ONLINE PLAY

Next up was the inevitable discussion of online play, one of the biggest draws of Super Smash Bros. Brawl since its release in 2008 (though its online servers will unfortunately be shut down in May, along with every other Wii and DS game). Fortunately, both the 3DS and Wii U games will feature online play, both random matchmaking against players worldwide, as well as against friends both locally and over the internet.

Sakurai states that a wired connection will present an ideal play experience, and reminds players that the Wii U supports the Wii LAN Adapter to this effect, while the 3DS features a LAN cable of its own as well, both being sold separately. It’s not paramount if you’d rather stick with wireless play however, simply a suggestion for those especially concerned about spotty connections.

Perhaps the highlight of the online suites of both the 3DS and Wii U games however is that they will come with two formats when playing against random online players and not Nintendo Network friends: For Fun, and For Glory. For Fun allows players to play on any of the arenas except for Final Destination, with the battleground being randomly selected, four-player matches being mandatory, and any item will have a chance to appear. Only wins will also be recorded in your stats within this mode as well.

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In For Glory however, you’re forced to play in Final Destination with no items available, with 1-on-1 duels being possible in this case, and with both wins and losses being recorded on your persistent online record. Unfortunately, as with For Fun, this Direct was vague about how Stock and Time matches will be available for online matchmaking. It was however confirmed that, while For Glory limits you to the simple lone platform of Final Destination, you will be able to play with backdrops inspired by the other arenas, in turn allowing you to bring the appropriate music of these arenas to the fight as well.

When playing against Nintendo Network friends, you can set the rules to whatever you like, thankfully. It was also confirmed in this case that both Stock and Time battles will be an option in this case.

This led into an explanation of both moderation and community responsibility, and it was nice to see Sakurai and Nintendo taking this integral part of the online experience seriously. Unlike Super Smash Bros. Brawl, online battles will no longer be anonymous, with players’ Nintendo Network ID’s now being displayed during matches on both 3DS and Wii U. There will also be a strict Code of Conduct to keep things pleasant, just like Miiverse on both platforms.

Specifically, this Code of Conduct will issue bans to problem players, with varying lengths depending on the magnitude and frequency of offenses. Cheaters and hackers are obviously going to be targeted and removed quickly, and players will be able to report any player they think is cheating, though it was also cautioned that filing frequently false reports can also lead to a ban or other such disciplinary action.

It doesn’t stop there too! Online players will really need to watch their behaviour, as bans will also be issued for players who: Start a match and quickly drop out or just don’t play (i.e. rage-quit or roster troll), relentlessly target and harass a single individual (spread your attacks evenly, folks!), repeatedly self-destruct (this isn’t just killing yourself to be an idiot either, this also includes the cheap self-destruct exploit from prior games, which is now strictly not allowed in online sessions), and finally, repeatedly drop out of matches (i.e. rage-quitting).

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Lastly, the online play will feature a leaderboard, though it would be far too broad to simply rank players’ various scores across all modes, according to Sakurai. Instead, rather than tally up online rankings, both the 3DS and Wii U games will instead incorporate the scores from the solo modes into ‘Global Smash Power’, which shows how many players across the world that you outscore. It’s a… slightly eccentric solution, and it will likely tick off players who would rather show off their online ranks to the world, but it is true that capturing an exact score across both of the online modes would be broad and difficult to implement too.

On the bright side, despite the lack of online rankings, an online matchmaking component will still be present, trying to assign players matches with other players of similar Global Smash Power rankings, as well as online win counts for both the For Fun and For Glory variants.

It certainly seems like Nintendo is taking feedback to heart from the rather minimalist online suite of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and it’s great to see that they’re taking both play rewards and policing idiots and trolls quite seriously.

ITEMS

Next up was the demonstration of items both new and old for both the 3DS and Wii U games, which will presumably share the same roster of items. Old favourites from prior games to return include: The Beam Sword, Bumper, Smart Bomb, Motion-Sensor Bomb, and POW Block.

New additions include: The Beetle from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which appears to pick up and drop opponents, the Fire Bar from Super Mario Bros., which can be picked up and swung like a flaming club (and appears to gradually deplete in range with each hit), the Back Shield from Kid Icarus: Uprising, which protects the player’s rear from projectiles, the Bombchu from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, an explosive that follows opponents around before detonating, the Fairy Bottle from throughout the Legend of Zelda series, which heals some damage, the Ore Club from Kid Icarus: Uprising, which is a powerful blunt weapon that launches twisters to disorient foes, the X Bomb, yet again from Kid Icarus: Uprising, which detonates in a Bomberman-esque cross pattern, the Hocotate Bomb from Pikmin, which launches Olimar’s ship and drops it on the field for a violent explosion, the Rocket Belt from Pilotwings, which lets players boost jump to higher areas, and lastly, the Steel Diver from, well, Steel Diver, which fires explosive missiles via a portable submarine.

That’s quite the roster of new power-ups! This should hopefully leave plenty of destructive possibilities for players both playing For Fun, and squaring off against friends and CPU opponents!

ASSIST TROPHIES

One of the most popular new additions to Super Smash Bros. Brawl was Assist Trophies, which summoned classic Nintendo personalities to help fight opponents on your behalf. Fortunately, Assist Trophies are back in full force for both the 3DS and Wii U games, again, with a mix of old and new variants. Star Fox’s Andross, Devil World’s Devil, Kirby Super Star’s Knuckle Joe, Sin & Punishment’s Saki Amamiya, Fire Emblem’s Lyn, Nintendogs’ Nintendog, Mario spin-offs’ Waluigi, and SimCity’s Dr. Wright all return from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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New additions now include: The Skull Kid from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, who flips the arena upside-down, Mother Brain from the Metroid series, who zaps foes with a widespread energy beam, Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, who flails the giant hand on her head as a blunt weapon, Ashley from the WarioWare series, who appears to sap foes’ energy with a purple cloud, Dark Samus from the Metroid Prime trilogy, who uses bullets and Phazon tentacles to attack foes, Chain Chomp from the Mario series, who knocks away nearby foes, Isabelle from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, who throws fruit to damage foes, Elec Man from Mega Man, who uses his Thunder Beam attack to zap foes above, in front and behind him, and lastly, Color TV-Game 15, whom the most longstanding and/or learned Nintendo loyalists will remember as Nintendo’s very own Pong console from the 1970’s, appropriately knocking foes around with a square pellet bounced between two vertical ‘paddles’.

Now that is some obscure Nintendo fan service! It should compensate nicely for many of the new Assist Trophies apparently being more modern and recognizable faces for the most part, Elec Man notwithstanding.

Next: Pokémon, Returning fighters, and New fighters

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Brent Botsford has reviewed video games, movies and television for over a decade. He is also a Twitch Affiliate at twitch.tv/venuszen , presenting new, retro and independent games as the, "Sixth-Handsomest Gamer on the Internet', VenusZen.

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