Smash Bros. enthusiasts have been clamoring for years for the next full-fledged release, and it's finally here. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was first announced in March, and fans had what felt like an excruciating few months to wait until they could get their hands on it. The entire gaming community has been ridiculously hyped to jump into a new and exciting entry in the long-running fighter, and it's finally returned – with a vengeance.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the greatest entries the series has ever seen, since its humble start on the Nintendo 64 and every entry between then and now. It's a touching tribute to Nintendo's amazing collection of franchises dedicated to a rabid fanbase that's been waiting to devour the newest game the company had to offer.
The name isn't a mistake by any means. This is, by far, the best version of Smash you'll ever play. Its enormous character roster, which includes every single fighter from all the games' past iterations, is positively teeming with fantastic fighters. This means you have 74 fighters you can duke it out with others with. Of course, some are considered "Echo Fighters," as clones, and they do share the same skills as other fighters, but that doesn't take away from the sheer amount of options there truly are in-game. There are even more being added at a later date, including Persona 5's Joker and Mario's Piranha Plant, which is coming in February 2019.
Right now, there's a character for just about everyone: Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Link, Zelda, Pikachu, Fox McCloud, you name it – there's a ton of different fighters to choose from. Even if you've been playing Smash since it first hit Nintendo 64 and know your favorite fighters inside and out, there have been plenty of balancing tweaks and changes to even the most classic characters, which means they largely feel like new and different fighters to begin with. They aren't carbon copies of the same characters you knew before, and that's part of what makes the entire package such an engaging one. It truly has something new for players from all walks of life and gaming careers.
There's constantly something new to do and discover, too. There's more than just quick versus games between characters. From the moment you start playing, you're bombarded with cool characters and other things to unlock. As you play, you'll be challenged by new fighters. These happen seemingly at random in between activities, and you're locked in a heated battle with the new challenger until you either win or lose. If you win, you get to add them to your collection. Should you lose, you'll have to wait a bit to face them in a rematch via the "Challenger's Approach" feature, offering a way for you to take them on once more with a different fighter or less of a fatigued mind.
With that process in mind, it can absolutely take quite a while to unlock all the characters you want. But it also adds plenty of variety and helps to lengthen the amount of time you spend in-game, unlocking new faces and trying them out as time passes. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. The real meat of the game lies within The World of Light, the all-encompassing campaign mode that offers the series' first great single-player options (other attempts notwithstanding.) Smash, Special Smash, Custom Smash, and the other variants of the regular combat options are fun enough, but The World of Light truly takes the cake.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's "Spirit mode" offers a single-player adventure where you play through a self-contained story to rescue all the fighters who have been taken over by spirits and turned into puppet fighters. Kirby is the last fighter standing and must kick off the process of "saving the world," You'll work your way through an enormous hub area where you start out as Kirby and then try out various paths, complete with different puzzles to complete. As you progress even further, you'll unlock new Spirits to equip and help you push through the rest of the game. At some point, you'll begin to feel gleefully OP, but there's a fantastic sense of accomplishment when you reach that point.
With over 1,000 Spirits to collect, from a random selection of Nintendo and third-party games (Sonic, Bayonetta, and more) you'll be soldiering through The World of Light mode for some time, and it'll be a satisfying journey the entire time – if you prefer to fly solo when playing, this is the option you'll consistently flock to.
There's so much to be said about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and that's a testament to everything it has to offer. It truly is the best the series has ever produced, and that's not simply hyperbole. There's a wealth of content to experience and so much that just about anyone has something to dig into, even if they're only truly into single-player content.
If you're even remotely curious about getting into Smash, this is the best place you could ever possibly start. From its robust selection of fighters to its massive menagerie of characters as far as fighters and Spirits, it's an overwhelming amount of content. It's polished, nostalgic, and rife with plenty of opportunities to shine. If you only get one game on your Nintendo Switch after having just purchased one, you should absolutely make it this one, for the sheer amount of things to do alone. It's positively, in a word, ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now as a Nintendo Switch exclusive.