Nintendo Direct - E3 2013
From watching the trailer, there were a lot of things I could spot taken from Brawl but this was to be expected really. Due to not seeing much of anything warranting a change in the topics at hand after E3, most of this first post will be on my input about said trailer.
Let's start from the gameplay shown with Link. I was hoping that Link had already been buffed in at least some way but this turned out to not be the case. Link still has his same old recovery from Brawl that hardly covers any vertical distance. This alone is one of the huge factors that really harms his ability to live to a high percentage on any decently large stage once launched far enough. Fastforwarding, I'm glad to see that recently he's gained a meteor effect to his Dair but that alone won't help much. Some severe balancing is gonna have to take place for Link to not closely repeat his rank position from Brawl.
To take a moment to talk about Toon Link, once I saw the Toon Link from Spirit Tracks on the Spirit Tracks stage, I knew that didn't mean the Toon Link from Wind Waker had no chance of reappearing as a playable character. Toon Link, even as the clone that he is, still has potential to not repeat the same fate in SSB4 and Wind Waker HD just helped those chances. How far Sakurai and Namco Bandai will go with decloning characters, I have no clue but I hope a fair amount of work is put into this.
For the first scene showcasing the Wii U version with Mario, Bowser, Fox and Link, my immediate thoughts were "This game looks absolutely amazing" and "Mario's dodge roll seems a lot quicker then it was in Brawl". It still seems that way to me as well, most likely because it is. Onto Bowser, I really dig his redesign because to be frank, I absolutely loathed his design in Melee and especially in Brawl. The Koopa Dropkick, what I'm unofficially calling it, has to be one of my favorite moves introduced in Smash 4 at this time.
Pit's Side B in Brawl was a move I never cared much for so I'm glad to see it replaced along with his recovery slightly changed (let's hope for the same fate to ROB's broken recovery) and his shield rehashed. With Samus, her forward Smash seems to only have 2 to 3 frames before contact which almost makes it instantaneous. I have mixed feelings about this. Only thing I have to say about her Final Smash is that it looks awesome in HD.
With the Villager, his moveset is great but there are a few select moves that seem too situational unless your opponent is clueless like the tree chop and to an extent the bowling ball. I like his nod to retro video games with his recovery reflecting Balloon Fighter and what seems to be a reference to either Punch Out!! or Wii Sports Boxing though I'm almost certain it's to Punch Out!!. I can see a lot of teams happening with Villager and projectile users, like Samus and Villager or Mega Man and Villager, due to his projectile stealing move that to me partially screams Mr. Game & Watch.
Now onto the big gleeful surprise for most people, Mega Man. I can't thank Sakurai enough for going with the classic feel Mega Man has in SSB4. His movements almost always mirrors his animations in classic Mega Man games which I can really appreciate. Mega Man's moveset seems very solid to me with almost no questionable moves. I'm hoping that his Final Smash turns out to be Rush Jet Adapter from Mega Man 7 personally.
Some techs that I noticed and glad that so far are still in (though I don't see many being removed) are power shielding and hitstun. I'm hopeful that hitstun is raised at least some for the final product, closely mirroring where it was for Melee. Other techs I hope make a return from Brawl or Melee are Crouch-canceling, Dash-canceling through a crouch which was similar to Wavedashing, L-canceling and in my dreams something like Wavedashing.
My Overall Thoughts
From what I've watched and seen through videos and screenshots, I can very easily sum up my thoughts on SSB4. The art direction is superb and really brings a new light to Smash Brothers, recently it seems more thinking and work is being put into balancing which puts a smile on my face and the promise ( and no-sight) of no tripping along with a speed between Melee and Brawl gives me hope that we could see this take a close position to Melee's praise, number of competitive players and fanbase.Only negative things I have to say are the models aren't as smooth as they most likely could be (I'm aware you have to zoom the camera in to notice), a few textures are very iffy like around half of Foxes fur textures which make me think of cheap wood or plastic (those fingers) and there are some animation flukes like Bowser's right foot in his idle animation. I realize these can and most likely will change before release.
Btw, if you want to know what I think about the Wii Fit Trainer in one simple statement, random but it works and does make sense.
Honestly due to the amount of time it took for this update (a little more then an hour), I among a large group of others over at Smash Boards were expecting another character reveal. Personally, I was not let down with this though like a few were. I remember a few months back, with that Kirby image, knowing it had to be a Galaxy stage due to the background's art style and from that knew this would eventually pop up. It seems that from the Kirby image til this one that the rim lighting effect was toned down which I'm ok with. I thought the rim effect was too "over-taking" anyways before with how it seemed to engulfed more of the character then it needed to but we'll see more of what I'm talking about with the second screenshot that Sakurai took on Friday and the Kirby screenshot.
Overall visually, I am very satisfied with how this stage looks. The lush greens and dirt browns along with the blue outer space background gives this stage a really good appearance and easy on the eyes. I was already a big fan of Smash 4's color decision for more primary colors but this in my opinion takes it to the next level and it comes out gorgeous.
I'm hoping that this stage will have no hazards (unless you call the gravity gimmick a hazard, ha). One of the things I feel Smash Brothers has too much of is hazards in it's stages, mostly damaging hazards and not camera rotation though that can be very annoying too. Sakurai seems dead set ever since the very first game in the Smash Brothers series on incorporating hazards into stages when some don't really need them and in my honest opinion this stage already has enough going on to where it doesn't need any. Talking for the competitive scene, I'm already 99% sure this stage will not be tourney legal due to the walk off ledges and the gravity gimmick.
One thing that, I'm sure I am not alone on, is being very curious on how exactly the stages gravity gimmick will work. Yeah, it's pretty obvious that you will be bound to the large planet's center of gravity we see the characters standing on and being effected by but what about small planets that drift close by? See that 2nd larger gray planet on the far right edge of the image? Perhaps you will snap to a smaller planet's gravity if you jump close enough. This could, for this stage, change the KO "game" in terms of not getting the KO due to gravity on not only the largest planet but smaller planets helping your opponents DI out of their certain death way more then usual. Until then, I'm half for the gravity idea and the other half of me is worried about if it will be implemented precisely.
In the second screenshot that Sakurai took, we not only get to see that the rim lighting effect may have been altered since the last time we saw it but the stage's backdrop props are always changing with the airship, planets and other objects not being stationary. One theory for this stage that has become quite popular is that the large grassy planet the stage takes most of it's time on will turn either clockwise or counter-clockwise and may contain holes you can meteor your opponents into.
From this image, it may very well be just a different time of the cycle from rotating, but this seems to for the moment disprove that theory. The trees are seen in roughly the same general area that you can see them in the first image while props in the background are either not where they were seen in the first image or there's something new floating in the background. This leads me to believe for the moment that, actually, the main stage will be completely stationary and there will be planets and other obstacles slowly floating overhead to cause ruckus, especially if they some or most of them have their own center of gravity.
Onto the rim lighting again, take a look at this screenshot from a couple of months back for a comparison:
Here we can see that the rim lighting seems to be taking up more of a character compared to what's seen in the two screenshots on Friday. There are several things this could mean though (or a mixture of both). One, this is only due to Kirby because he's so spherical and so is his hammer to an extent (oval but you get what I mean, I hope) and this seems to be holding some truth if you look at Pikachu's round behind and the lighting going on there. Two, the closer the camera is to a character, or the stage since it also has rim lighting, the more intense the effect will be. Either it was toned down or one of these two things (or both) are going on.
That's all I have to say for Friday's update. Tune in over the course of next week, long as there is something worthy of commenting about, for more of my input on various things shown in Sakurai's "Pic of the Day" screenshots.