Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Impressions: A Perfect December Release

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been out for a little over a week. During that time, the game has been receiving excellent reviews from gaming outlets, ranking high in Twitch viewership, and being thoroughly enjoyed by the community. After putting in a couple dozen hours into the game, I can safely say Smash Ultimate is one of the best games of the year. Barring a couple of gripes, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate accomplishes everything it sets out to do masterfully. Playing a beautifully crafted fighting game with all of your favorite characters is indeed the ultimate holiday treat.

SO HOW DOES IT PLAY?

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Ultimate plays really well. It maintains the quick and responsive controls Smash is known for, giving new and experienced players enjoyable nuances in gameplay. Unfortunately, I have limited knowledge of Smash Wii U, but Ultimate’s gameplay is excellent to where I have no reason to go back and revisit previous Smash iterations. New to the game is perfect-shield and diminishing dodge effectiveness. Release your shield right before you are about to get hit to guarantee yourself a counter-attack opportunity. In addition, consecutive dodging will make you more vulnerable to attack. With 74 characters to play as, a plethora of moves, alternate costumes, and unexpected combo potential, Smash’s gameplay loop is as enthralling as ever.

IS WORLD OF LIGHT ANY GOOD?

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World of Light is a fun and challenging time. Those who watched the Smash Direct last month may have left with a sour taste in their mouth after Sakurai took a long time to explain “Spirits.” In my opinion, the inclusion of Spirits triumphs over trophies from past entries. This is because spirits actually serve a function. Spirits are the jpegs in the game spanning many different franchises that come in different rarities. You have primary spirits and support spirits that combine to give you a team type, gameplay perks, and a power level.

As you move through World of Light, each character you fight will have their own Spirit team that directly affects their lethality. It is exhilarating to purposely underpower yourself and complete a fight by the skin of your teeth. I’m at about three-fourths the way through World of Light, and the only substantial cutscene was the one at the very beginning. Still, I’m able to enjoy playing World of Light for around two hours at a time before I need a break.

THE REMAINING MODES

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Aside from VS (Smash) Mode and World of Light, there are several more modes to experience. There is a tournament mode, Smash mode with special rules, and Squad Strike offering elimination and “best of” modes. There is also Mob Smash offering Century Smash (beating 100 enemies as fast as you can), All-Star Smash (fighting everyone in the game one by one until you fail), and Cruel Smash which is a harder version of Century Smash. Additionally, there is Spirits Board which allows you to obtain some additional Spirits, Classic Mode, and Training Mode. Lastly, you can take your Spirits into Smash Mode if you so choose. There is quite a bit for players to sink their teeth into, although some modes will end up being a one and done deal.

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It is a wonder how Mr. Sakurai and his team are able to have so many characters in Smash yet preserve the game’s balance. For crying out loud, you can fight Isabelle as Ridley and the two will be on equal ground assuming two similarly skilled players are at the sticks. Although Ultimate’s story mode isn’t as extravagant as fans would have liked and online could use some work, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an ode to what playing games should feel like: otherworldly, exhilarating, and insanely fun.

Content contained in images developed by Bandai Namco Studios Inc. and Sora; published by Nintendo

Retrieved from Nintendo’s E3 2018 Press Kit and personal Nintendo Switch screenshots

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