Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Smashing Surprise

My doctor warned me about taking in too much info about the next Smash Brothers game. Not one to heed advice from a medical professional, I watched the Smash Bros Direct anyways. A heart attack, trip to the hospital and transplant later, I'm back and fully recovered. While there was a good amount of general information revealed, Pokémon received generous attention and it all started with this cleverly teased picture.

Presents for all the good Pokémon fanboys and girls
In addition to the usual Pokeball item, Master Balls were introduced. Master Balls contain legendary Pokémon such as Arceus, Palkia and Xerneas. They might have a limitation similar to Assist Trophies where only one legendary Pokémon can be out at a time, but there hasn't been any word on
that yet.

Go Gogoat, Go!
Many Pokémon were recently revealed as Pokeball items. Out of the newly revealed ones, Gogoat is my favorite. As the goat that goes, Gogoat lets you ride on it as it rams into opponents. I was the guy who spammed Wario's bike, so this will be quite fun to exploit. Returning Pokémon like Snorlax, Entei and Metagross don't change from past iterations.

Imagine Shadow Lugia as a stage hazard
Besides the already revealed Prism Tower stage for the 3DS, the Wii U is treated to the Kalos Pokémon League as an exclusive stage. While it looks drop-dead gorgeous, I'm disappointed. I know X and Y are the most recent games, but where's the love for 5th gen!? I've always wanted to fight at N's Castle. Or what about Tin Tower from HGSS or Citadark Island from Pokémon XD? In my opinion, too much emphasis is placed on 6th gen in the new Smash.

 Now, let's look at what everyone cares about: the characters. First, Lucario's Final Smash was revealed to be Mega Lucario. Makes sense. While Mega Evolved, Lucario's Aura is always at maximum strength. Lucario's Aura abilities also got a significant buff.

Watch the power of Aura!

You got to be quicker than that, Mac.
Character transformations were confirmed not to make an appearance. Zelda/Sheik are now separated as Zelda and Sheik. This means that Pokémon Trainer, one of my mains from Brawl, won't be coming back. It's only fitting that Charizard, the Pokémon I least used, will be returning without a trainer to boss it around. At least he won't have the tire out mechanic. The reveal trailer showcased some new moves including a stronger aerial attack. Mega Charizard X is also confirmed as his Final Smash. It's unknown yet, but hopefully Charizard Y will also be included.

Mega Charizard X is ready to battle!

And now, the biggest surprise and the last shock that triggered my heart attack.

Meowth, that's right! Greninja, the final evolution of Froakie, is a playable character. I'm still in disbelief. A while back, I made a list of likely Pokémon to be included as playable characters like Mewtwo, Zoroark and Blaziken. But never did I imagine that Greninja would be chosen. Greninja is one of my absolute favorite Pokémon and the main reason I picked Froakie, so I obviously welcome Greninja with open arms. It does make it difficult to decide whether I should play as Greninja or Little Mac my first match. Decisions, decisions...

The trailer showcases Greninja using swift water attacks like Water Shuriken and unorthodox moves like Substitute. What Greninja's addition means though is that the chance of Mewtwo returning became slimmer. Pokémon most likely won't overpass the Super Mario series in character representation, so I wouldn't expect more than 5 playable Pokémon. We already have 4 and I suspect Jigglypuff will be taking the 5th slot. Both Jigglypuff and Mewtwo are viable with their new techniques in 6th gen, but Jigglypuff has more history with Smash. I could be wrong, but my hunch says Mewtwo isn't coming back.

The Smash Bros Direct brought a ton of news for Pokémon fans. While I hope more emphasis will be placed on previous generations, the inclusion of new items and Greninja blew me away. Pokémon is going strong in the next Smash Bros!

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