It has been a long time since I’ve been aboard the Nintendo hype train. Super Mario 3D World was a blast-and-a-half to play, but I only got excited for the blockbuster title after it was released. The features on Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze had me snoring. Hell, even the breaking news on Mario Kart 8 couldn’t get me frothing.
But hot damn, yesterday’s Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct not only had me boarding the hype train, but buying the yearly pass.
While I can (and possibly should) write pages on the news from yesterday, I will try to serve it up as quick and manageable as possible:
- Unlike other Nintendo Directs, this one was hosted by Masahiro Sakurai direct from the Bandai Namco building.
- The 3DS Smash will be released at an unannounced date this summer, while the Wii U iteration will be seeing a winter release. Further, there will me more announcements of interaction between the two titles at a later time.
- Smash on the 3DS will be running at an astounding 60 frames per second (fps) while maintaining stereoscopic 3D. While all of the fighting will be locked at 60fps, a variety of items and non-playable figures will be working at 30fps.
- The 3DS stages will feature two musical pieces per level, where the Wii U version will have a larger variety of music.
- Both 3DS and Wii U iterations of the game will have online play.
- Playing online, players will be able to choose to play “For Fun” or “For Glory”. For Fun will allow for different stages and items, offering a more relaxed gameplay experience that only tallies the wins. For Glory is for the hardcore Smash crowd–the matches will be restricted to Final Destination, no items allowed and wins and losses are tallied. The developers are working to make a balance and ranked matchmaking system.
- Instead of anonymous battling and “friend codes” like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (on Wii), the game will rely on Nintendo Network IDs–allowing for easier battles between friends and banning of cheaters.
- Sakurai, noting that a global rank from top to bottom would be too difficult, instead chose to flip the system around. Players will be able to tell their rank based on their “Global Smash Power”. The Global Smash Power illuminates how many players you are better than and can be easily posted on Miiverse.
- There are a plethora of new items, all looking better than the last. While the beam sword is not going away, we are getting new items like the POW Block, the Beatle and a Master Ball.
- Just like the items, assist trophies are coming back in style. To name a few, the Direct showed Andross, Nintendog, Waluigi and Skull Kid.
- Taking a page out of Project M’s books, the characters will no longer transform–Samus and Zero-Suit Samus along with Zelda and Sheik will remain separate characters with separate move sets. However, some of the Pokémon will see a Mega-Evolution form (from Pokémon X/Y).
- Also following Project M’s lead, the characters have been balanced out for better play.
- Yoshi (one of the original Smash characters) was announced as a returning character.
- Details were given on Rosalina, Little Mac, Villager, Wii Fit Trainer and Mega Man’s move sets and abilities. Additionally, move sets can be customized, with each character having special abilities (that cannot be used in online play).
- The 3DS version will be featuring a new mode, Smash Run. Borrowing from Sakurai’s past ideas from Kirby Air Ride’s City Trial mode, players will be able to power up their Smash characters by roaming an environment, defeating enemies and collecting stat improving items. After the timer runs down, the player will be pit against other competitors, except with the stat boosts.
- Finally, the first as well as latest generation of Pokemon will make an appearance; both Charizard and Greninja were announced in an end-trailer.
This is by far one of the best Nintendo Direct’s I have seen in years. Sakurai knows how to play on the fans’s emotions and really throw in a mix of surprise and fan service. He should be in charge of every Direct, as far as I’m concerned. As for Super Smash Bros., I have no doubt in my mind I will be picking up both versions at release. The hype train has left the station, and there is no chance it is slowing down.
Lou Contaldi is MONG’s Nintendo Specialist and senior editor. He also spends his time habitating a law school. You can follow his incoherent ramblings at Twitter.