Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Smash-Fest Experience!

Okay, I know I still need to write an E3 post. I have one that's about halfway done, but... I've been considering breaking it up into parts for Zelda Wii U, Hyrule Warriors, and Super Smash Bros., because there's so much to talk about for all of them! But we'll see.

What I want to talk about right now is Smash-Fest! I am extremely lucky that there was a Best Buy in my state that I was able to go to in order to play Smash Bros. before its release! It certainly wasn't nearby, but it was close enough that I was willing to take the time. It was definitely worth it, too. So I just wanted to kind of talk about my experience for a bit.

I went with my sister and a good friend of mine. The event started at 4, but we arrived at 2:45 or so... and I was stunned to see that there was already a huge line of people extending all the way around the side of the building. So, of course, we had to sit in the hot summer sun and regret the fact that we didn't bring umbrellas and chairs like some of the smarter people in the line. Regardless, the waiting wasn't too bad. We waited for 4 to come by starting a 20-round Mario Party DS game. (I won, by the way. Serves them right. I was in last place until round 5 or so, when I won a Battle mini-game, got a TON of coins, and bought three different Star Pipes from the shop and used them to go to the star three times to get ahead. XD)

We even ended up kind of talking to the guy in line behind us. He asked what we were playing and we told him. He ended up watching us and kind of laughing about everything that happened in the game. It was pretty fun!

Finally, at long last, at 4 pm, we were allowed in the air-conditioned store. Luckily, despite behind around the side of the building, we actually were among the first group to enter the store. ...But that's not saying much. We had another three hours of waiting ahead of us still. That's right. Three. Four hours total including the time we spent outside. That's how many people came to this Smash Bros. event. The line extended way ahead of us. The store associates weaved the line in between all the shelves of merchandise, so we couldn't even see the back of Smash Bros. monitor for at least the first hour. The TV itself was facing the wall, so we had to be something like third in line to actually watch the battles.

Eventually, after the fabulous Princess Peach won our Mario Party game, my sister left to check out the monitor and see what was going on. I then asked the guy behind us if he wanted to play Spirit Tracks with my friend and I, and one of the guys right in front of us yelled, "Did someone say Spirit Tracks?" and held up the case to the game, which he had brought with him. So we invited him to play with us as well! Unfortunately, apparently everyone forgot to charge their DS or 3DS except for me, so our battles didn't last as long as they could have, but they did get us through 45 minutes or so. My friend won the first round, but I won all the others. (She and I have a lot of experience playing multiplayer Spirit Tracks... we used to play it every week at Pok√©mon League, so we're both pretty good. The other two guys had never even played it before, so you can't blame them for losing.)

Halfway through our battles, my sister returned and told us, "There's a rumor going around that a woman is passing around the 3DS version of the game." One of the guys playing with us joked that that's the kind of rumor he'd spread just to make everyone excited for nothing.

However, it was kind of good news that their DS systems died pretty soon, because we were actually approaching the woman with the 3DS! She had two of them that were connected to her belt and were playing Smash Bros. Excited, we all pushed ahead to get a chance to play it.

Me and the first guy that was behind us in line were up against each other... but we got confused with the Smash Run and regular modes and realized that Smash Run wasn't multiplayer in the demo. So I told him we should just do Smash Run separately because you couldn't do that on the Wii U version that we'd eventually be trying.

So we did, and I chose Zelda. Smash Run, if somehow you haven't seen it yet, is like Kirby's Air Ride, a game for the GameCube that my sister and I played to death as kids. You collect power-ups that boost things like Defense, Jump, and so on while running around an enormous stage and fighting enemies from various franchises. Roturrets suck. I'm just gonna say that.

At one point during my Smash Run, I actually found a Cucco, but it looked like its A Link to the Past sprite, which makes me think that the 3DS version might use that kind of Cucco instead of the Ocarina of Time one shown in Wii U screenshots. Either that or Smash Run is special. Anyway, I accidentally hit it, and immediately a swarm of them appeared and killed me. I was screaming the whole time, "I HIT A CUCCO! OH NO! I'M DEAD!"

After collecting the power-ups, which I received woefully few of, we entered a regular Smash battle with the abilities we'd gained. I think the types of battles you do vary; for example, my sister got a Stamina battle at one point. But I didn't notice if there was anything different about this particular one. It took place on the Reset Bomb Forest stage, and I failed miserably. I think... Zelda's either been powered down, or maybe it's something about the 3DS that just made it hard for me to play. Or maybe I'm just not as good as I thought I was, haha! Either way, I lost. I didn't get a chance to see my score -- I passed it off as soon as the match was over. But I was at least third or fourth, because two of the CPUs -- both Pikachu, by the way -- got into a Sudden Death. I think the other CPU was Fox.

