All the rumor-talk about a next Smash Bros.-game gets my E3-hype only up all the more, so I took the time to think about what features, what kind of content I´d like to see in the next Smash Bros.-title for Café or 3DS. Below I listed five things that Nintendo needs to include to make me happy.
1.) Changeable Moves
A huge difference to the past three games, but the more I think about it, the less of a problem I see. Changing the moves of a character isn´t unprecedent, even fairly typical in a lot of anime-based fighting-games, such as Narutimate Hero for PS2 or the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi-series. These games let you decide what move is executed by what button-press. As big in content Brawl was, the freshness in terms of controlling all these characters was lost. Smash Bros. 64 was a great first entry, Melee improved vastly on that by adding the directional-B-moves as well as the ability to defend yourself in midair. Brawl added … tripping. Lol, no, of course, Brawl added a bunch of new gameplay as well, but it was more about environmental improvement. The characters had pretty much the same variety of moves as before.
I could see this being the big new feature of Smash Bros Café/3DS. All characters start out with a standard set of moves, but as you play the game, you unlock new moves, represented by some sort of trophy-like collectible. There would be unlockable moves of different categories, one category for each button-combination. At the end of unlocking all the content, there would be character-specific moves, moves that can only be used on a certain character. Maybe have three such moves for each category of each character. And then there´d be general moves that can be chosen for all characters. This wouldn´t only allow for a f***ton of classic, recognizable moves to be included (imagine choosing between Samus´ normal Beam, Plasma Beam, Ice Beam and Wave Beam for the B-button, or choosing between Link´s boomering, hammer or bombchus for the B+right/left-move), it´d also solve the problem of giving all fans what they want. For example, many fans want Ganondorf to have moves that he actually used in the games. Like using a sword, proper magic and stuff. But then there are long-time Smash Bros.-fans that want Ganondorf to stay exactly the way the grew to love fighting as him. Peace, baby!
2. New Characters
That is obvious, yeah. The two number one missing characters that I fully expect to see in the next Smash Bros.-game are Ridley (Metroid-series) and Krystal (Star Fox-series). Metroid really got shafted so far, with Samus Aran being the only playable character from the franchise. Yeah, we got Zero Suit Samus, but that´s hardly a new character per se. I mean, give us at least one enemy from each franchise so we have someone to fight, Nintendo. And Krystal would add both one more female character, not much of those, as well as introduce the first staff-fighter to the game. Speaking of staff-fighters, Nintendo could also add some Fire Emblem-character with a spear or such, and hopefully a series-villain, too. Other than those, the sky is the limit. There´s so many video game characters out there that would be tons of fun to have in Smash Bros.. I guess the most popular third-party-wish would be Megaman. But really, more important than adding new characters, Nintendo should concentrate on make the ones they already have as unique as possible.
3.) Trim down the Fat
Brawl has often been called “the ultimate Nintendo collection” or similar names, and it is true: The Wii-entry featured an encyclopedia´s richness of information, both in text and graphics and music. It also featured a singleplayer-adventure that by itself took around eight hours to beat a single time. And then we had a million of other game-modes. To be honest, I didn´t need all that. Especially the adventure-mode. The cutscenes were truly fantastic, but the mode itself was rather annoying and bland. And really, any true Smash Bros.-fan buys the game because of the fighting, not because of some sucky platforming.
Get rid of this hour-long adventure-mode and if it has to be there in some form, get it back to Melee-proportions. And while I hope to see a big soundtrack and wealth of information about characters again, do we really need all these small modes? I admit that I sucked at it, but stuff like the boss-run-mode or cruel Melee (whatever it was called in Brawl) didn´t really capture my heart. Same goes for repeating the All-Star-mode with all of the characters. And event-mode was fun in Melee, but really sucked in Brawl. I finished it because I´m addicted to finishing my games, but it was more of an annoyance than a “yay, I´m so happy to play this right now!”. And guess what, there´s two modes that Brawl was even missing. I want the “Finish the platforms” from the N64-game and the “Reach the Goal” from Melee back. Those modes offered a truly different experience. Oh, and either get rid of Target-mode or give every character his own level. Target-Test in Brawl sucked hard. Anyways, sometimes, less is better. More focus on the fighting and the truly fun bonus-modes, less “it´s there because it was easy to implement”.
4.) Against the CPU-cooperative modes and 4 vs. 4-battles
The former would feature a few different missions where up to four players are fighting against CPU-enemies, but not in the usual arenas, but specially designed mission-levels. And the goal here wouldn´t be to simply kill other characters, but to pursue real taks, like protecting a ship that is sailing on an ocean, trying to conquer a castle, trying to build a tower by using certain items to reach a high up point while simultaneously defending against attacking enemies. There could even be boss battles, like when you´re sailing mentioned ship, a giant sea monster appears that you have to fend off by using the ship´s own cannon.
The latter would introduce a whole new level of multiplayer-action to the franchise, while at the same time not overdoing it. Four players during battle should remain the standard battle-mode, but for adding a lot of new potential, I´d love to see a raised player-count. I don´t know, if that was possible offline, but at least online, it should be doable.
5.) Return to a mix of 64/Melee-gameplay
This is a hardcore-fan´s wish, so I kept it for last. The main reason why Super Smash Bros. Brawl didn´t captivate myself for not even close to as long as Melee, was not only the lack of available offline-friends. It was also because of the floaty, party-game-like gameplay. Yeah, yeah, some ignorant gamers laugh about the Smash Bros.-series, “fighting game, lulz”, but for all those of us that put a lot of time and effort into the franchise, the depth was obvious and extremely motivating. What I loved about 64´s gameplay was how impactful each and every move felt. Hitting another character with Link´s sword really made you feel the contact between sword and character, even without rumble pak. This got worse in Melee, but then again, Melee introduced a speed and dynamic to all the fighting that made it just as engaging. Combine the two styles and I´m sure we would experience the best Smash Bros.-game of all times.
And a small 6.), because I´m too lazy to edit this article´s title: Different costumes for every character, not just color swaps. Seriously, that´s not demanded too much, is it.
And small 7.), lol, because I just searched for a nice image for the top of this text: Maybe change the artstyle from the realistic one we have right now to a more cartoony style, resembling the original game´s boxart. As can be seen above.