Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd
Review Context: I have played all the previous Super Smash Bros. games. While Super Smash Bros. Melee will always have a soft spot due to all the fun I had with the game during college, I still enjoy the other games just as much, with each game having their own perk.
Date of Playthrough: December 14, 2018
While the previous Super Smash Bros. game went for a more colorful style, this game improves on the vibrant color pallet. Each level and character designs are improved to have a different feel to them.
People such as Mario have a cartoony look, while bringing back the denim overalls with the stitching detail displayed for people with a keen eye for detail. The more realistic designs of Solid Snake and Bayonetta blends well with the Nintendo universe, as well as their arenas. The team spared no expense at making the environments cater to that gaming series. The only downside is when you have more than two fighters and the effects get in the way of finding your fighter. I never had this problem in the previous games, but for this one, I would stop fighting just to find where I am.
Like its predecessor, the game runs at a smooth 1080p/60 fps, but when undocked runs at 720p/60fps. I haven’t encountered any hiccups or slowdown, but more on that later.
If there is one thing I can say about the Smash Bros. franchise, it’s that the control scheme stays the same. The biggest change came from the first Smash Bros. on the N64 to its sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube. Ever since then, that controller (GameCube) became the staple of the series. So much so that the Wii had GameCube ports for backwards compatibility, but with the Wii U, fears were expressed of no controller support (GameCube) until Nintendo released the adapter. Now with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that same adapter can be used.
Along with that, you can also use the Joycons, separate or together, and the Pro Controller. Even with the GameCube support, I prefer using the Pro Controller just like I did in the Wii U game. Using the Joycons separate was my worst experience, as the buttons were too close for comfort.
The controls consist of Attack, Special, Jump, and Shield. Fans of the game will know about advance moves, such as dodge, throws, and other techniques done in tournaments I’m not familiar with. No matter which control scheme you go with, this game is catered to your needs with the button configuration.
Another reason this series gathers a lot of praise is how packed the games are. Ultimate is no different. You truly feel like your money is well spent on this game with the amount of content that is included (for better or worse). From a new story mode, to restoring a true tournament mode, there is enough content to keep you busy in the coming months for both singleplayer and multiplayer.
After Smash Tour for Wii U removed the story mode for a more board game experience, Ultimate comes back with World of Light, a real story mode. Masahiro Sakurai stated that the story mode would be all fight and little story, and he was right. You only get a few cutscenes while you are fighting throughout.
Playing through World of Light is one of the many ways to unlock the fighters. When you first boot the game, you’ll only have access to eight fighters who happen to be the original lineup from Super Smash Bros. (N64). I stated in my Review in Progress that I have managed to unlock 15 of the 74 fighters. As of this writing, I’m now at 25 of 74. I can honestly say that I don’t see myself unlocking all the fighters, since my free time is scarce and I don’t have a lot of get-togethers like I did with Melee.
One mode that has made the biggest change in the series is the Classic Mode. What is basically a fighting games’ arcade mode in which the player fights through random opponents till they reach the final boss. In my opinion, I feel this is where the team spent the most time on, because while it still has the pattern of fighting people, what makes it stand out is that the mode is catered to that fighter. For example, when I played as Mario, it had me fighting against people from his universe or have someone dressed as one. When I arrived at the boss it was none other than Bowser. When I played as Kirby, my final boss was King Dedede. For me, this is my favorite mode in the game because of the amount of research Sakurai’s team had to go through to make sure each fight felt right for that fighter. When a new enemy turns the entire roster into spirit puppets, it is up to Kirby to return their spirits back into their possessed bodies.
After being absent in the Wii U until it returned via patch update, tournament mode is back and supports up to 32 people. A mode that is a first for the game is Squad Strike, in which you have a team of 3 or 5 and fight it out with the roster you’ve unlocked. Modes that have not returned is the beloved Home Run Derby and Target Smash. Mob Smash is an endurance round of different difficulties of you against multiple enemies with one life. Special Smash has you setting the rules to play Smash your way.
Another feature that has been removed for something else are the Trophies. In the previous games you could unlock trophies of characters from different video game franchises. Now they are known as Spirits. In the story mode, the fighters have turned into them and possess attributes that will help you along the way. You will be earning a lot of Spirits as your progress in the story. There is also Spirit Board, in which you can earn different ones at random times with events giving you bonuses. Case in point, there are currently Fire Emblem spirits to earn this weekend (once again, as I’m writing this).
Now the biggest reason Smash is also popular is the crazy multiplayer. For the most part, it is one of the best experiences with what you can do The first edition is the game supports eight players on all levels, instead of some on the previous one. Playing multiple matches is another way to unlock fighters. If you happen to lose your attempt at unlocking that character, you can try again in the rematch room after a few minutes instead of waiting for the rematch at random.
Another feature I stated is that I didn’t have Nintendo Online during my review process. I have signed up, and on the question of how my online matches fared. my experience was 50/50. Of the 20 online matches I’ve played, 12 were smooth, while the other 8 were unplayable. Heck, there were times when the game would boot me out in the lobby. My Switch is no more than 10 feet away from the modem. During the online setup, you have to choose your rules before going in or just hope for a quick match to start up. I miss having the option to select for Fun or Glory (Wii U). You are able to have two players play online, as well as LAN mode with eight other Switches. While others play Smash Bros. for competition, I always saw the franchise as a love letter to the media, with all the easter eggs and references. I find it funny that now others are feeling the same way after Ultimate.
With a series combining all of video game’s greatest hits, you better come out swinging, and as always, this game not only knocks it out the park, it hits a grand slam. Not only does it contain all the music from all the previous games, but it includes new tracks and has a massive total of over 800 tunes (not including upcoming tracks for future DLC fighters). In my review progress, I was overwhelmed with each level containing over thirty tracks for me to customize. The ability to create a playlist has returned, though this feature made more since on the 3DS version if you were brave enough to use your 3DS as a MP3 player in public.
The sound effects are top notch with each effect varied on that fighter, as well as the voice acting, even though they’re mostly grunts and small phrases. My only gripe is when you play as Pit on his level when you activate an easter egg there is a mini-dialogue about each fighter. It was awesome and unexpected for them to rewrite new dialogue, yet the Solid Snake transmission for his easter egg analyze on his level is recycled dialogue from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Heck, they didn’t even bother to remove the dialogue that mentions the game. What this also means is when you use new fighters no dialogue is activated. But the final dislike for me is the actors for the Star Fox team. Yes, I know these are the same actors from Star Fox Assault, but aside from Krystal, I still prefer the originals from Star Fox 64, since it shows they still got it from their performances in Star Fox Zero and Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
Similar Games Liked:
Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (3DS)