Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a miracle in and of itself. Only in our wildest dreams could we have imagined pitting Pichu, Snake, Ridley, Richter, Cloud, Lucas, Female Marth, and King K. Rool against each other in a chaotic eight-person free-for-all. It’s best not to think about what the next Smash will look like, and instead enjoy what we’ve been blessed with from Daddy Sakurai.
The ultimate part of Ultimate
Ultimate really lives up to its name in so many ways, one of them being the sheer magnitude of the roster. With every single fighter from previous games coming back, plus a bunch of fan requested newcomers and DLC fighters, the roster is over 80 characters. That’s an insane number of fighters.
The whole selling point of this game was that “everyone is here!” It’s so nice to have all of the cut veterans return to the series. All of the newcomers are incredibly fun to play as, and unlocking every character except the original eight is so much fun. A lot of the challengers are pretty difficult, particularly Lucas, but you can fight them again after a certain amount of time. If you really like unlocking characters like I do, this game technically allows you to do it twice: once from unlocking characters through normal “vs.” matches or Classic mode, and again through World of Light.
Something else that’s ultimate about Ultimate is Spirits Mode, specifically the new adventure mode, World of Light. Almost everything involving spirits is just pure fun. There are a few Spirit battles that don’t feel like a challenge and instead just feel unfair; looking at you, Pauline. Anyway, outside of a few hiccups with certain spirits, this part of Ultimate is a blast to play through. However, where it really shines is in World of Light.
This sort of story mode takes the fun parts of Subspace Emissary, specifically the fights, and puts them to good use. But don’t be confused, this isn’t like Subspace at all, it’s frankly better. Sure, World of Light doesn’t have the depth or cutscenes that Subspace had, but it also doesn’t have the clunky platforming that Subspace had. World of Light prioritizes fun and gameplay, making it much better than Subspace. Between fighting incredibly creative spirits, freeing captured fighters, and a 20-30 hour campaign, World of Light is easily a whole game in its own right.
But why stop there? There are other great parts about Ultimate, like the new and improved Classic mode. Classic mode in Ultimate is much more fun than in previous games. Here, fighters are not thrown into random fights, but instead have a predetermined set of matches that revolves around a different theme for the characters. For example, Ganondorf fights the protagonists of several series represented in Smash, and the last normal match before the boss is against Link and Zelda. It’s nice to see each fighter’s personality through this game mode. Unfortunately, there is a somewhat annoying bonus mode in every character’s Classic mode, and that’s where we get into the bad side of Ultimate.
The not-so ultimate part of Ultimate
These points aren’t terribly bad, nor do they make the game unplayable. They’re just slightly annoying parts to an otherwise amazing game. To start out with, there are many minor inconveniences sprinkled throughout the game that, when added up, knock the fun meter down a notch.
I’ve already mentioned the annoying bonus mode in Classic, which is essentially just a speed run where you try to get as many points as possible. It’s the exact same thing for every character and it feels more like a thirty second time waster than anything else. However, there’s another mode in Games & More that is even worse off: All-Star mode. All-Star used to be this cool thing where you could fight against every single fighter in the roster one at a time, taking breaks here and there to heal yourself. But now it’s a part of multi-man smash, which has been renamed Mob Smash. Yes, you still fight every playable character in the game, but now it’s more like Century Smash, which used to be called 100-Man Smash, than anything else. It certainly doesn’t feel like All-Star anymore.
Moving on to the main part of Ultimate, the Smash mode. Here you start out by picking the rules first, then the stage you want to play on, and finally your character. I get that the developers wanted to streamline it and probably hide loading screens in the process. But it doesn’t feel streamlined. If anything, it feels more complicated than Smash 4. Firstly, it’s annoying to have to create entire new rulesets or adjust the ones you have already. It’s better to just create many different ones ahead of time to avoid doing so when playing with friends. Secondly, the icons on the stage selection screen is way too small. I get that it’s probably to show off how massive the stage list is, but would it have been hard to create different sections? A few different sections containing all the stages introduced in each Smash game would have been nicer, like how Brawl had Melee stages in a different section. I end up picking random most of the time, or going down to Dracula’s Castle since it’s the last stage. With the way it is now, picking a stage is a mess.
And finally, we get to the character select screen (CSS). At first glance, it’s a mess, too. But once you’ve unlocked everyone and played enough, you start to notice where everyone is. Therefore, the messiness of the CSS isn’t so much of a big deal after a while, but can cause confusion at first, even to veterans of the series. It would’ve been nice to have the option of organizing the fighters by series. But the main problem with the CSS is that you have to pick your character and skin again after every single match, which is probably the most annoying thing for me.
Ultimate is still ultimate
Despite everything mentioned in the previous section, Ultimate really is a fun game. I’m sure some of these annoyances will go away either through experience playing the game or potential patches. The size of the roster alone is enough to make me forgive most of these oversights. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate really does live up to the hype. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to playing World of Light.
Featured image: Variety
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