Review Super Smash Bros Ultimate Is Majestic

first_imgBut these similarities only help Ultimate stand out more with its smart changes and additions. It starts with presentation. Similar to how Brawl’s visuals impressed compared to Melee’s even though the Wii and Gamecube weren’t that different, Ultimate’s graphics are also noticeably more upgraded even though the Switch is a souped-up Wii U. (I still low-key resent the 3DS version for holding back the Wii U version when they both should’ve just been their own things.)The lighting is more dramatic and the characters are more detailed, almost like colorful clay statues at times, gorgeous in either TV or handheld mode. Flourishes like the red-and-black lightning strike with killing blows return, but they are accentuated with slow-mo on strong strikes and faster, more dynamic Final Smash attacks that feature character portraits.I could write a whole other review about how much more powerful and memorable the main theme “Lifelight” is because of the choice to include ridiculous lyrics (another cue from Brawl and its Latin choir). And it feels petty, but even just having the “Ultimate” subtitle makes the game feel that much more important than the video game product Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS.The goal of stellar presentation though is to shine a light on content, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn’t have a content problem. Granted, it’s not a lot of brand new content. But the proper way to view this game is to look at it as the most robust enhanced port in fighting game history. Call it Super Smash Bros. 5 Turbo Championship Edition HD if that helps. And if the game had to sacrifice new material to feel as complete as it does, I’m fine with that.Solid Snake and Ice Climbers coming back, along with every other fighter is more exciting than many hypothetical newcomers. A lot of songs in the 1000-song soundtrack are old, but that King K. Rool remix really slaps. Four new stages doesn’t sound so bad when the total stage number tops 100 each with tournament-friendly flat versions and the ability to morph between them mid-match. Collecting all of this legacy material furthers the game’s wonderful mission of video game preservation pageantry.With so much though, where do you even begin? Just play the game, man. Playing matches is the best way to get handle for the new feel and the fastest way to unlock the 60+ characters you can get along with the base roster of eight. Having characters doled out to you this way keeps the choice from being overwhelming. By the time you’ve figured out how the Inkling paint mechanic works, it’s time to try out Isabelle and her tricky traps. The “right” way to play the game is just playing whatever part you want however long you want, dabbling elsewhere as you see fit. The offline multiplayer is as solid as ever, with plenty of different rules and controller options along with support for absolutely chaotic eight-player battles now on every stage.The online play has also been a pleasant surprise, and the mode I’m sinking the most time into. With so many different ways to play (items, stamina, stock, stage hazards, Final Smash meter) proper matchmaking always sounded like a tricky proposition unless you just fought in private friend lobbies. But for the most part, I’ve had plenty of no-frills, competitive, one-on-one matches with really great players teaching me to be better by beating me. I haven’t had many stability or lag issues either, although I have been using a wired connection. The Global Smash Power ranking system seems like a vague way to determine skill, like the game is obfuscating how much you actually suck as the player base increases. But it did feel great to become skilled enough with my main character Ganondorf to briefly enter the upper echelon of Elite Smash despite sucking with Pichu.The raw fighting has never been better. The shift towards more aggressive play, with altered defensive options, makes matches more exciting to watch and participate in. The speed and technical finesse finally create the perfect compromise with the hardcore crowd and the franchise’s inherent accessibility. Giving aerials the speed of L-cancelling without the fiddly input needed to actually L-cancel is fantastic. As we’ve noted in our ongoing character breakdowns, each fighter has received loving individual balance adjustments, however big or small. Unlocking veterans is addictive, not disappointing or tedious, because you’re excited to see how they play now. I’m so happy that Cloud is worse.And while this is true for all Smash Bros. games, here I just really appreciated the shift in fighting game theory the game asks you to make with its core conceit of racking up damage but also knocking your opponent off the stage. I’ve heard some Smash newbies with other fighting game experience actually say the platformer-style importance of moving and positioning makes the game tougher, which was delightful to hear after decades of Smash being written off as “not a real fighting game.” Smash is primed for its eSports moment at last.But even if you never want to fight an actual human being Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has something for you. Truth be told, I still think modern Mortal Kombat/Injustice are the games to beat when it comes to fighting game single-player modes. And in Ultimate you do feel the lack of past throwaway extras like Break The Targets and Home-Run Contest. But you can still beat up a bunch of Miis forever. And the big single-player modes that are here are very big indeed.It’s another small presentation touch, but I love how each character’s Classic Mode arcade ladder is personalized. Simon Belmont fights a bunch of spooky monsters. Wii Fit Trainer whips the fat dudes into shape. Duck