This week saw some good news for fans of fighting games everywhere, as the best Smash Bros fighter ever now has rollback netcode. The game in question is of course Project+, the community developed adaptation of Super Smash Bros. Brawl that seeks to add Melee-style physics to a newer Smash game, along with the addition of rollback has some of the Melee crowd quite excited.
For those not familiar with the technology, rollback is a way of "predicting" player moves that a fair few games currently use to cut down on negative user experiences and "lag" when players are playing online. Some modern fighters use it, while others — like Nintendo’s own Smash Ultimate —have chosen to go with other ways to ensure their players have a good time online, with mixed results, it’s fair to say.
Now though, with Project+ players having the option to play online with the same ease as they can Melee, it seems like interest in the game is peaking again, at least among the Smash community. And that’s a great thing, as Project+ is frankly amazing for people who want to have fun, but also want to master a challenging game.
As the only Smash game developed with competitive play in mind that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the reality of the game’s development means it is still largely an underground title, despite the brilliance it can boast.
Why play Project+?
For those who are new to Project+, we’ve already outlined what it is above... But equally this writer can never resist an opportunity to extoll the virtues of such an amazing title. Like Dota 2 (Warcraft 3 mod) and CSGO (Half-Life 2 mod), the game is a fan-made mod of an existing title. But unlike those games, it has been stomped into the mud by the developer, rather than being celebrated and creating an entire esports ecosystem in the way the other titles have.
Put simply, P+ tries to bring the feeling and physics of Melee to a game with more characters, while also adding to the character diversity when it comes to "viability," which is considered the measure of how likely any one character is to win a major tournament. Melee, while undoubtedly a masterpiece, does lack the level of cast balance you’d want from a competitive title, and P+ tries to fix this by buffing bad characters to the point they are good enough to win events.
In short, if you want to win with Fox or Marth, you can do that in Project+, but you can win with Donkey Kong, Toon Link, or Roy just as easily. What are essentially meme characters in Melee have been tweaked and buffed to the point where almost anyone is viable in the game, making now the best time ever to try out a game that probably represents the high point in the Smash Bros series when it comes to competitive viability and gameplay variety.
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