*Authors Note* Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U has been announced, but we know nothing more than that. Nintendo have informed us that the game is due to be shown in detail in the lead up to E3 beginning June 10th.
Another console generation, another Super Smash Bros. game. There is a lot of hype surrounding this latest entry in the franchise with this latest game making its way to Nintendo’s new Wii U, but also to the handheld platform for the first time via the 3DS. With each entry we’ve seen the franchise grow more expansive and more loaded with depth, but the game itself still follows some pretty clear formulas. What can be done in this new game to freshen up the experience and maintain the millions of sales that past entries have garnered? Read on and see.
1/ More Dynamic Levels
While last years Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale did a great job of cloning a number of key elements of the Smash Bros. franchise, however something they took and ran with was the dynamic levelling of the game. Levels combined the best elements of multiple Sony franchises and the general layout of those levels shifted regularly. Brawl had a huge number of levels in them, each following a franchise theme, but what Nintendo could do is take leaf from PS All-Stars handbook and blend these franchises together and make the levels firstly more diverse, but secondly more interactive. Constantly changing environments can keep the action constantly fresh and can permanently shift the flow of a battle.
2/ More 3rd Party Additions in the Roster
Nintendo franchises are for obvious reasons well represented in the roster of the Smash Bros. franchise, but with the development of this new game being worked on in collaboration with Namco Bandai, it opens the door for a number of their franchises such as the ‘Tales Of’, and ‘Ni No Kuni’ (Yes the game was on DS first) franchises to be involved in the fray. One can’t help but think of some of the other prominent gaming icons that could also feature in the new game. What about Crono of Chrono Trigger fame? Bayonetta who is in the upcoming Wii U exclusive Bayonetta 2? Perhaps even older and more obscure characters such as Goemon from Mystical Ninja. Finally, Capcom has a wealth of franchises at their disposal and it is high time some key players such as Megaman and a Belmont of Castlevania fame made the transition into Nintendo’s brawler.
3/ Transferable data from 3DS and Wii U versions
This is pretty straight forward, and highly likely to occur, but what better than putting hours of work into your Wii U version of the game, uploading your data to the 3DS version and then when you’re out and about you have the ability to pick up the file and keep playing when you’re on the train or riding shotgun in the car? It is making that experience accessible from all areas that will make the next Smash Bros game really shine. Sony has shown that it can work with games such as Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, Capcom showed it can work on Wii U/3DS with Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate, and Nintendo would be making a major mistake if it doesn’t take this opportunity to firstly broaden the experience, but secondly to generate extra sales.
4/ Include Individual Character Narratives
Let’s be honest, Adventure mode from Brawl kinda sucked. It was a good idea to create a scenario that justifies why all these characters were being gathered together, but it ultimately came across as a bit lame. What we would rather see in this latest entry are individual character stories, that can be knocked out in 20-30minutes or so, and then are pieces to an overall narrative (if Nintendo still wishes to tell it). This gives the players opportunities to experience each different characters play style, but doesn’t force you through the same experience repeatedly with the different narratives changing the interludes between battles
With franchises such as Smash Bros, like Mario Kart, keeping the game balanced is a very tricky tightrope to walk. You want to give characters interesting, engaging skills, but you don’t want some of the more basic, limited characters to be left behind, so fine tuning that balancing further is important. Depending on your character of preference there were always a few from Brawl that made for easy fodder for kills, and that shouldn’t happen, all characters need to balanced further to ensure no advantages are given, especially when they’re using Smash Balls.
Speaking of which, it will be important to ensure that the Smash Ball is not too dominant of the experience. Perhaps save one Smash Ball for each battle, it can be what gives a straggler a possible escape from a crushing defeat, or for the dominant player, it provides the extra opportunity to further bury your opponents, but having too many Smash Balls appearing distracts the players from the core gameplay. To offset this they should introduce more weapons such as the Dragoon that are a challenge to both collect and then use, but aren’t going to dominate the play like the Smash Ball does.
6/ Introduce new Gameplay Mechanics
The core gameplay of the franchise has not deviated much since the first title on the Nintendo 64, and whilst this has kept the game relatively accessible for the younger or less experience gaming market, the game would benefit from that extra layer of depth for the experienced and more skilled players. Introducing dodges and Guards would be helpful for those players who are little more defensive in their approach, the Guard especially could be used in such a way that effective Guards result in you absorbing the hit which can then be unleashed in a latter smash attack.
Perhaps the introduction of a rage bar can be explored that fills with each hit you land. This can be balanced simply with enhanced damage for the player that activates their rage bar but also results in the players health taking a major hit too, this results in a constant risk/reward question being posed to the player who wishes to take the chance.
We’ve offered our ideas, but we know that there are a lot of very creative people out there with a lot of wonderful thoughts for the newest game in this franchise. Make yourself be heard in the comments below and await more details as E3 approaches and Nintendo finally pulls back the curtain on their new brawler.
What do you want from the newest Smash Bros. game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below
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