Hunt Dog fights other animals including a dragon from Monster Hunter. If the game isn’t going to have that many absurd cutscenes, the least it can do is use its fight setups to explore different narrative crossover possibilities.The Adventure Mode, “World of Light,” is also all about taking the crossovers to their logical conclusion. As I’ve written before, there’s a RPG grind element to this mode and the Spirits mechanic that drives it. You’re fighting clever custom matches evoking other characters to earn their Spirit JPEF file and level up your own Spirits. And honestly, I’m only playing a little bit at a time to avoid burnout. But playing it this way gives you more appreciation for just the sheer amount of effort put into the mode.The world map is huge and surprisingly puzzle-filled. The different Spirit buffs and skill trees provide tons of different ways to play characters you thought you were already used to. I’ve got a poison-immune Donkey Kong with beefier punches. And the thought put into the Spirit battles themselves are consistently charming. Dash attack Wario is Chargin’ Chuck. Jumping Little Mac is Ricky the Kangaroo. Zero Suit Samus is The Boss. Sonic and Sukapon are Rayman for some reason.I’ll probably never get too invested in Spirits. I won’t level them up with snacks or train them or send them on missions. And “World of Light” is substantial enough I feel no need to fight Spirits directly on the Spirit Board. But I admire how the campaign makes great but tangential parts of previous Smash games, Event Matches and hordes of video game history collectibles, a core part of the experience. These controls were never meant for platforming anyway, sorry “Subspace Emissary.”If this review feels all over the place it’s because Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is masterful in so many different directions. And this was before they decided to add Persona 5 DLC characters to it. I don’t want another Smash Bros. game like this. A new game would have to take a different direction like a Vs. game or 3D game or just take a decade off. Otherwise, I don’t know how a follow-up wouldn’t be a step back compared to this.Even if it could’ve given me a little bit more of what I didn’t know I wanted, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gives me everything and everyone I do want. It’s the best version of my favorite video game. I hope everyone who loves video games one day gets to play something that gives them the satisfaction this game gives me.View as: One Page Slides1/761. Read Mario’s Guide2. Read Donkey Kong’s Guide3. Read Link’s Guide4. Read Samus’s Guide5. Read Dark Samus’s Guide6. Read Yoshi’s Guide7. Read Kirby’s Guide8. Read Fox’s Guide9. Read Pikachu’s Guide10. Read Luigi’s Guide11. Read Ness’s Guide12. Read Captain Falcon’s Guide13. Read Jigglypuff’s Guide14. Read Peach’s Guide15. Read Daisy’s Guide16. Read Bowser’s Guide17. Read Ice Climbers’ Guide18. Read Sheik’s Guide19. Read Zelda’s Guide20. Read Dr. Mario’s Guide21. Read Pichu’s Guide22. Read Falco’s Guide23. Read Marth’s Guide24. Read Lucina’s Guide25. Read Young Link’s Guide26. Read Ganondorf’s Guide27. Read Mewtwo’s Guide28. Read Roy’s Guide29. Read Chrom’s Guide30. Read Mr. Game and Watch’s Guide31. Read Meta Knight’s Guide32. Read Pit’s Guide33. Read Dark Pit’s Guide34. Read Zero Suit Samus’s Guide35. Read Wario’s Guide36. Read Snake’s Guide37. Read Ike’s Guide38. Read Pokemon Trainer’s Guide39. Read Diddy Kong’s Guide40. Read Lucas’s Guide41. Read Sonic’s Guide42. Read King Dedede’s Guide43. Read Olimar’s Guide44. Read Lucario’s Guide45. Read R.O.B.’s Guide46. Read Toon Link’s Guide47. Read Wolf’s Guide48. Read Villager’s Guide49. Read Mega Man’s Guide50. Read Wii Fit Trainer’s Guide51. Read Rosalina and Luma’s Guide52. Read Little Mac’s Guide53. Read Greninja’s Guide54. Read Mii Fighters’ Guide55. Read Palutena’s Guide56. Read Pac-Man’s Guide57. Read Robin’s Guide58. Read Shulk’s Guide59. Read Bowser Jr.’s Guide60. Read Duck Hunt’s Guide61. Read Ryu’s Guide62. Read Cloud’s Guide63. Read Corrin’s Guide64. Read Bayonetta’s Guide65. Read Inkling’s Guide66. Read Ridley’s Guide67. Read Simon’s Guide68. Read Richter’s Guide69. Read King K. Rool’s Guide70. Read Isabelle’s Guide71. Read Ken’s Guide72. Read Incineroar’s Guide73. Read Piranha Plant’s Guide74. Read Joker’s Guide75. Read Hero’s Guide76. Read Banjo and Kazooie’s Guide Stay on target I don’t think I’ll ever be more excited for a video game than I was for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It was just the perfect storm of hype: the long wait after years of playing Melee, the surprising graphical leap and epic realistic aesthetic befitting the legendary cast, the shocking guest characters like Snake and Sonic, the cinematic adventure mode, stage building and replay sharing and online play!Complaints of slower gameplay aside, I’ll always love Brawl as the one and only game I camped out at midnight for waiting on its release. It was majestic as both feature-rich fighting game and bonafide video game history art object. And the best thing I can say about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch is that it taps into that same breadth and depth of majesty.This isn’t a knock against other Super Smash Bros. games. The Nintendo 64 original is a game you should play before you die. Melee still has the edge on speedy competitiveness. Much of Ultimate’s accomplishments stem from the fact that it very much builds off of the Wii U version’s foundation. And at the end of the day, they are still the same core game of iconic cartoons trying to knock each other into oblivion.center_img ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Was Final Mission From Late Nintendo President‘Undertale’s’ Sans Is Basically a Brand New ‘Sma… last_img read more