The one Smash Bros. game to rule them all. Fans have been waiting to see all of the Smash Bros. characters in one place for years. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate provides that insane library of characters, while adding new ones, and above all excels at every area of game design to produce a top notch quality release for the family-friendly fighting game franchise which truly celebrates the love of gaming. Try it out with a group of friends or engage in its brand new single player story mode with boundless items and tweaks to unlock.
STORY / CHARACTERS
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Kirby (and later other fighters) must fight back against a dark force which has turned everyone into puppet clones controlled by Spirits who have also been forced into the situation against their own free will. The story sets up a great premise for why the interesting single player content exists and why it works the way it does. Although not the biggest focus of the game’s presentation, there are a couple of very high quality cut-scenes (about 17 minutes in total) which are eventually shown after much gameplay has occurred to reach various milestones in the single player story campaign.
Exploring through the game’s story mode does feel almost like a full-fledged RPG at times with fighting matches as a way to deal with opponents, press forward, and collect / level up Spirits as well as your own abilities. In addition to this there are several special areas on the map including treasure chests and buttons that change the landscape such as materializing staircases. There’s even side questing on the world map consisting of Owl Puzzles, Gourmet Races, Master Hand gameplay segments, special transport Spirits, and more. For the effort of avoiding spoiler risk we will just say, don’t miss out on giving the single player some time – it’s worth it!
The above image is a custom tier list created by our Deputy Editor, Tristan Werbe, breaking down his current ranking of each character. Below we have included a list of every character in the game in no particular order, just to help give gravity to the value proposition Nintendo is providing with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
- King K. Rool
- Donkey Kong
- Link (The Legend of Zelda)
- Captain Falcon
- Ice Climbers
- Dr. Mario
- Young Link
- Mr. Game and Watch
- Meta Knight
- Zero Suit Samus
- Pokémon Trainer(s)
- Diddy Kong
- King Dedede
- Toon Link
- Mega Man
- Wii Fit Trainer
- Little Mac
- Mii Fighter(s)
- Bowser Jr.
- Duck Hunt
There are also a number of Echo Fighters (based on another fighter but with their own differences and custom moves) including Dark Samus, Dark Pit, Lucina, Daisy, Chrom, Richter, and Ken. Assist Trophies include Gray Fox, Guile, Hammer Bros., Mother Brain, Shadow The Hedgehog, Krystal, Rodin, Squid Sisters, Bomberman, Burrowing Snagret, Sukapon, Knuckles, Akira, Alucard, Andross, Ashley, Black Knight, Chain Chomp, Chef Kawasaki, Color TV-Game 15, Devil, Dillon, Dr. Kawashima, Dr. Wright, Badget Arcade Bunny, and many more. In addition to these additions the game also hosts a wealth of Spirits, alternative outfits, etc. adding up to a ton of content. There is also a major amount of levels in the game.
DLC for the game is mostly unannounced, but we will discuss that later in the review. For now the following DLC fighters are known.
- Piranha Plant (DLC; Free Until January, )
- Joker (Persona 5 DLC Coming Soon)
In the new spirit-filled Adventure mode called World of Light, we are given a story driven campaign based on a plot line in which every fighter in the game’s enormous roster has been overpowered. The Smash Bros. universe is given more meaning as an all consuming force creates evil puppet clones of the title’s stars which also have forced, unwilling spirits controlling them.
Players will unlock spirits as you save them from their dark duties, unlock fighters as you go for Smash mode, summon spirits by collecting cores in the game, feed cores, snacks, and more to spirits to upgrade them as well as upgrade them through battle. Experimenting with various spirit combinations can also produce improvements and upgrade attributes of a fighter, functioning similar to a load-out. Skills are also upgraded in a sphere-grid style reminiscent of Final Fantasy X. Manage a party of spirit upgrades, fighter skills, etc. to complete your adventure. There’s also a board mode version of the game.
