Almost 20 years have passed since Super Smash Bros. burst into our lives with its original delivery for Nintendo 64. A very different and original fighting game that made us enjoy whole evenings fighting with our friends while we played twelve of the most iconic Nintendo characters in frenetic and crazy duels for up to four players.
The fact of being able to face gaming legends such as Link, Kirby, Mario, Pikachu or Donkey Kong with such a cool and addictive combat system was a unique and surprising experience for the time, which resulted in a great critical success as a public, selling millions of copies around the world.
Today it remains one of the most memorable cartridges of the 64-bit console of the Great N, but little we could imagine at that time that what would series be like over the years. What began as a small and humble tribute to the Nintendo universe is now a huge and ambitious tribute to the world of video games in general and one of the best and most complete fighting games in history. A real must-have title for all those who love and feel passion for gaming which has given us many unforgettable moments throughout our lives.
What is Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate returns to offer us the same formula as always but polished and taken to the extreme. We are facing a two-dimensional fighting game in which we will battle in scenarios with a multitude of platforms and mechanics while trying to throw our rivals off the screen based on hits. The more damage we do to them with our attacks, the farther they will fly with our impacts.
The controls are as simple and accessible as you would expect, being able to perform all kinds of offensives and special moves just by combining two buttons with some direction (or not). In addition, we will also have the possibility to jump, block with a shield, dodge, feint, make grabs and even collect the objects that appear on the stage to use them to our benefit.
Thanks to the developers, we have a very accessible game that everyone can enjoy, since it does not require us to learn complex combinations with the controller to put into practice our repertoire of attacks, which does not prevent that, in turn, be one of the deepest, most technical and demanding genre titles we can find in the market.
It is one of those games that follow the maxim of ” easy to play, but difficult to master “, making it an ideal purchase for any type of player, from those who just want to have a good time to the most dedicated and competitive ones that will not stop until they complete all the challenges.
It is worth noting how much the speed and pace of the matches have increased. Everything is now considerably more agile, reaching a point of freneticism that feels great to the formula and that causes the clashes to be more spectacular and dynamic than ever.
Another great addition we have in the aerial directional evades, so we can feint in the air at the same time we move our character in the direction we want. This is something that completely changes the aerial attacks of the series, since it makes us less vulnerable and more unpredictable when they send us to fly and try to recover, making the duels are much more exciting and we can never give anything for granted.
Nor can we forget the perfect shields, a new advanced technique with which we can use against the enemy attack. If we deactivate our shield at the exact moment when we are going to receive a blow, we will have a few seconds to counterattack without our opponent being able to do anything to avoid it.
As you can guess, executing a perfect block is not easy and carries many risks, although it is a mechanic that gives the battles a new layer of depth that will delight the most competitive and dedicated players.
Of course, many new objects have also been included, such as the Sudden Death, with which we can eliminate any player who has more than 100% damage, or the healing field, which will allow us to heal our wounds. progressively, just by holding it. Likewise, new Pokémon has also been added that we can invoke by shooting Poké Balls, as well as more helpers.
In general, we are talking about a much more offensive game in which the show is rewarded and playing with a certain head. Masahiro Sakurai and his team have polished and refined the formula of the series with this delivery, without any fear, that they have finally achieved that perfection. Pure fun and playability.
The dream team
Regarding the playable characters, we have a squad that we could only qualify as a dream come true by offering 74 fighters (76 if we want to count as three Pokémon Trainer) from the most iconic and representative series of video games in history.
Obviously, most of them are heroes and villains from Nintendo titles, although there is also room for such legendary series as Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Mega Man, Metal Gear or Castlevania. Almost all of these characters have helped, in one way or another, to define the gaming industry from its very beginnings.
