Super Smash Bros. Ultimate switch review07/01/2019
I can’t help but think that when we all were kids, we probably had all of our action figures go into a massive brawl. For me, it was the early 90’s, and I was OBSESSED with the X-Men cartoon. I would set up these intricate brawls between the X-Men and Predator, strange I know, but I had the time of my life. It was around the mid-’90s that my friends and I would have deep conversations about who would win in a fight between different game icons. The console wars were alive and well at this point as well. So Mario vs Sonic was a genuine conversation that would be had. Fast forward now to 1999, the world is buzzing over this small game called Super Smash Bros developed by HAL Laboratory. At first, it was only released in Japan, but word of this game spread quickly among the gaming community! Finally, we could battle Mario against Link! 19 years later, The Smash Bros. legacy is strong as ever with the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch. One thing is for sure, the game is evolved a whole lot over the years, and it is undoubtedly one of the best games to come to the Nintendo Switch to date!
The build-up to release for Smash Ultimate was extremely exciting! Like millions of others, I was waiting, with bated breath, for the roster reveal. I skipped on picking up the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS, so it has been a considerable amount of time since I’ve jumped into a Smash game (in fact, I believe the last I played extensively was Smash Melee!!) I was bummed that I missed out on playing with characters such as Solid Snake, Megaman and Cloud Strife. When the time came for the roster reveal, honestly I didn’t quite know what to expect. The expected cast of characters were popping up. Mario, Bowser, Link, Ice Climbers, so on and so forth. We knew these characters would be back…however they kept coming, and coming, AND COMING! By the time we reached the 50’s I was already losing my marbles! Snake and Cloud are coming to Ultimate!!! We ended with 74 characters, with more announced and on their way!! Such a far cry from the 12 that were in the original Super Smash Bros. Bandai Namco have truly outdone themselves with this cast. Not only have they gone above and beyond with the cast, but the sheer volume of levels is enough to make any get-together unique. With 103 stages to choose, you can be confident that each game will be single.
So what exactly Smash Bros. and why should you play it? At it’s most basic description, Smash is a game in which you play as an iconic character from the history of video games and you battle another favorite character. Each character has a set of different attacks they utilize to beat the tar out of their opponent until that person is so weak that you can “launch” them off the screen with a single attack. There are several modes in which victory is achieved differently. There are timed matches in which whoever has the most knockouts will win. Or you can set the stock lives for a specific amount. There are many MANY ways to customise every match that you will compete in. Besides the basic attacks that you have at your disposal, the battlefield can be littered with many different varieties of weapons. From laser guns to swords, to even Pokeballs! Of course, the stages themselves also provide you with environmental hazards that could either help you or hinder you. In Peaches Castle, you may fall victim to a Bullet Bill damaging you with its massive explosion. You will need to be wary of everything happening on the battlefield at every given moment.
Now that we have established what the match to match gameplay is like let’s talk about the available modes. I would say that the best place to start would be the Smash mode, which happens to be the Red button on the main screen. This mode is where you will be able to hone in on practising your abilities on AI or your buddies. Of course, there is an actual Training mode you can practice in, but I don’t see the point when you can play the real thing. As I mentioned above, you can customize every option for every match. It wouldn’t be Smash Bros if they couldn’t duke it out competitively online against players around the world. I will warn players now though, if you are relatively new to the Smash series, you may want to stray away from competing online until you find a specific character that you like and master them. Online competitors are excellent. You may get discouraged from playing if you are continually getting your butt whooped. After you are comfortable though, playing online will where you find you find yourself playing quite a bit.
If all the bells and whistles of these different modes are not quite your thing, there is a “Classic Mode” where you will go thru a string of battles, a bonus stage and then a mega boss fight. This is a quick way to make money in the game to be able to boost spirits. Generally, a playthrough of classic mode will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the skill of course.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room. Many fans agree that their favourite “Adventure mode” from the series is Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It may be different, but in Ultimate, we have the World of Light. Depending on the ability of the player, this mode can take anywhere from 35-50+ hours to complete. The story is interesting enough, a cosmic being named Galeem comes to the world of Smash characters and, well…” kills” everyone except Kirby. Galeem then utilizes the souls of the entire cast to create puppets to stop Kirby from restoring the souls of his comrades. The World of Light presents a large map in which you go into battles to unlock new areas of the map, from time to time-fighting a specific character to awaken their souls and thus unlocking them for your own use. Along the way, you will unlock spirits, which will help boost your characters stats to fight bigger and badder enemies. I admit that I was bummed that they use these Spirits instead of Trophies as they have in the past, though these games need to evolve over time instead of constantly re-releasing the same game. Collecting all the spirits will be a MASSIVE feat though which may take even the biggest of fans a long time to acquire as there are over 1,300 to collect!!
Even after you complete the World of Light, you still have different options to keep the adventure going. You can play the New Game+ and all your information will transfer over from your first play, or you can take the fight to the Spirit Board. Spirit Board is a set of 10 random fights like you would experience in the World of Light, each with special modifiers that are most definitely there to hinder you. These are each available for a set time limit, which after that time runs out, it will be replaced by a different match. These matches allow you a new spirit, depending on the difficulty level (Novice, Advanced, Ace and Legend) will reward you with a better spirit. Unlocking the spirits adds an interesting mini-game after each successful battle. There is a spinning circle and you have to fire a laser at the right time to release the spirit from the body it’s in. I found this mode to be highly addictive and would spend a lot of time unlocking spirits and leveling the ones I already have.
Last but not least, you would think that someone couldn’t get excited about the bonus features in the Options menu, but Smash is no ordinary game!! In the Vault, you will find a collection of almost 800 songs that were remixed for the game. YES, ALMOST 800 SONGS!!!! I absolutely love that there is the Voices menu as well. You can go into this menu to hear all the recorded dialogue of the game. From Charles Martinet’s classic Mario voice to, my favorite voice in gaming EVER, David Hayter returning to Solid voice Snake for the first time since 2010’s Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Upon going into the Records tab, you will be able to look at all your in-game stats as well as your milestones with dates of when they happened. When you look at the Challenges menu, you can see your progress in unlocking all 124 challenges. Most will happen along the way, but some are just tricky enough that you will have to out of your way to open them. At least they are fun enough that you will WANT to do it.
No second thoughts, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is THE BEST Smash game I’ve ever played. The sheer amount of content makes this game one that you will be able to pick up and play for a very long time. I love that Bandai Namco has given so much bonus content in the Vault as well. All in all, this game is so much fun to play that, unlike many games, as long as they keep releasing DLC for it, I will be playing the ever-living hell out of it!