Smash 4 Gameplay Impressions

by Larry “DEHF” Holland

Thoughts on Smash 4

Smash Invitational

I want to start off by saying a lot of what I’m about to say comes from watching people and the small amount of time I had to play the game at SDCC. Although I was able to play some 1v1 no item matches during the SDCC tournament, most of the matches I played were 4 player ffa with items on.

Game Mechanics


The best description I can give on how I felt the game played is a mix between Smash 64 and Brawl. One of the things that made me feel like it had a Smash 64 feel was the movement. Dashing in this game is a step above Brawl, one of the obvious reasons being you no longer have a chance of tripping. You can also stop your dash animation by shielding like you can do in Smash 64 and Melee. I believe this will add a lot quick weaving in and out of characters ranges through dash.

Aside from being able to stop your dash animation with shield, it felt a lot like the Brawl shield properties have been implemented into this game. Dropping your shield is still very fast like is in Brawl and attacks on shield give very little shield stun. The durability of your shield seems to be worse than it’s ever been, shield pokes seem to happen more often and it’s easier for shields to break.

Air dodging is worse than it was in Brawl. Landing on the ground with an air dodge puts you in a large amount of lag, making it very punishable. One thing I noticed you can do to not be in a great deal of lag by air dodging into the ground is edge cancel it.

Attacks have more hit stun than they did in Brawl, there should be a lot more combos to be discovered. This is one of the reasons why I felt like it had more of Smash 64 feel to it; the added hit stun combined with air dodging being a lot worse makes me feel as though characters are going to be able juggling each other very easily while stringing combos in the air.

It seems like characters are going to survive much longer than they did in the previous games. Even with there not being momentum canceling like there was in Brawl, characters seem to easily survive to very high percents. I think because of this Heavier characters and/or characters with great KO power will be will have a bigger advantage in this game than they did in the previous installments.


With the new edge mechanic being on the edge an excessive amount seems like it’s going to be very bad. I think someone who has grabbed the edge a lot in a short period of time, gets hit offstage and tries to recover will be easy to edge guard, even if they sweet spot the edge with their recovery move. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but after a certain amount of grabs in a short period of time you get less and less invincibility frames on your edge grab.



I’m going to give a very brief analysis of some of the characters in Smash 4. I’m only going to talk about the characters I used and/or was able to watch be played a lot.


Much better than his Melee and Brawl counterparts. He’s pretty fast in the air and on the ground, making it easier for him to catch people than it was in the previous games. His fair is quick and has a lot of ranges; it’s probably his best move for catching people in the air. He also has a lot of KO potential; his bair, down b, fsmash, and uair are all KO moves. His fsmash has super armor and can KO very early. His down b also can KO early and can break shields. He felt like one of the best characters at the demo.


Has a Brawl Marth feel to me still. Fair has more lag than it did in Brawl if you don’t auto cancel it and throws send you much farther. Non tipper moves seem a lot weaker while tipper moves seem stronger than they were in Brawl. Landing tippers seem like it’s going to be extremely important now to get a KO.

Toon Link

Felt similar to Brawl Toon Link. The way his projectiles work seem unchanged. His dash attack sends you up now, similar to Brawl Link’s. His up b has been nerfed, the vertical distance on it is much shorter in the air and you can roll out of it if hit on the ground. His uair is pretty good KO move.


A lot of the combos and juggles he had in Brawl seem exactly the same. Down b doesn’t go as high as it did in Brawl while recovering, but it’s harder to get out of if hit by it. Nair has much less knock back than it did in Brawl, but a lot of hit stun. Nair to up smash combos at KO % and I think he can also combo nair into up b. Luigi looks good to me.


I think this is going to be the worse Fox out of the Smash games currently. Down b has more end lag than it did in brawl and all of his KO moves have been nerfed. You can side b to up b to recover now, but it takes a very long time to do, I think it’ll be easy to edge guard. It seems like he’ll be able to rack up damage pretty fast with his combos and juggles.

Little Mac

His aerials seem terrible and his recovery is terrible. Out of everyone in the demo he’s the easiest character to edge guard. His up b is the equivalent of Ivysaur’s up b in Brawl minus Ivysaur’s tether. On the ground he has an amazing dash, rolls, and strong KO moves with super armor. The only downside to his ground game is lack of range. Overall, I felt as though he was one of the worse characters at the demo mainly because of his recovery and lack of strong aerials.


Her aerial needles have no lag if you throw them in the air when you’re about to land like they did in Brawl. Her up B now has a hit box when she reappears, so it’ll be slightly more difficult to punish. She has a lot of combos and can rack up damage incredibly fast, but didn’t seem to have any strong KO moves. If she turns out to have a strong and reliable KO move I can see her being one of the best characters.


Seems like a solid character. He feels like Brawl Mario with stronger KO moves and better combos.


His fair and bair seem like they’ll be good approaching moves and they can combo if you land them. His uair can be used to keep characters in the air. It seems like Megaman will be a good keep away character to use. His down smash is a strong KO move.


I don’t think he plays like Brawl Sonic, but I think he’ll be better character in Smash 4. His dash attack is better and he has more combos and juggles than he did in Brawl. Fsmash is still a strong KO move.

Zero Suit Samus

One of the best characters at the demo. Very fast, good combos, and good KO moves. You can catch people high in the air with her up b and KO them. She has a zair similar to Samus’ in Brawl. I think that combined with her movement speed will make her very difficult to approach.


Up smash seems slower than it was in Brawl and KO power seems nerfed, but he still seem like a good character. His recovery better and his aerials still seem pretty strong.


Very interesting character, his fair and bair are a projectile. You can combo his dsmash into his fsmash. I think he’llĀ  be a pretty good character. You can also throw your side b as a projectile or ride on it to recover. I think He’ll be a pretty good character.

4 thoughts on “Smash 4 Gameplay Impressions

  1. Nice article, do you think this will be a great game competitively?

  2. Whoever wrote this needs a crash course in basic English. Learn the difference between ”worse” and ”worst” for starters… Afterwards, learn how to avoid repetition and not seem like a complete idiot when writing articles.

  3. Thanks for the share. 4-5 more weeks for the 3DS Version in USA. Let’s see how it is then. Goodnite

  4. Well, you were on point with most descriptions, but I bet this game blew your mind in the long run.

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