Link has never been considered a “good” character in the Super Smash Bros. series. If you look at almost any tier list for all three Smash games, Link is always near the bottom. That certainly hasn’t stopped people from playing as Hyrule’s top dog (Link… not Gannondorf), but it can be a frustrating experience against high-level players. To add insult to injury, many players will tell you that Toon Link was better than normal Link in many ways (although Link was superior in a few ways a well). Now that the Super Smash Bros. 3DS demo is out, we can finally look into Link a bit more and see how he’s shaping up. Expect a much more detailed list of impressions once we get our hands on a retail build of the game.
What we noticed first about Link is that his basic jab combo works very well with his Hookshot. The Hookshot has minimal landing lag (recovery for those who play fighting games other than Smash) and easily combos into Link’s basic jab series. You may wonder what makes this so great, but if you’ve played Link seriously in the past you should already have an idea where we’re going with this. In addition, if your opponent has a moderately high damage percentage, you can use Link’s first jab to combo into his Down Smash.
Link is a character that thrives on his projectiles. You need to use your projectiles repeatedly to safely approach an opponent. Once you’re safely at close-range, you can then get into combos and go for KOs. Some people would say that Link players “spam” their projectiles, and that’s true, but it’s also the best and more reliable way to approach an opponent.
Once Link grabs an opponent, he has a few different options. The throw you use should depend quite a bit on the percentage of your opponent. Up Throw is going to be Link’s best KO option at moderately high percentages. In most situations, you can combo into an Up Aerial after Link’s Up Throw, which has plenty of KO potential. Forward Throw combos into Link’s Dash Attack, but the KO potential isn’t quite as high. If you can’t score a KO, always follow Link’s throws with projectiles.
Examining Link’s aerials, Up Air, Forward Air and Neutral Air are really the only ones that should get much use. Up Air leads into some combos, while you can technically follow Neutral Air with a Down Smash (although the timing is strict). Forward Air is best used mid-combo, as both Neutral and Up Air are better combo starters.
Rounding out Link, most of his Smash Attacks and special moves have been improved from Brawl. Forward Smash and Up Smash are great for combos, with Forward Smash being one of Link’s best tools for mind games because the second hit is optional. His projectiles are a little easier to sweet spot, especially the Boomerang, but the Sword Spin is great because Link can combo into it after a single jab.
So far, Link definitely looks better than he was in Brawl. It’s too soon to say exactly how much better he is, but you’d be hard-pressed to call him low tier. He certainly has a few weaknesses that followed him throughout the series, but the improvements certainly help make up for that.
Stay tuned to Prima Games, as we’ll have a more in-depth breakdown of Link in the near future.