An Ultimate Look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Part 2: Competitive Aspects

Welcome back to our in-depth look at what we can expect from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Last time we covered the new information more casual fans will be interested in, but now let's do a quick rundown of what we know on the more competitive front.

Top Kek Tech

Melee veterans have criticized recent Smash games for downplaying or outright omitting advanced techniques that made the Gamecube entry so popular at tournaments. Unfortunately for them, it seems Ultimate will still lack most of these features, but the good news is a few have made a triumphant return.

Dash-dancing, a spacing technique made of short, repeated dashes in opposite directions, is reportedly back in full-force. While this movement option was present in Brawl and Smash 4, it was nerfed to the point that it was completely unviable without the addition of other movements. According to Melee legend Adam “Armada” Lindgren, dash-dancing in Ultimate is “not as fast and fluid as it is in Melee but it’s still somewhere in between Smash 4 and Melee.” It’s worth noting that the speed and viability of dash-dancing have always varied heavily depending on the character, so if this sort of impression can be taken from what is essentially the skeleton of the release build’s roster, there is potential that we may see this advanced movement tool become a ubiquitous element of this game’s tournament life.

We also have the return of wavelanding, a high-skill landing tool that allows players to return to the ground while performing a forward slide, allowing them to move while also being able to perform any ground action. The catch is that those who have played the game report that it’s not nearly as useful as in Melee due to lesser forward propulsion and slower speed, unfortunately. We hope that this too will be more useful with characters that have not been made playable yet, but we fear that’s rather unlikely.

Combo Breaker

Like with any fighting game, one of the first things smashers look for in a new release is combos. The first two Smash games had very high hitstun, leaving lots of time for players to land follow-ups, leading to bigger combos, whereas the more recent games have decreased hitstun to a drastic degree.

Comboing in Ultimate seems different to say the least, but whether that’s for better or for worse remains to be seen. On one hand, hitstun appears to have been increased over other recent Smash games (though it’s still indisputably on the lower end of the spectrum) It’s a bit too early to say definitively that this will lead to more true combos, but it’s hard to argue that Nintendo is going in the right direction, even if only with baby steps.

On the other hand, there are the changes to knockback acceleration. For whatever reason, the build of Ultimate shown at E3 showed characters being flung away at high speeds and then quickly decelerating to almost a halt after a hit, like some sort of reverse-Lloid rocket. The fact that one can seemingly hit opponents out of their effective follow-up range so easily could prove to be a big threat to Ultimate's combo game, though we don't want to make any definitive statements on that, since a large body of people playing the game at a trade show in quick increments isn't a very reliable way to gauge a game's finer systems.

It’s difficult to say what the future holds for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s combos, but for now, we can at least be content knowing that no big steps down have been taken since Smash 4.

Super Smash Bros. is coming to Nintendo Switch!

Crossups Get Crossed Off

In what must be the most baffling gameplay alteration of this entire build, it has apparently become impossible to move through an opponent’s shield, whether by dashing, attacking or using cross up aerials. Rest assured, this has been reported as a bug and will not affect the final build.

The Return of Offense

For a multitude of reasons, recent Smash games have had incredibly defensive gameplay when it comes to the competitive scene, resulting in series veterans feeling alienated by the shift in focus and casual observers finding tournament play slow and monotonous. Nintendo and Hal Labs seem to have taken note of this, as Ultimate is aiming to both increases the viability of offensive options and curb the overpowering reliability of defensive ones.

Not only will the aforementioned dash-dancing and wavelanding be present, but players will be able to cancel dashes into any tilt or smash attack allowing for a wide variety of offensive tools.

Rolling has also been nerfed to bring far fewer invincibility frames after repeated uses, while perfect shielding has been tweaked to only offer its high defensive advantage when players release the shield button in tandem with the opponent’s attack instead of when the press it. This will lead to far greater risk to miss-timing the perfect shield and will replace Smash 4’s turtling with a more kinetic playstyle as a result.

Final Thoughts

There’s much we have yet to see from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but with what little we have to go on so far, the game seems to warrant its fair share of hype.
What do you think of Smash Ultimate? Let us know in the comments and be sure to stay posted to Honey’s Anime.

Super-Mario-Bros-Ultimate-presskit-1-560x104 An Ultimate Look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Part 2: Competitive Aspects


Author: Will Bertazzo Lambert

I’m a 22 year old writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba who does fiction, media critique and everything in between, currently studying English and rhetoric. I have influences ranging all the way from Henry James, to Stephen Greenblatt to Nintendo Power and after years of fanatical devotion to the coverage of anime and video games, I've finally tossed my hat into the ring and decided to give writing a try for myself. Will this be the dawn of a lifelong career or a small footnote on an otherwise unrelated life? Only time will tell, but I would like nothing more than to have you join me on the journey to discovering the answer.

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