (not that there are many…). I think the speed is perfect. It felt much better than the Best Buy demo.

It looks good

This is, without a doubt, the best-looking Smash game I’ve ever played, even on the 3DS. It looks fluid, feels fluid, and the effects are awesome. The animations are also great.

Villager can pocket everything

And it’s godlike!

If you haven’t yet, download this demo and start playing! The game comes out in less than two weeks – better practice up!!

Just Sayin’.

My thoughts on the Super Smash Bros. Invitational

A few days ago, Nintendo posted a video about the Super Smash Bros. International, a tournament hosted by Nintendo at E3 this year to showcase the next installment of the Super Smash Bros. series. It will feature 16 players that receive an invite from Nintendo, and feature casting by well-known competitive Smash Bros. casters Prog, Scar, and D1. I think this tournament is awesome, and to see them including Prog and D1, my two favorite casters, is really cool. Really, the whole idea that Nintendo is trying to embrace competitive Smash Bros. is a good feeling. Other competitive games are usually supported by their creators; it’s nice to see Smash Bros. is finally getting some of that support.

I’m not going to dive into the players invited, but there are a lot of big names and I’m mostly happy with Nintendo’s choices. A lot of the players not only help with the community but are long-time players of competitive Smash Bros., with a few new names thrown in there that I don’t know at all.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the Invitational: the rules.

Draft:

Basically, there are 20 characters and 16 players. Each player picks a number and then picks a character in the order of the number (starting with 1). The player’s aren’t allowed to switch characters – they must use the same character throughout the duration of the tournament.

Here’s a quick list of the characters (in alphabetical order):

– Bowser
– Donkey Kong
– Fox
– Greninja
– Kirby
– Link
– Little Mac
– Mario
– Marth
– Mega Man
– Pikachu
– Pikmin & Olimar
– Pit
– Rosalina & Luma
– Samus
– Sonic
– Villager
– Wii Fit Trainer
– Zelda
– Zero Suit Samus

So that means that 4 characters will be left out. That’s nice because then the last person still has characters to choose from rather than just being stuck with whichever character isn’t picked. I’m predicting that some characters like Mario, Pikachu, Link, Donkey Kong, Fox, and other old names will be less favored than the new characters. At least, I hope they choose the new characters over the old ones.

Gameplay:

– Single-Elimination
– 4 player Free-For-All (FFA), 4 stocks, 5 minute timer (top 2 advance)
– Winner is determined by score?
– A tie-breaker for second involves most KO’s, and if that’s a tie, then by a fan vote.
– Quaterfinals have Items on Medium
– Semifinals and Finals have Items on Low
– Grand Finals have no items.

And taken directly from Nintendo’s E3 website with the rules:

Grand Finals is a 4-stock, 8-minute, 1-on-1 match on Battlefield as an homage to the competitive Smash Bros. community.”

How cool is that? That’s a really big deal for me as a competitive Smash Bros. player.

So, the rules aren’t exactly crystal clear on how the winner is determined. Is it the last player standing, or the player with the most KO’s? I don’t know, but I’m going ahead and assuming it’s whomever is last standing. Also I have no idea whether or not the matches before Quarterfinals have items on or off. I’m pretty sure it’s on, all things considered, but we’ll see. The stages used will be shown off at the event, which I’m okay with.

There’s also this “Fan Favorite Bracket”, which is basically fans wanting their favorite players to play again in a separate bracket where the second place winner is determined by a vote. The Fan Favorite Bracket matches are timed FFA’s instead of stock, so the winner is the person with the highest score. Items are always on Medium.

All in all, the rules are looking good. I didn’t expect any kind of hyper-competitive rules, so the FFA matches are fine with me. I’m just happy they’re paying an homage to the competitive Smash Bros. community.

I’m very excited for this tournament. If you want to check it out, it’ll be streamed on Nintendo’s Twitch channel next Tuesday, June 10th, at 4 PM PT. I’ll be tuning in and probably updating my Twitter as I do, and I’ll (hopefully) be going to the Best Buy Smashfest in my area to write a post about my thoughts on it in the next couple of weeks.

Just Sayin’.

Link to Nintendo’s E3 website: http://e3.nintendo.com/

Link to the Super Smash Bros. Invitational Rules: http://e3.nintendo.com/invitational/info.html

Smash 4 thoughts

So, last week was E3, and with it came a lot of really awesome stuff (my favorite of which was probably Sony sniping Microsoft about everything people were complaining about the Xbox One), including a trailer and a Nintendo Direct with Sakurai about the next installment of the Super Smash Bros. series. As a long-time fan and past competitor in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, I was excited. My thoughts:

– Villager is INSANELY hype. This was, by far, my favorite addition to the game. This man alone has spawned a ton of hype around the Internet at large depicting him as some sort of demonic figure, which I think is hilarious. I will definitely be using him as my main character or a secondary after Kirby.


MegaMan was also a big surprise, and I think it’s cool they secured him He looks really cool, and I think he’ll be shaking up the metagame competitively. Of course, he won’t be able to do anything against Villager.


– In what is probably the most ridiculous thing Sakurai has done (in a good way), the trainer from Wii Fit is now a character. While a lot of people have been complaining, I LOVE that Sakurai decided to put in such a well-known but obscure character. She looks really fun.


