Smash Ultimate Review

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

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Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Link quickly dodges Mario’s fireball only to get hit by Kirby’s hammer, flying off the stage with 280 damage. It may seem like all is lost, but not quite. Link uses his spin attack, propelling himself up and manages to grab onto the edge of the stage. He jumps up to confront Pikachu, who taunts him haughtily. In any other series, this crossover would be simply not possible, but then again, Super Smash Bros isn’t just any other series. And the series’ 20-year history has been building up to this point- Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

With 74 fighters (depends if one would count Pokemon Trainer as 3 fighters), 108 stages, over 1,000 spirits (to be explained), and a story mode with more than 20 hours of gameplay, Smash Ultimate certainly is ultimate. The fighters were one of the most hoped for aspects of Smash. The past four games were certainly ambitious, adding new characters and taking off others, but none compared to the ambition of Smash: to have every single character in the history of Smash be represented. So the characters, like Ice Climbers and Pichu, who were taken off the roster, come back once again. But what’s more is that Ultimate has characters that fans have been pleading for for years, such as Ridley, King K. Rool, and more. Indeed, Ultimate has been a very fan-pleasing game.

While not every stage in Smash Bros makes an appearance, there are still a whooping 108 stages. Compare that to the 29 stages in the original Smash Bros! Omega stages have returned as well (stages with only one main platform and no stage hazards) as well as a new well-hyped for feature- Stage morphs. Players can select 2 or more stages and how long they’ll last, and when it’s time to smash, after a certain amount of playing, the stage will morph into the second stage.

A new, exciting feature was announced in the last Nintendo direct- spirits. While trophies wouldn’t make an appearance this time around, Spirits would take their place. Spirits are unlockable power-enhancers that originate from games of all kinds- even from some that aren’t represented in Smash. To unlock, the player have to fight a Smasher that has a modified behavior. There are over 1300 Spirits to fight, meaning that even if the player would ignore all other features, one still have a lot of work to do. There are two types of spirits- primary and support. The Primary Spirits have 4 types, and they work in a sort of rock-paper-scissors fashion. Support Spirits add certain buffs to the player’s team, and should be used strategically to beat challenges. To make Spirits more powerful, players can feed them to level them up.

And finally, and the most wanted, The World Of Light. Back in 2008, Smash Brawl (#3) was released. It came with a new story mode that will forever sit in Smash fans’ hearts- the Subspace Emissary. The plot is covered more extensively in a previous article (found here) but essentially the player teams up with Smashers from different universes to save the world. But what was special about it is that Subspace has a plot. Cutscenes with characters interacting and making friends/fighting each other. When Smash for the Wii U was released, gamers expected a sequel. But when they didn’t see one, they just shook their heads sadly and labeled Subspace as the best (and only) story mode of Smash. Nintendo noticed the fans disappointment and revealed a cinematic showing mass annihilation of all of the Smashers except for one- Kirby. (Mass annihilation seems to be the thing in 2018.) As a new vocal cover of the original Smash theme plays, Kirby looks up as he is about to start the adventure of rescuing all of the Smashers (who got brainwashed). Indeed, the spectacle looked ambitious, but what all smash veterans were asking was “Is it going to live up to the grandeur of Subspace?” And indeed, when Smash was released, many people tapped the single player mode and entered The World Of Light. After the opening cinematic finished (the same one that was revealed), players noticed immediately that instead of the linear fashion of Subspace, they had an open world with many video game references, spirits to fight, and Smashers to recover. And indeed, the open world had more content than everything in Smash Brawl combined, with it taking over 24 hours to beat (Tom Marks from IGN). But many players have noted that there are only two cutscenes (or technically 4, since there are 3 endings). It seemed largely unsatisfying compared to the cutscenes of Subspace.

Smash Ultimate is certainly Ultimate. But does it live up to expectations? The fighters and Stages certainly do. And while World of Light wasn’t exactly what gamers were hoping for, it still is jam-packed with gameplay.