By Paul Kainoa Vigil / April 9th, 2015
Since EVO 2013 saw the return of Super Smash Bros. (more specifically, Melee) to its tournament lineup, competitive Smash Bros. has risen in prominence. This past weekend saw a variety of tournaments with busy Smash events with NorCal Regionals 2015 and Mayhem in America alongside Beauty 10 and Avalon VIII in Europe, to name a few of many.
For those unfamiliar, the competitive level of Smash Bros. pits players against each other under a strict set of fighting conditions designed to minimize external factors and generally undue randomness, in the spirit of drawing more attention to skill, strategy and interaction between players. These include, for example, limitations on spawning items and stage use. I’d like to write this article to very offer a surface-level glance at some recent news of interest to Smash Bros. players.
I’ll first start with the announcement of 20XX: Tournament Edition. 20XX is a series of mods for Super Smash Bros. Melee designed to facilitate competitive practice even for those who are playing alone, and also allows stage and character customization (see Marth’s Ky Kiske skin?). Some of its more notable features include an L-Canceling indicator and a stage striker for tournament use. The biggest departure in Tournament Edition, the newest version of 20XX, comes from its ease of use; in the past, players had to follow a specific and, for some gamers, daunting set of instructions in order to successfully make use of Tournament Edition’s previous versions. This time around, the Tournament Edition data can be run and/or transferred directly via GameCube memory card, which is highly convenient for gamers and tournament organizers. Players will also be able to disable external factors present in stages, including the Shy Guys on Yoshi’s Story, stage transformations on Pokémon Stadium and Whispy Woods’ blowing on Dream Land N64.
During the April 1 Nintendo Direct, viewers were treated to confirmation of another balance patch for the Super Smash Bros. 4, known as “Version 1.0.6.” It’s a bit of a surprise, because nothing substantial was expected after 1.0.4 (perhaps, at least, until Mewtwo’s release) besides maybe an occasional stealth patch that might make minimal changes, and players became more adjusted to a competitive metagame that frequently saw Diddy Kong, Sheik and Zero Suit Samus (among others) as exceptional characters. Of course, with Mewtwo (and now Lucas! and potentially more characters after) coming in the future, Nintendo and Bandai Namco will have to keep an eye out for player response to the changes made to certain characters and how anyone that gets introduced will affect gameplay. With characters like Pikachu already regarded as slept-on, it remains to be seen how huge any changes will be. Some characters such as Peach and Greninja have received some substantial changes since the game’s release. Peach lost the ability to cancel the recovery from pulling turnips by carrying momentum off of platform and the ability to cancel landing lag with an item throw (for her, this involves using turnips.) Greninja lost the ability to cancel the landing lag of an aerial with Shadow Sneak, and its Water Shuriken and Hydro Pump were just generally made worse.
Just please don’t nerf Greninja. It doesn’t deserve the pain.
Lastly, the next iteration of Project M is coming with Version 3.6, announced during an Aftershock tournament in Texas. This particular Smash Bros. game has recently taken a hit with coverage at larger tournaments, but it still retains a strong and passionate community. Alongside putting out an interesting April Fool’s trailer announcing Project M for the Nintendo 64, the Project M Dev Team premiered a trailer for 3.6. New stages include Bowser’s Castle and HD remakes of Peach’s Castle N64 and Saffron City (that new Battlefield looks slick, too.) There will also be new color schemes and/or skins like Armored Charizard. The trailer also shows off a touching up of 3.5’s All-Star Versus Mode that displays Stock icons for remaining characters. New music and a new in-game announcer are to be present in 3.6, too. And of course, expect balance changes!
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