Al Unlocked – Progressive Looks: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate (Part 1)

Update 1 – Time played: 20 hours, 46 minutes

Oops. I wound up playing this game for a LOT longer than I intended before writing this update. About 15 hours longer. However, if a game like this can suck me in enough to completely lose track of a whole weekend, I think that’s already a testament to a quality game. What did I spend over 20 hours doing? To be perfectly honest, I mostly played 1v1 matches vs. CPUs or my friends to unlock all of the characters, and then some. I also spent some time with the World of Light adventure mode as well as Classic Mode. But let’s take things one at a time here.

My first impressions of the gameplay itself are overall very good. To make comparisons to other smash titles with regards to the pacing of the fighting, it feels faster than both Brawl and Smash Wii U, but not quite as fast as Melee, the speed of which could be said to be intimidating to some. To me this feels like an extremely happy medium between the more popular older Smash titles. Ultimate also has introduced subtle changes to the fighting mechanics such as parrying, dash cancels, and a short-hop aerial attack shortcut that both make the game feel both more unique and accessible to newcomers to the series looking to up their game to the next level. At this point I dare to say that this is the best Smash has ever felt, but I’ll wait to make the real definitive call on that until later.

Ultimate has a roster of a whopping 74 characters, plus 6 more characters that will be eventually coming as downloadable content! It’s been a blast playing as all of the newcomers along with the returning Melee and Brawl veterans that never made the cut into Smash Wii U. Out of everyone so far, my heart is currently set on the 3-in-1 character Pokemon Trainer, Splatoon’s iconic Inkling, and Fox McCloud’s mercenary rival, Wolf O’Donnell. With a roster of 74 going on 80 characters, I find it impossible to focus all of my time into just one character! There’s also over 100 available stages to play in Ultimate, but I’ll talk about that next time when I’ve had time to play on more of them.

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We’re gonna be best friends…

The single player content I’ve played so far in Ultimate has been extremely fun and rewarding. The World of Light adventure mode takes place on a huge map containing a variety of different fights modelled after the “spirits” of different video game characters. These spirits can be taken and used as equipment for your character of choice for different effects, and can be improved through levelling up. There’s also a skill tree that provides permanent benefits for your character party such as, for example, increased damage on tilt attacks. Does this sound a lot like an RPG? This feels a lot like an RPG, and I love it! World of Light is pretty much Smash Bros. the RPG and I have always wanted something like that. The one thing that has disappointed me so far with it unfortunately is that while the intro cutscene is so incredibly well done, it sets the bar so high for the story and character interactions and I have yet to see anything remotely resembling a story in actually playing the mode itself. I’m worried that the intro cutscene will be the only piece of high quality story content I’ll see, but I hope I’m wrong. Classic Mode is amazingly done, with difficulty scaling based on your performance throughout your playthrough, and each character having their own unique route. That’s 74 going on 80 unique playthroughs! All-in-all, Ultimate’s single player offering is massive and will take a considerable amount of time to get through if one wants to go through all of it.

A pretty lengthy, and positive, first impression of Smash Ultimate. For next time I’ll be focusing mostly on the online multiplayer and the stage selection, with a little attention played to the single player offerings I might not have covered yet. Stay tuned!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

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