Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fifth game in its franchise. It is also the first game in its series to be released for Nintendo Switch.
The series is a crossover of characters from various video game franchises, such as The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, Metroid, and Mega Man, among many others. Their famous protagonists fight each other on an arena. In accordance with its name, the game is the “ultimate” installment of the series, in that it offers the players all the characters ever featured in Super Smash Bros. The game also introduces five new characters, most famously, Castlevania's Simon Belmont.
Unlike most fighting games, Super Smash Bros. series is built around knocking opponents out of the arena rather than lowering their health bars. However, the damage meter increases the character's chances to be knocked out. Each fighter has a limited number of lives and loses one when he or she is knocked out. The player is eliminated when he or she loses all lives.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate includes several competitive multiplayer modes. Besides the traditional versus mode, there are several new modes not featured in the previous games. These include Tournament (the playoff mode for 32 players), Smash Squad (team multiplayer), Smashdown (a mode in which the defeated characters are eliminated).
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reviews and comments
My Score: 75%
+ Everyone is here (characters + stages)
+ Visually gorgeous and strong performance
+ More offensive gameplay and better offstage play
+ Listening to fans with additions (Squad Strike, Hazard toggle, etc)
+ Great selection of new characters (Ridley, Inkling, K Rool, Simon)
+ World of Light does a lot with little
+ Music selections
+ Portable play is so awesome
- World of Light repetitive/too long
- Missing modes (homerun contest, stage builder) ; could be patched
- Not many new stages
- Some halfbaked new additions (morphing+meter)
I love that they give you so (comparatively) few characters to start with and then unlock them super frequently, so new players don't get overwhelmed by choice and the rewards are constant. It's weird they didn't take this approach with the stages too though - best I can tell they're all there from the start, crammed in one huge list - and I miss the "new stage has appeared" feeling. Classic mode is super fun. Each character has their own rule tweaks (like Kirby's campaign starting you damaged but dropping food items everywhere) and the adaptive difficulty seems perfect: I almost beat it first try, the final boss launching me on literally the last hit of health, but every fight was so close as to be super tense and satisfying when I won. CPU difficulty in general seems geared up, with the random challengers posing a very real challenge now. The idea of having the beautiful mural as joint reward, difficulty select and payout multiplier is a cool one, although the payouts being several different types of virtual currency in Smash Bros of all places makes me feel a bit melancholic, as do having mobile game real-time wait periods in the single player mode. Music is amazing, as you'd expect, all the menu theme remixes of World of Light are beautiful, my only complaint so far is my personal favourite is still the Brawl theme, and it's woefully under-represented: you can listen to it in the menu, but for some reason can't select it to play on the non-character themed Smash stages despite every other Game's theme (and even the Brawl remixes of earlier ones) being there in the list.
On the subject of Brawl I'm going to be honest - Spirits are a weak replacement for trophies, and I miss them. I get from a development point of view how much of a nightmare trophies were - having to custom make gorgeous 3D models of obscure retro games that may have only ever been seen in 2D - but that amount of time and love put into them was what made Smash feel like such a celebration of gaming, both old and new. I could deal with the comparatively basic licensed 2D sprites and artwork if they hadn't also got rid of the interesting written paragraphs that went with each one, saying which games they appeared in and obscure trivia about each of them. Sure this let them double the amount (544 trophies to 1297 Spirits) but when they're reduced to just a single picture and a gameplay trait (or lack of) it's not an improvement, they're just Stickers again.
The World of Light single player mode is an interesting concept of fighting hundreds of 1v1+ matches with fighters themed to match those spirits/stickers (for example fighting an Arcanine would really be a giant sized, firebreathing Duck Hunt Dog), there are loads of creative ways these have been implemented - with by far the best being a recreation of the whole Street Fighter 2 story mode (I found it amazing even as someone with barely a familiarity with Street Fighter, I bet a fan would've been freaking out) - and the Spirit levelling/combining adds some complexity, as does the FF sphere grid of upgrades, and it's all set in a 2D painted overworld in the vein of Cuphead (although nowhere near as beautiful) but I'm really not enjoying it as much as Subspace Emissary, and it's not just those cheap feeling wait timers. While in Brawl the singleplayer had a whole host of gorgeous cutscenes to tell a progressing story, and for everyone's inner fanboy to mark out at, there's only the introductory World of Light cutscene and a few variants on an ending cutscene at the end. There's no co-op and without those cutscenes as well you don't get that great feeling of seeing all these famous mascot characters teaming up to fight the big evil.
The world which Brawl put together with its interconnected levels and well laid out map screen felt cohesive in a way that Ultimate's doesn't, merely being a flat backdrop between warps to random stages, and most of all there needs to be some variety. Subspace's platforming-y levels got a mixed reception but playing them inbetween the boss fights and more traditional Smash stages felt like a journey, and added somethng different. Now they're gone it's revealed just how samey playing hundreds of CPU Smash matches in a row can get, even with the creative rule changes. I guess it could be argued that the tougher Spirit fights could be called boss fights - they certainly feel like one when you run into the massive difficulty spikes - yet they mostly feel unfair because of how many advantages they have to give your opponent to negate the randomness of a one-stock Smash match. Prepare to get rocked 20 times by Rayman before you get his health down to where yours even starts, as he has every possible advantage, but then you'll get into the fights immediately before and after that one only to cheese a win in ten seconds and 3 attacks, without even getting hit. Difficulty settings really don't seem to do much to even this out either, and when you've almost learned one of the difficult one's patterns enough to beat it they'll jump off the stage and die leaving you the world's least satisfying victory and no way to get a proper rematch.
20 hours on and whoo this single-player is long, I just got to what I thought was the ending only for a twist and a whole second half that looks about the same size. If you were loving World of Light I'm sure that'd be a great surprise but to me, even though I'm not hating it, I'd kind of been ready to be done. Easy to hard battles are now at a 10:1 ratio and I've stopped even looking at the special rules because they normally don't matter for the 2 seconds the matches last. I've fought the same horde of tiny squirtles so many times that the lack of variety is grating. In fairness the second half seems to have a greater concentration of boss fights and cool themed areas like the Street Fighter one that do break things up nicely although the basic gameplay is still the same. I got unlucky with Giga Bowser being the first boss because, while they haven't all been great, that is the only one that is straight up bad. My only problems with them are how many are repeats of Brawl bosses lacking their original impactful entrances and story relevance and how they're all just easy enough to beat in one go - even the supposed main antagonist was a million times easier than the more bullshit Spirit fights with jobbers like Pauline and Dr Wily. Dracula is actually really good though, and the others are at least pretty decent. The final fight is legit really hype and adds some of that variety at last with a Doodle Jump-like vertical platformer and the really cool chance to play as Master Hand (!) plus taking on both big bads at once, and it is the only fight in the whole mode that gives you more than one stock and therefore that feeling of all these cool characters actually working together (although still no much needed co-op mode). Naturally I took Kirby to strike the final blow - starting it as it ended, and with the being most experienced at hunting Eldritch horrors. The reward for completing World of Light: getting to pick the menu music, and having an almost full roster of characters now, is a pretty damn good one. The whole story mode took about 25 hours but I would suggest skipping it and just playing the other single-player offerings like Classic Mode which, except for the lackluster bonus stage that now remains the same for every character, is pretty damn great.