The best thing is that all the fighters that have appeared throughout the series have been recovered, so you will not miss anyone from previous deliveries, a huge task that says a lot about the intention of turning Ultimate into the Super Smash Bros. definitive. The full list is the following:
Villager ( Animal Crossing ), Bayonetta ( Bayonetta ), Bowser ( Super Mario ), Bowsy ( Super Mario ), Captain Falcon ( F-Zero ), Cinnamon ( Animal Crossing ), Chrom ( Fire Emblem ), Cloud ( Final Fantasy ), Corrin ( Fire Emblem ), Daisy ( Super Mario ), Daraen ( Fire Emblem ), Diddy Kong( Donkey Kong ), Donkey Kong ( Donkey Kong ), Dr. Mario ( Dr. Mario ), Duo Duck Hunt ( Duck Hunt ), Pokémon Trainer: Charizard, Ivysaur and Squirtle ( Pokémon ), Wii Fit Trainer ( Wii Fit ), Estela ( Super Mario ), Falco ( Star Fox ), Fox ( Star Fox ), Ganondorf ( The Legend of Zelda ), Greninja (Pokémon ), Ice Climbers ( Ice Climbers ), Ike ( Fire Emblem ), Incineroar ( Pokémon ), Inkling ( Splatoon ), Jigglypuff ( Pokémon ), Ken ( Street Fighter ), King K. Rool ( Donkey Kong ), Kirby ( Kirby ) , Link ( The Legend of Zelda ), Child Link ( The Legend of Zelda ), Little Mac ( Punch Out !!), Lucario ( Pokémon ), Lucas ( Mother ), Lucina ( Fire Emblem ), Luigi ( Super Mario ), Mario ( Super Mario ), Marth ( Fire Emblem ), Mega Man ( Mega Man ), Meta Knight ( Kirby ), Mewtwo ( Pokémon ), Mii Swordsman, Mii Karateka, Mii Shooter , Mr. Game & Watch ( Game & Watch ), Ness (Mother ), Olimar ( Pikmin ), Pac-Man ( Pac-Man ), Palutena ( Kid Icarus ), Peach ( Super Mario ), Pichu ( Pokémon ), Pikachu ( Pokémon ), Pit ( Kid Icarus ), Shadow Pit ( Kid Icarus ), King Dedede ( Kirby ), ROB , Roy ( Fire Emblem ), Richter ( Castlevania), Ridley ( Metroid ), Ryu( Street Fighter ), Samus ( Metroid ), Dark Samus ( Metroid ), Samus Zero ( Metroid ), Sheik ( The Legend of Zelda ), Shulk( Xenoblade ), Simon Belmont ( Castlevania ), Solid Snake ( Metal Gear Solid ), Sonic ( Sonic ), Toon Link ( The Legend of Zelda ),Wario ( Super Mario ), Wolf ( Star Fox ), Yoshi ( Super Mario ), Zelda ( The Legend of Zelda ).
But the roster is not only large numbers and in a collection of video game legends, but each and every one of its members are perfectly differentiated (except for the Eco fighters, who are still clones of others already existing with slight changes) and recreated with great detail to be totally faithful to their original works.
You only have to look at cases like Simon and Richter Belmont, whose animations and poses are taken from both their games and their illustrations, to realize the amazing level of detail that has been placed on each aspect of the title. Everyone has been treated with great respect and it shows that Sakurai is a huge fan of video games and the licenses he handles. He knows exactly what the fans expect to see and how to surprise them with unique winks that will bring us more of a smile of pure complicity.
In addition, they have so many peculiarities and peculiarities that all of them are very fun to control, giving us a variety of game styles without precedents in the genre.
As for the new additions, we have Inkling, Ridley, Simon / Richter Belmont, King K. Rool, Cinnamon and Incineroar, characters to which we have to add Daisy, Dark Samus, Ken, and Chrom, who arrive as Echo fighters (clones ) of Peach, Samus, Ryu and Roy respectively.
The Inklings are very fast and have a large arsenal of weapons to catch their opponents by surprise and control the battlefield. Most of their attacks stain the enemy’s ink, which in fact will make them more vulnerable to our blows, although, as in Splatoon, they need to recharge it by adopting their squid form and hiding. Due to this, we will have to look for the best moments to fill our ammunition without exposing ourselves, thus giving a very interesting tactical touch to their combat style.
Instead, Ridley is a character with whom to go much more “to the point”. The eternal enemy of Samus has a devastating repertoire of attacks, with very wide and powerful movements with which we can destroy our enemies with great ease. Also, it’s not as slow as you’d expect, so if we’re not careful it may surprise us. To balance things out a little, making the most of some of your attacks can be a bit tricky by requiring us to hit very accurately, and its gigantic size makes it an easy target.
