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Everyone In Smash Bros (Wii U/ 3DS) Feels Well Balanced

Venks Dunson | July 19, 2014



I've spent more hours than anyone should, playing the Smash Wii U demo and I thought I'd take a moment and reflect on how I felt about the game's character balance.
A lot of the veterans have been tweaked in one way or another and all of the newcomers have a lot to learn about them. I don't pretend that the chaotic time I spent with these characters will reveal the true stature of each character, but none the less I'd like to express what I saw.
Mario
Mario seemed really easy to pick up and play compared to the rest of the cast.
He surprisingly has very little lag on any of his aerials and still has his amazing fireball that sets him up for great approaches.

Bowser
Bowser was my second most played character. The buffs to this guy are huge. Faster attacks make it a lot easier to punish poor choices from your opponent.
Like all heavy weights in this game he KOs faster and takes longer to be knocked out compared to how he was in Brawl.

Bowser's back air is a powerful KO move in the air due to how fast it comes out, but still has a good amount of lag on landing. Bowser's new spiking down air seems really useless offstage since it pulls Bowser downwards without a bounce-on-hit like Link or Greninja. Thanks to aerial spikes now providing ground bounces I feel like this move has a lot of hidden potential.
Oh and that super armor on Bowser's up smash makes for a great anti-air. I'm no longer afraid of Fox down airs into up tilts.
Rosalina & Luma
Rosalina & Luma are really hard to figure out in chaotic four person FFAs with items on. None the less she has strong aerials with decent speed. Her smash attacks are really strong when used in tandem with Luma.
She seemed pretty average, but a friend of mine was destroying with her. She'll definitely be an interesting character when we figure out her combos with Luma.
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong is looking improved in this game. His new dash attack isn't quite as good as it is in Project M, but it's definitely an improvement. The slight speed increase is also vastly appreciated and makes landing his side special so much easier.
Samus
Samus has been buffed pretty hard. Her bombs from her down special come out faster then they did in Brawl. Samus's charge shot KOs a lot faster this time around.
Samus's Screw Attack isn't the crazy KO move people make it out to be, but it does have better knock back and is a safer move to use. Samus's up smash has more KO power and her side smash has more range. Samus's nair now hits both sides and is a pretty fast attack.

All of these buffs to Samus still don't seem to make her as strong as Sakurai implied, but she is multitudes better than she was in Brawl.
Zero Suit Samus
Zero Suit Samus was amazing in Brawl and she's only been buffed in Smash 4.
Her down special burying grounded opponents allows for stupid combos combined with her down smash. Her new up special comes out really fast and is a decent KO move.

Zero Suit becoming better in this game wasn't really needed with how good she was in Brawl, but to be fair she doesn't really seem too much stronger then the rest of the cast. She is by no means the Meta Knight of this game and a lot of Brawl's lower tier characters are looking stronger as well.
Link
Link truly has a chance to shine in this iteration of Smash. First and foremost Link is a lot heavier and thus harder to knock off the stage. And even when that happens his sword spin up special has more vertical ascension this time around.
As an added bonus, Link's grapple hook reaches absurdly far and makes for a great recovery.
With so much survivability, Link can focus on using his increased speed and power to knock some players out. Everything in his moveset just seems to hit harder and thus he lands KOs a lot faster than he did in Brawl. Link is a true contender this time around.
Zelda
Zelda has been nerfed hard. Less Knock back and damage on ALL of her smash attacks. Thankfully her up air has been buffed and looks to deal more damage, knockback, and has more active frames. Overall she feels weaker than she did in Brawl, but I'm hoping that I simply haven't found her new strengths in Smash 4.
Villager
Villager is very, very good. Can combo out of his down throw and has a solid projectile with fAir and bAir. His tilts are actually decent KO moves and seem superior to his smash attacks.
The Lloid Rocket is an amazing projectile or recovery and is a really safe option for Villager. His up special is really fast and allows him to recover from pretty crazy distances. His down special is a little situational, but the tree is great for stalling and also KOs around 50% when chopped down. He can very quickly bury opponents with his down smash which of course makes it very easy to land his KO inducing bowling ball.
Villager has several tools that make for a very strong character. Do not sleep on this guy.
Pit
Pit seems largely the same only without gliding or his shenanigans with his old up special. His arrows are less effective because they vanish faster. His side special has super armor and KOs around 100%.

