So within the last couple of days, there has been a video. A presentation, if you will. This presentation discussed the last bit of DLC for the incredibly long-named game known as Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS. This DLC includes new characters, costume pieces, and stages, and I am going to discuss my opinions of those things.
Now Cloud of Final Fantasy VII fame was revealed a little bit ago, but in the presentation his fighting style was discussed in more detail. It’s an interesting choice. When they demonstrated his Limit Break ability in the trailer, I assumed that his limit bar would build as he took damage and then would reach a pinnacle where all of his abilities were temporarily boosted. And I was right, except that the boost only lasts for one special move. Once you use a limit-boosted move, it goes back to normal and you have to build the bar again. Now this actually makes sense from the Final Fantasy side of things, and you can also build limit in more ways than just taking damage. Dealing damage also increases the gauge somewhat, and Cloud’s down special also has the ability to charge it. From the trailer, I was under the impression that his down special was magic, and that during his limit break it would turn into summons. These summons turned out to be stage hazards for the Midgar stage, which I will discuss in a bit.
Now my opinions of Cloud as a Final Fantasy character have been made pretty clear in the past. I like him. He’s cool. Particularly his Fusion Sword. As a Smash Bros character, I am growing to like him as well. On his initial reveal, the sensation of shock so overwhelmed me that I couldn’t really feel anything else. My wife was a bit upset by the reveal because, as a Solid Snake fan, she really wanted him to come back to the game. Yet here was a third-party character from a completely different franchise just waltzing into Smash Bros even though he’d never been in one before. I understand her plight, and to me Cloud is still an odd fit for the franchise. But overall I think he’s a good choice, particularly because of what I’m going to talk about next.
The Smash Ballot. This was a huge vote that came up when Nintendo first started doing DLC for the game where fans could be like “hey, we want so-and-so character in the game.” Now once Nintendo filtered through all the folks who voted for Goku, Master Chief, and Ezio, they had a list of viable characters that fans really wanted to see in the series. Of course, the big question was: did the big-wigs at Nintendo actually care about what people said? Apparently, the answer is yes, as Cloud was the most-requested Final Fantasy character on the ballot.
Now we can take that statement and analyze it and find things to criticize. For example: most-requested Final Fantasy character? Did every other franchise get its own special category? Why don’t all those series have their own ballot winners that got into the game?
Here’s the thing that I’m choosing to take away. Nintendo really wanted to reach out to Square Enix and work with them on this project. Cloud was a good way to do that. Maybe this could mean future collaborations with Square in the future. A lot of people would enjoy that. So ultimately, it’s a good thing. And when you think about how iconic Cloud is, I don’t think anyone is really complaining about his addition to the Smash Bros world. Except my wife, of course. Sorry, my love, but Konami is doomed and Solid Snake is not coming back.
Now Cloud wasn’t the winner of the whole Smash Ballot, so that leaves a question: who was? The answer is Bayonetta, the highly objectified witch from the games known as – well, Bayonetta. The way Nintendo phrased this in the presentation immediately drew some ire. Bayonetta was the clear winner in Europe. No contest. In the USA, she was only in the top 5. So naturally, American fans are complaining that she didn’t “really” win the Smash Ballot.
Here’s the part of the presentation people are ignoring. Worldwide, Bayonetta was the number one realizable winner (as I mentioned earlier, they had the filter through everyone who voted for Darth Vader and Kratos). That means that when Nintendo takes an objective look at the whole world’s votes and not just ‘Murica’s, Bayonetta is the winner of the Smash Ballot. So if you’re an American complaining that she shouldn’t be in Super Smash Brothers, I invite you – as a fellow American – to get over yourself. She won the ballet fair and square. Just because she didn’t get the most votes here doesn’t mean she loses. Other countries matter too, buddy.
Bayonetta is an odd fit for Smash Bros, just like Cloud. For one, she’s the only character from a rated-M game. Her nearly-naked self is a pretty regular part of her franchise, and unlike every other fighting game franchise, Smash Bros doesn’t add its female fighters exclusively for eye-candy. Instead, they found a way to keep her true-to-character while also toning her down for the kiddos. Everyone’s happy except for the people who want to see her naked, and those people have the internet.
As a fighter, Bayonetta is all about combos, which is a really unique style for Smash Bros. I mean, there are quick characters capable of combos, but now Bayonetta is really bringing it. She’s got guns everywhere and pretty much any move she does can be transformed from a melee attack into an explosion of bullets. Even her recovery is good for combos, as it can be linked to other attacks and then performed AGAIN (a Smash Bros first) in order to keep the string going. If you get caught in a Bayonetta combo-chain, it’s going to hurt. Of course, they’ve emphasized that if her combo gets broken, it leaves her pretty vulnerable.
