SUPER SMASH BROS ULTIMATE
Buckle up for the ultimate crossover scrap
“THE ULTIMATE LOVE LETTE R NOT ONLY TO NINTENDO’S HISTORY, BUT ALSO THE SERIES’ LOYAL FANBASE”
Recently Nintendo delivered an exhaustive primer for its upcoming mascot brawler. While it may have gone overboard with the minutiae, the game looks mint. 65 confirmed fighters, spanning 30 IPs. Eight-player battles. Ladder attacks. Refined dodging. A certain wedding costume. (Told you it was detailed.) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate looks to be the largest gaming crossover ever. The near-70-fighter roster includes every character who has ever appeared in a previous Smash, with that hefty number also featuring every DLC star who’s ever popped up in the franchise. All your old favourites have been subtly tweaked, too. Link gets his Champion’s Tunic from Breath Of The Wild, and Donkey Kong is rocking new facial animations, while Samus can now power up moves in mid-air. The likes of Bowser, Fox McCloud, and Earthbound’s Ness also get tweaks to their Final Smash finishers.
Nintendo promises that character unlocks will be streamlined (they’ll need to be, with this many characters), though it has hinted the starting roster could be as small as the N64 original – around 12 by our semi-hazy recollection. Series director Masahiro Sakurai also doesn’t want to get your hopes up about the possibility of lots of new fighters coming down the line. While both Splatoon’s cheeky Inklings and Super Metroid’s dragon beastie Ridley make their Smash debuts here, Nintendo hopes no more new fighters will be needed, what with the roster being so packed. “We’ve made including every single fighter ever our number one goal, so I’m kind of hoping you aren’t expecting too many new challengers,” says Sakurai.
There’s no question Ultimate looks like the perfect love letter not only to Nintendo’s storied history, but also the series’ loyal fanbase. The fact all Amiibo figures are compatible with Ultimate, alongside confirmed support for GameCube controllers via an adaptor to make them work on Switch, speaks to a game that both respects legacy, and appreciates those gamers who’ve stuck by Nintendo for years.
As for the Pikachu-pummelling action, Ultimate feels like a subtle refinement of Wii U’s already excellent Super Smash Bros. Sudden death moments are now delivered with quicker, flashier camera cuts, while Nintendo has added a perfect shield block to reward beat-’em-up fans who like precision counters. Some of the new Final Smash moves are wonderfully over the top, too. Just take Ridley’s ridiculous finisher, a move that involves the purple monster hurling his opponent into space to slam into Samus’ ship, before blowing both up with a laser blast.
The presence of ‘Echo Fighters’ (character reskins who get their own roster places, such as Daisy and Dark Pit) and new stages, such as Splatoon’s Moray Towers, should further freshen the action. Nintendo and Bandai Namco clearly aren’t reinventing the punchy wheel for Smash’s Switch debut, but they are serving up a greatest hits smorgasbord of scrapping that should have long-time fans salivating.