Pit still looks to be one of the stronger characters because of his strong aerials and above average range.
Kirby
Kirby seems really good and works really well out of his tilt attacks. The nerf to DI has also made his dash attack and down air far more usable. His down special seems slower so that's a small nerf.
But as everyone has seen from the Invitational his throws are really strong and KO early on if not overused.
Fox
Fox still looks good in my eyes, but I'm comparing him to Brawl Fox rather than Melee Fox. His up smash and up air seem tamed, but they're still solid KO moves. Fox just has to work a bit harder to rack up damage now then he did before.
Marth
Marth feels the same as he did in Brawl. Perhaps with the game being more ground based he'll be able to use that to his advantage. And even then he can still forward air into forward air. Just not out of short hop.
Greninja
Greninja is good in a lot of areas. Solid aerials, tilts, and smashes. He can do true combos out of his down air and the move is even safe on block. His smash attacks are a bit on the slower side, but make up for it with their great range and KO power.

A lot of people seem to be looking at Greninja as one of the stronger characters, but to me he doesn't seem any stronger than say Pit. His up smash is pretty incredible with its start up as a vertical KO and ending as a horizontal KO, but the significant lag looks to make up for it. His special attacks are good, but don't seem any more powerful than any one else's.
Shadow Sneak is a very unique move and isn't quite as obvious as I thought it was originally. But I'm not quite sure how effective it'll be in a 1v1.
Pikachu
Pikachu looks really strong in Smash 4. It's a shame you can still SDI out of his down smash, but aside from that he looks to be getting more effective range on some of his standard attacks.
Pikmin & Olimar
Olimar is still a really good character. He has slightly less range on his attacks and only having three Pikmin makes it easy for him to not have one to use nearby.
I think this is a fair trade given how strong his smash attacks are and how good his new recovery move is.
Little Mac
The character I played the most, more than anyone in the world outside Nintendo, was Little Mac.
He has the second fastest dash in the game and some of the fastest attacks as well.
Combine these attributes with super armor and he's a legitimate threat. He doesn't have a solid answer for players who camp on top of platforms, but he doesn't outright lose as long as he doesn't get caught in the air.

Little Mac can rack up damage and knock out opponents exceptionally fast.
He doesn't have much KO power while his opponent is in the air, but his Rising Uppercut special comes out really fast and is great for catching opponents directly above. With all of these great tools, I have to say Little Mac is far from being a low tier character.
Wii Fit Trainer
Wii Fit Trainer seems really quirky. I just don't know how exactly she's going to move her body when ever I press a button. That said I love that she can buff herself and then bury opponents into the ground via a jab combo. There is potential here if we can figure her out.
Mega Man
Mega Man is another of the hard characters to use in four person FFAs.
His projectiles are a bit on the slow side so they weren't very useful in the chaotic fights. His aerials though are all really good attacks. Especially his fAir which has amazing speed, range, and knock back. Oh and his up Air can claim KOs pretty early on if positioned correctly.

I have a lot of faith in Mega Man being a good character. Once we get him into some 1v1s I think there will be a lot more appreciation for his Metal Blade. I'm always a fan of characters that can control diagonal space with projectiles. It's something nice to have against short hopping, aerial happy, opponents.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Lastly Sonic seems much better this time around. Multi-hit attacks are just so much better in this game. Also it's a lot harder to tell when he's using his homing attack and it comes out a bit faster.

Summary

I'm really liking the bulk of buffs and nerfs we see in Super Smash Bros 4.
I can actually imagine having a good time with Bowser against the entirety of the cast rather than feel exceptionally out classed. There's no match-up thus far that I feel would just be an automatic loss. This seems to be the case with a lot of the low tier characters as they have been buffed pretty nicely.

On the other end of the fence, I'm happy to see none of the higher tier characters look to be too strong. Zero Suit Samus has really good range and power, but her speed is definitely lacking compared to a bunch of the other fighters.
Sakurai has said that the game is still in the process of being tweaked, so perhaps when the game releases it'll solve a few of its problems.
I have a lot of faith in the Smash Development Team after playing this demo and can't wait to try my hand at this game competitively.

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