Product purchased for this review.
It all started 20 years ago where characters from various Nintendo franchises would duke it out on the Nintendo 64 as Super Smash Bros. As the years go on, the series would continue and many others would join the fight, becoming one of Nintendo’s money-making franchises. March 2018 is when Nintendo announced a new Smash Bros. & at E3 2018, it would be revealed. Months of waiting and anticipation would soon follow & by year’s end, it would arrive. Fitting too because Sakurai states that this is the game where everyone is here! This is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Need I say any more than it has already been said?
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a game that is packed to the brim with content. You have the Smash mode where up to 8 players can pick their stage, their character and then duke it out. In addition to standard rules, they also include Custom Smash, various special rules that help add a lot of fun to an otherwise great mode. They can range from stamina, super sudden death and many others. Smashdown is an interesting one where players choose characters and after a battle, they can’t use said character and must switch to the next. It’s a neat mode, requiring players to use multiple characters to win. Tournaments can also be created, where it can hold up to 32 players to see who will be the best. New to this game is Squad Strike, a team battle mode for Smash Ultimate where you choose from up to 3-5 characters and battle in either Tag Team or Elimination. It’s an interesting mode and a fun one at that. Yeah. That’s a lot for a simple mode.
As for single-player content, there’s plenty. Classic Mode makes a return except this time they decide to change things up. Each character has their own path to take with opponents to take on along with special conditions to boot. Not only that but they can choose the intensity and the more skilled players get, the further it rises, reaching at a maximum of 9.9 Intensity, ending with a boss fight. It can range from a showdown with both Master and Crazy Hand or a fight against another boss. They aren’t long and only the most skilled can pull it off at the highest intensity. Not only that but it supports up to 2 player co-op. That’s cool. You also have Training Mode to test your skills and there’s also Online. Online is pretty much split between two modes: Global Smash and Elite Smash. Global Smash is pretty straightforward where you pick a character and play online with friends. You win matches, your global smash power rating goes up and vice versa. Elite Smash however is only accessible if characters reach a certain amount. It’s pretty much Ultimate’s version of Ranked Battles where you will fight the best of the best. Good luck, you’ll need it. Considering that the game has the biggest roster in fighting game history, you will definitely need it. Fortunately online is very good.
Speaking of which, the roster has without a doubt the biggest to date at around 74 characters. Every character from every Smash Bros. game is here from the 64 era to the Wii U. In addition there are several new characters joining such as the Inklings, the Belmonts Simon & Richter and many others. Not only that but some character appear as Echo Fighters, characters that are similar to other characters but have a few differences. Unlocking them is the fun part and it’s all the more rewarding & there are many ways to do so.
Smash Ultimate also offers something new in the form of Spirits. Spirits is the game’s main gimmick that replaces trophies and instead provides something unique. Many spirits you accumulate will come in two kinds: Primary, that comes in four varieties with 3 being of a weapon triangle with a 4th as neutral and Support, spirits that offer unique advantages when equipped with a primary spirit. Primary spirits can be leveled up in many ways and in some cases can evolve into more powerful spirits. Spirits also comes in two different modes: Spirit Board and Adventure Mode. Spirit Board is a mode where you pick a character and take on spirit-controlled fighters to unlock spirits. All the challenges come with special conditions. There are also events where you can acquire certain spirits and as of Ver. 2.0.0, up to 4 players can tackle the Spirit Board offline.
The other mode is Smash Ultimate’s adventure mode, World of Light. It’s plot has everyone in Smash Bros. Ultimate gearing up to take the fight to a new evil, an angelic being named Galeem, who has an army of Master Hands. It ends in failure as Galeem unleashes its power to wipe out everything and reshape the universe, as it wants with everyone else turned to spirits. As for the fighters, they end up getting captured and are used as puppets for the spirits to control. Kirby is the only survivor and he must travel to this strange world, rescue his allies and defeat Galeem & anything else that gets in the way. Compared to the Subspace Emissary, there isn’t much in terms of exposition. You pretty much end up in a strange new world and you explore, battle enemies, get spirits, free characters, etc. All the while the game has a bit of RPG where you use smash orbs to improve yourself in a variety of ways. Players can take around 20 hours to complete it with the addition of a New Game+ that happens after beating it. It’s a pretty good mode but it can get really grindy after a few hours. It shouldn’t stop you from giving it a chance and you won’t be disappointed.
There is so much more in this game that this review can’t do justice. You have access to multiple control options like Joy-cons (together and separate), Switch Pro Controller and even the Gamecube Controller. Each play well but the Switch Pro is a recommended. Amiibo support is in this game, similar to Smash 4 on 3DS & Wii U where you can train Fighters and use them in battle. Smash Ultimate has over 800 tunes that span so many franchises and all of them are awesome. There are over 100 stages for players to do battle in and they span over 20 years of Smash history. Presentation-wise the game is a major step up from Smash 4 and the game runs at a solid 60fps, even when it isn’t docked. What else is there that needs to be said? It’s truly ultimate indeed.
It’s not to say that Smash Ultimate isn’t perfect. There are some faults. World of Light can be a bit grindy at times and the Spirit Boards can have challenges that are outright be unfair. Should they stop players from enjoying it? Absolutely not.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate serves as a culmination that celebrates 20 years of the franchise history. Everyone is here with the biggest roster to date and it delivers in so many ways. So much content that will have players spend so many hours enjoying whether it be the single-player or multiplayer online or off. It plays great, runs great and is also a go-to game if you have a group of friends. Just like every other Smash, if you have a Nintendo Switch, this game is a definitive must buy. It’s great for those who have experienced Smash and a welcome start for those who haven’t. Everyone is here and it’s only missing one thing that would make this all the more worthwhile… you.
I give Super Smash Bros. Ultimate a 9.5 out of 10. It’s a must buy game, worth your time and money.