Despite Nintendo spending most of their E3 time on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I had a feeling that they had quite a lot up their sleeve that they have yet to reveal, and their Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct presentation this week confirmed that. To a Nintendo fanboy and a big fan of Smash Bros., this presentation was such a big hit! Let’s go through everything that was revealed.
Let’s start with the reveal that Simon Belmont, arguably one of the most popular characters of Konami’s Castlevania franchise, is joining the Smash Bros. roster as a character. He was actually part of my own Smash Bros. wishlist when I wrote about the characters that I wanted to be a part of the franchise almost three years ago, primarily because Castlevania was one of the most popular franchises on the NES and because Simon Belmont is part of the N-Team that also consisted of Pit (part of Smash Bros. since Brawl) and Mega Man (included in the 3DS and Wii U editions of the game). And it looks like Simon Belmont is going to be true to his NES representation, with him fighting using the famed Vampire Killer and his trusty holy water, cross, and axes. He even has his “whip spin” move from Castlevania IV!
The Castlevania love doesn’t stop at Simon’s conclusion – Sakurai also included Richter Belmont as an Echo fighter, who is also one of the most popular heroes of the franchise, starring in both Rondo of Blood and featured in Symphony of the Night. Alucard, the latter title’s main protagonist, joins Smash Bros. as an Assist Trophy, and Dracula is one of the many stage hazards of Dracula’s Castle. Dracula’s Castle looks like it’s going to be similar to the Final Fantasy VII stage Midgar, with several Castlevania bosses appearing as stage hazards as well. And the music… 34 tracks from the Castlevania franchise is going to be in the game! More on this later.
Another big reveal (for me at least) is the inclusion of Chrom (one of the main protagonists of Fire Emblem Awakening) and Dark Samus (main antagonist of Metroid Prime 2 and 3). These two are great examples of how the Echo fighter concept can be effectively used to include fan favorite characters in the game. Maybe the Echo fighter concept is the way to include characters like Ken (echo of Ryu) in the game.
It looks like Sakurai is really planning on making this upcoming edition of Smash Bros. the “ultimate” edition of the game because he didn’t just put in the biggest roster of fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (maybe the biggest roster of any fighting game ever), he also put in the most number of stages and tracks in this version. Smash Bros. is known as a “stage fighter” so I don’t think I need to talk about the importance of having a lot of stages and a good variety of them in the game. What I want to highlight is the number of video game music that is going to be in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: a total of more than 800 tracks! The game is going to come with a full on music app that will allow Switch owners to use the Switch as a music player even in sleep mode, which guarantees that I’ll be bringing my Switch everywhere I go.
I’m also excited about the new features and battle modes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Stage morphing is a great way to introduce more chaos in an already chaotic game. The Final Smash meter feature will allow players to use Final Smashes in a more traditional way instead of using Smash Balls. The Squad Strike mode is something that I’ve been wanting for quite some time, as it will allow WWE Survivor Series-style battles. Together with the Smashdown mode, it may entice Smash Bros. players to learn playing as more than just their mains. I’m sure the revamped Training mode will be appreciated by hardcore Smash Bros. players who are looking to improve their skills in competitive play.
I don’t have much to say about the new items that will be included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but the new Assist Trophies and Pokemon summons are awesome: Zero, Gray Fox, Shovel Knight (!), Ditto, Alola Executor, and Monster Hunter’s Rathalos are all going to be part of Smash Bros. now!
To cap the presentation off is another surprise reveal: the main antagonist of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong franchise, King K. Rool, is also joining the Smash Bros. roster of fighters! While I’m not a big fan of Donkey Kong, I also know that this character is one of the most requested fighters and I am happy for all DK fans who have been hoping for K. Rool’s inclusion in Smash.
Unlike Nintendo’s showing at E3, this Nintendo Direct presentation was better scripted and every single one of the reveals was interesting to me. In my circle of video game friends, I’m the only one who has a Switch. None of them have found a compelling enough reason to buy a Switch – until this presentation. After watching this, all of them are already thinking of getting a Switch this Christmas – so I think there are many more out there who will be getting one just because of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That’s how effective this presentation was.
Since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was revealed, we’ve already learned that all previous Smash Bros. fighters are returning. We’ve learned about the addition of Splatoon’s Inklings, Castlevania’s Simon Belmont, Metroid’s Ridley, and Donkey Kong’s King K. Rool as new fighters. We’ve learned that Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature 103 different stages, and will feature 800 tracks from not just Nintendo games but from other third party franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mega Man (all renowned for their music). We know about the little improvements like new battle modes and features like the Final Smash meter. And yet we are still several months away from release. We know that Sakurai still has at least one more revelation to make – the top secret mode that he hinted at in this Direct presentation. And my gut tells me that we haven’t seen the last of the new fighter reveals.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is looking like it will really be the ultimate version of Smash Bros. – Sakurai was right in saying that it’s going to be hard to top this. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is definitely Nintendo’s biggest release this 2018 and dare I say it, is probably going to be Game of the Year for several publications. The Smash Bros. hype is at an all time high right now!