I was fortunate enough to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for several hours over the last two days. This may come as a surprise after my previous post in the countdown, “The Game Leaked, but Who Cares?” A few points on that; I primarily wrote about the non-issue of spoilers being posted online, specifically saying Smash is fun to play instead of just learn about. So yes, I took the opportunity to play the game at a few events, but no, I won’t be hacking my Switch or installing the game illegally on my console.
No real spoilers follow.
My takeaways from several hours with Ultimate over the last few days:
- The engine feels quite a bit different from Smash 4. You’ll have a learning curve period, and your practice won’t translate over immediately. There’s an awkward feeling of the game not responding to your inputs in the way you expect, and that’s pretty much unavoidable, but does lessen a few hours in.
- Shielding, air-dodging, and rolling are all worse options. These defensive/evasive maneuvers are all punishable unless you’re using them sparingly and intentionally. Shield-poking happens way more often, even when half a shield appears to be in tact. Note: Once people get the hang of new Perfect Shield timing, they won’t be such a bad option.
- Neutral is more grounded. Gravity seems to be more of a factor, and when not ledge-guarding or chasing, characters feet stay planted on the ground more. In other words, expending your double jump on stage feels like a risk as it did in Melee.
- The graphics are beautiful. Characters are animated with a lot of personality, but the main thing I couldn’t get over was the beautiful stages. Previous games look drab by comparison.
- Smash Ultimate is packed to the brim. Although the character selection screen is limited on startup, the rest of the game is not! The stages and modes are all there at your disposal, and so much is customizable! Decisions that would have been made for us in the past are now left up to the player to tweak, such as “Stick Sensitivity” which is now adjustable in custom controls. There will be a lot to learn in the menus, but we can finally fine-tune just about everything we’ve wanted to.
I had a lot of fun, though most of my matches were 4v4 or 3v3. In that kind of chaos, I didn’t get to put many characters through their paces like I would have wanted to. It does seem that Donkey Kong is an absolute beast, and he’s a character I’ve always tried to play since Brawl. I might have to make room for DK in my mains.
Simeon and I are planning some fun stuff for the launch of Ultimate! More on that soon.