Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review by: tgags123You Tryna Smash (Bros)? - Review
The newest installment in the Super Smash Bros franchise was released last month for the Nintendo Switch. It was an incredibly highly anticipated game, as the inclusion of every character from old Super Smash Bros games - as well as new characters such as King K. Rool and Ridley - had Smash fans excited. Is the game as good as it could have been, or is it a flop like Brawl? Has Melee finally been dethroned as the best Smash game? Let's break it down.
The graphics in Smash Ultimate are pretty good. It's hard to make a game visually appealing when the game includes over 70 characters from over 30 different franchise, all of which have different art styles. Smash Ultimate does do this pretty well however, with even two-dimensional characters like Mr. Game & Watch fitting in. The characters are also more detailed than any other Smash game, as are the stages. The stages are all beautifully designed, and do a great job replicating the feel of the game they are based on. I also like how they left a lot of the older stages the same as they were in their original games, such as Saffron City from the original Nintendo 64 version of Super Smash Bros, to create a nostalgic vibe. It's hard for a game filled with cartoon-style characters to get any more visually pleasing than Smash Bros Ultimate is, and for that reason I have given it a perfect 10 out of 10 rating.
Like previous Smash games, Smash Bros. Ultimate contains a diverse soundtrack of music from a bunch of different games. In addition to the music you start with, you can also unlock new songs by playing the game and completing challenges, or by buying songs from the shop using the gold coins you earn throughout the game. Each stage plays music from the game that the stage is based on, which contributes to the unique feeling that exists within the different stages. In addition to the music, the sound effects are pretty good as well. Every action or attack results in unique sound. The characters all have their own unique taunts, in addition to catch phrases when they win a battle. I have no complaints at all about the sound in Super Smash Bros Ultimate, so I have given it a rating of 10.
Similar to its predecessors, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a very addictive game. It's super fun to play, especially with friends, and has basically unlimited playability within the standard "Smash" game modes. In the past two weeks, a bunch of my friends and I have gathered together at a friend's house to play Smash Ultimate five times. Even if you don't have friends that play Smash and you don't enjoy playing against the CPU, you can still play against real people thanks to Smash Ultimate's online capabilities. The Switch's online service is pretty terrible, so your online experience will likely be slow and laggy, but at least you have the option to play against other people that way, or play with friends that you can't meet up with in person. Smash Bros games are addictive on their own, but with the online play allowing you to play against real people whenever you want, Super Smash Bros Ultimate makes it hard to put the controller down.
One area that disappointed me in Smash Bros Ultimate is the story mode. I was hoping for a unique and expansive story mode, maybe something like the Subspace Emissary in Brawl. Instead, Super Smash Bros Ultimate has the "Spirits" story mode, titled "World of Light." The plot behind World of Light is that the evil villain Galeem Thanos-snapped most of the characters out of existence, with Kirby being the only one to survive. Galeem then trapped different spirits inside the characters, and you have to free all of the spirits by battling them with Kirby. As you progress through the game mode, you will unlock new characters to use, as well as new spirits that will assist you in battle. To me, the plot is cliche and boring, and the World of Light game mode itself is repetitive and just flat-out not fun. I played through about 30% of it while trying to unlock characters before getting bored and deciding to just unlock characters by playing regular games against the CPU instead. My brother finished the World of Light mode, and he said it doesn't get much better as you go. The story is one of the biggest negatives about Smash Bros Ultimate in my opinion. The game could have been improved dramatically if they had put a little more time and effort into developing the story and gameplay of World of Light.
On a note related to my gripes with the story, the depth in Super Smash Bros Ultimate is also a little lacking. While playing with friends and online is fun and has nearly unlimited replayability, there is very little single player depth compared to previous Smash Bros games. After World of Light, the mediocre story mode, the only other single player modes in the game are Classic Mode and Mob Smash, neither of which are particularly interesting. Classic mode allows you to pick a character and battle through a few different enemies before reaching a boss battle, while Mob Smash pits you against a never-ending sea of opponents with the challenge of lasting as long as you can. Some game modes I would have liked to see from previous games that are absent in Super Smash Bros Ultimate include All-Star mode, Target Smash, and Events. Events were one of my favorite things to do as a single player in previous smash games, and I was incredibly disappointed to learn that they are nonexistent in Smash Ultimate. Completing unique challenges with special stipulations is something I really enjoy, and something that would have added a lot of single player depth to the game. I feel the same way about Target Smash, if they took the route they did in Melee and created a different Target Smash challenge for each character. With over 70 characters in the game, a Target Smash for each one would give players a lot more to do. I can understand why All-Star mode didn't make a return, since beating over 70 characters without dying is quite the task, but it still would have been nice to have in the game. The last missing feature that could have added a lot of depth to the game is unlocking characters by completing certain tasks. I know some players may like to unlock all the characters as soon as possible, but I enjoy a challenge. I loved how long it took me to get all of the characters in Melee. I liked having to struggle, because it made the reward of adding a new fighter to my arsenal all the more exciting. I wish Smash Ultimate was the same way, because simply unlocking a new character every ten minutes is boring. Overall, Smash Ultimate is lacking in the depth department, especially when it comes to the single player experience, due to the exclusion of game modes from past games.
It is hard to rate difficulty for a game that is primarily focused on multiplayer gameplay. I decided to give Smash Bros Ultimate a difficulty rating of 7 for two main reasons. The first reason is my experience with World of Light. Most of the enemies in World of Light are super easy to beat. However, there are certain spirits I just cannot win against. The Charizard with the Ho-Oh spirit, for example, is super hard. I still haven't beaten it, I just gave up after trying about 25 or 30 times. So while most of World of Light is easy, there are some battles that are quite challenging. The second factor that influenced my difficulty rating is the CPUs in Smash mode. It could just be me, but the CPUs seem a lot better in Smash Ultimate than in previous games. I used to destroy level 9s on a consistent basis, now when I play against level 6s I only win 80ish% of the time. The CPUs seem to be much better at shielding and dodging in Smash Ultimate than they were in previous games, as well as timing their attacks. Smash Ultimate is still not what I would call a difficult game, but there are some components of it that might cause you to struggle a bit.
I decided to leave the gameplay section for the end, because when it comes to Smash games, gameplay is (at least in my opinion) the most important part. After mediocre gameplay mechanics in Brawl and Smash 4, Smash Bros Ultimate finally has gameplay that rivals Melee. In my personal opinion Melee is still the best Smash Game as far as gameplay goes, but Ultimate definitely gives it a run for its money. Ultimate is more fast-paced than the previous two Smash Bros games, and all movements and attacks feel crisp. Characters are less floaty than Smash 4, which I like a lot. Some of the items in the game are annoying, but that can be fixed by simply turning those items (or all items) off. One feature in Smash Ultimate that is pretty cool for players that like a more competitive and fair gameplay experience is the ability to turn off stage hazards and/or turn stages to their Battlefield or Omega forms. This allows players to experience all of the different stages from their favorite games, while also battling on a neutral and even playing field.
Overall, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a very good game and I would recommend it to anyone that has a Nintendo Switch. While the single player depth leaves something to be desired and the exclusion of game modes is disappointing, the gameplay is the best of any Smash game since Melee, and it is a ton of fun to play online or with friends.