Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct: 4/8/14

Hey guys. It's been a while since there's been any Smash Bros news. So of course, when Nintendo revealed that they would do a Nintendo Direct dedicated entirely to the new Smash Bros, we all got hyped as fuck. Let's see if boarding the hype train was a good idea in this case, with an overview of the Nintendo Direct.

Masahiro Sakurai, the director of the Smash Bros series, hosts this Direct from the Namco-Bandai offices in Japan, though of course, he's dubbed over by an English voice actor. He opens up by giving us expected release periods for both games. It turns out both Smash games are to be released separately, with the 3DS version coming this summer, and the Wii U version coming in winter. This is actually a much smarter move than releasing the Wii U version first, in my opinion, since more people own 3DS's than Wii Us, and it gives me a reason to not have to get the Wii U version then wait for the 3DS version to save money. Also, the 3DS version will run at 60fps, though certain Assist Trophies and Pokemon will go at 30fps so as to not strain the hardware.

Now we get more into the differences between the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game. As we know by this point, the character roster will be the same for both games, though the stage selection will be a bit different. The few stages that do show up in both versions, such as Battlefield, will have design differences. Also, the 3DS version's stages will only have 2 songs each, while the Wii U version will have the My Music feature returning from Brawl.

We finally got a closer look at some of the stages as well. We saw some stages that were already revealed, as well as new stages. The new 3DS stages revealed are Balloon Fight and Past Stage: Jungle Japes. The new Wii U stage revealed is Past Stage: Halberd. So past stages are returning, which is cool. Obviously, both games are getting different past stages. Also, the Yellow Devil from Mega Man, which had been previously shown in videos and screenshots, has been revealed to be a new type of stage hazard on the Wily's Castle stage called a Boss Hazard. It will attack players until it is defeated, and it explodes when defeated, which acts as an attack attributed to the player who performed the finishing blow. Ridley from Metroid was also teased as a Boss Hazard on the Pyrosphere stage. I, for one, am really excited to see some of the Boss Hazards and how they affect the game.

After that, we got new info on the Online Mode. Both versions have online capabilities, far expanded from the Online Mode in Brawl. There are two game modes online: For Fun and For Glory. In For Fun, you can play on any stage other than Final Destination, with items on, and only your wins are recorded. In For Glory, you can only play on Final Destination, with items off, and all matches recorded. However, since the Smash Bros development team wants all players to experience all the stages, each stage has a Final Destination variant: Completely flat, fairly small, no stage hazards. If you do things in the Online Mode that are considered annoying, like starting a game and not playing, only targeting one specific enemy, or constantly self-destructing, you can get temporarily banned from Online Mode, with the ban time being increased for each offense. Finally, rather than using a normal ranking system, the Online Mode is using a different ranking system called Global Smash Power. Basically, as you play the game and perform various accomplishments, your GSP increases, and is measured by how many people your score beats.

We got a look at some items, Pokemon, and Assist Trophies, both returning and new. The items shown were the Beam Sword, Bumper, Smart Bomb, Motion-Sensor Bomb, POW Block (a throwable item that knocks enemies upward), Beetle (a projectile that carries enemies away), Fire Bar (a melee weapon that gets shorter as you use it), Back Shield (protects you from attacks from behind), Bombchu (goes up walls and ceilings until it explodes), Fairy Bottle (completely heals you), X Bomb (fires an X-shaped explosion), Ore Club (very powerful melee weapon that slows you, can be charged to unleash tornadoes), Hocotate Bomb (flies into the air, comes crashing down on enemies), Rocket Belt (a jetpack, basically), and Steel Diver (shoots missiles straight ahead).

The Assist Trophies shown were Andross, Devil, Knuckle Joe, Saki Amamiya, Lyn, Nintendog (this time, a French Bulldog), Waluigi, Dr. Wright, Skull Kid (flips the screen upside down), Mother Brain (fires a powerful laser), Midna (attacks enemies with her hair-hand-thingy), Ashley (releases a cloud that slows characters down), Dark Samus (aggressively attacks players with lasers and tentacles), Chain Chomp (chomps enemies that get close), Isabelle (gives food to whoever summoned her), Elec Man (fires Elec Beams that go up, forward, and down), and Color TV-Game 15 (basically just Pong).

