Earlier this week, a select crowd of individuals were lucky enough to get a taste of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate early; myself included. While the demo is likely a far cry from the final product, it was enough to give me a pretty good indicator that Ultimate will be a fast, highly movement based fighter in contrast to the defensive, chip-away game of Smash 4.
Most of my time spent during the night was with Ivysaur, a character who is by no means designed to rush down yet the sped up physics and decreased lag on moves made playing him feel like a dream. His cohort Squirtle on the other hand excelled at moving in and out of harm’s way so I see him setting an example for fluid, tricky movement early into the meta. Defensive play has become as punishing as ever, a branch of play that was largely responsible for the slow pace of Smash 4. Airdodging and rolling penalises players if done in repetition, perfect shields are now riskier than ever and sitting in shield while Ganondorf charges an up-smash with a seemingly endless wind-up time is a scary change from the safety of Smash 4’s defensive mechanics. This will hopefully pave the way for an aggression based meta if the chaotic, fast paced nature of the games on the night were anything to go by.
No character seemed truly bad, and while this sort of observation at an event like this is to be taken with a grain of salt, Nintendo’s noticeable shift towards engaging with esports gives reason to believe balance will be a priority this time around.