Before I head into the more mechanical side of the game, let me say what I want to be in this game. I like every Smash game. Brawl is my favorite, but it has some very noticeable flaws (as does Melee). This game, I’m hoping, will aim to correct some of those mistakes.


The three big things I want out of this game:


     – Brawl ledges with Melee ledge-grab mechanics.


Let me explain. In Brawl, there’s something know as “auto sweet spot”, which means a character doesn’t need to be perfect about recovery, and will instantly snap to the ledge and grab it. In Melee, this isn’t the case. You have to sweet spot the ledge yourself. However, in Melee, if you roll off the ledge and are CLEARLY off the ledge, your opponent cannot grab it until your roll animation has ended. That’s dumb. Combining the good parts about both games’ ledge mechanics will make for a better ledge-game.


     – Bring back hitstun


In Brawl, you can cancel your hitstun with an air dodge or move. This makes DI less important and combos nigh-impossible. Basically make it what Melee does, and give the characters real hitstun.


     – No grab armor


I don’t know if this is true in Melee, but in Brawl you can grab through a move so that you take the damage but get the grab. This is ridiculously overpowered and can ruin competitive play when it happens by chance since no one attempts to grab armor moves. Take it out so that grabs aren’t overpowered.


Luckily, I got to see a video of an actual match at the Nintendo show floor at E3, and luckily, it looks like at least one of my three has been met. There’s hitstun.


What I also noticed:


– No auto sweet spot


– Brawl’s air dodge


– No tripping


It’s been confirmed that there’s no tripping, which is good (although it never bothered me to begin with) for those who hated it. I’m very happy they kept Brawl’s air dodge. I think it’s way better than Melee’s. Overall, the game looks faster, too.


The art looks amazing. Even on the 3DS the game looks crisp, but on the Wii U it looks fantastic. The move particle effects are really nice, too, as Smash games have never really had particles come out with their moves. You can definitely see Namco’s influence, there.


The new Smash is really looking good to me. Hopefully my other two big criteria are met. Even if they aren’t, the game’s looking good enough for me to jump back into the competitive scene, so I’m very excited for its release. If you’re a Smash fan, I’d go check out smashbros.com for more info about the characters and some videos. It’s lookin’ hype!!


Just sayin’

Assorted Reviews and Initial Thoughts

After two weeks of mid-terms, I can finally write in my blog again! Unfortunately, because I’ve been working on schoolwork a bunch the past two weeks, I really haven’t had time to play anything. I did, however, purchase the DLC for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (NSMB2), Pokémon Black 2, and Code of Princess. I also started playing Minecraft (which is way more fun than I thought it would be). So, I’m just going to do little short reviews of the stuff I’ve played and my initial thoughts on Black 2 and Code of Princess.

Let’s jump in!

Minecraft:

Minecraft is, in a word, addicting. Last winter, I played Terraria with my friends for hours. Minecraft is basically a 3D Terraria, so I got hooked really quickly once I started building. I decided that, for my very first building project, I would construct a castle. It’s main body is 50×50 squares, and it’s got two living areas that are 50×15 squares that is 10 squares to the left and right of the castle. I’m not finished, yet, but once I am, I’ll be putting up a video. It’s nothing too impressive, but I thought I’d capture my very first Minecraft project once it’s done. I wish my friends hadn’t shown me it, though – it’s hard to stop once you get going. I do have to say, though, that it is much more difficult than Terraria, and I have found myself wanting to stop more than a few times because I died and was unable to retrieve all the stuff I had gotten and forgotten to put into chests. Learning the hard way sucks sometimes.

Either way, it’s really fun, especially with friends. Just don’t get it during school. Wait until you have some downtime.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC:

The DLC for NSMB2 is actually really good. All three packs are awesome, although I haven’t tried setting any records for the first two. By the way, the “leader boards” are only the top 5 for the week, and they have no name next to them! I wish the leader boards were cumulative and showed their name – then I could see my record (which I don’t even know if the any of the top 5 are mine) up there. The nerve-rack pack is incredible, and is definitely my favorite of the three. Golden Mario and the paratroopa level is the best. The BEST!

Pokémon Black 2:

I gotta hand it to Game Freak, they’re doing the sequel right for now. I’ve only gotten 1 badge, but I’m liking all the connectivity with the Dream Radar (which I also bought), and the whole Memory Link is cool, although my character in Pokémon Black is named Kappy…and so is my character in Black 2, so now I’ve got two Kappy’s running around (LOL!). The achievement system is…cool, I guess. I can’t really formulate an opinion on that, yet.

And why is Cheren the first gym leader? I get that he’s the new one, but he literally has a Patrat and a Lillipup! I understand why he has to have those in order to be a new gym leader and so that the first gym isn’t impossible (because if he had his old team it would be). Still, I wish he could’ve been later so that he would’ve had stronger Pokémon.

Oh, and wild Riolu is mad swag, but in the whole day I spent last Wednesday looking for him, I only found 5. That’s insanely rare!

Code of Princess:

The first character (who is wearing way too little to be ready to battle against monsters) is broken. In the ten minutes I played the game last Tuesday, I found an infinite loop with her →→B. It’s hilarious. The gameplay is fun, the voice acting seems solid (so far. I’m impressed, Atlus), and the co-op is awesome.

The co-op is really the hook for me. Unfortunately, my friend and I had only a few quests unlocked last Thursday when we played multiplayer, but it was really fun. I have yet to try versus, though.