Masahiro Sakurai assured that doing each Smash Bros. is a miracle. What we have clear in the case of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that it is quite an achievement. Abundant contents, innovative modalities, spirits, licenses to tutiple and an iconic combat system, with an unmistakable Nintendo aroma. The ultimate Sakurai Smash is for Nintendo Switch. Analysis.
Masahiro Sakurai is known to be a real perfectionist. He has been unable to delegate the task of direction on each game of the series of games Smash Bros. ever launched on the market since 1999. On occasion he came to declare that he dedicated 40 hours in a row to the game during the end of the development. He spent days without rest, without seeing his family. All for the eagerness to work with a surprising cluster of licenses.
I was not surprised when he recently said that “it is a real miracle ” to create each new Smash Bros video game. In his case, it is not only a matter of proposing a demented amount of content. But also of gathering licenses belonging to several companies (many outside the company) to give rise to a truly spectacular combat crossover. So far comes the matter, that Sakurai is not the first time that ensures that the series will not continue in the future.
Of course, everything he says is not only justified, but I fully understand it. More after having verified that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an authentic madness of contents and licenses. I still remember when I thought it was an improved version, but none of that. It made me a real smash. It is very close to the definitive exponent within the saga. I think that the title of “best Smash Bros. in history” does not fit. A truly amazing video game that ensures fun for weeks, months and even years. Undoubtedly, the most important Nintendo Switch launch of the year.
To clear any doubt about the innovation proposed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it is best to start talking about the spirits. It’s a crucial feature to understand this delivery. Because it supports the two most important modes of the game: Spirit Board and Mode Adventure. Pay close attention, as this explains the success of Ultimate.
Board of Spirits
The spirits have a rationale. They are the entities that have possessed the bodies of the wrestlers of the Smash Bros. series. We must release them. And it is something that can be done through these two modalities. Board of Spirits proposes to do it on a board of several cards that are renewed every five minutes. It is a quick and simple way to engage in combat under different circumstances, thematized according to the spirit to be released. At the end of the contest, there is a mini-game not too interesting. But that will test your reflexes. For instance, shoot the character to free the spirit, avoiding a barrier that spins incessantly.
The approach is sensational
The approach is sensational. Imagine that you have to free the spirit of Waluigi from Mario Strikers. To do it, you will face Luigi, who has been possessed. He presents himself with a purple suit, as well as a stage in which soccer balls do not stop falling. If you try to free Revolver Ocelot, the same. We will fight against Fox (who also carries a gun). This will happen in a scenario in which the ground is electrified. That would be as a tribute to his specialty in the Metal Gear Solid saga.
Details like these are going to find tons. It is one of the most incredible things that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has. There is a lot of talent when it comes to combining licenses. It’s something worthy of appreciation when you have so many characters together in the same video game. In total, there are more than 1,000 spirits. The best thing is that we can equip them to our main fighters to reinforce them. This generates an exceptional playable flow. For that you need to get new and better spirits to face the most challenging. Since within them there are four ranks: apprentice, promise, ace and legend.
The Adventure Mode also places the spirits as a central playable dynamic, but from another perspective. In this case, we are presented with a gigantic game map. That’s a non-linear structure in which you can decide which routes to take. Due to this approach, there are hardly any kinematics. Nor it has an elaborate story, beyond which Lúmina has stolen the bodies of the Smash Bros characters. Our task is to recover them, defeating the spirits that dominate them.
Even so, the adventure becomes very interesting and really lasting. Minimum of 10 hours to complete it. You can save game by three save slots. There are combats to mansalva and quantity of spirits to release following the same tematizadora logic that we commented before. Release a cuckoo from Zelda fighting several Falco at once? Maybe there is no conventional narrative. In the long run something repetitive can be done. But the combination of licenses is very witty and original. It translates into things like having to go to the snowy stage to free the Ice Climber brothers or the castle itself. Bowser to see your face with him.
The map is a compendium of dream, with wonderful winks to the history of Nintendo and its licenses. You will need certain characters to unlock some paths.
There is a skill tree from which to improve general attributes (attack, defense, speed …).
Then we have a series of stores in which to obtain support objects.
Our initial fighter is Kirby. In an attempt to give players a friendly entrance to the adventure (he is one of the most balanced characters). However, we can change the protagonist as soon as we unlock new characters.
But let’s go back to the fundamental: the spirits. In the Adventure Mode they acquire even more importance. Because they raise their difficulty scheme. Basically, we started with low power entities to be strengthened in a very satisfactory process. The spirits rise in level with each contest, as well as some collectible items known as “aperitifs”. There are even spirits that evolve upon reaching level 99, which adds even more depth.
