There’s quite a lot to love about Smash Ultimate — the nostalgic platform fighter from Nintendo is stuffed with single-player modes and nearly endless multiplayer options. That’s not all, either. The game includes some seriously deep cuts (and fan favorites) this time around. Not just Nintendo mascots got that all-important invite.
Smash Ultimate sports 74 different playable characters at launch — including every single previous character from the super-franchise and a bunch of fresh faces. That’s not even including the glut of DLC fighters, assist trophies, and more. There’s so much that no one person could possibly keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide to every single character.
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Ryu might just be the most iconic fighting game character in history. That makes him a perfect fit for a comprehensive fighting game like Smash Ultimate. It also means Nintendo didn’t have to mess too much with a good thing. Ryu in Smash Ultimate functions a whole lot like he does in Street Fighter — right down to some of his controls.
Meanwhile, Ken fills the role of Ryu’s “echo fighter.” These special characters look different, but play very similar to their counterparts in terms of move lists and abilities. There are some slight statistical differences, however.
According to Ryu’s official Smash Ultimate description…
Ryu is a special character—you can use directional command inputs to trigger his special moves. Executing moves like his Hadoken and Shoryuken using the command inputs from the original game will raise their power. You can even use a Shakunetsu Hadoken by inputting ←↙↓↘→ then tapping the attack button while facing right!
And according to Ken’s Smash Ultimate bio…
Ken joins the battle as Ryu’s Echo Fighter! Their differences are carried over from the original game: Ken’s Hadoken is shaped differently, his strong Shoryuken has flames, and he moves a bit faster. He has two final smashes: Shinryuken and Shippu Jinraikyaku.
Ryu & Ken Moves
Hadoken (B) – Fires an energy wave from his palms. Holding down the button increases its speed and power.
Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Side + B) – Whirls with powerful kicks that move him forward for as long as the button is held.
Shoryuken (Up + B) – Jumps with a powerful uppercut, which is strongest at the start. Power and speed increases if held.
Focus Attack (Down + B) – Focuses, allowing himself to soak up one attack. The longer the charge, the longer the enemy is stunned.
Shin Shoryuken / Shinku Hadoken (Final Smash) – Ryu unleashes a Shinku Hadoken that penetrates through the stage, allowing it to hit multiple opponents and deal serious damage. If Ryu is close to an eney, he uses a Shin Shoryuken uppercut attack instead.
Ryu also has some moves that can only be utilized with a fight stick.
Strengths & Weaknesses
If you’ve played Street Fighter II, Ryu feels just like he did there. All his moves are back and you can fling out Shoryukens and Hadokens to your heart’s content. He has great combo potential, recovery, and is a powerhouse in the close game.
Where Ryu falters a little is his predictability. Not only do you probably know most of his moves, but his aerial game leaves much to be desired. He’s a little more sluggish than the rest of the cast, too. Play a calm, calculated game with Ryu.
Unlike some Echo Fighters, the difference between Ryu and Ken is surprisingly stark. As in Street Fighter, Ken’s basic moves are similar, but their properties are a bit different. He trades some slugging power for combo potential and speed. The basic gist is that while Ryu is better at landing the final blow, Ken can rack up more damage overall. It’s down to whether you like one big hit or several smaller ones. Ken also has some mildly different specials. So if you like Ryu, but want a little more style and mix-up potential, Ken’s got it.
Many of Ryu’s weaknesses carry over, however. That includes a predictable playstyle for anyone who’s played some Street Fighter in their life. His Hadoken also lacks potency compared to Ryu’s — trading a solid projectile for more tricky moves like the Oosoto Mawashi Geri. Ken likes to be in your face and confuse you with big combos. If you can keep him out or control his offense, you can frustrate his game plan.
Ryu doesn’t change much between costumes. His gi, headband, and training gloves all swap colors. We don’t even really get a stand-in for his infamous Evil Ryu form, since his headband in the black outfit is the wrong color… Here’s hoping Nintendo adds a ripped gi variant sometime down the line.
Even if you’re great at Street Fighter, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to rumble with Ryu in Smash Ultimate just yet. Hopefully this guide can set you on the path of peace and righteousness, and away from the Satsui no Hado.
All of our Smash Ultimate guides created with the help of Eric Van Allen.