There’s no question that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been a huge success. Having set a new record for the fastest-selling console exclusive within one month, it’s no surprise that people love this game. But what is it about Ultimate that sets it apart from its predecessors in the Smash series?
Every game has its strengths and weaknesses, of course, but Ultimate seems to have a special something, and that something is helping it take the world by storm. Below we’re going to break down the list of things that make this game the absolute gem that it is.
There’s no debating this one. With every character from every other entry in the series being featured plus a bunch more, and with DLC to come, there’s a fighter for everyone. No complaints of fan favorites being missed out this time!
Not only are all the originals here, but this game has the wackiest list of newcomers yet. In the past, fans assumed certain rules about the character list: they must be Nintendo characters, or they must have appeared on Nintendo consoles. Now, all rules have been thrown out the window, with totally unexpected additions like Cloud from Final Fantasy.
9 Single-Player Campaign
Before Ultimate was released, Subspace Emissary was the last single-player campaign mode to appear in a Smash game. It featured in Brawl, and incited mixed opinions in the fanbase. Ultimate’s campaign, World of Light, does it right with a giant map and a focus on what makes Smash Bros the game that it is: fights. There are hours of matches to be enjoyed here, and each battle stays fresh and exciting with loads of different rules like giant opponents, blustering winds and even enemies that try to avoid you. Then there’s the added tactical element that comes with Spirits…
Such a definitive use of strategy hasn’t been seen in a Smash Bros game before. If you felt that battles against your buddies were getting stale, Spirits add a whole new layer to the gameplay. They can give your fighter advantages such as an equipped item when starting the match, extra stamina, or increased stats.
Spirits also bring a whole bunch of fan service (the good kind), so even if your niche, beloved character isn’t a fighter, they might be a Spirit. Even the Chorus Kids from Rhythm Paradise are in there!
Okay, this might seem insignificant, but have you seen the outfits? The first thing plenty of players do when they pick a character is check out all the different skins. The truth is, gamers appreciate dressing up their characters; it’s an underrated element in a lot of games. Even Dark Souls has been playfully called Fashion Souls, due to the players’ love of dressing their characters. There are some great new outfits in Smash Bros. Ultimate, from Mario’s new white suit from Super Mario Odyssey, to Zelda’s awesome white hair and black dress combo. Annihilate your friends in style!
6 Mii Fighters
If you’ve got a little Mii version of yourself just itching to get onto the battlefield, you can now make them a little closer to the original, by choosing one of twelve voice options. You can even adjust the pitch. The color of the Miis’ costumes no longer depend on their Mii favorite color; you can customize the available outfits.
You can no longer adjust the weight of Mii Fighters, which might seem like a downside but it does make them easier to learn, and removes some complications from the previous game.
There’s a ton of extra content in the latest addition to the Smash Bros series, and music is one of the areas that has grown immensely. There are tracks from every franchise featured in the game, in the most extensive music library to date. Not only can you choose the background music to the destruction of your friends and family, but you can even listen to tracks that don’t match the stage’s franchise. Want to listen to a Mario tune on a Sonic stage? You can do that, by creating a custom playlist. You can listen to just your favorites!
4 New Multiplayer Modes
Featuring the best modes from previous games, such as the longstanding Classic Mode, Ultimate also features a brand new one called Smashdown. A new way to play multiplayer battles, once you’ve selected a character to fight in one match, they cannot be chosen again until the series of matches has ended.
They’ll temporarily disappear from the roster until that set is over. There’s even a Mercy Rule that will end the game if a player has won so many battles that their opponents have no chance at winning. It comes in handy for soothing tensions from sore losers!
3 Training Mode
The Training Mode is a lot more involved in this entry of the series, with a stage specifically designed to analyze attacks. This exclusive stage features a grid that displays the distances between points of interest. Calculating the power of attacks towards any opponent, while taking into account their weight, it can show you their potential launch distances. Red, green, and blue lines differentiate between 0%, 50%, and 100% damage respectively on the opponent.
Ultimate’s Training Mode also features new options, including the ability to read notes on characters’ special moves, keep opponent’s damage at a set percentage, and adjust the player’s damage, to name but a few.
2 Assist Trophies
Assist Trophies are like the Marmite of Smash Bros. Some people love them, claiming they shake up the gameplay and give struggling players a chance, while others think they remove the skill factor. Like it or not, they’re here to stay, and the Assist Trophies in Ultimate have gotten bigger and better.
Now, more than one can be onstage at once, making multiplayer matches glorious chaos. More of them are able to be KO’d, giving the players who defeat them points. They’re more formidable, able to respawn from falls, but also susceptible to status effects like freezing.
Many people consider Ultimate to be the greatest Smash Bros yet, and I’m one of them. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference, and there are plenty of little polishes in Ultimate that make the game shine. There’s a lot more customization, from the ability to switch off stage hazards, to adjusting whether Echo fighters are displayed in their own character slots.
The roster is now organized in the order that characters were first announced for the series (excluding Echo and Mii Fighters). Oh, and the Stage Morph feature is loads of fun. Tweaks like these contribute to the overall sense of refinement that makes this a phenomenal game.