Primary and secondary spirits
Before each contest, we can equip a primary spirit to our fighter. It increases its power of attack, defense, weight, initial damage. Then add up to three secondary spirits, with various special abilities. Tingle allows walking on numbing floors without suffering the consequences. Gengar reduces damage by poison. Detective Pikachu dispels the fog in the scenarios that possess this disconcerting feature.
It is a compendium of dream, with wonderful winks to the history of Nintendo and its licenses.
Designing a suitable team
That is, the game encourages you to design a suitable team for each test. It gives the opportunity to make it lower than the rival level (you will get more rewards) or higher level (it will be more complicated to overcome it). This is a very innovative strategic concept. That encourages thinking about which spirit to choose before entering the combat ring. Also it leaves the final decision to the user about what difficulty he or she wants at each moment . This gives an unknown complexity to the Smash Bros. series. And the matter does not stop there. Each spirit responds to a typology: attack, defense or grip. But it is better that you understand yourself how it works. That’s where the magic lies.
A game of infinite duration
Every time I am faced with the analysis of a Smash Bros. video game, I know what it touches. It’s getting bored with the amount of content it holds. Ultimate is not far behind. It is a real titan when it comes to talking about game modes. It overwhelms. We have the Normal Combat for up to 8 players and the incorporation of a Tournament for up to 32 users. Visit this delivery the Smash Troop, 3v3 and 5v5 clashes that can be followed from several approaches (relay, eliminatory or turn-based).
They are classic approaches. But it is clear that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gives the opportunity to play it in many ways. The best example is Smash Special. It’s a modality in which we can modify the combat attributes. That we can do from the size and weight of the fighters, to the speed and if they have metallic or invisible bodies.
Smash Total, on the other hand, is a way in which the squad decreases with each battle, as we fight.
Super Sudden Death
Super Sudden Death is as simple as putting several fighters in the ring with 300% damage. And with tension that gives you that with the minimum blow you leave KO.
The repertoire continues, with Assault.It consists of defeating an army of enemies, one after the other.
Hall of Aspirants
Hall of Aspirants proposes to take revenge against those fighters that you could unblock at the time, but you did not manage to do it.
Create your own fighter
There is another section of the game that allows us to create our own fighter. This is done using our own Mii as a reference, and customize it with all kinds of hats and costumes. Of course, compatibility with amiibos is not lacking, which is really high. As it happened in the deliveries of Wii U and 3DS, we can invoke them, fight with them and make them level up (the progress is saved in the amiibo itself).
More things? The characters are unlocked as we play. We start with the eight initials of the Super Smash Bros. of Nintendo 64 . It was said that getting them would cost a couple of hours. However, the reality is that I have many and still do not have all the staff. If this was not enough to explain all the content that includes the game, there is a board with 111 very interesting challenges that, once completed, reward with spirits, money and a considerable etcetera.
There is a very careful training modality. The options to configure our command and its buttons are magnificent. The establishment of rules for the matches allows us to choose whether or not we have friendly fire. It takes into account details such as activating a reinforcement for less skilled fighters. Or else to remove the damage meter from the interface for the more daring. We even have a shop in which to use the goldones (game currency) to obtain support objects and unlock a few melodies.
But, undoubtedly, what takes all the applause is Smash Arcade. It is an exclusive tour for each character. It consists of six battles plus a final showdown (bonus phase in between, the same for all fighters). Link must overcome characters marked by darkness. Kirby fights wrestlers who love to eat. Yoshi will do the same against Jurassic-style animals. It does not follow a story as such. But the approach can not be denied that it is original and very interesting. For there is a sense of curiosity to see how each route has been configured.
Escaping the conventions
This leads me to an – I think – interesting reflection on the perspective adopted by HAL Laboratory. However, it does not respond to the classic conception of the genre of struggles. It is noted that they want to escape the conventions. That is why the combat system based on damage percentages is maintained, because it is a hallmark of Smash Bros. This video game is not about bars that should reach zero. But about the uncertainty and tension that causes having red-hot numbers. Knowing that you can be released from the stage at any time.
The game is highly strategic
This is combined with a game system in which it is not important to learn commands (another convention of fighting games). But all movements have the same pattern for all fighters. That is an address on the stick plus the pressure of a button. Despite this, the game is highly strategic. Because it matters much more what skill you use in each moment. Also, how you adapt to each scenario, which usually have platforms, various heights and the presence of objects that can unbalance the contest. Not to mention the final attack, the tenacious Smash.
