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A Smashing Success: Five Things ‘Super Smash Bros.’ Needs to Improve

With more information about the next Smash game set to be unveiled at the next Nintendo Direct on Tuesday, there’s just enough time for a few last-minute wishes for the new title. Here are the top five things that Smash on Switch needs to improve in order to make the next Smash game as good as it can be.

5.) Better amiibo Integration

Amiibo felt poorly integrated in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. While this didn’t really matter that much then, the next Smash game for Switch needs to address their drastic underutilization and unleash their full potential. Allowing players to actually play as their custom amiibos, as opposed to just training them, would be a step in the right direction. Add to that the ability to share amiibo data online and download other users’ amiibo profiles and the eponymous plastic figurines would feel much more essential to the game experience. After all, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, Smash builds hype for amiibo like no other franchise in Nintendo’s library.

super smash bros
Nothing sells amiibo better than the ‘Smash Bros.’ series.

4.) An Excellent Story Mode

While Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s Subspace Emissary was far from perfect, it was a dream come true for Nintendo fans who had long wished to see their favorite characters interact with one another. With Nintendo integrating a story mode into the upcoming Mario Tennis Aces, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them follow suit with Smash, creating a fun, if nonsensical, mashup of characters that would feel fun to play through. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS was an amazing game, but the lack of a story mode made it feel kind of empty when one tired of multiplayer. Subspace Emissary wasn’t perfect, but it provided some of the most moving cutscenes in Nintendo’s history. It would be great to see something of its ilk return in Smash for Switch.

super smash bros
Crazy crossovers like this are part of the reason that the Subspace Emissary in ‘Super Smash Bros. Brawl’ had such appeal.

3.) Better Single Player Content

On that same note, Smash for Switch really needs more single player content. While Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS offered plenty of multiplayer goodness, it had little to offer solo players not interested in multiplayer. A lazy event system, lack of a story mode, and uninteresting additions such as Smash Tour and Smash Run made the single player modes of Smash feel as bad as its multiplayer felt excellent. For that reason and especially given the Switch’s nature as a portable console, Nintendo needs to focus on giving solo players something fun to do when not battling other players. Better challenges, a revamped event mode, and an improved Classic mode could do wonders for improving the next Smash’s single player modes.

super smash bros
Events haven’t been good since ‘Super Smash Bros. Melee,’ it’s time that ‘Smash’ on Switch changed that.

2.)  Better Roster Balancing

If Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS is used as the basis for Super Smash Bros. on Switch, then the roster is in bad need of balancing. The gulf between bottom tier characters, such as Ganondorf, and top tier characters, such as Bayonetta and Cloud, is so great that it oftentimes can make competitive matches feel more unfair than fun. Ganondorf, Jigglypuff, and other low tiers either need buffs, nerfs for high tiers, or complete reworkings of their movesets, to make them viable in competitive play.  For a roster as varied as Smash, there are bound to be a few characters who fall by the wayside, either due to patches or new character releases, but the fact remains that it needs to be addressed for the game to have any sort of competitive variety. Oftentimes, it just isn’t fun when one character takes hold in online and, as a result, character diversity in tournaments suffers appreciably.

super smash bros
It’s clear that characters like Ganondorf, Jigglypuff, and King Dedede need a series rework in the next ‘Smash’ game.

1.) A Better Online Architecture

However, the most pressing need for Nintendo is a complete reboot of Smash’s online system. While Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS’ online system was infinitely better than Brawl’s protean disaster, it still lagged behind pretty much every major industry standard. First and foremost, Smash needs to drop its out-dated utilization of the peer-to-peer network protocol, a system that makes determines the game’s latency based upon the lowest common denominator. This has to be addressed in the upcoming Smash game, lest Nintendo risk releasing yet another Smash game with poor online systems in place. Replacing this aging network system with a new, improved server system would go miles toward making Smash on Switch feel truly modern. To that end, there are a myriad of other systems that Nintendo should consider. An Elo-based ranking system, paired with a tiered matching system a la Blizzard, for players within each region would be incredible, allowing both professional and amateur Smash players to enjoy playing with competition that neither overwhelmed nor under-challenged them. This addition, if coupled with a good online tournament system (read: not like Smash for Wii U’s), would go miles toward improving Smash’s online presence and its place in Nintendo’s pantheon of excellent games.

super smash bros
‘Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS’ featured improved online, but ‘Smash’ for Switch needs to step it up in order for the series to take the leap that it deserves.

If Nintendo can integrate these features into Smash on Switch then there’s no doubt that it can be not only one of the best Smash games of all time, but possibly one of Nintendo’s greatest games ever. As always, stay tuned to Goomba Stomp for more information following Tuesday’s Direct.

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