Overall, she seems like a cool character, and I’m happy that the ballet winner was able to make it into the game. While I’ve never played Bayonetta and don’t ever intend to, she’s what people wanted and she got in. So good for them. Plus, it never hurts to have more female representation in the franchise.
Each of these characters comes with a new stage, and weirdly the stages are probably the part of this final presentation that I found the most interesting. They both have really cool locations from their games.
For Cloud, there’s Midgar, the city where basically every iconic moment in Final Fantasy VII goes down. The Shinra Building and Mako Reactor are visible in the background, and it looks incredible. But the really interesting thing is the stage hazard. Remember the summons I mentioned earlier? Well rather than being a special move for Cloud, they are actually hazards that appear as small glowing materia in Midgar. Pick one up and BAM, you summon a giant monster that changes the nature of the stage. Ifrit pushes the main platform with flames, Ramuh manipulates the small platforms using electricity, Leviathan places the stage on a dangerous tidal wave, Odin splits the stage in half, and Bahamut blows the bejesus out of anyone standing in his way (as usual). This is a really cool mechanic that makes the stage dynamic and dangerous. But there’s more! Whenever a summon defeats someone, the point for the kill goes to the summoner. So instead of just counting as a self-destruct, these defeats can increase your score! In a score match, watching for materia and getting them will be an important part of the strategy.
For Bayonetta, there’s the Umbra Clock Tower (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway. Not like I watched this presentation twenty minutes ago or anything). The face of a shattered clock tower is falling down a massive cliff, with the other chunks falling through the air as well. So you have one huge platform with other platforms floating in and out in strange patterns, because of course the entire time everyone is battling, they are also falling. Using these platforms carefully is the key to victory. The stage also includes some angels in the background as the tower passes into Purgatorio, which I’m sure will be an enjoyable feature for the fans of the series.
Now another new character was revealed, and this character I have very strong feelings about. The character is Corrin, the main protagonist from the new Fire Emblem game, Fates. The game isn’t out yet, so I guess the idea is for the character’s Smash Bros availability to boost sales of the actual game. This, to me, is a pretty dumb reason to add a character to Smash Bros. Don’t include a character as an advertising gimmick. It’s just silly!
Part of my rage is due to the fact that Smash Bros already has a lot of Fire Emblem representation. Now that’s a weird thing to hear from someone who claims Fire Emblem as one of their top three favorite series. But seriously, there are a lot of Fire Emblem characters in Smash Bros! Marth, Roy, Lucina, Ike, and Robin, now Corrin – that’s six characters. And the thing is, every time they add a new Fire Emblem character, they add yet another swordsman instead of choosing from the variety of other characters who master weapons like spears, bows, axes, and powerful magic. Marth, Roy, and Lucina are all basically the same character, and frankly, the former two have not been relevant in ages. Maybe I’d be happier about Corrin if they weren’t around. Or if I liked Corrin’s design (did I mention I don’t like Corrin’s design?). Or if the game was out and I actually cared about Corrin in some capacity.
Regardless, he or she is here and we have to deal with it. Admittedly, Corrin’s fighting style is deviating from the whole swordsman thing somewhat. He or she can transform into a dragon, and this seems to comprise the bulk of the character’s moveset. So at least in that regard, Corrin is refreshing. Having another female character is also refreshing (like Robin, the player chooses Corrin’s gender so the character has canon male and female appearances). So it’s not all bad. But Corrin was definitely the big disappointment of this presentation for me, and I love Fire Emblem. And Fire Emblem Fates looks awesome! The different storylines, the new classes, the improved pair-up system – wait, what were we talking about?
Also announced were things like new costumes for the Mii Fighters and new trophies for the different games. I’m not a big fan of costume pieces, but for those that are, you can be excited about a chocobo hat, a Geno costume (high-five if you’ve ever actually played Super Mario RPG), Knuckles and Tails costumes from Sonic the Hedgehog, and an Ashley costume from WarioWare. Plus some people I’ve never heard of from games whose titles were not even in English. But if I could read Japanese, I would totally tell you what those games were called and whose costumes are making it into Smash Bros.
Other than Corrin, I was only really disappointed by one thing. That thing is that there was no announcement of a Super Smash Bros Deluxe Edition where all the DLC characters, stages, and costumes came pre-installed for some kind of reduced price. Of course, since some of the content announced for the presentation doesn’t come out until next year, I suppose there’s still time for that in the future. But with this being the FINAL Super Smash Bros presentation, I really thought that an announcement of the deluxe version of the game would cap it off nicely. Ah well. Shows what I know, I suppose.
Now I invite you to comment, readers. What did you think of the presentation? Are you excited for these characters, stages, and costumes? Is there anything you found disappointing? Discuss it in the comments so we can unpack all the knowledge given to us in the final presentation for Super Smash Brothers for the Nintendo Wii U/3DS. Golly, they couldn’t have called it anything else?