Light theme

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review
by JustCozzie

It's good, really damn good, but it just isn't Brawl 2. And after putting in 40 hours I've realised that's what I really wanted - especially when it comes to single-player. Recommend if you have even 1 person to regularly play with/against, skip if not.

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.
«Better with friends»

Other reviews9

I can't make comparisons with previous games as this is my first Smash Bros, but I enjoyed this a lot. I am still far from fully understanding its dynamics, but it's always great fun to play with friends. I would get tired of most fighting games in a couple of days, but Smash Bros still keeps me playing after months and its unpredictability is what makes it enjoyable. There is so much happening on-screen at the same time, and both beginners and experienced players can enjoy from the experience. The roaster is enormous and, while some are more accessible than others, all fighters are well balanced. Getting used to a new character gets frustrating at times but it definitely adds longevity to the game. (8/10)
«Can’t stop playing»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
The classic couch co-op party game returns, and this time the Super Smash Bros have really outdone themselves. With 74 characters to choose from (not counting the amazing DLC characters), every single player will find someone to play as who matches their style. Whether it's classic franchise mainstays like Mario and Fox, or new characters for this game like Incineroar and Ryu, there's certainly something for everyone and enough possibilities to prevent the gameplay from ever growing stale. In a way, I hope that this is the last Smash game, because everything is perfect. The characters, the moves, the stages, the music, the story mode. It's all so good, and makes me wonder how Nintendo is ever going to top this.
«Can’t stop playing»
«Better with friends»
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a great if lacking game. All of the core multiplayer components are here, making it as fun as ever with a 70+ character roster, and tons of stages to boot. However core modes like Home Run Contest, Target Smash, and Event Match are completely absent. The story mode ‘World of Light’ is fun, but it gets repetitive after a short while.
My Score: 75%
I have over 600hrs in this game......I cant stop playing.....
«Can’t stop playing»
As a more casual fan of the series (I don't follow the competitive scene at all) Ultimate is just about everything I could want in a Smash game. I am very happy that they brought back every character and almost every stage return along with a few newcomers who are all welcome editions. This is as perfect a couch multiplayer party experience as you can find. My only real problem is the story mode gets a bit repetitive, and in general not holding a candle to Brawl's Subspace Emissary. In all other regards however this is a much better game than that or 4.

+ 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)
This game is fun, but only for a while. The huge map is too big in my opinion, there are way too many random difficulty spikes and the final battle is bizarre. That being said, the graphics are amazing, the amount of fighters/stages to choose from is great and the music adds to the experience too. I don’t normally enjoy fighting games for more than 10 minutes, so for me to have played this for 35 hours means that something kept me coming back.