Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Impressions

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is finally here, and it’s yet another jewel in the crown that is the Nintendo Switch. Although it may be premature of me to say this, given I haven’t tried out all of its modes yet, but Ultimate may very well be the best Super Smash Bros. title yet.

Like any sequel to a multiplayer title, the gameplay hasn’t exactly changed much, but something about it definitely feels smoother. It just feels right to control. It’s hard to explain, but it seems like every returning character I’ve tried feels more fluid to control than they did in past games, and the newcomers are just as smooth. The gameplay may be the series’ trademark “sumo rules” take on the fighting genre, but it just feels so polished.

Another big improvement over past games is the Classic Mode. As much as I appreciate Super Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U trying to make Classic Mode into something bigger, it never really enticed me to try it out with every character. But here in Ultimate, I find myself wanting to complete Classic Mode with every new character I unlock. The beauty lies in its simplicity, as Classic Mode sees each character go through six fights, a bonus stage and a boss enemy, with each character’s opponents being vague (or literal) little callbacks to their own games.

For example, Ryu’s version utilizes stamina rules to reflecting the traditional fighter nature of Street Fighter. Meanwhile, Mega Man’s journey ends with a battle against Dr. Mario who, once defeated, becomes Mewtwo, subtly referencing the final fight against Dr. Wily in Mega Man 2). And in perhaps my favorite example, Dr. Mario’s fights are against triple opponents, with each bearing a red, blue and yellow color scheme in reference to the viruses from the classic puzzler. It’s just simple, fun and addictive.

Admittedly, the Adventure Mode, dubbed ‘World of Light’ is one I have yet to play. I’ll get around to it, but honestly, Brawl’s Supspace Emisary story mode was kind of a glorified means of unlocking every character. So I’m not exactly rushing into the story mode when everything else is already so much fun. So no opinions on World of Light for now.

Much to my pleasant surprise, it was actually really easy to play against my friends online! I know, that seems shocking considering this is a Nintendo game that isn’t Mario Kart, but playing against friends is actually accessible. That alone gets huge brownie points from me. I also haven’t experienced any lag issues when playing against opponents on a broader online scale, so that’s also an improvement from its predecessors. I have heard some people say the specific searches for quick online matches aren’t very accurate (one-on-one proponents experiencing repeated multi-man matches and such), but I haven’t tried that myself yet so I can’t comment. But the sheer easiness of playing against friends alone feels like a godsend, given all the hoops you usually have to jump through for such features in Nintendo games (I’m looking your way, Splatoon 2).

Then, of course, we have the characters. The title’s main selling point is that every past fighter from Super Smash Bros’ history is present. And with a small batch of newcomers, as well as ‘echo fighters’ we have about 70 characters (depending on how you count Pokemon Trainer). That’s a pretty hefty lineup of characters. And while the roster isn’t perfect (Geno isn’t in it), there really is such a wide variety of characters that, no matter what your play style is, you’re bound to find multiple characters you like. I personally have quickly become a King K. Rool man (hey, if Super Mario RPG isn’t represented, I’m going with my other favorite SNES title, DKC2).

All in all, I find myself having trouble putting Super Smash Bros. Ultimate down. In a weird way, it doesn’t feel quite as “massive” as the past few entries in terms of what it adds compared to what came before, but it does feel better. It takes the best bits and pieces of past Super Smash Bros. games and makes something that feels like one of those ‘special’ Nintendo releases on par with Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey.

But seriously, can we please get Geno?

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Author: themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

12 thoughts on “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Impressions”

  1. I am loving it as well. Differently from you, though, I have spent most of my time so far playing World of Light, which I found to be flawed but enjoyable, ranking as the best adventure-like mode the franchise has ever presented. I just beat it last night and unlocked all characters in the process, so now it is time to dive into Classic Mode and multiplayer. I can’t wait. And I have also been enjoying K. Rool quite a bit; he’s awesome!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For as much fun as 3DS gave me, it never quite hooked me the same way Melee and Brawl did, even if I’d say it’s better than both, something about its selection of single player modes and batch of stages felt bleh and the controls were definitely rougher than your average controller.
    This however feels so good, the flow of battles, the new QoL changes like hazards toggle, fun stuff like stages transitions, and the new modes like squad strike are such a joy.
    But Smash always shined in the multiplayer, but how does the single player compare to the lackluster options from 3DS/WiiU? I’d say it’s pretty good! Classic is just shy away from being perfect due to its lackluster minigame, if this were a break the targets akin to 64 and Melee and maybe a few more bosses, I’d call it the best arcade experience in a fighting game. As it is, it’s still definitely the best take on the mode the series has offered yet.
    I actually enjoyed World of Light a lot, I spent my first 20~ hours blasting through it (and stopped right at the moment where the game wanted me to unlock Roy to progress where I decided it wasn’t worth seeing the ending for that). Don’t get me wrong, it’s very flawed, the battles turn out very repetitive a few hours in, losing their uniqueness once you obtain spirits to counter their gimmicks to make the matter worse, and some of them can be ridiculously cheap (I hated AT heavy battles so much), but I was super hooked uncovering new areas on the map, entering facilities to see how that’d affect the world, seeing the references each spirit fight involved (some of these are so clever!), always pumped to see what character awaited next to be unlocked, getting spirits from some of my favorite games and trying to raise them accordingly to make battles easier, it was just a lot of fun despite all of its flaws. It does overstay its welcome and the variety of objectives isn’t as good as a traditional events mode (where they weren’t shy of doing something besides beat the opponent), but I’d still put it above both Melee and Brawls adventure mode. Break the Targets, this games take on classic and probably the normal events are still better alternatives for the loners like myself, but I was still satisfied with this new take on a “story” (if you can call it that).
    I love how Ridley and the Belmonts feel, and I’m surprised to say I’m finding Chrom to be a pretty decent alternative to Marth? But above that I’m so glad to have Snake back, I’m bummed out they changed his down smash, but everything else feels as good as before.
    I kinda wish we could see some of the missing stages get added later on through a DLC pack or something. Redundant as they might be, I miss Sector Z and Planet Zebes to complete the 64 lineup, and I find it a shame that they cut out the likes of Poke Floats, Jungle Hijinx and Orbital Gate Assault given how unique they felt without feeling like a disaster to play on (I’m looking at all of you huge stages that started with Temple), Wooly World also feels like a pretty baffling decision given it doesn’t look like it’d be hard to implement 8 player smash on and there’s an upcoming Wooly game in the works? But that’s a minor complain for all the options we got and we’ll get with the challenger packs.
    I’d love to see expansions with unique break the targets and events added, but I realize that’s a really unimportant missing piece to really complain about, this definitely deserves the title of Ultimate, and I kinda wish they turn it into a platform similar to SFV so we see even more content added throughout the (hopefully long) Switch lifespan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah, I miss the trophies big time. The spirits are interesting in concept, but A) they’re just stock photos of old art, which isn’t nearly as fun, and B) I doubt many people will like to play with spirits on anyway, since it potentially takes skill out of the equation in favor of stats.

      More importantly, I hope spirits don’t deconfirm characters. Yes, this is because of Geno. And I hate when people try to say things like “Geno is in the game as a spirit” and stuff like that. Sure, legions of fans have been campaigning for Geno’s inclusion for like a decade and a half, a stock image that boosts stats is totally not a middle finger to them or anything.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I main King K. Rool, with my mains from Smash 4 (Dedede and Rosalina) being my backups. Though I’m also fond of Bowser Jr. Still keeping my fingers crossed for Geno to be added in DLC. He would be, without question, my guy.

      Like

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