It’s time to look at a game that could go down in history as the greatest of them all. That may sound like hyperbole, but at the moment the Super Smash Bros Wii U title currently holds that spot so it’s not unreasonable to imagine a world where this one surpasses it. I’ve been hyped for this game for many months now. A new Super Smash Bros title always brings with it a certain level of expectations like that and even more so for this one since it was touted as being the ultimate Smash title. It’s effectively an upgraded port of the Wii U game while bringing in all of the previous characters and most of the stages. I’ve already put in close to 50 hours here and that number’s only going to keep on rising.
First off lets talk about the gameplay even though by now it is fairly iconic. The goal of the game is to get the opponent’s damage% up. The higher it is the farther they will be launched when you attack them. Once you’ve knocked the opponent off the stage entirely they lose a life. Once you’ve taken all of their lives away the match is over and you will have claimed victory. While the goal is simple, it’s still a fairly complicated game. I imagine that if this is your first Smash title that you’ll have a pretty steep learning curve at first. Nevertheless you’ll definitely get the hang of it.
Multiplayer is definitely where you’ll spend the most time in this game. The battles are legendary here and with over 70 playable characters and 100+ stages you can keep the matches feeling fresh the whole time. Online definitely helps the replay value even further if you have no friends. Fortunately even just fighting the computers can present a really nice challenge. There are certainly some online issues you will want to be aware of though. Currently the match settings allow you a preference but you can still be sent into types that you did not ask for. If that happens watch out because it will still affect your GSP which is effectively your online rank. I wouldn’t get too attached to it though because that may make you afraid to keep on playing when you see your score go down. It’ll definitely go up and down as you go through more matches, but the important thing is watching your skills improve which won’t happen if you are too nervous the whole time. What you should be most excited about is the fact that this will ensure you fight tougher and tougher opponents as you get better.
Meanwhile there are a ton of other modes to play. While we sadly don’t see the return of a story mode like what Brawl had, we do get a new adventure mode which is similar to Melee’s in the sense that there is a basic story but not too many cutscenes. You are placed in a large overhead map where you have to get to the end. You do this by freeing all of the fighters who have been possessed by the cosmic being. Each fight you go through has some kind of gimmick or element that makes it unique. These can be quite challenging for a new player so I recommend taking a look at the spirits. They will help you overcome these battles but they can be a little overwhelming at times so take it slow.
There’s also the Spirit Board mode which lets you get new spirits by completing more event battles. It’s basically the same as Adventure Mode but without the story behind it. There are over 1200 spirits in the game so this should definitely help you get a lot of play time in. The actual story is around 10-11 hours if you rush it and to 100% the story you’ll probably need more like 20 hours. There are also a few other single player modes like All Star and 100 Man Brawl. You fight hordes of enemies in this mode and see how quickly you are able to finish them off. The single player options are a little more limited than in past options, but compared to the average game it is still a ton of content. As mentioned, most of your time will probably be spent in multiplayer mode anyway.
As expected the graphics are absolutely top notch here. Everything looks really clear and pristine. It’s all so colorful and amazing. A lot of things are always happening on screen at once but you’ll never feel lost. Super Smash always shows up as the best looking Nintendo game on each console and the Switch looks like it won’t be an exception. You’ll be hard pressed to find any game that looks better than this one. The soundtrack is also extremely impressive as there are over 800 songs to be found. I think its safe to say that this game easily has the best ost of all time. There are just so many songs to choose from. You’ll start out with most of them and then you get to unlock the last few hundred. I will add that I think the developers did a good job of letting you start out with all the stages and most of the music while leaving all the characters to be unlocked. The challenger approaching screen has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the game after all.
Between all the spirits and gameplay this title has unlimited replay value. At the time of writing this review I currently have 4 challenges left to complete. I expect to have those done by the end of the week. I’ll certainly still keep on playing this title daily but I guess it may be time to tag in another title. It won’t have much time before the Christmas batch gets in though which is why I’m still pretty undecided on how to go about that. Ah well, I’ll have time.
I guess the question you may be asking now is..why hasn’t this game passed the Wii U one yet? We can ignore all of the modes and just get to the gameplay because that’s the deciding factor when it comes to Smash. This game series is in a league of its own to the point where all modes are thrown to the wayside in favor of the gameplay. Whoever has the best gameplay wins, it’s that simple. Smash 4 prioritized combos over everything else. Once you learned each character’s combos you would try to get in place to land them. It made you have to learn how to study everything and get into position. In comparison, Smash Ultimate is all about the neutral game. Attacking is now prioritized over defense, but most hits don’t combo into other moves so you simply have to keep out thinking your opponent until you land enough hits for the win.
This results in both players throwing out quite a lot of attacks as most of them are safe now. As someone who likes playing aggressively this is definitely a lot of fun. It’s really tough to fight against though as it can sometimes feel like there are no openings (Especially when fighting a quick ranged character like Roy) but there will always be one somewhere. It’ll take some getting used to. I do think eventually this game will likely surpass the Wii U one, but I don’t think it’ll happen for a little while. I put in over 2200 hours into Super Smash Bros Wii U so it makes sense that I can’t drop it so quickly. I also just prefer doing a lot of fancy combos to the one hit moves but again, I think that’ll change.
