What do you look for in a fighting game character?

With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming out in a few months I’ve been thinking about what I want in a character. Forgetting things like character loyalty from previous titles, if the character is from your favorite game series or any other bias you may have. When starting a fighting game with a diverse roster what do you look for in a main character? Obviously, I must like the character. If I don’t like the character for any reason I just won’t enjoy the game but its more than that. I asked myself a few questions after the latest Nintendo direct and I came up with a few key things I look for.

The thing I enjoy about every fighting game is the midrange game. When I say midrange I mean the space where I can hit my opponent but they can’t hit me back. Something like a character length or two away from me. This includes almost every sword character but doesn’t limit it to them. For example, I liked Olimar in brawl because he was amazing at controlling space and keeping people out of his face.

I like the technical aspect of a character. I play characters like Ibuki in Street Fighter, Hwoarang in Tekken and Dante in UMVC3 because they are rewarded for practice. I love to sit in practice to perfect a combo, frame trap or just movement. So when I’m playing in an actual game it feels amazing to pull off. Most smash games aren’t too technical, (Melee of course being the melee exception) but my ideal character is going to have a little depth to them.

I like characters with a “get off me option”. Something like Ryu’s infamous Shoryuken in Street Fighter, I like a character to have an option to punish someone being overly aggressive but leaves you open if you use it at the wrong time. In smash the equivalent to a “get off me option” would be an out of shield move. Something like Link’s up b or Ness’s nair. I know I play Ike and he doesn’t have any valuable out of shield options and I feel like that hurts me but I will definitely main someone that has options in Smash Ultimate.

The last things I really look for in a character has less to do with actual gameplay but I really enjoy flashy moves and arrogant characters. This is more of a personal thing. I can admit to having middle child syndrome. I always felt like my older or younger brothers got all the attention, so I would always go out of the way to get it. This transfers over to smash and other fighting games. I rather go for a spike or a flashy hard read to get more attention than play a solid game. I love winning of course but winning and when my character talks trash is even better. I love it when Ibuki wins a round turns her back, and says “train harder” or when Ike throws his sword in the ground and just crosses his armss.

So instead of playing favorites, I am going to take an objective look at the characters in Smash Ultimate and figure out who would work best with for me or who has the most qualities I look for that’s pretty good. Right now I’m looking for a character that spacing others out, that has an technical aspect, a character with good out of shield options and that can be flashy. Based on the current roster after thinking it through I want to put the most time into Ike, Marth, Chrom, Cloud, Olimar, Mewtwo and Mario.

Who is your ideal smash character? What do you look for in a main character? I’m interested to know how others might do it. Let me know on twitter or leave a comment.

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