A Look Into Super Smash Bros. 4 at Comic-Con

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Another year, another mob of people clogging the streets of downtown San Diego as they attend Comic-con 2014, one of the biggest video game, comic book, and pop-culture events in the world. The main floor is always jam packed with booths and attractions. People all over hawk their wares; artists sell their great works, and game and movie developers premier their trailers for the next great blockbuster. Of the many game demos available at Comic-con, I was most attracted to the new Super Smash Bros. game that was playable on the 3DS at the Capcom booth and on the Wii U as well at the Nintendo lounge in the Marriott hotel. What I soon discovered was the chance the Smash Bros. team was giving to win a T-shirt. All you had to do was beat a single-player mode then win in a 4-player free-for-all match. The event went on every day with the only restriction that the event withdrew from the convention floor to the Nintendo lounge on Sunday. I was unable to win a shirt, but it was a rather fun way of getting a first look at the new game.

The 3DS single-player mode was like a time-trial version of the Brawl story mode only killing enemies yielded power-up items which enhanced the character’s overall speed, strength, special attacks, etc. The player will need these as after the five minutes is a 3 on 1 fight between the player and a few computers, each randomly selected. Completing this challenge at Comic-Con earned you a ticket into a 4-player brawl for a T-shirt. Unfortunately, I was unable to win any of my attempts.

Even though the roster for the demo was limited, there was still a substantial selection, both of old and new characters. I tried out three, Marth, Bowser, and Greninja. I chose Marth at first because he was familiar and I knew his character. He’s stayed pretty much the same, the basic bread-and-butter Fire Emblem character. I don’t really have an idea about his standing on the tier list, but not much else to say about him. Greninja was the gamble for me. On the videos he looked good, but of course actually using him was much harder. As his name implies, Greninja is a true ninja-style fighter using weapons he forms out of water. This means he is fast, both in movement speed and with his normals, and he has a formidable counter move, but it comes at the cost of power. Greninja lacks killing ability, needing to bring an opponent up to high percentage before he can send them flying. Good 1v1 character, more difficult to use in a large brawl.

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Bowser was the surprise for me since I only thought he’d be high-tier in Project M. Although I really don’t like how human-like they made his character model look, apparently they gave him a lot of buffs and bumped him up to A-tier. His side B attack has a lot more launch potential and his side smash A seems to have a lot more priority on it. Some of his more minor normals have gotten speed buffs and he can take a lot of punishment before being sent flying. All of his shell-spinning moves (down A in the air, up B, down smash A) have a lot more priority and launch on them, and his butt-sit move (Down B) can combo if the player catches his opponent on the startup jump. All of these improvements make Bowser quite the fierce opponent.

Mac

Although I didn’t play him, I saw one other character being played prolifically, and I myself admit serious interest in him: Little Mac. Though first rumors hinted at him being difficult to use, his character has a deadly combination of abilities. He is a boxer, so outright he is fast and has a good bit of force behind his punches. His advantage comes in the uniqueness of his attacks and his specials. His running attack is an overhead, slamming punch that has a tricky delay on it, and his up B is a spinning uppercut that has a hitbox slightly larger than the visible animation it seems. His truly useful attacks appear to be his side B and normal B attack. His side B is a charge/thrusting dash attack similar to Luigi’s Green Missile and Pikachu’s head butt, only it has the added benefit of absorbing small attacks in the charge up. Mac can lure in opponents, thinking they’re hurting him when they’re really positioning themselves right in front of Mac’s fist. Mac’s standing B special has to be his strongest though. Since he is from Punch Out!, he has a meter below his character that looks like a bunch of arrows lined up. The meter charges as Mac lands hits, and when it’s fully charged, he can throw out a swinging uppercut to the ribs that’s an almost guaranteed kill shot. And appropriately enough, his Smash Ball is turning into a larger, more Neanderthal-looking version of himself. He keeps his same move set only much more powerful in a similar fashion to Giga Bowser.

The levels looked rather interesting as well. They ranged from the simple, Kid-Icarus platforms, to fighting on the wings of a plane or on the stellar raceway of Rainbow Roads. Some levels even have rather invasive environmental hazards. The Dr. Wiley level has a round, orange boss that enters the field and tries to shoot the fighters with laser eyes and shifts across the single platform in orange pieces. Though I have no way to confirm this, I would also assume the full version of the game to have levels revived from old Smash Bros versions and maybe some redone ones. All in all the game looks rather enticing, if only I had a Wii U or a 3DS! For those of you who do or plan on getting one in the near future, this is definitely a game to put on your wish list.