I really have no meaningful negatives about the game at all. As mentioned, the online is definitely lacking at present. You’re thrown into matches that you didn’t want and there is no way to team up with a friend locally against other friends online. Hopefully they will be able to resolve that as well as adding in other features like stage morphing and Squad Strike. The latter is something I had been particularly looking forward to in the game so it was a shame to see that it is offline only. In the meantime I’ve had fun growing my GSP with the characters. I got most of them to over a million with my only elite fighters currently being Bayonetta, Marth, Lucina, and Pac-Man. Naturally they are also my 4 mains at the moment since I figure I’ll let the game help me decide that. Usually I end up maining a bunch of characters so this will help me whittle that list down a bit.
Meanwhile I should also talk a bit about some of the new items and assists. For the items, my favorite new weapon is probably the Death Scythe. I believe if you hit someone with it when they are over 100% they will instantly lose a stock which is cool. Likewise, I like the Rage Blaster for its similar function although in this case it gets stronger as you grow weaker. The banana gun is also a fun weapon that may not be super powerful or anything, but it’s just a great concept. I think unlike the characters and stages we did lose a lot of items over the years, but I guess it makes sense not to make the list too huge or you’ll never see some items.
For the Assists, we finally have Knuckles! Along with the fact that most assist trophies can now be destroyed they feel more like pseudo fighters than ever. Some are incredibly flashy as well like the Moon from Majora’s Mask. I can see how fans get a little upset when their fighters shows up as an assist, but never lose hope. All they need is a patch at some point and the character can be playable at any moment. For the Pokemon we also have Solgaleo who is one of the strongest creatures in the game. It’s very hard to dodge his fire charges while avoiding the other players. In general I think the game has heavily buffed these assists so now most of them are lethal. That’s a good thing as it is a lot more rewarding to grab them. Don’t worry, you’ve still got the trolls like Goldeen.
Finally, lets talk about the newcomers. First off we have echos which is the official term used by the game for the clone characters. This was a great way to bolster the character size with requested characters who are similar to their main counterparts. Two very good ones are Dark Samus and Ken. These echos have some slight differences from their main counterparts while being similar enough where you can easily use both versions. My only regret is that we didn’t get more echos. I think this could be a landmine of cash for the company if they reconsider their stance. Imagine having over 50 echos in the game? I’d certainly break out the cash for them.
Then we have the full blown newcomers. One has gotten a lot of hype and naturally that is Ridley. After Project M was able to get him into the game Sakurai had no more excuses so he relented and allowed him to join the party. His moveset is a blast. He may be pretty heavy so getting stuck in repeated attacks will happen, but his massive power is a good counter to that. The game seemed to like adding heavyweights as we also have King K Rool. He’s an iconic DK villain who also looks pretty good. His moveset is pretty fun and you won’t want to underestimate him in the ring.
Repping the newer Splatoon is Inkling. She’s a speed character who is looking incredibly good, but also very complex. I think once players master her various ink gimmicks she will be even more of a force to be reckoned with. With Bayonetta being severely nerfed it will be tough for any character to stop this squid kid’s reign of terror. As a surprising addition we also have Simon and Richter from Castlevania. They are as annoying to fight as you can imagine with their projectile spam being even tougher to get around than Link’s. They’re fun to play as though. Isabelle feels like an echo but is actually treated as a full character. She’s a nice alternative to Villager and her fishing rod is a fun attack to use. It’s pretty hard to avoid when you’re on the ledge.
Finally we have Incineroar. He’s a pretty tough boxing Pokemon who has a lot of power and a pretty cool revenge mechanic. With it he can deal massive damage with a single blow. All in all, I’m pretty happy with our new characters so far. It’s hard to be upset when we already have so many options to choose from. The characters all have their fans for sure. While I would have liked some other characters to make the cut as well like Isaac and Waluigi, maybe DLC is their chance. The first 2 DLC characters we know of are Piranha Plant and Joker. They will definitely be great additions as well with the latter especially being very exciting. I can’t wait to play as him, I’m thinking that his moveset is going to be amazing. With that said though, while the new characters are super cool for now I’m still going for the wins with my classic Marth.
Overall, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is indeed the ultimate experience for Super Smash fans in terms of content. It’s got just about everything here. While we had to say goodbye to some fan favorite modes like Target Attack and Home Run Contest, I wouldn’t be surprised if those are added in at a later date. With how patches come into play nowadays you wouldn’t want to rule such things out. We also have more characters and stages coming through DLC as well so this game is going to stay active for a very long time. If you’re afraid of getting into the series because of the high learning curve, I’d say not to worry about it. We all have to start somewhere and you’ll definitely be having a blast before long.