I’ve spent just over a month with the behemoth that is Super Smash Bros Ultimate – In that time I’ve combo’ed and raged my way to victory as I’ve taken on devastating CPU’s and children online. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect on my opinion on Ultimate as a whole; Smash in it’s own nature is a very difficult game to review, because a lot of positive feelings come from “Well it’s Smash, what do you mean I have to backup my points?” BUT this is a review site after all, and I think I’ve spent enough hours to break down my opinions on Ultimate as a whole. So let’s head straight into what I think.
I spent the better part of my childhood on the Gamecube, and when I wasn’t getting absorbed in Super Mario Sunshine I was mashing buttons on Melee. Melee is still played a lot today in the competitive scene due to its almost broken and fast nature. Back then for me it was just a fun game where I could beat the hell out of Mario as Link – As I’ve grown and played new instalments of the series, though, I’ve taken a higher interest at making myself better at the game. Melee was always the fastest and felt like a very cruel game to try and learn today – Brawl and Sm4sh felt too slow and didn’t suck me in to try get better. Ultimate is the perfect balance mechanically; it’s fluid and fast but still leaves the door open for anyone to pick it up and learn its intricate details.
This already makes Ultimate one of the most accessible fighting / party games. Then you’ve got it’s luxurious roster that literally had me screaming at E3. EVERYONE IS HERE was the slogan slapped onto a montage of every fighter that has ever been in the Smash series. You can really feel it when you go into a fight and see over 70 little faces staring at you; it really makes Ultimate feel like the biggest crossover and celebration of video games that exists. Where else would you go to see Cloud take on Pikachu and Isabelle while Bayonetta swoops in with her Final Smash? This is what makes Smash such a hard game to try review because everything about it brings something positive. It’s a curse of the Switch in general, everything about it invokes joy into my soul.
Still I wanted to take a lot of time reviewing Ultimate. With the amount of characters and content I really wanted to delve into every aspect I could – Content-wise it’s just as packed as you would hope for a game with over 70 fighters. World of Light is an adventure mode which ties into the new Spirit mechanic. and, whilst it doesn’t feel as impressive as Nintendo wants you to believe, it is a moderate distraction. Luckily this is a game where the adventure mode isn’t the main draw and instead serves as “just another thing to do”. The main Smash modes are packed to the brim with content and customisation – From the Stages to the rule sets, nearly everything can be configured to your specific preferences. Even setting custom balance for local games if you think a particular fighter needs an extra buff or nerf.
You’ll find that there’s a ton of modes to chose from when you’re smashing with your friends. From regular Smash, to tag battles to an iron man mode, I’ve been enjoying them all to the fullest with friends. The Classic mode is also still here with some really fun stages and scenarios to take on as particular characters, including Dracula as the boss for Simon Belmont, Beast Ganon for The Legend of Zelda characters, Giga Bowser for Mario characters, Marx for Kirby, Meta Knight and King Dedede, Galleom, and even the Rathalos from Monster Hunter. According to my Switch profile I’ve spent over 60 hours on the game, and I’m still not even half way with these classic playthroughs. Ultimate really just pushes home how much it has to offer and how it wants to own every second of your free time. The process of unlocking characters was a treat as well as I let it happen naturally in-between play sessions or at the end of a classic route. I found myself getting really excited when certain characters challenged me like Cloud, Isabelle and K. Rool.
Despite me loving all these local modes, the main draw for me with Ultimate is the online. The first week of the games release suffered with some very extreme issues; your preferred rules were matching you up in 4-man smashes with items on, and the connection wasn’t always great. This was quickly patched up and now I always get the exact rule set that I’m looking for. Connection wise things have been pretty much perfect. Me and Salman play all the time from half the world away and it works perfectly. I love hopping onto an arena with him to engage in some friendly banter. I’ve found that all the characters are balanced pretty damn well. Rather than suffer from one or two character being so much stronger than everyone else; Ultimate has found the generous way of making everyone a viable option the better path. Even tyrants like King K Rool (My personal main) can be stomped by the right characters. Which is the way it should be.
Smash Ultimate really is the Ultimate Super Smash Bros. game. The content is packed and nearly all of it would satisfy my soul for a life time. It is already becoming one of my favourite games on the Switch. For certain it’s already the game I’ve put the most hours in thanks to it’s addicting multiplayer and satisfying mechanics. After nearly a full year of hype from the moment it was announced last March I can fully say that I am satisfied with the game that we received. It’s incredibly hard for me to fault outside of some lacklustre adventure mode. There’s just so much more for me to do in the game that I am able to overlook one small experience and enjoy everything else that Sakurai has packed into this experience.
A gigantic Roster partnered with smooth and just downright fun gameplay. Not to mention the amount of content packed into it. Smash Ultimate gets my seal of approval.