It was only a short time ago that everyone was convinced new fighters for Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS needed to have a history on a past Nintendo platform. It wasn’t until Nintendo made a special announcement during a Nintendo Direct presentation that unexpectedly shattered everyone’s preconceived expectations about the game. Cloud Strife is a new DLC character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. The announcement not only generated a huge level of excitement, but rounded out the most diverse roster of characters in the franchise’s history.
While unbelievable at first, Cloud’s fighting style works surprising well with the rest of the current roster. All of Cloud’s attacks are based on his actions from Final Fantasy VII, including attacks with a primary focus on his Buster Sword. A lot of the Limit Breaks from the original game make up Cloud’s special attacks, including his Final Smash being the powerful Omnislash.
But this doesn’t mean Cloud’s fighting style is that of a simple powerhouse with a large sword. The Limit Break meter gives Cloud a more technical feel, where attacking and getting hit builds the meter up over time and changes up the properties of Cloud’s attacks when it reaches max. You want deal damage and build up your meter fast before unleashing a powerful attack that knocks opponents off the stage at moderately low percentages.
Fans of Final Fantasy VII will be surprised at the many nods and easter eggs scattered throughout various parts of the game. The costumes for Cloud include his original design and alternate from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, including variations that reveal the Geostigma on his arm. The taunts and victory poses are all inspired by animations you see in Final Fantasy VII, including the animation for casting magic and the trademark Buster Sword spin.
Nintendo went beyond simple nods and went as far as to include the Final Fantasy VII victory fanfare and the original game’s typeface at the end of his Classic and All-Star mode. There are even screenshots that use other characters to recreate scenes from Final Fantasy VII, such as Lady Palutena acting as Sephiroth in flames and the Mii Fighters being dressed up like The Turks.
Cloud’s DLC also comes with a brand new stage that is set in Midgar, the main city of Final Fantasy VII. The stage looks great and is designed fairly well with similarities to the Battlefield and Dreamland stages. What makes Midgar unique are the environmental hazards, which are triggered by collecting the floating summon materia.
There are a total of five summon monsters that can appear and each has an incredible effect on the stage itself. Ifrit shoots flames to turn the stage over, Ramuh electrifies platforms to damage enemies, Leviathan floods the area with water to drag everyone away, Odin slices the stage in half, and Bahamut Zero fires a beam from the background to the stage itself. Grabbing the materia will cause a lot of chaos during a match, but you can disable this by playing on the Omega version of the Midgar stage.
It’s amazing to Super Smash Bros. as a series become so popular and be able to include characters beyond the limits of Nintendo exclusivity. Even better is how the inclusion of a character like Cloud, one that has no historical ties to Nintendo platforms, be done with such a high level of quality and attention to detail. The Cloud DLC comes with both a new fighter and a new stage, much like the Ryu downloadable content from before. Unlike that DLC however, you are getting more value when you purchase Cloud because of the extra environmental hazards in his stage and the new easter eggs that can be found in the game.
Cloud is definitely a solid addition to the Super Smash Bros. roster that fans of Final Fantasy VII and Smash series faithful will appreciate. You can purchase Cloud and the Midgar stage now through the Nintendo eShop for Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS.
These impressions were based on a purchased digital copy of the Cloud Strife DLC for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS.