Happy long weekend*, oprainfall readers! As the prolific Josh Speer traverses the insanity that is PAX Prime, I’ll be taking care of the roundup of Smash Bros pics for this week. While arguably the biggest story the week was the apparent leak of the game’s final roster, Sakurai still had plenty of new info of returning game modes, ways to blow your hard-earned coins, fun with Miis and a huge new character announcement. It was a greatly informative week, and one that only served to increase the hype as we enter the final month before the 3DS release. But I digress…
LET’S GET SMASHING!
*Condolences to non-American readers
Monday saw the return of the much-beloved Classic Mode in a two-fer of screenshots. Fans who have played any of the previous Smash titles will know that this is the basic arcade mode where players work through a string of standard and special battles, mini-games and bonus stages on the way to the final fight with Master Hand. What the 3DS and Wii U versions are doing differently is how difficulty is handled. Players will be able to bet a certain number of their coins before beginning their run. The more coins they put up, the higher the “intensity,” not unlike the mechanic found in Kid Icarus Uprising. This will make opponents more difficult, but rewards will also be more valuable and more plentiful. Veterans confident in their Smash abilities will likely be rolling in the trophies before they know it! Additionally, as the second picture shows, players will essentially be able to choose their own adventure as they move along a map with branching paths. Sakurai teases that Master Hand appears to be the final boss yet again, but fiddling with the intensity could have an effect on that…
The gambling trend continued on Tuesday with the announcement of Spectator Mode, a special feature that will allow players to watch online matches. While the idea of analyzing fighters and forming strategies is a pretty cool idea on its own, Spectator Mode will also allow players to bet coins on four-player matches to guess the likely winner. Sakurai says that spectators will also be able to cheer on combatants, though whether or not this will give fighters some kind of advantage remains to be seen. First and second place participants will also receive prizes, so there’s more to gain than just bragging rights from playing online.
I was a big fan of the Challenges section in Brawl – the mode that tasked players with meeting various goals in return for trophies, music and other rewards – so I’m excited to see it making a return in the 3DS and Wii U versions. This time around it seems as though, rather than outright telling players how to complete a given challenge, they will see a clue in the form of a picture on how to complete adjacent tasks. Additionally, you can see off to the side that hammers will be making their return, as well. In Brawl, these were used to receive the prize from a given challenge without having to actually complete it. I imagine they’ll serve much the same purpose this time around, too. Sakurai says that the challenges in the 3DS version of the game will be a tad on the easy side, but teases that the Wii U game will provide a more demanding test. Curiouser and curiouser…
Thursday revealed a bit about how Mii character customization will work. As we already know, players will be able to create three different types of Mii combatants – Swordfighters, Gunners and Brawlers. We also know that these characters will be able to have greatly varied special attacks which can be chosen from a huge pool of potential abilities. However, what Thursday’s picture revealed is that customization doesn’t end at how Miis will fight. While earlier videos and pictures showed Mii Fighters in their standard attire, it seems as though players will be able to choose Miis’ outfits and headgear, as well. With this level of customization, it comes as no surprise that Mii characters would be on a separate screen from the standard fighter select screen. Having played no small amount of Tomodachi Life, seeing the freedom players will have in crafting their Mii fighters is a welcome addition to Smash Bros. Whether or not these vanity items will also affect the Miis’ fighting stats remains a mystery for now.
Friday opened with a bit more Mii news. Multi-man matches have been a common occurrence since the beginning of the franchise. The original Smash had the Fighting Polygon Team, Melee had the Fighting Wire Frames and Brawl had the Fighting Alloys. 3DS and Wii U will be continuing that trend – this time by taking Miis saved on your system and throwing them at you as the Fighting Mii Team. However, while it’ll certainly be fun to fight the Miis I have in my system, that wasn’t the big news that Sakurai had to reveal…
After the leak earlier this week, a lot of people were calling BS on the roster’s legitimacy after seeing Shulk’s face appear on the list. Well, those voices have been silenced now! The hero of Xenoblade Chronicles burst onto the scene with Monado in hand, showing Bowser what’s what before he even had a chance to react. Most people (outside of oprainfall, at least) might be scratching their heads as to who this new combatant even is, but Shulk seems to have a moveset that will more than allow him to hold his own. He also seems to have the ability to cycle between different Monado Arts which appear to have an effect on his speed, jumping power, damage output and other stats depending on which Art is active. Finally, Shulk’s Final Smash appears to be a Chain Attack with his friends Dunban and Riki. Whether the other members of his team can become involved we’ll just have to wait and see. It was an exciting week that ended with a thrilling cherry on top. Now I’m just waiting for the inevitable Bowser Jr. announcement…
Of course, just because Josh is spending the weekend at PAX, that doesn’t mean he can’t still contribute to the feature. Check out his “what if” scenario of a pretty improbable, but still interesting new challenger!
JOSH: I’ll be honest. I’m a bit grumpy about the likelihood that Ridley won’t be playable in Smash. Hell, you might say I am downright furious! And nothing fits an angry mood better than Jack Cayman from MadWorld.
Joking aside, I honestly do think he would make a compelling and unique new Brawler. But I’m sure many of you are already thinking, “He’s way too violent to fit into the Smash universe, you crazy idiot!” To which I would say, after grabbing a tire and bodily flinging it over your shoulders, “That’s utter nonsense.” Case in point – Solid Snake. This veteran is known for snapping necks, shooting foes and other mayhem, and yet he made it into Brawl. For similar reasons, I see no real reason that Jack couldn’t make it into the new 3DS and Wii U Smash games.
First and foremost, Jack would keep his trademark chainsaw, it just wouldn’t be capable of dismemberment. Much like King Dedede’s hammer or Ike’s sword, it would still do tremendous damage. Just without the unfortunate side effect of bloody death. This would also be his Neutral B. Holding it would rev the engine, and unleashing a fully-charged Chainsaw Slash would do serious damage.
For his Side Special, Jack would trap foes in a trusty Tire, allowing him to wail on them until they break free. Much like DK’s Head Butt, it would mostly be used to set up combos and rack up major damage. Unlike that move, however, foes trapped in the Tire Grab would be able to wander around left and right while trapped. Which is why the next move is so crucial.
Jack’s Down Special would slap unwary foes with a Stop Sign, dealing minor damage and stunning unprepared foes. When followed up with the Tire Grab, this would allow Jack free reign to cause mayhem. This is important, since he would likely be a middle-weight Brawler, with moderate speed and reach. But get too close, and he will ruin the day of anyone. But we still have one more Special to go.
For his Recovery Special, Jack would rely on his trusty motorcycle. I admit I’m heavily borrowing from Wario here, but I can see Jacks’ Motorcycle working a bit differently. First of all, it would be a temporary move, not an item you can ride around. Secondly, Jack’s Motor Mayhem recovery would dash upward at a slight angle, depositing Jack on safe ground. For those unfortunate souls directly in front of Jack, the motorcycle would continue to dash forward and explode in their faces. But none of this compares to his violent, yet hilarious Final Smash.
The infamous Man Darts would represent Jack’s Final Smash. Upon claiming the Smash Ball, Jack would be equipped with a nail encrusted baseball bat. A timer would appear, and Jack would have 30 seconds to hit foes. Every foe you hit with the bat gets knocked into the stratosphere, and once the timer is done, a Dart Board will appear. Foes will then fall from the top of the screen to the bottom, and the player controlling Jack will use a crosshairs to try and smash foes into the board. Hit them dead center, and they will be Smashed off the stage. Miss, and they will take minor damage. Regardless, it would be a dangerous attack from a more dangerous man.
Jack in Smash might not be likely, but I think he would make a great addition.