You have been an extremely active Smash player. What are your thoughts on the series? Where can it improve?
I loved Melee so much. After Brawl was released I did have some issues, some frustration over the way things worked. I was a bit more narrow-minded back then, but I found myself returning to Melee. My qualms with Brawl were largely addressed in the newest iteration, and I’m happy about that. Some of those changes like airdodge landing lag, the ledge regrab invulnerability, and even the entire trump mechanic are all very cool. I’ve very much enjoyed playing online.
I like what Nintendo has done with patches in the latest iteration, but I think it can go further. Despite all the patches, there remains character imbalance and it only becomes more obvious over time. I hope that this is continually addressed. I know Sakurai has talked about not balancing solely for 1v1, but I wish it was. I am biased because 99% of my playtime is 1v1. It is my favorite way to play, and it also feels like the balance is most important there.
It was obvious from day 1 that Zelda wasn’t as good as a lot of characters. This irked me, it makes me feel like I could actually be an asset for Nintendo, someone to help discover the metagame and shape it into something less frustrating for everyone. Another thing I noticed was that when they released Regular Tourneys online, the Custom Glory tournament that allowed equipment was obviously a very broken mode, and I quickly abused speed equipment and runaway tactics to win. They’ve since removed Custom Glory from the game, but I knew it was broken immediately.
Also with the online tournaments, it was frustrating that there wasn’t a way to set up exact rules for a 1v1 tournament. The user defined tournament format was limited and you couldn’t set up 1v1 bracket tournaments with custom rules. I think this seriously limited the potential of the mode. The Regular Tourneys had fixed formats that were not necessarily great. It feels like a missed opportunity.
The Custom Moves being attached to Equipment was also a point of pain for a lot of people. More missed potential there, but separating Equipment from Custom Moves entirely. However, even if those things were separated, some of the custom moves were very good and others were useless, so there was imbalance there too. It all felt a little thoughtless, or tacked on.
There’s also that Sakurai quote from a few years ago, about Smash attacks rarely coming out in competitive play, people using low risk strategies, and how it was kind of a “waste” to play the game like that. That quote frustrates me. As players improve, they orient themselves according to how the game actually works. The game designer is therefore responsible, but Sakurai seems to blame the player. It feels very contradictory considering they actually do seem to care about patching the game for balance reasons.
It will be interesting to see how all of these issues play out in a Smash for Switch. I wish I could have more of a role with Nintendo, I feel valuable in some ways, and I’m passionate about these things.
What are your thoughts on Melee’s competitive scene?
As eSports gets huge and Melee blows up, I find myself feeling very distant from it. I still enjoy watching at times, especially when a really good set happens, like Mango vs Leffen at Genesis 4. It feels like something I wouldn’t want to actively participate in anymore though. I feel like I’ve moved on from being a player, not just from wrist issues but from having gotten what I’ve wanted out of the game. I desire new experiences.
You are one of the few Zelda mains in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. What are your thoughts on the character, and is she low-tier?
Yes, she is low tier. She’s slow on the ground, her grab is slow, she is tall, and she is light. Her forward air and back air have ridiculous landing lag, and a tiny hitbox, resulting in poor risk/reward. Farore’s Wind is kind of a gimmick for KOs because they can DI out and you’re just risking getting punished for trying it. Din’s Fire shouldn’t hit anyone tbh. Phantom Knight is a bad move with tons of lag, the risk/reward is really bad. It’s a bad habit of mine to throw out too many Phantoms. I desire to play with her tools but so many of her tools are bad so there are limited options. Down throw to up air is finicky and difficult to hit, with DI mixups and rage messing it up. It ends up being hard to net KOs sometimes.
She’s bad at approaching, so a lot of the time I take the mindset to play patient and wait until I get true opportunities to do something. I wish she had a passive ability that was useful, like Cloud’s Limit. With Din’s Fire and Phantom Knights being relatively useless, there’s not much to do except dance. It is a little masochistic, but I enjoy this patient playstyle, and it’s one of the reasons I main her. I only play online nowadays so I suppose my experience is different from some other Zeldas, but I think her problems ring true regardless.
Lastly, we ask Ms. Wright about Zelda and some personal questions.
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