Simon and Richter Belmont (the latter is Echo of the first, or was it the other way around?) Use their mythical whip Vampire Killer to attack their opponents from a great distance, to which we must add some of the most iconic secondary weapons of Castlevania, like the Ax, the Crucifix or the Blessed Water. They are very versatile fighters and able to adapt to almost any situation, although we warn you that mastering them is not easy since their attacks tend to leave them very sold and controlling distances is essential.
For its part, King K. Rool is as slow and heavy as you would expect. The king of the Kremlings can counterattack with his belly, launch his crown to intercept projectiles, attack and attract both enemies and objects, and use a huge blunderbuss to fire cannonballs. As we say, all his animations are quite slow and he is a character that we have to hit very hard if we want to throw him off the stage, not only because of his weight but because of his fantastic recovery movement.
Cinnamon can remind us lightly of the Villager because the style of combat is similar and is based on dizzy on the contrary with all kinds of unexpected tactics. Among his most striking and important movements is that he can “plant” Giroides on the ground so that they attack the opponent when he passes over, although our favorite is the fishing rod, with which he can “fish “objects to collect them from a distance, as well as the enemy and throw them far away.
Finally, Incineroar has become one of our new favorites thanks to his wrestling movements and his tendency to “hesitate” and provoke every time he manages to make a blunt blow. It is not very fast or very agile, but we can assure you that it is hilarious to control and has very interesting resources, such as Revenge to take damage and enhance your next attack, or Darkest Lariat, with which we can execute at the end, have a few instants of invulnerability. Of course, we warn you that your recovery movement is not easy to use, so be tactical.
As you can see, they all have something new to offer and they are very good additions for a dream team that will allow us to play exciting and varied duels between our favorite characters in the world of video games.
The battle of the spirits
One of the great novelties of this release is the inclusion of the spirits, the new collectible element that has been added to replace the classic trophies. In this way, we can collect the souls of numerous video game characters to empower our characters with them.
These can be primary and supportive. The first ones are those that we link directly to our warrior (only one at a time) and the one that will define our values of attack and defense, while the second ones must be equipped in the free spaces that have the primary ones (they go from none to three). Each spirit of support has a cost, so if, for example, we want to equip ourselves with one that requires three points, we will need a primary spirit with at least three free spaces.
Thus explained can seem much more complicated than it really is, since in practice it is a very simple, intuitive and easy to understand the system. To understand it quickly, imagine that the primary spirits are your armors and that the support ones are the gems that you use to gain special abilities and advantages, with the only difference being that they are video game characters instead of pieces of equipment. Obviously, this gives a very interesting attraction when it comes to collecting them.
To give it a point of depth, there are four types of primary spirits: red, blue, green and black. The reds are effective against the greens, they win the blues and the blues are imposed on the greens, while the blacks have no advantage or disadvantage against anyone, which will force us to choose the most suitable for each combat.
In addition, if the set of spirits that we use belong to the same series, its effects will be enhanced, especially if all of them correspond to the series of the playable character that we are going to use. In total there are 1,297 spirits, an authentic savage, so you can make a good idea of the huge number of hours we will have to dedicate to the game to get us all.
In fact, this whole system makes sense at the moment in which we are ready to collect them since to achieve them we will have to fight a series of hilarious combats that seek to reproduce the properties and characteristics of the spirit that we try to obtain.
For example, if we want to get Metal Sonic, we will have to participate in a duel against the blue hedgehog Sonic in a permanent metallic state, but if our goal is Street Fighter’s Vega, we will have to do with a Meta Knight to match Vega’s mask.
These are two very small samples of what you will find, and we can assure you that all the matches are a real work of imagination and creativity where the gigantic playable possibilities offered by the formula of the title is very clear.
Everything is meticulously thought to fit the spirit that we face, from the music and the stage to the characters involved, the rules, and the behavior of the AI. It is amazing to see how the game is still able to surprise us after hundreds of battles (there are more than 1,000 of this type) that, besides being as fun as varied, suppose a fantastic and original tribute to our favorite hobby.