Smash mode contains local multiplayer, local wireless, special smash (custom rules, etc), and online multiplayer. There’s also a Classic Smash mode which is an arcade style campaign similar to what most fighting games get as a single player mode. When you first boot up the game, there are a limited number of characters, but this time they face their own logical enemies.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a game that loads almost instantly in offline modes. Every menu is intuitive and scenes flash quickly from one to the next making it clear that this game takes full advantage of the Switch hardware, pushing it to its limits while at the same time never dropping a frame of performance. In Smash Bros. characters don’t actually die. The objective is to reduce their health (or increase their damage, which can be measured either way), until their vulnerability against a Final Smash attack is greater. At this point players will build up a Final Smash meter (or use an orb, if enabled) and deliver the final blow, knocking their opponent off the map.
Several interchangeable options can make the game more interesting, and players can mix and match settings as they please, including; match time lengths (or the lack thereof), amount of knockouts required to win (if any), how many rounds per match, power-up items on or off, smash meter or smash orbs, Spirits on or off, and more. In addition to these settings, each player can also register themselves with a nickname and save a custom control setting layout so that they get the same controls anytime they play without having to go through the menu setup screens again. In this installation of the Smash Bros. series there have been subtle changes made to every fighter as well as an overall improvement of all animations, character models, combat balancing, and style.
Whether in Docked or Tabletop mode the texture fidelity, art styles, and incredibly fast / stable frame-rate are top class. Whether the rushing rapids in a Donkey Kong jungle level or the breathtaking vistas of Xenoblade Chronicles terrain, this game delivers astonishing visuals in every instant. In terms of abstract, fantastical art design, there isn’t anything on PlayStation or Xbox that can compete with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Sora Ltd. has truly mastered the Nintendo Switch and taken its full power to the limit with beautiful results.
SOUND / MUSIC
Excellent sound design is a big part of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With such a great soundtrack collecting musical scores from across many different franchises including The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Donkey Kong, Fire Emblem, Metal Gear Solid, and a lot more as well as rock and roll ballads making tribute to gaming that really get the blood pumping and touch your heart.
Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the net-code in this game can have problems. In addition to lacking a feeling of caused by the absence of significant progression for its online mode, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also struggles with matchmaking and lag issues in around 20% of its matches at the game’s current version during the time of this writing, but could be patched to improve stability in the future. That being said, it’s clear that the team this game have heavily focused on local multiplayer and tournament-based gaming sessions with its online mode being of less significance by result.
The game’s fun factor, variety of playable characters, beautiful levels, soundtrack, and move sets crafted with love, balanced with a good understanding of what has worked and has not in previous Smash Bros. games all flows together for a family-friendly fighting game you can play with friends or by yourself over and over again. The unlockable spirits, various single player and multiplayer modes, custom rules settings, and huge roster of characters to unlock are all presidential in their entertainment excellence. Everything down to the visual animations, sound effects, and character interactions are designed to the point of being finer than has been seen previously.
ADDITIONAL DLC CONTENT
Nintendo will be releasing at least 5 fighter packs each with 1 new character, 1 new level based on the new character’s universe, and a bevy of new soundtrack additions based on the new character. At The Game Awards 2018 it was announced that Persona 5 x Smash Bros. Ultimate would be the first crossover DLC and features Joker from Persona 5 as well as one level based on the game and a number of additions to the soundtrack based on the game as well.
Nintendo has also stated that the next fighter packs to come throughout 2019 will continue to be surprising and unexpected selections. Overall, additional content has been handled well with Smash Bros. Ultimate since there’s enough to be excited about if you’re interested in buying more content for the game but the base package already comes with so much that the title doesn’t ever feel insufficient alone.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the near perfect games of 2018 which will forever go down in history as Sakurai’s epic tribute to his many fans. There’s tons to do, the gameplay is well balanced for fighting game veterans and easy to approach for newcomers. Tons of characters, levels, music, and interchangeable content mean that this game has a life blood that keeps pumping that fresh game feeling back into the experience over and over. The online modes could use some work, but aren’t the worst we’ve ever seen. Other than that criticism though, this is a masterpiece quality game leaving us with little to no complaints. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch gets a 9.5 out of 10 making it one of RGN’s Platinum Games of 2018.
RGN Rating: 9.5 / 10 (Platinum)
Developers: Sora Ltd., Bandai Namco
Available On: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Review Copy Info: Physical and digital copies of this game was purchased by RealGamerNewZ for the purpose of this review.