© Raise Your Game Esports 2018

    How Can Nintendo Improve Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Before Final Release

    Bowie Abiola

    With the release date for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch set for December 7th, 2018, there’s so much hype among fans in both the casual and competitive communities for the next game in one of Nintendo’s most valuable franchises. The Super Smash Bros. 2018 Invitational Tournament at E3 2018 served as a pre-release showcasing of the game in which Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai hand-picked some of the top players in the world for both of the most popular previous games in the franchise (Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for the Wii-U) to compete.

    The top players chosen were Zero, MKLeo, Abadango, Mang0, Armada, Lucky, Plup, and Mr.R. The tournament was sensational with so many fans cheering in the audience as they got a first-hand look at some brand new fast-paced game play. Overall, the tournament ended with a phenomenal Grand Finals set between Zero and MKLeo, in which Zero came out on top and became the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2018 Invitational champion. After the tournament, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate E3 Demo booth was open so that anybody can try out the game. At this time, many top players across different iterations of the Super Smash Bros. series tried out the game for themselves, including the famous Mew2king who plays multiple Super Smash Bros. video games competitively at the top level. After E3 2018, multiple top players had opinions and thoughts as to how the game can be improved upon release.

    Wave-dashing and Wave-landing Viable Options?

    Regarding the air dodge – Nintendo should change air dodge in a way where wave-dash and wave-land is much more viable. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, wave-dashing is a technique that can make your movement less predictable. It is performed by jumping and immediately air-dodging into the ground diagonally. Doing this fast enough would make your character’s air-dodge momentum carry over by sliding your character against the stage. This can be useful to put your character into certain ranges and positions that you normally could not reach by just running and walking. Unlike dash-dancing, wave-dashing keeps you facing the same direction as you originally started and allows you to use moves that dash-dancing does not, like tilts and special moves.

    While you cannot dance from a defensive position, you can wave-dash out of shield, giving characters added evasiveness. Currently in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, wave-dashing and wave-landing are not viable. You cannot air dodge soon enough after you press jump. Nintendo may have intentionally made the wave-dash and wave-land very bad and then they wanted to see how the pro-players could use them. It is obvious that Sakurai and the staff working the Smash Ultimate know about wave-dash and wave-land but even though they know about how it works they might not necessarily understand how well the pros can use it from competitive Melee. So maybe they set the bar pretty low and then they wanted to see how to work with wave-dash and wave-land in its current form and then they can go up with it. Let’s say they made wave-dash and wave-land incredibly good but then they are like “oh wait, we don’t want them to be this good” and they make it worse, and then people are going to be mad you know. Even though it can be challenging at times for Nintendo to appeal to both competitive and casual audiences among fans alike, especially because Sakurai’s vision is to make Smash Ultimate accessible to all players not just a specific group of players, this issue can easily be circumvented by adding tutorials for wave-dashing and/or wave-landing on the tutorial screen after the cinematic intro. This video illustrates the Wave-dash/Wave-land technique in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

    1) Change the “Balloon Effect” when connecting a hit on an opponent

    So basically when you hit an opponent in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate they fly super-fast away from you and then kind of stop immediately, while in the other Smash games your opponent would fly at a more logical or realistic pace in which they would fall faster upon getting hit. In other Smash games this would make follow-ups and combos more viable and bring a variety of options to the table for both you and your opponent. But with the “balloon effect” in Smash Ultimate, you hit someone and they fly so far away so fast that sometimes when it feels like you should be able to follow-up based on the hit-stun, you can’t really do that. So if they change how you’re flying after the initial hit, the combo game would be improved a lot. So the balloon effect shouldn’t be as strong. Players who have a strong punish game and/or a very aggressive play style would benefit from this a lot and massive innovation regarding the combo potentials of each character would arise.

    1) Make Characters Land More Often From Throws And Increase Fall-Speed

    This one goes hand-in hand with the previous one. Make characters land more often from throws and increase fall-speed to make it somewhat comparable to the fall-speed of Super Smash Bros. Melee. In Melee for example, if you forward-throw, down-throw, or up-throw someone and they land on platforms, that creates tech-chase scenarios. But that doesn’t really happen much from Smash Ultimate. People who enjoy punish game enjoy the game more would in-terms of punish game if people actually land on the ground. If you increase fall-speed then it would be easier after you throw someone for them to land on the ground to combo them and follow-up on combos. This would make the game feel slightly less "floaty".

    2) Make Crouch-cancelling a Viable Option

    In Smash Melee, your fighting ability decreases as you take damage, not only making comeback much more difficult to pull off but also much more satisfying as well. This decrease in fighting ability is due to a mechanic called crouch-cancelling. Characters can reduce their time being stunned by holding down or crouching right before they get hit, allowing them to attack back much more quickly than normal. The best players are often able to bait their opponent into attacking them in ways that can be easily countered. However, as your percent increases, crouch-cancelling’s effects worsens and in some cases can be even less desirable than taking the hit normally. In Smash Melee, Crouch-cancelling often means that you aren’t very mobile and it can be easy for an opponent to space around attacks if they know exactly what you are going to do. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate can benefit a lot from the addition of the Crouch-cancelling mechanic from Super Smash Bros. Melee because this opens up a variety of offensive and defensive options for a variety of characters. For example, with the crouch-cancel option viable, Wolf can bait his opponent into crouch-cancel shine which can lead into some of his combo starters like up-tilt, up-air, or even down-tilt. Crouch-cancel can instantly allow you to go from a defensive disadvantage to an offensive advantage that can allow you to combo your opponent and lead into conversions which in-turn can put you in the position to KO your opponent and take a stock off of them. The main weakness of crouch-cancelling however is that it is only really beneficial at lower damage percentages, at higher damage percentages it crouch-cancel is a bad option that can be very fatal in a match. This video illustrates the Crouch-cancel technique in Super Smash Bros. Melee.


    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a very much anticipated game among many Nintendo fans, and as the release date of December 7th, 2018 approaches, many fans are pre-ordering more and more Nintendo Switches. With such a diverse group of fans excited to play the game, Nintendo needs to take on the challenge of making the game accessible to casual fans while still making it suitable enough for the competitive audience to enjoy it on a higher level of play. As a Nintendo fan and Super Smash Bros. enthusiast, I definitely hope that Nintendo will listen to feedback from various competitive players who played the game demo at E3 2018. I look forward to playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with you readers upon release. Happy Smashing everyone!

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