For the record, all of Zelda's moves seemed the same, except her Down-B. That's now a Phantom. And uh, I never used it. Partially because I forgot about it (I'm so used to never transforming into Sheik!) and partially because in the Practice Stage that I waited in momentarily while initially trying to battle that other guy, I didn't like it very much. It seemed slow and had a delay before you could take it out again. It didn't even appear to do that much damage. Maybe I'll figure out some use for it when I have the chance to get my hands on the real game and experiment a bit, but for now, I didn't like it much.

After this, it was another long period of waiting. We talked with the guys in front of us about a variety of topics -- Zelda games (especially The Wind Waker), StarFox games (which actually convinced me to buy StarFox 64 3D a few weeks later), Portal (and how much I suck at it), and even Doctor Who (although I have never seen that show so I contributed very little to that conversation). It was quite fun, and before we knew it, we were close to the Wii U. And to our surprise, what did we find there?

Another sales associate with a 3DS! We got the chance to play the 3DS Super Smash Bros. for a SECOND time! This particular version ONLY allowed Smash Run and multiplayer was not available, so I was forced to do it for the second time. This time around, I chose to use a new character. Rosalina, who I'd been wanting to try for quite a while, wasn't there in the 3DS version, so I went with the Wii Fit Trainer.

Again, it was just basic Smash Run. I fought a whole lot of Koffings, which frustratingly did a ton of damage when I didn't kill them in time. But I just did better in general, and when time was up for collecting our power ups, we entered a battle where we all started at 300% damage on the Animal Island stage from Animal Crossing. And please, extended 300% damage battles are my specialty. The CPUs didn't stand a chance. Despite having never played as the Wii Fit Trainer before, I spammed the heck out of my Smash Attacks and won the battle.

Now it was time for the main event, the thing we'd waited in line for four hours to see. The Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4!

Rosalina WAS on the roster of the Wii U version, so I played as her. I don't remember who my friends chose. I believe my sister was Mega Man, but I don't know who my friend was. But I do know that the fourth guy who played with us, some slightly younger kid that we did not know, was Sonic.

I convinced everyone to fight on the Skyloft course, and the battle began to a wonderful electric guitar cover of Ballad of the Goddess. I don't remember much of it, except that I never really figured out how to control Luma, haha. It wasn't really hard; I just didn't have experience with it. I kept getting confused as how to throw Luma and then bring him back. It's B to throw, but I kept hitting side B instead for whatever reason.

And that's what threw me off. Much to my shock, myself and Sonic got into a Sudden Death at the end, even though I felt like I'd done absolutely nothing throughout the battle since I didn't understand Rosalina at all. And I got it into my head that I'd be super creative and kill Sonic with Luma. So I tried my hardest to throw him, but I couldn't figure it out, kept hitting the wrong buttons, and eventually... I threw him in the air and Sonic took me out while I was stunned.

Oh well. Can't win everything, huh? At least I won once with Wii Fit Trainer! And second's not too bad...

We also got free stuff from the event! They gave everyone coupons and stickers, and then you were allowed to choose one other object. There were Bravely Default AR cards (I wish they had been Kid Icarus: Uprising instead), Mario Kart 8 flags, and some other small knick-knacks. I took a Super Smash Bros. pin and my sister grabbed some Kirby erasers. Pretty neat!

I really loved the new Smash Bros. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Smash Run, unfortunately; something about it just doesn't really appeal to me. I loved Air Ride and Subspace Emissary, but... I just had a lot of trouble with it for some reason. Enemies were hard to hit, platforms were hard to reach, and I was very lost. I came across some kind of bonus room at one point when I was Wii Fit Trainer, too, but I think I died there... Anyway. Maybe I'm just not used to the new physics and everything in the game, though, so I won't be too quick to judge it.

The other thing that really threw me off that I forgot to mention sooner is that the shield and the grab are now on different buttons. I've always used the L-trigger for both of these actions; I've just gotten used to it for some reason. As a result, I was very confused in my first battle as Zelda when my character kept making the grabbing motion instead of dodging. You may even contribute this confusion to part of the reason I lost that battle so badly. It took me at least halfway through to realize that they'd put the shield on the R-trigger, and grab was L. I was completely unused to it, so I had a lot of trouble dodging. Even after figuring it out, I would instinctively hit the L-trigger to dodge. This was slightly better on the Wii U, because there were both the L trigger and the ZL. One was grab, and the other was shield. That wasn't as hard to figure out, though I did frequently forget which was which still. But at least I didn't have to use the right side anymore; both actions could be found on the left.

Regardless, I am immensely happy that I had the privilege to attend this event. I'm very excited for the new Smash Bros., and I can't wait to play it on my own time and get more used to the new mechanics!

I'll see you in my next post, which will hopefully be about E3! Stay tuned and have a great night!