Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Byleth early impressions

We went hands-on with Byleth, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s newest Fighter Pass character. How does the Fire Emblem character stack up?

Last night, I was pleasantly surprised when my Switch notified me that Byleth was available in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I dropped everything and got on to try it out. I’ve defended Byleth since the announcement and it was time to see if I was going to need to limber up to put my foot in my mouth.

Turns out, I didn’t because Byleth? More like Bae-leth (I’m so sorry). I love this character. Firstly, the costume color schemes are really nice. I get to represent my Golden Deer house. And secondly, the character is really fun to play as.

One of the things that made me incredibly happy was that Byleth doesn’t have a counter. It’s a nice change of pace from the other Fire Emblem folk. Byleth is all about timing and I love it.

The regular special is a bow and arrow that takes a moment. It’s all about waiting out the enemy and gives you a weird sense of aiming a shot. It’s also very powerful for a projectile which I appreciate. You don’t see the swordies normally get that kind of range.

Up special, instead of some leaping upward attack like you’d expect, you have a huge ranged grab where you snag them with your whip and then come after them to bring them back down. In a game where everyone keeps rocketing upwards, it’s really nice to be able to make them regret that.

Forward special became one of my favorites quick to the point where I had to fight myself to not get spammy. Byleth lunges forward making an arching slash with their spear. It reminded me of Strider’s sword slash from Marvel VS Capcom 2 and it was just as satisfying. The arc is also tall enough where you can hit a downed enemy which opens it up to some nice combinations.

The hardest ability to use is the down special. Byleth charges up their axe and then brings it down hard enough where it momentarily gets stuck in the ground. It’s incredibly powerful, incredibly satisfying, and if you can connect with it in the air you feel like you just cast a complex spell of hurt on someone but you DEFINITELY need to time this one out.

All in all, Byleth adds something cool to the game and plays, in my opinion, differently from the other Emblem gang. Plus, after a lot of the other new characters offered some weirdly complex move sets — from Hero’s magic menu to Joker’s Persona bar and, for some reason, Banjo’s most powerful projectile firing backwards — having a straight forward character definitely felt nice. Especially for an old dog like myself who doesn’t want to learn new tricks.

What do you think of Byleth in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Comment below and let me know what you like or don’t like about Byleth as a fighter.

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