For obvious reasons, the more you know about video games, the more you will enjoy it, as you will be able to understand a greater number of winks and references, although we are warning you that it is practically impossible to know them all since there is also room for real rarities and games. unknown by the general public, not to mention all those who never managed to leave the Japanese borders.
It is precisely here where we find the only fault that we have found: the total absence of a gallery, museum or library where we can inform ourselves about the origin and origins of all those spirits since no descriptions of any kind have been included so that we can know them better. They will only tell us the series to which they belong (not even in what deliveries they appear) and their name, an inexplicable lack in a title that, by their own conception, is a tribute and a colossal celebration of the history of the industry.
The world of lost stars
Going into what are the game modes, this time the great star for a player is undoubtedly the (Campaign)Spirit Mode, probably one of the best and most complete mode we have ever seen in a title of the genre.
The story is simply what you might consider as what happened is the “video game world apocalypse”. The Light, a divine entity of pure light, decides that he wants to create a new world, which is why he sends an army of Master Hands to kill all the characters in the gaming world, turning the majority into spirits and a few into slaves with those turn into evil clones that serve as a receptacle for the souls of the fallen.
Luckily for all, Kirby manages to survive these tragic events, so he undertakes an epic journey to rescue the whole world and put an end to the tyranny of this divinity. Although there is a small plot with its surprises and unexpected twists, the story here is, at all times, secondary and that is in the background to justify our odyssey, so do not expect dialogues between characters or anything like it, since you will not find it. In fact, the few video sequences that exist can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
We will have to advance through a gigantic map full of alternative routes and paths while we fight without stopping to obtain new spirits in battles such as those described a few paragraphs back. Of course, in our journey we can also rescue the rest of the fighters from the squad so we can play with them, so we will not be limited only to the charismatic pink ball created by Sakurai.
But do not think that we are facing a mere succession of combats since in our trip we will also have to solve puzzles, find out how to get to certain places and chests, and find key spirits that will allow us to access sites that would otherwise be left out. of our reach.
The icing on the cake is the dungeons, special maps as a tribute based on specific games that have very specific mechanics that we will not give an example to avoid ruining the surprises that await you in them. Just know that they are the best and the most surprising of all the Adventure Mode and that, in most cases, they usually conclude in style with a confrontation against a final boss.
These battles are simply great: they have several phases, they are relatively long and they are the most intense. Emphasize that they have so many patterns and attacks that we will have to learn them very well if we want to be victorious from them.
As we said before, it is a huge and hilarious modality that has taken us about 30 hours to complete 100% (the “story” we finished in 20 hours with 74%) and that has one of the best final lines that Nintendo has never offered us: epic, intense and spectacular as she herself, with a very specific moment that will make the hair stand on end to any fan of the saga. Simply brutal.
The spirit board
Of course, if we want to do with all the spirits it will not be enough just to play Adventure Mode since in it we can only get half. In this way, to complete our collection we will have to play a good number of hours in the Spirits Board, a modality in which Spirits will appear periodically.
These battles will be available for a limited time and when this expires or we have tried once (regardless of whether we win or fail), they will disappear and be replaced by others when the time comes, a process that we can accelerate using objects so that the disposition of the board changes and new spirits appear.
The approach of these duels is the same as that of the battles that we wage in the Adventure Mode: overcome confrontations that seek to emulate the characteristics and properties of the spirit that we try to obtain. Of course, here to win we will have to overcome a simple minigame consisting of hitting a shot while a barrier with a gap revolves around our goal. If we succeed, we can claim our reward.
It is a very fast, agile and direct way ideal for short games and to combine with other modes, although it is so addictive that we have managed to spend hours within this mode without knowing “just one more fight”.
In case you prefer something more classic and traditional where you just have to worry about fighting, you will probably find your ideal option in Smash arcade, which would be the Arcade or Classic Mode of this game and that can also be played cooperatively. As such, our goal will be none other than to overcome six battles, a bonus level (very simple and always the same, in which we will have to reach the goal by collecting orbs without the stage reaching us) and a final boss with the character we choose.
The interesting thing comes at the moment when we realize that each combatant has his own route well differentiated from the others so that the combats that we will fight will always be different. In addition, these usually have some type of subject that makes them very attractive.
