Super Smash Bros. Retrospective -- and Why Ultimate Could Be The Best
When Super Smash Bros. launched in 1999, the game was a smash hit. For the first time, we got to play with Mario, Link, Samus, and other Nintendo icons, all in one game. This was a big deal at the time, becoming an instant hit and popular party game. Each installment built on the last, adding new characters, new stages, new franchises to represent.
Melee arguably had the biggest jump in content, adding new characters, including well-known all-stars like Zelda or Bowser, and lesser-known ones like Marth and Roy from Fire Emblem, a series that owes a lot of its popularity to Smash. New stages that grew into fan-favorites like Onett and Temple, a trophy system that explores decades worth of Nintendo history, new gameplay mechanics, and more. Melee has the biggest competitive scene out of any Smash game. Even 17 years after the game released, there are still tournaments being hosted. Some still consider this game the best, simply because it took Super Smash Bros., a fun party game, to an entirely different level.
Brawl, however, had a big jump too. The game was noticeably different in aesthetic than previous titles. Almost every character got a makeover, either muting their colors or making their design more detailed. The introduction of third-party fighters, like Sonic and Snake from Sonic the Hedgehog and Metal Gear Solid respectively, changed up the basis of Super Smash Bros. It wasn’t just about Nintendo anymore, the two characters even making their way into the Nintendo-filled Subspace Emissary, the first time you really see these characters come together in a larger narrative.
The game also added a bunch of different features, the trophies return, along with stickers you can attach in Subspace Emissary, Coin Launcher, and Masterpieces, limited demos you can play starring Nintendo characters. This was a lot of content to put in the game, barely enough for the disc to hold. The biggest addition to the game was online play, and while it was still not perfect, it was welcome and was definitely improved on in the next game. While the game was a lot slower and lesser received than Melee. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was one I remember fondly.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS are easily two of my most hyped games. The game ups the number of characters to 54, including DLC. The inclusion of Cloud Strife, from the Final Fantasy games, Ryu from the Street Fighter games, etc, make the door bigger for any video game icon to join the fight. The gameplay hits a balance between Melee and Brawl, making it fun for casual and hardcore players. The game keeps its realistic feel, while also being more bright and colorful than Brawl. The aesthetic is personally my favorite, having a fiery feel to it while still retaining the same Smash we know and love.
In March of 2018, Nintendo hosted a Nintendo Direct, a showcase hosted every few months to announce new games and updates on pre-existing ones. At the end, an unexpected announcement was shown, showing the Inklings from the wildly popular Splatoon having a shootout until they’re interrupted by the Super Smash Bros. logo. This threw fans for a fit, instantly sending them into speculation about whether this was a new game or a port of the previous title, and who’d make the cut this time.
Come, E3 2018, where Nintendo focused mainly on the new title, revealing the name to be Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and casually dropping the fact that every, single, character would be coming back, along with the aforementioned Inkling, fan-favorite Princess Daisy and long-requested Metroid villain, Ridley. This opened the box for Ultimate to be not only the best game in the series but the definitive Smash Bros. game. Not only does every character in the franchise return, but nearly every stage too. The gameplay keeps its traditional layout while changing things up like faster Final Smashes. Little aesthetics are added, like character close-ups during a Final Smash, effects added to KOs, etc. This makes the game seem a lot more fun and energetic than previous titles.
The game seems to be the culmination of everything the Smash series has been for 19 years. Everything from the last game is built upon heavily. Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the series, treats every Smash game as if it is his last, and with Ultimate taking from every game, he truly went all out on this one, and that’s something the fans really appreciate. If Ultimate is the final game in the series, it’s shaping up to be the best and the definitive game, and I can’t wait for it to hit shelves this December.