With a very dedicated fan base since its Nintendo 64 days, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, was probably the most hyped Nintendo Switch game release this year.
Its extremely diverse mashup of characters makes it one of the most, if not the most, ambitious video game crossover so far. And so rich in content still!
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is huge!
The character pool consists of every playable characters from previous editions of the franchise, with an addition of new ones (with more on the way as the DLC rolls out!).
That’s a total of 74 characters so far!
Old time fan favorites, like Wolf and Snake, are back with new ones, like the Inklings from Splatoon, Simon from Castlevania, or Incineroar from Pokémon, joining the battle. A lot of the old characters got their kit reworked and can feel foreign to play as now but the whole roster is pretty balanced and diverse, giving new players the opportunity to do well on any character.
The new Smash edition also offers several mini-game modes, and with customisable match rules the possibilities are endless! Smash together with up to 8 players and mayhem is sure to ensue!
Gamecube exclusive players will rejoice to be able to use their controller of choice. A new Pro Switch controller, optimized for the game, was also released and holds pretty well. Handheld mode on my end feels a bit bulky, but if you were a fan of the Wii U pad, then you’ll be able to Smash easily. Surprisingly though, the joy-cons are really comfortable to play with and make the Switch’s portability even more extraordinary and appreciated as you can literally have a go at Smash with friends and family anywhere, even on your commute (like I do)!
The visual effects are vibrant and really emphasize on how decisive every move is, and the audio selection is great. I am personally in love with the final blow animation so much that it almost makes me emotional (the amount of satisfaction when you land it is equal to the amount of frustration when you’re on the receiving end). It just looks amazing and makes the game so entertaining!
The gameplay is fast, really fast and every character feels strong and at times overpowered.
Unlocking all 74 characters will require at least an hour of your time if you choose to follow the fast farm technique of resetting the game software after every new character encounter. If you’re a fan of RPG campaigns, you can also unlock them via the story mode, “World of Light”, or grind them through the Classic mode.
It’s pretty impressive to see that the game is able to appeal to different types of player, and stays fun even when playing solo.
The Classic mode feels quite rewarding, as the level of difficulty increase as your progress and making it to the end without failing really feels like an achievement. The “Bonus Level” however, a platform Level, is quite disappointing as it is the same for every character unlike previous iterations of the franchise. It gets boring really fast but to be fair, with a whooping roster of 74 playable characters (with more to be added), having a specific map for each character would be quite tedious (especially when the digital copy is already +10GB big).
The story mode, that was missing from the Wii U edition, is back. “World of Light” provides you with a new storyline and concept that will set you back on at least 15 hours of game time. The story follows Kirby fighting against spirits, corrupted avatars, in order to rescue his friends so they can save the world again. The spirit battles, with their rule twists are actually quite fun while a bit repetitive at times. But the visuals are gorgeous, especially the end, and make the journey worth it.
And yet, even after so many hours played, the game has its way to keep you going and grind, whether it be to complete every quest or to practice over and over to master your favorite character(s).
Playing online with friends gets a bit awkward as both you and your friends need to join the online arena in order to play together but you can’t send messages through the Nintendo friend system. The lack of in-game comms makes you have to rely on third party applications. What’s more is that the matchmaking system seems broken at the moment with lots of players reporting issues of match settings not working (items appearing when requested not to).
On paper, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really feels like a game that keeps on giving but ends up being a victim of its own franchise popularity and Nintendo’s questionable online multiplayer platform.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is also quite skill demanding, as the AI can sometimes be very tough to beat, which can get a bit frustrating at times (I personally got stuck on Greninja). But then it wouldn’t be a good fighting game if it was too easy since, let’s be honest, the only way to get better is to get beaten up until you manage to fight back.
Smash or get smashed 😉
Released: November 2018