Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hands on first impressions of Ridley at E3 2018

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At E3 2018 I played four matches of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, each of them around four minutes long with four players and item turned on. It wasn't my preferred place to test the game out, but lines were long and I was happy with the access I had!

The first thing I noticed was that the game looks and runs beautifully. There was a considerable amount of "impact" pause every time a player was hit with a hard attack which felt very satisfying.

I played as Ridley during my play sessions and the new character feels very powerful. I really enjoyed the sounds that Ridley makes as he screams across the battlefield -- very iconic!



Ridley can best be described as Bowser and Ganondorf fused together with a lot of vertical jump. His projectile neutral B move can't finish people off, but it is a great tool for racking up damage and forcing people to block or jump to avoid the flames. Charging it sends more flames and its "weak spot" (damaging Ridley at the pinnacle of charging interrupts the channel and causes extra percent damage) was rarely punished.

Ridley's Up B special is a lot like Fox and Falco's, but its killing power is unique and I got many KO's chasing and hitting opponents who were already high in the air. Ridley suffers from pretty poor horizontal movement, so most of the time I used this early after a double jump to try to get back to the stage.

Ridley's Down B special is perhaps his most unique. As seen in the reveal, it has a "sweet spot" that can cause massive damage if it hits the right spot. I honestly had a hard time making this move work, but there were a few times after a grab (when the opponent was at low percentage) where I could see the potential of punishing a teched roll or dodge with this move.

Ridley's Side B special seems like it was lifted straight from Ganondorf's arsenal and behaves in a similar manner. I had the most success grabbing opponents when I suspected a roll or dodge. The KO power of this move is deceptively high, and while I'm not sure if moves decay in strength after repeated use like in other Smash titles, it seems like a good strategy to save this move for an unexpected finisher

Ridley's large size is a bit of an issue in a free-for-all match, as with all big characters. Sure, my smash attacks got a lot of mileage thanks to the large hit boxes, but that also meant pretty much every projective and item being tossed hit me instead of my smaller opponents.

Here are all of the things I tested or otherwise noticed:


1. You can't wavedash but you can wave land to some degree. This is particularly useful for floating characters trying to land on a platform quickly. 

2. The diminishing returns of dodging (more lag at the end of the dodge) is noticeable -- spamming dodges and rolls become easy to punish especially in a free-for-all setting. In 1 vs. 1, I imagine spam dodging to be even more punishing.

3. I wasn't able to perfect shield consistently but I did do it once by accident. The change that made this only activate when "releasing" shield is a good one. It makes Smash feel much more "deliberate" and less about spamming shield all the time.

4. Short hopping felt pretty easy thanks to the new functionality of simply pressing the jump button and the attack button. It made controlling your self in the air while short hopping more intuitive.

5. Smash Bros. Ultimate feels more lethal and fast-paced than Smash 4. Characters fly off the screen easier and most characters have moves that can deal upwards of 25-40 percentage in one attack.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will launch December 7th, 2018.

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