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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Version 12.0 First Impressions (AKA the Kazuya Patch)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Most of the patch affects only people who've bought the DLC, and... I'm not one of those.

I'll try to make this short because I'm actually unqualified to really write about this, which is probably disappointing to anyone who clicked on this article expecting great analysis.

As promised in yesterday's dedicated presentation about Kazuya from Tekken joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, version 12.0 of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has released on the night of June 29 (American time). This has added several Tekken Spirits to the game and several new Mii Costumes if you pay for them. None of my Replays have been deleted.

There was also a balance patch with fighter adjustments. In terms of anything that might affect fighter viability, Marth got some improvements to his up-tilt and down-tilt, as well as his dash attack that you probably should still never use. All three Mii Fighter archetypes have had some special move buffs (specifically Mii Brawler's Flaming Mach Punch, Onslaught, and Soaring Axe Kick; Mii Swordfighter's Airborne Assault, Stone Scabbard, Blade Counter, and Power Thrust; and Mii Gunner's Laser Blaze, Lunar Launch, Cannon Jump Kick, and Absorbing Vortex). I do not plan to change my Team Rocket Grunt Ludwig Mii Brawler's moveset. Bayonetta got some improvements to further the ones she got exactly a year ago.

And then a bunch of changes to DLC characters, notably Banjo & Kazooie, Min Min, Pyra, and Mythra. I understand Min Min's at least. Her Up Special (Arms Hook) will grab the ledge slower, and her Up-Smash is slower, reflects worse, and has less launch power. I theorise this is because Min Min beat Sakurai in yesterday's stream.

Masahiro Sakurai loses to Min Min then nerfs her version 12 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Up Smash
Cause→effect, if you ask me. Sakurai got pwned by Min Min's Up Smash, and then nerfed the move.
When is he gonna try fighting Palutena?

Heavy Lobster tells me that none of the changes to Pyra/Mythra are really important, besides Mythra's air dodge being nerfed to be reasonable like other characters’ air dodges, and her Lightning Buster is stronger on lighter characters now while weaker on heavier characters. Considering that Mythra is already excellent versus heavy characters, that... might be seen as an overall buff for Mythra.

So no buffs to Little Mac. The development team seems to still want to use him as the butt monkey for one last Sakurai Presents. And then maybe he'll be buffed?

As for Kazuya... well, I can't say based on my own experience playing as him, but statistically, he's a heavyweight and one of the most sluggish characters in the game in terms of mobility—he has broken the “universal jump squat” design of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with his own uniquely poor jump squat of 6 or 7 frames. (Different people are reporting different numbers, which is the problem when you publish an article the night of a release.) That means it takes him twice as much time for him to get into the air when he tries to jump as any other character in the game (with their 3-frame jump squat). This limits what Kazuya can do when he is pressured and trying to act out of holding shield. In previous games, jump squats varied drastically across the cast, but they were all made 3 frames in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Until now. There's probably a side-effect of Kazuya feeling more different than any other member of the cast on a very fundamental level, which may make it difficult for people to co-main him or use Kazuya as a secondary. Kazuya players will probably have to be dedicated to making him work.

In addition to not doing great against pressure, Kazuya also has a poor time approaching enemies, assuming they can avoid getting Devil Blastered (laser beamed), unlike the CPUs that Sakurai fought in his redo. Still, he commands presence on the battlefield, especially with his unique visual effects. He's like Ganondorf without a sword and with a laser beam... and more shield-breaking potential. He might feel like a “boss character” like Sephiroth.

Still, right before this article was published, hardly anyone was still using Kazuya in the online Smash Tournament mode. There were plenty of takers as soon as server maintenance was over, and that enthusiasm apparently dissipated as people realised that Kazuya is a character with a high skill floor and an unknown skill ceiling.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Bowser Flying Slams Kazuya
King Bowser Koopa's Flying Slam is way cooler than Kazuya's Heaven's Door and always will be.

What do you think about Kazuya and the rest of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate version 12.0? ...Did you buy the new fighter and/or costumes?

KoopaTV gave impressions of Version 13 and the final DLC character: Sora. Sora is a lot easier to use than Kazuya!

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