Update 2 – Time Played: 59 hours, 0 minutes (on my own Switch)
It’s finally time for the next update to the Smash Ultimate Progressive Looks series! It’s only been 4 months, it’s fine. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what this game has to offer for online multiplayer, but I’m going to try and keep it shorter than the last update. The two ways to play online in Ultimate are Quickplay, and Arena lobbies. My impressions of the online multiplayer are based almost exclusively on Quickplay. I haven’t had an opportunity to play in Arena lobbies and I won’t comment on something I haven’t experienced myself. This will be the final update to this Progressive Looks series before I go ahead and review Smash Ultimate!
I’m just going to rip off the bandaid right now with this one. The online Quickplay is bad. Really, really, really, bad. Quickplay puts players into a matchmaking pool that matches players together loosely based on a stat called Global Smash Power, which goes higher based on the number of players you’re better than. Each player can set their own preferred rulesets for Quickplay matchmaking, and once players are matched the game will pick one player’s preferred ruleset at random. This means you could get a bad string of matches with rulesets that you don’t want. You want 1v1 matches on Battlefield with 3 stocks, no items, and 7 minute time limit? Too bad, you get to play on Pac-Land (the worst stage ever created) with 2 stocks, items on high, and a 4 minute time limit. Then you get to play a free-for-all on Mario Galaxy. Let’s throw in a match on Fourside with Smash Balls turned on too! I don’t have any problems with these rulesets by themselves (except for Pac-Land, anyone who wants to play on that stage needs to rethink their life), but being forced to play by these rules when I’ve specifically set my search preferences for a completely different ruleset can be frustrating.
Internet connection can be inconsistent across matches as well, and it doesn’t seem that Ultimate’s matchmaking takes a player’s connection quality into account. Some matches with a bad connection are to be expected in any online game, but I feel like this happens more in Smash Ultimate that any other game. Hell, I even felt like I had a better time with Smash 4’s online. How is the new game going to do online matchmaking worse than the older game on inferior hardware? It blows me away how hard the ball has been dropped with Ultimate’s online play. It has been improved since launch through patches however, with matchmaking putting more emphasis on finding players with a ruleset that more closely matches your own. I haven’t had to deal with a free-for-all since the improvements, which is a good step in the right direction.
Unfortunately this was a pretty negative update about Smash Ultimate, but no game can be perfect I guess. My only hope is that the game continues to be improved through post-launch support so that it can become the Smash online experience that humanity deserves. Thanks for reading this Al Unlocked Progressive Looks series, and thanks for your patience while waiting for me to pick it up again! Stay tuned for the review!
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate