THEY'RE STILL RELEASING CONTENT FOR THIS GAME
I think the first thing that's really noteworthy about this event is that it exists at all. The 3DS version released in October 2014; the Wii U version released in November 2014. That means we're seven to eight months post-release (depending on the platform) and getting significant updates to these games.
This type of long-term DLC support is quite rare, with many games finishing up their DLC schedule within a few months of a games release. Nintendo has been gradually bucking this trend. Pikmin 3 saw its final DLC release five months after launch. New Super Mario Bros. U got its big New Super Luigi U content seven months after release. And Mario Kart 8 got two major character and track updates six months after release and then again a full year later.
With the collective internet prone to predicting Nintendo will kill the Wii U or otherwise stop supporting it, it's nice to see the company showing some love for the platform's biggest games. Yes, the "Codename: NX" console has been confirmed in development, but the Wii U's fight isn't over yet.
Oh, and most of the content is available today. While it's great that Nintendo is taking a page out of the Apple playbook and eliminating any wait between the announcement and the release, the sheer amount of new content is, of course, is causing quite a server load issue.
As of this writing, I have only been able to get to get this fun error message. While Sakurai even admitted on the stream that there might be connectivity issues due to the number of people trying to download this content today, it would have been even better if Nintendo had properly anticipated the traffic and added extra support to account for it because it someone dampens the mood when you can't actually get any of the cool, new stuff.
Update: as of 1:10pm EST, the 3DS version is able to connect to the DLC shop. However, actually trying to purchase any of the content is still ending in a lot of error messages about high traffic volume.
ALL THESE MII FIGHTER COSTUMES
It seems as though series creator Masahiro Sakurai is keen on using the Mii Fighters as a way to more easily expand the character roster. That makes sense, though, because the Mii Fighters have an established move set and are already balanced into the game, so there is far less work involved.
We have entries from Tekken, Animal Crossing, Mega Man, and the newly-released Splatoon. A pretty wide variety of cool-looking costumes. My only complaint is that Isabelle looks kind of weird, as though she's devouring whichever Mii is inside her head. Maybe a simple mask would have been better.
THREE NEW FIGHTERS
Thanks to a good number of leaks, this wasn't particularly surprising, but Roy from Fire Emblem, Lucas from Earthbound, and Ryu from Street Fighter will all be joining the battle. Roy and Lucas were actually in Smash Bros. Melee, but Ryu is totally new.
Roy's announcement opened the livestream while Ryu's closed it (and actually took up about a third of the stream). Lucas, however, only got a small focus, which is interesting, given his source material is the oft-requested-but-always-ignored Mother 3 (the Japan-only follow-up to Earthbound that finally got re-released on Wii U last year). There's been speculation for years that Nintendo will finally release a US localization of Mother 3; will Nintendo announce it for Virtual Console later this week at E3? The timing would make sense.
Lucas looks pretty interesting; I love the characters in Smash that don't really seem like fighters because Nintendo finds really clever ways for them to attack. I know Roy is a classic from Melee, and I'm sure there are fans delighted to see his return, but he seems like yet another Fire Emblem person to me. It's probably due to the fact that I haven't played any of the series, but these characters just aren't very exciting or unique-seeming.
Ryu, on the other hand, seems like a really cool and well-thought-out addition to the roster. First of all, it's hard to find a more iconic fighting game character, and Street Fighter's less-graphic approach to the genre makes his presence among Mario and friends a little easier to stomach than, say, Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.
Sakurai and his team have managed to include all of Ryu's signatures move: the Hadouken (fireball), the Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku (spinning kick), and the Shoryuken (uppercut) are all here. They've managed to include light/medium/heavy options as well, and you can even use the original controller inputs (instead of the Smash ones) for an even better version of each move. Ryu also comes with his original stage and music for a totally authentic Street Fighter experience within the Smash universe. Pretty awesome.
NEW STAGES AND YOUTUBE SUPPORT
A few classic stages (from N64), one new stage (the integrated Miiverse stage), and support for posting YouTube replays (Wii U-only) rounded out the digital content for this update.
The classic stages are a great touch for those who remember the original game (I barely played that one), but they're also a cool history lesson for newer players (I really started with Brawl on Wii, so these are all new for me).
The YouTube feature is cool, but I wish it was also on 3DS, as I don't have the Wii U version (and don't really plan on getting it). Still, these are all solid additions.
Okay, I'm an amiibo fan. I haven't succumbed to the completionist approach (much to the delight of my wallet and wife), but I do love collecting these figures for characters I enjoy. Here's my collection, to date:
Yeah, it's a little overboard, but it doesn't even come close to the unbelievable case of amiibo that Sakurai has in this video.
First of all, that case is amazing, and I want one. Second, he's holding the newly-announced trio of Mii Fighter amiibo.
Here's a closer look:
I've honestly been wondering how they'd handled these characters. From the beginning Nintendo has said that they would release all Smash Bros. characters as amiibo figures, but that left a sizable question mark around these customizable characters. It was a long shot, but I was really hoping they would announce a custom amiibo ordering system whereby you could upload your own Mii as one of the three fighter types. Even if that had cost twice the amount of a normal amiibo, I would have paid for it, as the ability to get your own UNIQUE amiibo would have been incredible.
Of course, that pipe dream wasn't to be and we just have some generic Mii amiibo. They look good, but I can't say I want these random Mii characters on my shelf. Also, maybe I'm being a little overly-sensitive here, but does it strike anyone else as a little strange that they're all white characters? At least one of them is female, I guess.
They're part of the next Smash Bros. wave of amiibo, which includes some truly awesome characters. I basically want all of these except the Mii fighters and (maybe) Dr. Mario. The rest of these are some of the best-looking and most unique amiibo yet.
The livestream focused on the following four:
R.O.B. is basically the coolest amiibo yet. Except that Mr. Game & Watch comes with multiple poses of the flat, 2D figure that can be swapped in and out. That's definitely a first for the amiibo series, and you can bet that some of these characters will be the hardest to get yet. Other ones in this wave that look great include Zero Suit Samus, Ganondorf, Captain Olimar + Pikmin, Bowser Jr., ...okay, I want them all.
Sorry, bank account.
Somehow, though, that's not the end of amiibo announcements from this video! Toward the end of the stream, this happened:
Again, Roy isn't really my jam, but I'm sure he'll be a popular amiibo. Ryu, on the other hand? Yeah, I'll be wanting one of those. I'm hoping that, like other third-party amiibo figures (Mega Man, Sonic, etc.), Ryu will be a more common figure; still, I expect he'll be pretty high in demand.
In the words of the great Chandler Bing, "Could there BE any more content in one livestream?" (That's from Friends, if you're too young to remember). This was a pretty impressive start to Nintendo's E3, and the sheer amount of content getting added to this game is a testament to Nintendo's commitment to the series and its fans.