May 3, 2019 at 2:22 AM #1226
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Rating: 2.5 – Playable
The "Ultimate" must mean the content, and not so much the experience.
Well, it’s been almost a month since Super Smash Bros Ultimate was released. Did it exceed or meet my expectations? Or was it a flop? Well, here’s my review for the game. Keep in mind that this is coming from a player who don’t have people to play with locally, so the singleplayer experience plays a big role for me.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate comes off a game celebrating the Smash Bros series, as it brings back every single character from the previous titles, and a few new ones! That, and a lot of stages from the past. But despite the cumbersome roster and stage count, something about Smash Ultimate feels… Off, and empty.
Roster and Stages:
For the "quintessential" Smash Bros game, I think every single character back was the best way to go. Bringing back a bunch of past levels is a nice way to experience the history of Smash. In the case of stages, there is a problem. If you’re like me and played Smash since the N64 one, hardly anything will feel fresh and will just come off as… Familiar. There are a few new stages, and I find myself leaning toward those the most, but there aren’t enough new stages. I feel that this will be more of a treat for newcomers to the series. But for vets, it’s a bit of a downer. As for the newcomers, the only complaint I have is that there are too many echo newcomers. Personally, I don’t think Daisy shouldn’t have been an echo of Peach since Peach’s moveset is a bit too girly for the tomboy. As for the true newcomers, I’m a bit mixed. While I’m happy that the Belmonts made it in, I don’t really care about the others.
I want to get this point over with early, since it’s the paramount contributor to this game’s fun factor. Like I said, The CPU opponents is (unfortunately) my only way of playing this game offline. This game really rose the difficulty and intelligence of the AI. I used to think Brawl and Smash 4’s was bad, but at least they got the easier levels right. Smash Ultimate’s AI is one of the most stressful players I’ve ever experienced in any fighting game I’ve played. Why are they so stressful? Well to start, the low leveled AI will sometimes have their bouts of aggression. For the most part, they’re easy to fight and beat, but if I have you at Lv. 3, stay that way. Why is it that they sometimes combo and edge-guard aggressively? These inconsistencies make it hard to pick up and play the game. When I play a Smash game, Lv. 3 is a level I play when I just want to have fun and beat up nearly still targets. Lv. 5 is when I want to challenge myself a bit, but still have fun. Lv. 7 is usually the real challenge for me. But in Ultimate, it doesn’t seem to matter what level you switch to sometimes. See? "Sometimes" is the problem. Due to the random nature of the AI’s behavior, you may have an easy time against higher leveled AIs (except 9, they’re flat out ridiculous), or a harder time against the low leveled AI. The behavior also make unlock battles even more of a chore. Challenge is a good thing. It’s supposed to test your skill and is supposed to be stimulating. But what we have here are AIs that can space their attacks at peak precision. That’s not enjoyable or stimulating. It makes puts my mind on auto-pilot because when I am trying to be patient and calculative, it will surely backfire. The best way to defeat the toughest AI is to just go at it like a neanderthal, which isn’t very fun in my opinion.
This is the best Classic has ever been! Every fighter has his or her own predetermined path, with a final boss they have to defeat. Some paths are based on a theme related to the character. Like Roy for example, have to fight other sword fighters, and Kirby is eating his way to victory. With every battle you win, the difficulty ramps up, which means it’ll get harder but you’ll get more rewards in the end. One of my favorite things about this mode are Smash Tickets. Smash 4 introduced the ridiculous idea of involuntarily lowering the difficulty when you die. Fortunately, Smash Ultimate introduces Smash Tickets! You can use Smash Tickets to keep the difficulty from going down. What makes them even more convenient is that you can always buy them in the in-game shop. Sadly, despite all the things I said, the fun is hampered by the AI behavior and (in this case) items in the mode.
World of Light and Spirits:
World of Light acts as the games big campaign mode. Without spoiling too much, you’re on an adventure to fight evil puppets of the fighters inspirited by the well… Spirits. Reach the main threat, and you win! It sounds like a good and simple plot for a fighting game’s story mode. This mode does have some unique problems though. Besides the AI behavior, this mode is incredibly repetitive and sometimes infuriating. Remember when I said that you fight evil puppets? Well, that’s ALL you do. No variety whatsoever. Sure, you fight bosses and solve a few puzzles in the world map. But you’ll mainly fight these puppets. What makes the mode infuriating? Well, most of the battles will have some ridiculous gimmick tacked on, to make it interesting I guess… Sometimes it gets ridiculous because of a certain Assist Trophy helping the CPU, or ridiculous power increases. Fortunately, you can use spirits to mitigate these effects. Even with the gimmicks removed, it will be a tug-a-war against the inconsistent AI. World of Light does have an addicting factor to it. I think it’s the map itself. It’s filled with varying environments, fun nooks and crannies, and load of Nintendo easter eggs! All in all, World of Light was a nice idea, but executed poorly in my opinion. Subspace Emissary still shines on top for its variety, multiple story paths and an assortment of cutscenes.
The Spirit board is pretty much a "free play" version of World of Light. You fight spirits that appear on the board for about 5 minutes, defeat them, and you get them. Well not quite. You have to play a small minigame where you shoot the dead puppet and make them… Super dead I guess… I honestly don’t find the gun part necessary at all. In World of Light, all you have to do is defeat the puppet, and you’ve acquired the spirit. So why do i have to do extra in the Spirit Board? It’s not really hard, unless you’re trying to get a high leveled spirit. I just find it extremely unnecessary. Just give us the spirit!
This is my primary source for playing with others (unfortunately because online strangers are disgusting 9 times out of 10). Ignoring my experiences with others, what online has to offer is a bit of a mixed bag. While I do like the idea of making your own arena/lobby with your customized rules, I do wish there was a way to ban levels in lobby. So I can prevent people from choosing dumb or ginormous stages in my arena (also, what’s with the Big Battlefield obsession?). My main gripe with online are the Preferred Rules. Even after the patch that supposedly fixed the issue, I still get a lot of matches that don’t match my rules, not even remotely. It’s frustrating to be thrown into a battle with a ruleset you didn’t want at all. Online had some nice ideas, but needs some adjustments here and there.
I can’t wait for the community to ridicule me in the boards for this… It wouldn’t be the first time. Trust me, I feel bad that I rated it so low, since they worked real hard on this game. But for a lone gamer who has to stick with the most infuriating AI in any fighting game is just not enjoyable, but is just a test of patience. I’m sure this game is a BLAST to play with other people locally because it’s more fun to learn from others than trying to trudge through challenges with unfair AI. I’m sure I would have more enjoyment if I had a party.
Rating: 2.5 – Playable
Product Release: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (US, 12/07/18)
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