An unexpected choice for the creator of the series, Masahiro Sakurai. Sephiroth joins the battle! This marks the first time a non-Nintendo series has two characters in the game that aren’t echo fighters like Ken and Ryu or Simon and Richter. Sephiroth joins Cloud along with the Northern Cave stage which features the ending of Final Fantasy VII playing out in the background and it’s a flashy, story-driven stage.
When Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud first made his appearance in the Super Smash Bros series, many fans were disappointed in how seemingly stingy Square Enix were with music as only two songs from Final Fantasy VII made it into the game the first time. However, with Sephiroth’s arrival he’s brought a myriad of iconic tracks from Final Fantasy VII. Tracks such as JENOVA and One-Winged Angel are now available to listen to on both the Northern Cave and Midgar stages and the specifically re-arranged tracks made for this Challenger Pack, alongside some of the music from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, are just perfect.
The character officially comes out on the 23rd of December but for the first time in Super Smash Bros history, you can unlock this DLC character by defeating him in a boss fight. What better way to introduce one of gaming’s most iconic villains to the roster?
With the hero and the villain from one of the most well-known JRPGs ever now resident, along come Tifa, Barret and Aerith in the form of mii costumes. Ironically, Sephiroth’s arrival has likely killed the chances of fan favourite, and heavily requested additional character, Geno from Square Enix’s Super Mario RPG from making it into the game as a fully fledged character. Instead we see the return of his mii costume from Super Smash Bros for WiiU along with the chocobo outfit, making 5 mii outfits this time round for Challenger Pack 8.
It’s great to see so much Final Fantasy content in Smash Ultimate again as it was done so poorly the first time, but the new stage Northern Cave is more of a glorified Small Battlefield than a unique new stage. That being said, as it is the place you start the final fight with Sephiroth in his original game, it definitely suits the character and if you’re a fan of manic backgrounds whilst smashing, or the story from Final Fantasy VII, then you’ll be pleased. It is, however, just a flat stage with two platforms at either end.
Now onto Sephiroth himself. He’s a long range fighter with fast, flashy, heavy-hitting moves but his weakness comes from the cool down time after said moves have been dealt out which leaves him decidedly vulnerable. Octaslash, his up smash and up air attacks are particularly devastating and easy moves to land. The most satisfying out of them all though has to be his neutral B move. When fully changed up Sephiroth’s neutral B move is called Gigaflare and slowly travels a short distance whilst also slightly darkening the rest of the stage until you can hear the sound of a pin drop before a cataclysmic explosion decimates whoever is unfortunate enough to fall into its line of fire.
Now, what’s a Super Smash Bros DLC character without a few unique mechanics? Sephiroth is known for one of the most iconic stabbings in gaming history (spoilers) so what better way to honour that than by him being able to stab enemies through platforms. His sword, Masamune, can also be used in this way to stab through certain stages which are thinner at either end, in order to edge guard against opponents clawing their way back onto the stage.
Similar to Joker’s Arsene, when Sephiroth is in a pinch he turns into his Winged Form. Along with a badass black wing which appears on his back, he also gains an extra jump, a boost in speed and strength, and super armour on his smash attacks. This makes him an even scarier threat when facing him and a boon that can turn the tide in any match. It only appears when Sephiroth is significantly damaged or losing the game in regards to stocks, so when it appears does depend on if you’re losing the match as opposed to Joker’s Arsene who appears when Joker has dealt or taken enough damage.