We were also shown the Master Ball, which only carries rare and powerful Pokemon. The Pokemon shown were Arceus (releases a field that Meteor-Smashes players), Meowth, Electrode, Eevee (seems to use Tackle), Staryu, Metagross, Fennekin (throws Embers that act like Ness's PK Fire), Meloetta (throws projectiles that bounce off walls), Gogoat (allow players to ride it while possibly also ramming enemies), Entei, Deoxys, Palkia (flips the screen upside down), Kyurem (freezes enemies on both sides), Victini, Keldeo (attacks enemies with it's horn), and Xerneas.

We finally got a bit of info on a few returning characters. First off, Zero Suit Samus and Sheik are returning, but as separate characters from Power Suit Samus and Zelda. ZSS now has laser-powered high-heels, giving her more power and speed. Sheik's side special now attaches a grenade to her whip and her down special is a flip-kick. Zelda's down special has her summon a Phantom from Spirit Tracks. Mega Man's moveset was shown off, and his Final Smash has him summon his other iterations (from Mega Man X, Battle Network, Star Force, and Legends) to bombard the enemy forces. Yoshi is also returning, now standing more upright and more powerful. Wii Fit Trainer, Animal Crossing Villager, Rosalina, and Little Mac were also looked at. Wii Fit Trainer's male counterpart was confirmed as an alternate costume, as well as a Wire-Frame costume for Mac, referencing the arcade Punch-Out games. Villager's Final Smash is Dream House, which has Tom Nook's family build a house around enemies. Rosalina's Final Smash is Power Star, which has her summon a Power Star that shoots meteorites.

Veterans we already knew about also got some moveset changes, though not everyone got looked over in the video. Kirby can now charge his side special to be more powerful, though it now damages him if charged too long, and his Final Smash was changed to Ultra Sword, from Kirby's Return to Dream Land. King Dedede's side special has been altered so he only throws Gordos now. Lucario's Aura now gets a much bigger boost as he takes damage, though it can be detrimental, and his Final Smash has been changed to Mega Evolution, which supercharges his Aura until it's over. Olimar can now only have 3 Pikmin at a time, though they are picked in a predetermined order, and his up special is now Winged Pikmin, which carries Olimar to safety, though it has more trouble when he has more Pikmin.  Pit's gliding has been removed, though to make up for that he's been powered up, his up special is now Power of Flight, which is a great recovery move, and his Final Smash is now Three Sacred Treasures, which equips Pit with the treasures and has him fire multiple powerful beams in multiple directions.

We also finally got a quick look at the character customization. We will be able to customize move sets, which can also be used on the Online Mode's For Fun. The extent to which we can customize wasn't shown, though Sakurai did promise he'll reveal more at a later date. A new mode was revealed for the 3DS version only, called Smash Run. In this mode, up to four players run around a big level collecting power-ups and boosts before the timer runs out, and then they have to fight with their new stats. Basically, it's a Smash Bros. version of the City Trial mode from Kirby Air Ride. It looks really interesting and I hope to have fun playing it.

Finally, we get a brief montage of the characters revealed up to this point, ending the Direct... or does it?

Actually, we get a Character Trailer, revealing Charizard as a veteran (by himself, no trainer) and a newcomer to combat him...

Yes, Greninja, the final evolved form of Froakie from Pokemon X and Y. From the trailer, he seems to be very quick and have ninja-themed moves, like teleportation, his Water-ninja-star, substituting himself with a Pokedoll, etc. Charizard also looks to have been buffed, with a new move set, including a new Final Smash: Mega Charizard X. We get a brief look at Greninja's Final Smash (rushing the opponent from all sides in rapid succession) and the Direct ends there.

Finally, as a side note, throughout the Direct, there are brief "Trophy Quizzes" where it asks you to name the character shown on the trophy (in order, they're Tiki from Fire Emblem, Fi from Zelda: Skyward Sword, Pseudo-Palutena from Kid Icarus: Uprising, and King Kihunter from Metroid). While they might just be meant to be a fun little trivia segment, some fans are speculating that they're hinting at new characters. Specifically, Tiki teases Chrom, Fi teases either Ghirahim or Demise, Pseudo-Palutena teases either Palutena or Magnus, and King Kihunter may be teasing Ridley. Of course, this is just speculation, but who knows? It may end up being justified...

All in all, this was a really good Nintendo Direct. It answered quite a few questions I had, gave us a release estimate, showed off new features, items, Pokemon, Assist Trophies, returning characters, and even a Newcomer! I'm pleased at least. Hopefully, we'll continue to get more great updates like this leading up to the release of the new Smash Bros.

HBM, signing out.

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