It’s a game of struggle understood under the prism of Nintendo
In short, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is what we expected. It’s a game of struggle understood under the prism of Nintendo. Sakurai did not want a video game for professionals or novices, but for both. That’s the hard thing to get though. It is highly accessible, but with difficulty for those who want to go further. It is not so much about knowing combinations of blows. But about knowing how to read the stage well, as well as understanding the pros and cons of each fighter. Now all that is reinforced by an additional layer, the spirits, which come to add even more depth to the proposal. The result is simply spectacular.
Addicition of the game
But above all, I think it’s a game that is continually telling you: “play one more game”. You are always getting some reward, even if you lose battles. You level up your support characters, you get money, skill spheres and objects. Unlock new characters or one of the multiple achievements. Comfort. But also consider that Smash Bros. Ultimate does not reward both the marathon sessions and return a little day after day. And it will be many days. Your addiction capacity is as brutal as the intense and dizzying of the combats. It will give you the impression that you have been playing hours. When you have barely 30 minutes.
The ultimate Smash
The ultimate Smash? Masahiro Sakurai has already said that working with licenses is a complicated process. The work done in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is by far the most ambitious of this saga. Probably the most brutal crossover exercise in the video game industry. We are no longer talking about characters from the same company (such as Mario, Yoshi or Donkey Kong). But visitors from companies like Sega, Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, Bandai Namco …
Putting all these licenses in common is a real madness. You will fully realize this when you check the sickly amount of spirits present. And this is not just about the 74 available wrestlers. But over the more than 100 scenarios. These include the Umbra watch in Bayonetta, the Sonic hills, Midgar in Final Fantasy VII or the Shadow Moses in Metal Gear Solid. All this entails quantity of signatures of forms. Also, commercial agreements between companies and legal bureaucracy in general.
A considerable graphic evolution
So when Sakurai said something like that was a miracle, you have to think that maybe he was not exaggerating. That yes, all this implies to dedicate an absolute mime in each design. Because no company wishes that its characters are badly represented. In this case, we have to talk about a formidable job. Because there is also a considerable graphic evolution with respect to previous deliveries. The modeling and animations are improved. Especially noticeable is the improvement in shaders and lighting, with more detail in both the fighters and environments.
The scenes become much richer. They have a lot of visual effects that end up enlarging each frame. It is a delight and you can check it in the menu repetitions. Where we can review those battles that we have saved. It is interesting, because we can see our movements frame by frame. Also, change the angle, apply several filters and even take captures of videos to later share them. Exceptional.
Near 800 musical compositions
Following with the numbers and the care in the licenses, to count that the game contains near 800 musical compositions. This includes as emblematic subjects as the “Vampire Killer” of Castlevania, the “Escape from the City” of Sonic or a series of stupendous remixes of Mega Man. Because not everything is original themes. But adaptations made by an extensive team. That is an authentic dream team formed by names like Koji Kondo, Yoko Shimomura, Michiru Yamane, Keiichi Okabe …
Create your own music lists
The best thing is that we can create our own music lists and listen to them on Nintendo Switch. As it incorporates a function to put the console in semi-rest (screen off) in order to be able. Enjoy the extensive soundtrack: more than 20 hours of music . So that you can see how far the level of detail goes. You can modify the frequency with which the scores are played in each of the levels, in order to adapt them to our personal tastes.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is so careful that the first thing that surprises is how well organized is all the content of the video game. You will have already verified that it is spectacular. The menus are very colorful. Then you pass from one part of the game to another, with very fleeting loading screens. They are so fast that sometimes you can not read the tips and additional information on the screen, which contain a story about Nintendo and its brands.
It is a real festival for lovers of video games
This is no longer a simple fight. It is a real festival for lovers of video games. And precisely with that feeling I stay. Although I consider that the Adventure Mode has things that can be improved (I appreciate some monotony). That in a matter of modalities it could be more disruptive (maybe the cooperative is missing), the balance I consider to be really positive.
Largest Smash Bros. that has been made to date
Masahiro Sakurai and his team have led to the largest Smash Bros. that has been made to date. A wonderful combination of licenses that are put together in a virtuous way in a video game. This justifies, perhaps like no other, everything that costs to acquire it. Its duration is brutal. The affection placed on it is beyond doubt. And comes as no other delivery to the epithet of “final delivery” … Although hopefully not the last.