The fifth Smash game has been officially unveiled by Nintendo. Titled Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it seems dedicated to pay tribute to everything the series has done and everywhere it has been. As a testament to this, it includes every character that has ever been in a Smash game.
Every. Single. One.
That’s including Pichu, who was mostly put in as a joke character in Melee and will still deal self-damage on attacks. That’s including the Ice Climbers, famously absent from Super Smash Bros. 3DS & Wii U due to limitations on the 3DS’s technology. That’s including Wolf and Snake, who made their first and only appearances during Brawl. And that’s including Ryu, Corrin, Bayonetta, and Cloud, the DLC roster for Smash 4. And that’s including young link, which means there will be three playable versions of Link in this game: Toon, Young, and Classic.
That’s also including Splatoon and the newest announced character, Ridley, bringing the cast up to a whopping 65 total playable characters, all available at launch. That’s a lot of characters.
As for the game’s mechanics, the title hopes once again to bridge the gaps between competitive and casual play. This title re-introduces directional air dodging, where characters move a short distance while performing an air dodge. This function was key to the competitive scene of Smash Bros. Melee because it allowed for a technique known as wave dashing, where fighters would jump and then immediately cancel their jump momentum with a downwards air dodge, pushing them to the ground again. This allowed characters to not only integrate the invulnerability of an air dodge into much of their movement, but also move with incredible speed and unpredictability. But despite this mechanic’s return, it is unknown exactly how it will function, or if the wave dash technique will be as effective in this game.
As far as updated mechanics, Perfect Shielding is also getting a makeover. What used to be a risk-free mechanic that rewarded good timing is now a riskier mechanic that still rewards timing. Now, the window for a perfect shield will only occur after a player releases the shield button. This means that going into shield just as an attack hits you will no longer trigger a perfect shield if you catch the start of the attack; you’ll have to risk mistiming the shield and release it, hoping to catch the attack within those few frames of release.
Final smashes have also received a makeover. No longer will players be forced to run from the Landmaster, putting the regular match on hold for 30 seconds while the massive tank rolls around the playing field. Fox, Falco, and Wolf’s smash attacks have been replaced by attacks from Arwings and Wolfens, cinematic triggered attacks similar to Captain Falcon. In fact, all “transformation” style smashes, like Warioman and Giga-Bowser, have been revamped to use a set of cinematic strikes rather than enhancing regular moves. This has been made to preserve the flow of a regular match.
Characters now deal slightly more attack damage in 1 vs 1 fights than in multiplayer duels to balance out for the more frequent sources of incoming damage.
Adding on to Smash 4’s Omega stages is the ability to configure any stage into a Battlefield-esque platform array, adding some variety to the backdrops players will get while playing standard matches. And many stages from past games return as well, like Falcon’s notoriously deadly Big Blue, joined by a few new ones.
The game’s creator, Masahiro Sakurai, has put an incredible amount of work into making Smash Bros. Ultimate a reality. He seems to want this to be the final smash game that will be made, and if this does end up being the last game, it will surely be a finale worth going out on.
The game is set to release on December 7th, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.