After what feels like an eternity, the long awaited Super Smash Bros Ultimate is finally upon us! Since the moment we first opened that special edition box we haven't played anything else and have just been rinsing through every possible option that the game has to offer (and boy howdy does it have a lot.) It's basically impossible to get bored with the game, speaking from personal experience, so it looks like there's a lot more hours in it yet before we even attempt to play anything different.
I love Super Smash Bros, and you can read all about why here, but this time I felt like doing something a little different. So here are my 5 reasons why I adore SSB Ultimate, and 2 reasons why I really, really don't.
(Don't worry, they're not that serious.)
1. Character variety
Everyone is here and it's wonderful! This seems like a pretty obvious one to start with but it's definitely something that has to be commended. My first experience with SSB was Smash 4 so there's a lot of iconic characters from Brawl and Melee that I've totally missed out on and it's great being able to experience them for the first time in all their HD glory. Of course there's also a lot of new additions that are great to explore too, such as Daisy (heavy duty Peach, love her,) Incineroar (suplex queen) and Ridley (scary lizard boy.) It also feels like there's such a variety of female characters now that I can play for a good solid few hours and never have to switch away from them. Compared to Smash 64 where it was just Samus and (debated) Jigglypuff, we've come a heck of a long way!
I don't want to get into this too much but it's very annoying to see how angry people get when the characters they want aren't put into Smash, and start jumping on the developers for not listening to each of their own niche desires. Look, we all have characters that we'd love to play as, but as I mentioned in my last post Smash is a great opportunity to explore characters from games that you wouldn't necessarily play at any other time and potentially get you interested in them. I've never gone near a Castlevania game in my life but after seeing Simon and Richter I am now very invested in them and will seek out their games in the future. This is the most ambitious crossover game in history and I think it's a marvel how much time and effort has gone into each character, and we should be grateful for who we've got.
(Sakurai if you're reading this, please make Sora from Kingdom Hearts a DLC. Thanks.)
2. Not just one game
SSB Ultimate offers you a lot more than just battling solo or with a friend, and has taken previous modes from the older games to actually make them proper games in themselves rather than just the 'side show.' I mentioned that it's basically impossible to get bored with this game and this is one of the many reasons why. The variety of gameplay is incredible and it means that whether you're alone or with a big bunch of other players you can have a fulfilling experience. These different kind of gameplays also show just how much time and effort went in to developing SSB Ultimate, and here's why.
One of my favourite new modes of the game is Classic Mode, where you get to take a character through a series of battles and bonus levels before reaching a boss and (hopefully) getting a medal. This can only be done one character at a time and in previous titles was simply the same formula over and over again. It was rewarding to finish them all, but only if you had the sanity to complete it. In Ultimate you get to take each character through this formula but each individual character has their own Classic Mode 'theme' that's either based on their game or themselves. For example when I played through it as Bayonetta I had to fight only characters with wings that were wearing their white/gold skins, representing the angels that you have to continuously fight in her game. Another I liked was Sheik where you only fought characters that were masked/faceless to represent her, and so on. Every single one has their own theme and it's so cool figuring out the relationship between your character and the one's that you're fighting. We've yet to do every single one but I'm super looking forward to see the other kinds of links that happen in this mode.
The new story mode (World of Light) is also incredible and follows with the similar themes/links that connect certain characters and games to the other. If you're one of the rare people that hasn't seen the opening animation I won't spoil it for you, but I'd recommend going and checking it out because it's AWESOME. So as for the actual mode itself, I can't even begin to imagine the amount of hours it took trying to pair every spirit fighter (apprx. 1300) but it's not only cool seeing how their powers/traits/abilities are personified into the playable characters, but also exploring the range of games that they are from. Again this game shows how valuable it is for new (and old) players as a discovery tool for later things to play and I'm very much making a mental list as we go through for things to play later. I can only applaud the Smash team for this mode as it is a feat unlike anything seen before, and I can't wait for what the rest of the spirit fighters have to bring to the table.
