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Ken, Incineroar and Piranha Plant join the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is fresh off its recent, and final, Nintendo Direct presentation. And boy do we have a lot to discuss. Not only have we been given two new fighters at game launch but there’s the reveal of a new fighter post launch with the possibility of even more to come. On top of this there are several new playable modes, both online and offline, as well as new game mechanics to discuss. But first, for those who’ve not seen the Direct, sit back and enjoy the next 40 minutes as Nintendo does its best to blow your expectations out of the water!

Starting with the introduction of new playable characters, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has announced the inclusion of echo fighter Ken Masters, and Pokémon Sun and Moon alumni Incineroar. Ever the eternal rival of Ryu, Ken strives to be the best fighter out there and despite sharing a similar fighting style does well to differentiate himself from his best friend. His attacks are based close off his appearance from Super Street Fighter II Turbo and will focus more off his signature kick attacks. He’ll also possess his own unique Flaming Shoryuken and longer lasting Tatsumaki Senpukyaku.

Incineroar isn’t the kind of fighter to be outdone; his introduction into the world of Smash Bros. should have made that obvious. A close quarter’s fighter, Incineroar will attack his opponents with familiar Pokémon moves seen in Sun and Moon. He can attack using Darkest Lariat, which is stationary spinning attack, an aerial rendition of Cross Chop, and a retaliatory counter attack called Revenge. His final smash will be a flashier version of his Z-Move Max Malicious Moonsault, and in this version he’s giving it his all.

Players could be forgiven for feeling like the number of new fighters was slightly lesser than was expected, but fear not as six other fighters will be arriving after the game’s release in the form of DLC. One of which has already been announced and will come as free bonus to all those who pre-order Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Piranha Plant. That’s right y’all, that bite happy plant from the Super Mario series is making its debut just a few short months after the game’s release. Spitting poison, lobbing spiky balls, and attacking from far distances are just some of the moves you’ll see this carnivorous plant dish out to its opponents.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

In a surprising move, battle trophies are being removed from Ultimate, to make way for the introduction of Spirits, a brand new mechanic for the series. Spirits come in all different shapes and sizes, and are the apparitions of other gaming characters found within Nintendo’s extensive gaming history. All spirits have a class level that determines their strength, the higher the class the stronger the spirit; they are Novice, Advanced, Aces, and lastly Legend. Spirits are obtained primarily through completing successful spirit battles and then ‘capturing’ the spirit afterwards.

Spirits are able to be equipped to players, which will help increase a fighter’s battle parameters – these are called Primary Spirits. Once a primary spirit is equipped, it may then equip itself with Support Spirits. These support spirits will grant the fighter additional skills, items, and buffs depending on what kind it is. Spirits also come in one of three types; Attack, Grab, and Shield. Each type will have a strength and weakness, for example, attack spirits have an advantage over grab spirits but are susceptible to major damage from shield spirits.

When equipped, spirits are able to level up and increase their strength and even alter their form if they meet certain requirements. This isn’t the only way you can level up spirits, as Ultimate offers players the opportunity to train them in Dojos and send them off on expeditions to find new items, coins, and other bonus items. One last thing to note about the spirits is their ability to be sent back into the ‘real world’ in exchange for their spirit core, which when combined with other cores can summon new and undiscovered spirits.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Wireless and online battles have never looked better with several ways to connect with other players either locally or overseas. The new matching system allows players to pre-set their own match rules before entering an online battle. Doing this will prompt the matchmaking system to find other players with similar rules, however this isn’t always going to be the case and if such an event occurs it will randomly pick one of the player’s rules and set that as the chosen format for the round.

Global Smash Power (GSP for short) will help match up players of the same calibre with one another, making for more enjoyable and balanced matches. Penalties will also be given to players who frequently self-destruct, like being disconnected from the game. Elite Battle mode will become available for those serious players whose GSP reaches a certain level. It’s in this mode that developers will use fight data to balance out the game and its characters, so if you make it to these hallowed halls, give yourself a big pat on the back.

Online players will need to create their own unique gamer tag that is brought into each battle and will serve as victory trophies once you beat that player. Try and collect as many of these tags as you can since they can be traded in for gold which can used to purchase all sorts of in-game items. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is also including Spectator mode where people can sit back and watch fights online, you might even learn a thing or two watching others play with your favourite characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Connectivity between friends has never looked so good on Ultimate. There are customisable online battle arenas that allow friends from all over to connect and join in the fight or simply sit back and watch. This is something that greatly excites me, since I have so many friends in different states and countries who’ll be playing and I want to wipe the floor with them all.

A free online service called Smash World will also launch soon after the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and will allow players to post pictures and videos of their battles. On top of this the Nintendo Switch App will connect players through voice chat, so that you can communicate to each other while playing.

The final number of assist trophies has been announced, and it’s a whopping 59 in total, that’s even larger than the total number of assist Pokémon. Some of the fighters include Yuri Kozukata from Fatal Frame, Isaac from Golden Sun, and Black Knight from Fire Emblem. Most of these assist trophies are able to be knocked out for an extra point, but players who summoned them can also KO them before hand to avoid losing a point.

There are several updates to the main and side menu, all worth taking a look at as they’ll provide new players with helpful hints and tips, and give veteran players stats and figures on their battles. Bonus challenges make a return to Ultimate and will once again grant players rewards for completing them.

The amount of news that has come out of this final Nintendo Direct has been astounding, with my only real complaint being that neither Waluigi nor Banjo and Kazooie made it to the final battle roster. My hopes have not been completely dashed however, with Masahiro Sakurai stating that five additional fighters (not echos either), brand new stages, and multiple tracks will be released as DLC. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is set to release on the Nintendo Switch worldwide on December 7. So tell us, are you ready? How do you feel about all the new content? And were you happy with the newest fighters announced? We here at Checkpoint certainly are ready to go.