When Super Smash Brothers Ultimate was announced back in Spring I nearly gasped so hard that I lost consciousness. With the monumental roll than Nintendo has been on in terms of content timing for the Nintendo Switch this seemed like the giant slayer in terms of sales and for the most part anyone who had thought that is correct. So far this holiday season we’ve seen sales numbers for Smash that we have never seen before with Japan already selling over 1.2 million units as well as becoming the best selling game of 2018 for Amazon and it’s only been a week since launch.
But where’s the hype coming from? Well, with everything that has been announced for this version of Smash Brothers what’s there not to love in it? When presenting Smash at E3 this year there was a tagline that “Everyone Is Here!” with every character from past titles making their big returns as well as a few newcomers and for the most part those newcomers are shocking to say the least. With newer character additions like Inklings and Isabelle, classic guests like Simon Belmont, and left field shockers like Ridley and King K. Rool this game seems to have a character for everyone but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is the 5th installment of the largest gaming crossover title for the Nintendo Switch. It was released on December 7th and has since seen record breaking sales. This title is quite possibly one of the most stuffed games that I have ever seen. It is bursting at the seams with modes, challenges, and collectibles.
Staying True To The Classics
For starters, many of the modes that have stayed throughout the years are still present such as classic mode with no real drastic changes. Classic mode functions similar to Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS with the difficulty being completely up to the player as you can choose risk for reward in exchange for harder opponents. The classic mode is straight and to the point like the original 3 games with you going up against a slew of fighters one after the other with an event stage and a final boss. Depending on who you choose, the final boss may be different. For example: If you decide to play through as Mario you will go one on one with Bowser and vise versa. The real challenge is clearing classic with every character.
The amount of smaller games are reduced to 3 now being called Mob Smash with Century Smash, All-Star Smash, and Cruel Smash. Century Smash is your typical 100 man melee where you must defeat 100 enemies as fast as you can, it’s nothing new at all yet still offers a challenge to those who want to be the best. All-Star Smash is a newer addition to this game with the premise being similar to Century Smash but instead of Mii Fighters you must defeat every character on the roster. This mode is particularly interesting due to the sheer idea of having to adapt and defeat over 70 different characters which means knowing when to play methodical or go for an all out attack. Cruel Smash speaks for itself, the enemies are cranked up to 100 making these fighters tougher than your average cpu. Those who dare try to touch Cruel Smash never come back the same.
Beware The Spirits
The biggest surprise in Smash Ultimate was the inclusion of Spirits and the new story mode, World Of Light. World of Light follows a world where a new powerful enemy named Galeem has turned nearly everyone into spirits. It is then up to Kirby to rescue everyone and defeat Galeem with the help of spirits obtained along the way. Spirits are basically buffs that you can add on to help adapt to challenges along the way. The map for World Of Light is a top down map with multiple enemies blocking the path. Defeating enemies grants you those spirits that can be useful or downright vital. Some enemies in World Of Light are near impossible without the help of a few specific spirits and even then they’re still a challenge. In theory World Of Light is a knockout of a story mode, in practice it often feels monotonous as you will find yourself playing a battle with no stakes whatsoever just to get around a corner. There are far too many enemies in between objectives that you’ll eventually begin questioning the reason why you put yourself through it in the first place.
The online mode(as of this writing)is less than optimal with the only real answer by Nintendo is to purchase a $30 LAN adapter. Even when Sakurai himself has stated that matchmaking is based on closer proximity which should keep matches going smoothly, matches are too inconsistent in terms of quality. For me, I had heard a lot about the problems with matchmaking but had no problem with it at the time, that was until the next day when 90% of my matches had noticeable lag whether it was affecting input or the match itself.
The Ultimate Roster
The roster for Smash Brothers Ultimate is the single greatest roster in gaming. Period. What Nintendo has managed to do here is a 180 compared to the same company that alienated many 3rd parties 20 years prior. We now live in a world where Nintendo is playing ball with companies like SEGA, Konami, Bandai, Square Enix, and many others. This game is a monument to decades of building brands and mascots that resonate in the hearts of millions of fans worldwide and the roster reflects that.
With over 70 characters to choose from, this game is the largest game yet. Not 0nly will you find characters from one of the aforementioned companies but many reserved characters not seen in quite some time. The reaction to each character has been deafening with every character being representative to almost every demographic across the board. When Nintendo says that “Everyone Is Here” you’d find yourself very hard pressed to argue that.
Each character feels tight with no real significant change other than the new smashing physics. Characters will now go flying with a chance to recover but if you’re hit too hard depending on your damage percentage it may be a one hit knock out. There is a much larger emphasis on dodging now with players being rewarded for dodging at the perfect moment and punished if dodging too frequently which plays well into strategizing your next move instead of jumping into the fight gun blazing.
Now That’s What I Call Content
Unlocking all characters has proven to be a mighty feat with the roster starting out with the original 8 characters. You are able to unlock all characters by playing through World Of Light, Classic Mode, or every 10 minutes of smash. As endearing and thoughtful this is as a revisit down memory lane it also means grinding your way for hours to unlock every single character, it’s old school unlockables at its finest.
The music in this game is also one of the greatest collections you’ll ever find. With over 26 hours of compositions ranging from dozens of series’ you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love. One of the newest tweaks to the stage selection is the ability to straight up choose a song for the stage. Previously you’d have to manipulate a slider in order to choose what songs go on more frequently than others but now you can just choose one from the stage select menu. It’s a very small detail that has definitely not gone unnoticed. You are also now able to listen to the soundtrack on the go all you need to do is just plug in your headphones, create a playlist, and you can listen to it even when the Switch is tucked away in your bag.
Nearly all stages return in HD glory in Ultimate(albeit a small handful are missing)making this quite possibly the largest stage selection in gaming. Each stage includes the option to play it as originally intended with stage hazards, as the Battlefield layout with the 3 platforms and flat floor, or as Omega stage which turns every stage into final destination. The addition of both Omega and Battlefield variations is very much tailor made for competitive players and friends who plan to settle the ugliest of beefs.
Altogether this package is already the ultimate deal. With so many character, stages, music, and content packed into one game one has to wonder how they’ll ever be able to top this. Not only is this game the perfect game with friends, it’s the perfect game to take anywhere to anyone. With the inclusion of Piranha Plant in January and the Fighter Pass which includes 5 new fighters(such as Joker from Persona 5), stages, and a new arrangement of music, this game will continue to keep growing until it is truly the ultimate game that will stand the test of time.