Previews

Ultimately a smashing experience — Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Hands-on

It’s nearly a unanimous opinion among Nintendo fans that Super Smash Bros. is a big deal. With several games spawning countless tournaments worldwide, fans waited patiently for the Nintendo Switch’s Super Smash Bros. reveal. At E3, Nintendo’s biggest announcement was definitely Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, taking over 20 minutes of their presentation and featuring every character ever featured in the series. During E3, I had the opportunity to check out Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch.

While there will be over 65 characters available in the full game, only a portion of them were available for the demo. Of course, we had to check out the new characters, specifically Inkling and Ridley, the latter a character requested since the second entry in the series, Super Smash Bros. Melee.

The Inkling character, coming from the hit third-person shooter, Splatoon, uses their gun to douse their opponents in ink. When they are covered in ink, they will take more damage. They can also throw bombs and “squid jump” high upward, making them a quick, responsive character with tricks up his or her sleeve.

Ridley, Samus’ nemesis from the Metroid series, is also an interesting character to play as. As you can imagine, Ridley is a heavyset character. His up special gives him a dash that can be changed in different directions while his forward special lunges at opponents to grab them, sort of in the vein of bowser’s grab. Despite being a heavy hitter, Ridley’s size made him a target when I had control over the space pirate leader, causing damage quickly and leading to an occasional early demise.

Overall, the game felt quicker, with each hit having more weight; this is also due to 1v1 battles increasing damage, as stated within the announcement video. I also had the chance to play as Link, who has received substantial changes to his attacks such as his Breath of the Wild bombs that are activated remotely rather than exploding over time. Ganondorf also received a substantial change by finally wielding his sword from Ocarina of Time. This sword has been a pose that’s been used in his taunts since his debut in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but it’s nice to see him finally use them in his smash attacks. Instead of being a pseudo Captain Falcon clone, Ganondorf is now a good hybrid of Captain Falcon and Ike, and that feels good.

There are a few new items that appeared during our matches as well. Most notably was an item that generated a black hole when it was thrown, locking any players near it towards each other. While I was trying to escape, my opponent took the opportunity to frantically attack me, causing damage in the confusion.

I also encountered an interesting change to the “sudden death” mode. In previous games, players start sudden death with 300% damage and bob-ombs falling in random spots. This time, in addition to 300% start, the screen will shrink gradually towards the center, pushing players closer together until the last player has been eliminated. This is just another way that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is eliminating random in the favor of a more competitive atmosphere without alienating fans that like to play casually.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is worth of being called the “Ultimate Super Smash Bros.” The characters feel even better than they did in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS. The game is set to be released on December 7th, 2018 and when it arrives on the Nintendo Switch, it’s definitely going to be a hit.

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