3. Character design
I've mentioned this before so I'll keep it brief, but the current 3D character design model that Nintendo are working from is absolutely stunning and I seriously cannot get enough of it. I'm not entirely sure how they do it but everything just looks so clean and polished. Bar some of the 'art games' I've played over the years I'd definitely class classic Nintendo design as some of the most aesthetically pleasing out there.
Obviously one of the biggest things about character design with Smash Bros is seeing characters that aren't necessarily from either modern or 3D games and letting them have their time in the sun as a fully-fleshed being. I go back to my point of characters from previous Smash titles being brought back for Ultimate and seeing them for the first time in stunning HD. My hope for this is that Nintendo are able to take even more characters (preferably third party) that derive from all different game styles and either honour them in their own unique way, or subject them to the beautiful 3D effect. If they're able to do it with 16-bit pixel boys Lucas and Ness from Earthbound (Mother) then the possibilities are basically endless!
4. It's just bloody good fun!
I can't even begin to describe the excitement we felt when the postman knocked on our door with the giant box that contained our copy of SSB. This has been possibly the most anticipated game in our house and it was wonderful finally loading it up after all that time and being able to see it for real. Even though we've only had it for a short time we've already spent so much with it because, at the end of the day, it's just a really great game that's super fun to play. I love being able to play online with mates as well, and it's nice to see how much the quality has improved (bar a little lag) so it feels as if they're sitting in the room next to you. I love exploring new characters and finding different ones that I enjoy playing. I love discovering new franchises that I will explore later on.
The market for fighting games is so over saturated but Smash Bros continues to be a wonderful beacon of hope to show how these things should be done, and that it's always there for you to come home to. Smash hasn't always been part of my life in a way that it has others, but in the grand scheme of things I'd say its made the biggest impact. It's such a great game that I'll forever love spending time with and I oddly feel proud at how much work was put into this game and how well it has turned out - good job guys, and thank you.
5. Isabelle: DESTROYER OF WORLDS
LOOK AT HER! LOOK AT THAT JOYFUL YELLOW FACE OF PURE, UNADULTERATED EVIL. SHE'S COMING FOR YOUR ASS AND SHE KNOWS IT. THAT BASTARD FISHING ROD IS HERE TO FUCK ALL YOUR SHIT UP AND SHE DOESN'T CARE AT ALL. HAVING A FUN TIME RUNNING ALONG THE STAGE? NO, SORRY FRIEND, HERE'S A ROCKET. THINK YOU'VE GOT ME CORNERED? NOOK POWERS ACTIVATED.
THIS TINY PUPPER IS AN ABSOLUTE BEAST. PICK HER IF YOU WANT GLORY, BUT COWER IF YOUR OPPONENT DOES.
-1. Bayonetta isn't broken anymore
Once I became accustomed to Bayonetta in Smash 4, I dominated the field. She was totally broken and not easily beaten. As a newbie player I totally used this to my advantage and pulled her out as my 'big guns' whenever necessary. She was even banned from some competitive circles because of how OP she was, unsurprisingly. I'm sad to say though that she is no longer as busted as she was and now plays like... ugh, a normal character should. I mean, it's just disgraceful! How dare they take away my one straight-fire opportunity to win a match without even so much as a warning. I liked it being easier because I'm not that good and I still need training wheels. 9 out of 10 matches I've played as her in Ultimate I've lost, and I'm really not coping with it very well. Sure I guess I've got other good characters that I play well as, and I guess I've significantly improved since Smash 4 so I don't technically need a broken character to rely on any more, but still, SHE WAS MINE AND I LOVED HER.
GIVE HER BACK PLEASE.
-2. Young Link's defeated clapping animation
I still can't quiiiite put my finger on what is so off-putting about this animation, but whenever I play as Young Link I pray to God that I don't lose so I have to look at him. Is it the front on angle? Is it the slight side smile that gives him the look of your 'cool' boss clapping you after your big company presentation? Why does he look middle aged? Why was this allowed to get past design????????
My initial thought is that he looked like your estranged father that finally turned up to one of your baseball games and as you finally make that final home run you see him clapping and that, deep down, you finally know he's proud of you... BUT I SHOULDN'T BE GETTING THAT VIBE FROM A YOUNG FOREST BOY. NOBODY SHOULD. EVER.