For example, the route of Marth is called “Kingdom of Dragons”, and in it, we will see the faces with enemies that may seem or be dragons, reason why also most of our adversaries will be giants. On the other hand, Richter’s is “Smash Eco”, so all his rivals will be Echo fighters, like him, while Chrom’s, “Attack in unison!”, Offers us battles in which we are accompanied by Daraen or Lucina to recreate the mechanical grouping of units of Fire Emblem: Awakening.
If overcome 74 routes was not a sufficiently extensive task in itself, it is worth noting that it is an extremely challenging mode and that will get us to try again and again to try to get the best possible score thanks to its great system of difficulty.
Before starting a route we can decide the level of “intensity” in which we want to start, with 0.0 being the minimum and 5.0 the initial maximum. However, depending on how well or badly we do it, the level of difficulty will rise and fall more or less after each fight, so the real goal is to challenge ourselves to try to complete each route at the intensity level. 9.9 and get the highest points multiplier, a task not simple, especially for how hard they get to be the clashes against the final bosses in this difficulty.
In addition to the fun of overcoming this mode with all the characters, we must also emphasize that this is a very satisfactory task, since each time we complete a path we will receive all kinds of rewards, such as new spirits, coins for the store or objects for the board. Ultimate is a game that rewards us for everything we do, and this modality is no exception.
The Mob Smash mode
Another classic mode that returns and with cooperative possibilities is Mob Smash, including its three modes: Century Smash, All-Star Smash and Cruel Smash. The first is the simplest of all, where we will challenge to defeat 100 fighters (most are Mii) with little resistance and a very low AI, while All-Star Smash will challenge us to defeat the 74 fighters of the squad facing us several of them always simultaneously, which translates into a very interesting challenge.
Cruel Smash is for those who seek to despair with some kind of impossible challenge, since their proposal is similar to that of Century Smash, with the difference that here our enemies are relentless and do devastating amounts of damage, so that are capable of throwing us off the stage with a couple of punches. Defeating only one enemy playing “cleanly” (there is a way to take advantage of the AI’s failures to add casualties) is quite a feat, so if you want to push yourself to the limit, this is your mode.
Fight as you wish
As expected, there is also the indispensable local multiplayer mode of the series to allow us to fight both solo against the AI and against our friends in confrontations that can be up to eight players simultaneously (if you manage to gather so many people in your home, be prepared for the maximum madness).
This time it has put all the meat on the spit to allow us to configure the matches as much as you can imagine, being able to adjust a multitude of rules to design games that fit our tastes and needs.
In addition to the more classic ones, such as controlling the frequency with which objects appear (or eliminating them directly), we have to add other interesting new ones, such as scenarios that are transformed in the middle of a battle (for example, starting at Big Blue and that during the fight change to the Temple of Hyrule), deactivate the mechanics of Vengeance so that it does not increase our attack power depending on the damage we have accumulated or activate a bar that when filling it fighting allows us to unleash our Final Smash.
As we say, the amount of options and adjustments we have at our disposal is really overwhelming, so we greatly appreciate the inclusion of the possibility of saving various sets of rules to access these configurations immediately whenever we want.
But the multiplayer madness does not end with normal matches, since it has also added a complete Tournament Mode for up to 32 players (again, we can control every last detail, such as matches, rules or the very structure of the competition) and the new Tropa Smash modality , where we will be able to face teams of three and five characters, so that when they kill us, the next one appears.
These “relays” can be immediate (that is, without interrupting the action during a battle) or in turns, being able to decide if we want the surviving character to maintain the accumulated damage or not. Without a doubt, it is a very fun way to play and it invites us to learn to control several fighters, although if we are several players in the room there is always the option of forming groups and passing the command to encourage each other.
Another new favorite mode is Total Smash, where we will dispute a series of combats in which they will not allow us to repeat the characters that have been previously used. As you can guess, the one that accumulates more points among all of them will win the game, and yes, it is as fun and tactical as it sounds.
If we want something really crazy, our best options are Super Sudden Death and Special Smash. The first mode offers confrontations of sudden death for lives or time where virtually any hit will send us off the screen to start at 300% damage, while the second put at our disposal a series of special rules to increase the chaos of the crowd in different ways.
With all this, you can be sure that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is going to become the new king of the hangouts with your friends, since its multiplayer is, to this day, so fun and complete that you will find it impossible to tire of all the fun possibilities, since you will never play two equal games and you will always find some option that will absolutely please you all.
The road to glory
As it could not be otherwise, we also have the possibility to face other players through the internet. This time numerous adjustments have been made to the system of pairings to allow us to choose the rules with which we want to play and that we are looking for one or several opponents that have filtered in a similar way to ours.
Of course, having so many possible variables, this system does not guarantee us to play with the same rules that we have selected , since other factors are also taken into account, such as our Smash Level (up or down depending on our wins and losses online, and it is individual for each character) or geographical proximity, which helps favor more or less balanced confrontations without lag.
In our case, we have only taken a few seconds to find a game, so we have been able to enjoy one fight after another without waiting times. Regarding the network code, as a rule, we have played very fluid matches and that almost made us believe that we were playing locally, with only a few exceptions in which the connection of some of our rivals was that of other participants, making the duels something totally unplayable.
Luckily, as we say, these have not been frequent, so we have been able to play with normality most of the time, even in combats with four players (the maximum through the internet) and objects, something essential to enjoy fully of its frantic and fantastic gameplay.
In the case that we want to play with friends or with fixed rules, we can create very configurable rooms for up to eight people and with Spectator Mode for those who are not battling. Strangely we are not given the possibility of changing the rules once created, forcing us to leave the room to create a new one with different rules, which can be somewhat annoying.
On the other hand, the Coop Mode returns so that we can play two people locally against another pair of players through the Internet, a very fun and recommended option if we have someone to take advantage of it.
We can not forget to mention that if we reach a certain Smash Level we will gain access to the VIP category, where we will only face other players that have reached this same rank, something ideal for the best always have a rival at their level.
Spectacular graphics on TV and handheld mode
At the graphic level we have a really nice game that leaves us with some very detailed models and character designs, and with just fantastic animations, not to mention the great work behind each of the stages, very lively and full of elements.
Here we must highlight that we have found it a complete success to have given all fighters a cel-shading touch since this has managed to unify the visual style of the work to give greater artistic coherence, something very necessary in a production in which fighters so different and from so different backgrounds fight. Also, this little facelift has made them look great.
There is also a considerable improvement in the effects, much more elaborate and complex, and with a better use of lighting to favor, above all, the spectacle and the gameplay with a multitude of visual references. The image, on the other hand, is as clear as it is alone, which really suits the great color of this delivery.
We are forced to highlight its excellent performance, maintaining the essential 60 images per second at all times and without suffering the least. And eye, because this is something that also happens when we play in portable mode.
The title is seen and moves scandal on the screen of the console, the resolution being the only prejudice against desktop for obvious reasons. Maybe the Joy-Con are not the ideal option to play (here the GameCube controller is still the king, although you will need an adapter to use it), but once we get used to them, they allow us to enjoy our games enormously anywhere.
Finally, we have a titanic soundtrack, including more than 900 tracks, including new remixes of classic melodies, original versions, completely new songs and remixes that appeared in previous installments of the series.
In total, we are talking about more than 28 hours of music of an overwhelming quality and in which many of the most important composers of the industry have participated, bringing together in a single game a collection full of legendary compositions which will take us to unforgettable memories. The voice effects follow the same tonic, being as varied and recognizable as one would expect for all the character.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is everything we could dream of and more. A gigantic, complete, great and overwhelming tribute to the world of video games that offers endless hours of fun both alone and in a company struggling with the most iconic characters in the history of this hobby that we are so passionate about. And all this without forgetting to be a practically perfect fighting game with an incomparable gameplay that is as accessible and deep as we want.
Undoubtedly, Sakurai can rest easy, because that sickly attention to detail for which his titles have always been characterized has translated this time into one of the best and most complete game in history and in a reference. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is not only the ultimate Super Smash Bros., but it is also the ultimate tribute that video games deserved. Simply essential.
We have prepared this review with a digital code provided by Nintendo.