Mobile Menu
 

 
 

Smash Bros. Ultimate Re-Review – A Celebration

It’s been a couple of weeks since Sora became the last DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I’ve been playing it a lot. Man, what a wonderful game.

blank

Ultimate is about right. It brings together almost everything to love about the franchise. But more than that, it has become a real celebration of everything that makes Nintendo and gaming as a whole special.

After multiple DLC characters and a couple of years to settle into itself, I thought it’d be worth us doing a re-review of sorts. We loved it in December 2018 and we love it now.

Re-reviewing Smash

When Adam reviewed Smash at release, he said:

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the best Smash Bros to date, hands down. With so much nostalgia packed into one tiny cartridge, there really isn’t a reason to pass on this one if you are a fan of the series. It really is the ultimate experience!

It’s hard to disagree with him, even after hundreds of hours of play. My wife and I play Smash a lot. It’s our “we’ve got 20 minutes, what do we do?” game. Suddenly find ourselves with a bit of time before having to go out? Smash Bros.

And so it’s probably my most played game of the generation if I think about it. Not in terms of bulk – we’ve never sat down and given it eight hours in one stretch. But we’ve played it consistently and often.

blank

And it says a lot for the game that it still feels fresh. Each character feels fairly viable – at least outside of competitive play – and most feel entirely unique.

Which would be impressive in a game with ten characters. But Smash Ultimate doesn’t have ten characters. It has many, many more, and then some. That’s before you even take DLC into account.

Building on Ultimate

There are always going to be people disappointed by the DLC, and part of that is because Smash is so good at bringing characters into its world. There are countless characters I’d like to have seen added. Some popular ones suggested by fans include Geralt from The Witcher, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Robotnik, Masterchief, Doomguy and countless others. That, you’ll notice, doesn’t include any Nintendo characters. You could just write *insert random Pokemon here* and there’d be a crowd of people ready to fill in the blanks as to why it’d be a perfect Smash addition. Poor, poor Waluigi is with a mention too.

That should tell you just how successfully Smash has been as a platform. Each of those characters feels viable, each feels like it could be unique. Each feels like it could have charming callbacks. The only disappointment is that, even after three years, it still feels as though it’s being cut short.

blank

The characters that we got are all good in their own ways. It’s incredible to see the character select screen today, because there’s just so much choice on offer. The biggest criticism is that it’s not all the characters the community wants. And that’s a selfish criticism, but one that feels fair. Nintendo are welcome to my money for as long as they continue adding characters I love to this game I love. Alas, that isn’t happening.

But it’s not a criticism that stands against the game, far from it. My thoughts on Sora still stand, he was a fantastic final character. More than that, almost all the additional characters have been amazing to play as. To take the almost perfect version of Smash and make it bigger is a hell of an achievement.

Smash and the Future

I’ve written before about where Smash might go from here. It’s a question I’m not sure has an answer, and I’m not sure it will for quite some time.

There are definite things that can be built on – the single-player offering, the return of proper mini-games, the netcode (Smash online is still often unplayable). Will the next game shake up the formula or will it stick to the classic feel but with less characters? The latter feels like it’d be a letdown, the former like it’d be divisive.

But whatever happens, Smash Ultimate will always be the best version of the Smash I grew up with. When I think back to those long sleepovers playing the N64 version, I think how my mind would have been blown by this incredible title. It has been the gift that keeps on giving, and, frankly, it’s one of the only reasons I own a Switch.

As this is a re-review, I’m not going to score it (and it’d be tough to beat Adam’s 9.5 from 2018). But I’ll say this: play Smash Ultimate. If you like it, buy the DLC. It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime effort, and I’m glad I got to be part of it.

 

Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

Follow Mat on:
Twitter: @matgrowcott    Google Plus: matgrowcott