Ultimate’s redefined modes and additions help it stand out from the rest
The Smash series has been an integral part of Nintendo’s first party lineup since its beginnings on the N64. Every game within the series is typically considered to be one of the best for each of their respected Nintendo console, or at least among the top 10. At its core, the Smash series is a celebration of video games and is a fun brawler that appeals to both casual and competitive players alike. With that being said, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate didn’t need to do much different in order to create a high quality game that is a top seller.
I can happily say up front that any Switch owners should absolutely get Ultimate as it’s simply a fun time all around. However, it does boast itself as being the “ultimate” smash game, implying that all other smash games are subordinate to it in terms of quality. Through its very name, Ultimate creates the difficult task of somehow surpassing its predecessors. Whether or not this is truly the case is a matter of opinion; however, it’s easy to see how Ultimate’s refined modes and additions help it stand out from the rest.
Firstly, it’s hard to argue that any other character roster from the past compares to Ultimate’s roster, both in quality and certainly quantity. The sheer ambition of bringing in more than 70 fighters is certainly admirable. What’s even more impressive is how every character feels interesting and unique (for the most part). I don’t think there is a single character that I particularly dislike, which is quite the accomplishment for a roster at this size. Even playing the game casually, it’s easy to grasp how each character plays and appreciate what they bring to the table. It also nice to note that every character feels very balanced, making the game feel fair as a whole.
The fighting overall feels very polished thanks to Ultimate’s refined game mechanics. Things like perfect shields and the modified air dodges (among many things) help spice up the game’s competitive field. You can look at any combo clips online to figure out that Ultimate must be doing something right when it comes to making the game look and feel clean. For me, stuff like the dramatic close-up for the final KO and the heavy sound design for attacks makes the game very satisfying. Thus, the games wide array of characters and refined mechanics make playing in any way a total blast.
Not only are the basic matches fun, but the various single player modes give a healthy amount of variety to Ultimate. In fact, I’d say that Ultimate might be the best Smash game in terms of single player, or at least close to matching Brawl. It depends on whether you prefer Ultimate’s story mode, World of Light, over Brawl’s story mode, Subspace Emissary.
World of Light is definitely much less story driven than Subspace, as it focuses on more consistent and creative matches against various representations of various characters in gaming. However, some people might find these matches tedious and, at times, frustrating. To me, World of Light does feel more like a time sink than anything else, but it’s still a fun time regardless. Again, your enjoyment of World of Light, especially when you compare it to Subspace Emissary, depends on if you find it fun and if you can put up with its more frustrating elements.
However, even if you end up not enjoying Ultimate’s story mode, its Classic Mode should still tie you over in terms of a single player experience. There is quite the variety in classic mode as each characters have their own unique routes through it. Each run through the various routes is quick yet satisfying and feels varied enough that Classic mode never gets too stale. Not the mention, the couple of unique bosses that sometimes pop up are all fun to fight against. Like World of Light, Ultimate’s Classic Mode focuses on solid gameplay, but feels more consistent and less frustrating at times. Thus, it makes Ultimate’s single player much better as a result and arguable brings it to at least on par with Brawl’s single player, if not above it.
Finally, Ultimate’s online multiplayer matches, depending on who you ask, may or may not be an improvement. The big thing is that Ultimate’s nline is still prone to alot of lag, and the amount varies by person. It’s also prone to matchmaking issues like being stuck playing matches with items on when you specifically did not want items. Personally, I don’t have much experience playing online, so I can’t make any conclusions for it. However, I seen many people complain about it online, yet others praising it as they don’t encounter the lag and matchmaking issues as often. Thus, it would seem that one’s enjoyment of Ultimate’s online varies depending on how good your connection is and how lucky one gets in matchmaking. I have heard that these issues have gotten better over the past month, so in theory Ultimate’s online can get better over time with various patches. However, I do understand how some find Ultimate’s online to be one of its weaker aspects.
It hard to conclude whether or not it’s truly the “ultimate” smash experience, but it’s certainly a great one regardless. Do things like World of Light’s lack of story and the inconsistent online make the game weaker? Arguably. Do things like the refined game mechanics, diverse characters, and fun classic mode make the game stronger? Certainly. Your enjoyment of Ultimate, when compared to the other Smash games, really depends on what you looking for in a Smash game. For me, I feel that I got the most enjoyment from Ultimate, mostly for its solid single player. I will also say that even if Ultimate doesn’t fulfill all your expectations, it’s still a fun time. The simple fact that it’s the new Smash game warrants its purchase. So no matter who you are, you should at least try out Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and hopefully you’ll have a smashing good time one way or another.
~Elijah Basu, Staff Writer~