Super Smash Bros. Ultimate REVIEW

12/10/2018

I have fond memories of playing the very first Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 at a family friends house when I was a child. I remember finding so much joy in the game and being, even at that time, in awe of the amazing crossover happening in front of me. However, it was Melee that really crushed my enjoyment with the series as I wasn't very good at gaming at the time of its release. It seemed too complicated and I always seemed to be getting my butt handed to me. "Brawl" was a fine addition to the series and I felt it was a bit easier, but playing with the Wii mote wasn't much fun and it didn't do much for my enjoyment with the series. 

There's no denying that Smash is the greatest crossover event in all of gaming. As someone who spent hundreds of hours playing Playstation Allstars Battle Royal (please don't let this ruin my credibility) and loving it, it isn't hard to admit that it wasn't much of a contest for Smash and it seemed as if Sony did very little to acquire characters from all over the gaming landscape. Playstation Allstars was short lived and Smash continued to reign supreme...and it deserved it. As an early adopter of the Wii U, I wanted to try Smash again upon its release. I really liked the Wii U version as well as the 3DS version. I liked the graphical style and I thought it was a lot easier to handle in comparison to the almighty Game Cube version. The release of amiibos also helped hype it up and I must admit, I bought a few. It wasn't until last month that I decided to pick it up again and learn to play it for real. Up + B is the most useful tip anyone ever taught me. 

Come December 7th, I played Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the first time and spent many hours that night enjoying it with friends. We all had a lot of fun! It was reminiscent of our time playing Playstation Allstars! All of us are switch owners and have celebrated Nintendos success by playing every major release so far on the console, so it was fun coming together and playing the be-all end-all of Nintendo celebrations.

My first few hours playing Smash Ultimate, the first thing I noticed was how balanced every character seemed. It felt as if no character was stronger or weaker than another and if a character did seem weak at face value, practice with them would reveal moves and combos that gave them that slight advantage thus balancing them with the others. 

I think where Smash Ultimate best succeeds is in its reward system. I'll be honest, I'm not a long time smash player. Maybe I'm just having a new perspective on the game and noticing things that have been there for generations, but I love the way they made sure you feel every hit and combo that your character makes. What I mean is that every time you strike the opponent it feels good and it feels rewarding. You feel like you made an impact on your opponent and that you're that much closer to winning. The developers have also made unlocking new challengers pretty simple too. When it's time to take on a new foe, the battle is short but intense. It also feels easy enough and not intimidating like past iterations, which I find great. The challenger battle is a reward for spending a few rounds playing against a CPU or your friends. If you're playing with friends, winner faces the challenger. I love this. We found ourselves screaming at each other to win and encouraging each other not to blow it and high-fiving if we succeeded. Rewards in fighting games or any game really is a very important aspect and it's what keeps you coming back for more. Nintendo really got this right with Super Smash Bros Ultimate. 

Unlocking characters however could have been made a bit quicker. While it's great that you have so much content to unlock and this gives the game a longer time to completion, there are still 70 characters to unlock if you want them all and there doesn't seem to be a way to do it quickly. According to Tim Gettys of Kinda Funny Games, the game throws a new challenger at you after 10 mins worth of in game battling. That 10 mins multiplied by 70 characters can add up. Tim also mentioned a way to unlock characters a little bit faster. By simply quitting the game and restarting it and completing the first battle you play after restarting, you will instantly receive another challenger. The catch is you have to constantly do this forcing you to restart after every new challenger you unlock. Could be worth it to some and I think is worth mentioning. 

Another way to unlock characters is through the new "World of Light" mode which to be honest, I'm not too big a fan of. Apparently there is about 40 hours of game in the "World of Light" mode. This is probably a great mode for more experienced players but I found myself struggling about an hour in and I think I may be throwing my towel in early on this. The mode is developed and is a great idea, but it seems unnecessary and is something that brings the score down a bit for me. 

Lastly, I have to mention I have not played online yet. From what I'm hearing online seems to play pretty well and I'm hoping is greatly improved from the Wii U version of the game. 

Overall Super Smash Bros Ultimate is an amazing game and a great start for anyone who's never dared to venture into this series. I strongly recommend picking this game up if you're a switch owner and plan on having some friends over to play. Great news too is that if you don't have that many joy cons to play with, Nintendo re-released the Game Cube controller with a special adapter you can use to play with. It's a cheaper option for extra controllers and it's important to note just how great smash feels playing with the Game Cube controller! 

If you've played smash, what are your thoughts on the game? Is this a game you'll play for a week or is this something you're looking forward to playing throughout 2019? Also, what characters are you hoping Nintendo adds as DLC? Tweet me @theJakeMcCoy or comment down below!