Nintendo has finally lifted the lid on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and it’s so much more than I ever could have imagined. Whilst there were rumours and speculations over the last few months that this would just be Super Smash Bros. for Wii U with a few additions, it was evident pretty quickly that this was a brand new game after going hands-on with the game.
The biggest revelation is one that’s hard to fathom. Every single Super Smash Bros. character in the series storied history is playable in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Once we booted into the demo and saw a rather healthy 16 or so on the roster, it blew my mind even further to think that by the end of everything we’d have over 60 in the whole game (you can see the full list here, by the way).
Eager to try something brand new, I selected Inkling Girl in my first 4 Player Battle. We chose the brand new Tower stage from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was quite a simple map yet things quickly devolved into unbridled chaos. This is another thing I noticed about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – the speed has been tweaked to be faster than ever (it reminds me of Melee) and it was especially noticeable in a frantic four player battle.
The Inklings in particular are very speedy characters. They’re kitted out with their standard Splattershot weapons, as well as other favourites like the roller and the pain brush. Interestingly enough, just like in Splatoon, they have an ink gauge next to their icon that has to be constantly refilled by switching to squid form. Enemies also move slower and take more damage if they’re covered in ink, which allows you to line up an easy shot or grenade them to death.
I couldn’t leave the session without trying Ridley, who is without a doubt one of the most requested characters in the franchise for so long. He’s finally playable and he’s super fun to play as. Smaller than you’d expect (meme makers eat your heart out), Ridley is around the same weight as characters like Bowser or Donkey Kong. His awesome special moves means I can see a lot of players using him as their main character. He’s got an awesome wingspan, some wicked reach and a ridiculously cool move where he flies along the ground, picking up the nearest enemy and throwing them off the screen.
I also gave Link a whirl, as almost every character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been tweaked or updated to make them more viable or balanced. As you would have seen in the direct, he’s now got an appearance that matches his recent adventures in Breath of the Wild. More than just a change of clothes, Link now has his ancient bow and can use various abilities such as a remotely detonated bomb. This is a fairly massive change for Link as it means you can no longer spam bombs as players might have done in the past. Other players can even pick up Link’s bomb and use them against him if he doesn’t detonate them quick enough too.
I tried a one on one match, and was reminded that our blows would deal more damage than in a standard 4 Player Battle, in order to almost scale the action so that it had a similar intensity. It definitely felt that way, with a three stock match being over in almost 3 to 4 heavy hits. It was a change that I appreciated and made a lot of sense. Perhaps this will be adjustable for those who don’t like that idea, but we have on word on stuff like that just yet.
As of today, not much was said about any potential newcomers outside of Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl, as well as Ridley and Daisy (who is an Echo Fighter of Peach). The same can be said for stages. There was a healthy sample of stages in the demo I played, but not too many noticeable new stages outside of the aforementioned Breath of the Wild stage. I played on levels such as Tortimer Island from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS as well as a handful of older levels that were given a fresh, updated look. The development team has confirmed to us that they wouldn’t feature every stage from the series prior, but that there will be a great amount of both new and old arenas to battle on. For the competitive ones, there will be Omega variations for every stage too.
The same can be said for items, assist trophies and Pokemon. Whilst it was really chaotic in all the matches I played, it was obvious that the way Assist Trophies worked has been completely changed. For the most part, when an Assist Trophy is summoned, other players can take advantage of this and defeat it in order to gain an extra KO, adding an element of risk to unleashing one. That being said, this isn’t the case for some Assist Trophies, especially those larger than life ones that take up the whole screen.
I played all my matches with the Pro Controller which felt really great, and whilst I didn’t get a chance to try the game using the Joy-Con controllers, the game is fully playable in the play styles you’d expect on the switch. As far as I can tell, the game is going to look and play fantastically when in portable mode too. If Super Smash Bros. for 3DS was anything to go by, this is going to take the portability of the franchise above and beyond what’s expected.
There are so many changes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that even the most hardcore of fans will have trouble keeping track of, and I don’t doubt that this incredibly ambitious game will change and evolve before it releases worldwide on December 7th.
Without a doubt, the game will live up to its name. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is more than just a port and will triumphantly be the ultimately version of Super Smash Bros.