The latest Smash Bros. experience lives up to its name.
I’ve played every Smash Bros. game since the original arrived on the Nintendo 64 in 1999, so you can say I am extremely familiar with the series. For nearly the last twenty years, every game in the series has had fun, fast-paced action, all while evolving at the same time. The series has slowly morphed into a more serious fighting game that fans of the genre can get it into for competitive play. The formula has consistently been refined to provide something for everyone, and Smash Bros. Ultimate feels the same way.
I played Ultimate for about 30 minutes at E3 2018. One thing I immediately noticed is that it just feels right playing with the Switch pro controller. I didn’t get the GameCube adapter for the Wii U (which is also coming to the Switch) so I usually just played with the standard Wii U GamePad. This is a nice upgrade, a controller with real weight and good feel, more so than using a classic controller or anything else.
The two new characters that have been added into Ultimate are Inkling from Splatoon and Ridley from the Metroid series. Inkling feels fast and lightweight, with the paint mechanic being pretty fun to use. Ridley meanwhile felt heavier and more powerful, kind of like Bowser or Ganondorf. Obviously as newer characters it’ll take more than one gameplay session to really get a feel for them, but I can see myself using both.
As for gameplay, well, this is Smash Bros. You knock your opponent off the stage and into the crowd. Nothing’s really changed here from previous games aside from some new stages and assist trophies, like the Badge Arcade Bunny, Knuckles or additional new Pokemon. Some of the final smashes are more streamlined for faster pacing, which is a nice touch. Anything that feels different or was changed is to streamline and make the experience more fun. And that’s always a plus.
Smash Bros. Ultimate reminds me a lot of Mortal Kombat Trilogy from a couple of decades ago. It has every character and stage you can think of from all previous Smash Bros. titles and rounds out the package with a couple of new characters. It’s the culmination of what Masahiro Sakurai has been working on for decades, all wrapped up in one very fun experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what else will return when it launches on December 7.