When I first heard of the possibility of additional fighters for Super Smash Bros. to be offered as paid DLC, I was lukewarm about it. Super Smash Bros. already has 48 different fighters to choose from (not counting the Mii Fighters) which, in my opinion, is already quite sufficient. Super Smash Bros. current roster is already a who’s who of Nintendo’s most popular characters so I didn’t really think that there would be anyone noteworthy who still isn’t part of the roster, and including 3rd party characters involved licensing issues so I never expected anyone popular enough to be cleared by their publisher. So I never really considered the possibility of me being interested in any paid DLC for this game. This all changed when Nintendo announced that Ryu will be available as paid DLC. Ryu is an iconic video game character, the star of the franchise that put fighting games on the map. I doubt that there is anyone out there who plays video games and has no idea who Ryu is. I’m actually very impressed that Nintendo was able to work the licensing out with Capcom – what better way to bring legitimacy to your fighting game than to add a fighting game icon to it’s roster?
Of course, we’ve got to be a little more objective – Ryu’s popularity doesn’t automatically justify the worth of his Super Smash Bros. DLC package, and that’s what I’d like to talk about here. Let’s get some numbers and specifics out of the way first. The Ryu DLC package is priced differently depending on what platform you want it for: if you want the 3DS only or Wii U only version, you’ll have to shell out $5.99 for it. If you buy the DLC for both systems, you’ll only have to spend $6.99.
In both cases, the Ryu DLC is a dollar more expensive than the other DLC fighters being offered right now, but you’re also getting more content. Specifically, the Ryu DLC package comes with the following:
- Fighter (Ryu)
- Stage (Suzaku Castle)
- Stage Music (two versions)
- New trophies (Ken, Ryu Classic, Ryu All-Star)
The other fighter DLCs don’t come with an additional stage – you’re only getting a new fighter and their in-game trophies. Stage DLC for Super Smash Bros., for comparison, costs $1.99 if purchased for one system and $2.99 for both. So just by looking at the pricing, we can see that we’re getting a $1 discount already. But is Ryu’s stage (named Suzaku Castle) worth it? In other fighting games stages don’t usually serve much purpose – they’re just the place where the battle is taking place – but Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game wherein success relies heavily on the layout of the stage.
Suzaku Castle, at least for the 3DS version, doesn’t disappoint. The stage comprises of four separate platforms, and the way the platforms are placed on different heights would mean that players will have to do some jumping to and from each platform in battle, and that’s really what you want in a Super Smash Bros. stage. The stage itself is actually quite small and may feel cramped for eight player battles on the Wii U, but the way the platforms are spaced apart from each other maximizes the stage and works nicely for two, three, and four player matches. It’s also set up in such a way that no one is caught in the middle at the start of a match – there’s always somewhere you can immediately escape to if you’re the unfortunate one who gets the center spot.
The Suzaku Castle stage is nice enough in itself but it also comes with it’s own stage music as a bonus, and Nintendo fittingly selected Ryu’s classic stage music from Street Fighter II. This addition is very significant for me because you can now use Ryu’s theme as part of the music rotation for Smash Run, one of the game modes of Super Smash Bros., as well as include it in the game’s music player which already houses several classic themes from Nintendo’s past. Nintendo even included a remixed version of it.
The trophies are just nice-to-haves and have no real gameplay value so they’re basically neglible, so let’s take a look the fighter itself. Let me just say this – I’ve been playing Super Smash Bros. since the Gamecube era and I can say that Ryu is such a unique character that the franchise hasn’t seen before. Ryu managed to keep his traditional Street Fighter special moves but unlike other Smash Bros. characters, he’s got more than one way to execute them. You can do the Smash Bros. standard way of executing special moves, or you can do the classic Street Fighter inputs for more powerful attacks.
Let me give a more specific example – Ryu’s Hadouken can be executed the Smash Bros. way by simply pressing the Special Attack button or the Street Fighter II way by doing quarter-circle-forward plus Attack. The simple Smash Bros. Hadouken is weaker and slower compared to the Street Fighter II style Hadouken, and if you press and hold the Attack button instead of just tapping it, you end up with an even stronger Hadouken!
Ryu also has different attacks that are dependent on whether you hold or tap the Attack button, which gives him an expansive moveset that no other Smash Bros. has ever had (not counting the transforming characters like Sheik/Zelda or Samus). This design choice also gives Ryu a “Street Fighter” feel even if you’re playing him in the Super Smash Bros. environment.
Ryu is also the first Smash Bros. character to have two different Final Smash moves that trigger depending on based on your proximity to an opponent. He’s got the Shinku Hadouken for attacking at range and the Shin Shoryuken for hitting someone up close.
It does bear mentioning that Ryu doesn’t come with alternate Special Moves (called Custom Moves in the game), but at least as of this writing, none of the other Smash Bros. DLC characters do. Still, Ryu is a really versatile character because of all these move options.
I can’t really speak about Ryu’s value in competition because I don’t play Super Smash Bros. in professional tournaments and don’t really keep track of official tiers, but what I can talk about is my experience with him and I can say that he’s a complicated but very versatile fighter. His attack variations can really keep opponents guessing, but you also need to be mindful of how you execute them.
I thought that characters from other fighting games wouldn’t be a good fit in Super Smash Bros, but Ryu proved me wrong. Ryu is a really interesting fighter to play as given his toolbox of moves, and his recognition factor is definitely a plus. He’s actually gotten me to revisit and play Super Smash Bros. extensively again. He’s a worthwhile addition to the Super Smash Bros. roster on his own, and the new stage and music just serve to sweeten the deal even more. Ryu is sure to breathe new life into the game for anyone who enjoys playing Super Smash Bros. so I highly recommend this DLC package.
Have you bought the Ryu DLC for Super Smash Bros.? What do you think about his inclusion to the Smash Bros. franchise? Drop us a line below and tell us what you think!